Environmentally-friendly investments form part of many recently launched recovery programmes. With the right policies, they could achieve growth and a cleaner planet as well.

The good intentions of governments and donors to ensure long-term food security for all may be melting away in the face of the current global financial and economic crisis.

In the current financial crisis, risk-weary investors worry more about keeping their own boats afloat than in pumping money into a sector noted for high upfront costs, long pay back periods and low rates of return. Add to that an inefficient use of resources, weak regulation and lack of up-to-date information, and the water sector faces what may prove to be a dry season for investment.

Pressure is mounting to arrest climate change, so it's hardly surprising that people around the world are being urged to use public transportation. After all, an overall strategy that includes getting people to give up their trucks and cars to use electric trolley buses, tramways and rail can help make a real dent in pollution, traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions.

Any serious attempt to deal with climate change must involve transport. Transport accounts for 13% of all world greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, though this figure takes into account CO2 sources other than fuel combustion, such as forestry, land-use and biomass burning. A look at CO2 emissions from fuel combustion only shows the transport sector accounts for about 23% worldwide and about 30% in the OECD area.

For transport, a major contributor to greenhouse gases, the challenge to reduce emissions is immense, particularly as most forecasts see transport activity doubling or tripling in the next 30 years. Fortunately, governments in the OECD area (which is where most greenhouse gases come from) are starting to act, though much more needs to be done. That is why the first International Transport Forum, to be held in Leipzig, Germany, from 28-30 May 2008, will be devoted to the theme

A 50% rise in global greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, higher temperatures, with more droughts and storms harming people, crops and buildings; more animal and plant species becoming extinct under expanding farmland and urban sprawl; dwindling natural resources; a billion more people living in water-stressed areas by 2030, with more pollution, disease and premature deaths ahead.