Stories written by Christopher Pala

KAZAKHSTAN: Riot Town Has Its Say

Kazakhstan this week canceled, then re-authorised elections in a remote oil town where recent riots stemming from an oil workers strike left at least 16 dead and more than 40 buildings burned.

KAZAKHSTAN: Give Them Bread, But Not So Much

Kazakhstan, intent on diversifying its economy away from oil and mining, has extended its cereal acreage by a third in the past ten years, doubled the value of its grain harvest. It has eradicated rural poverty in the north, the country's breadbasket.

CLIMATE CHANGE: ‘High Glaciers Safe From Warming’

Global warming will melt far less of the glaciers of Central Asia than of those in other mountain ranges, shielding the people who depend on them for water from the effects of climate change for several decades at least, scientists say.

CENTRAL ASIA: Together They Lose

Rarely have so many donor countries spent so much for so long to achieve so little. In fact, the scores of Western countries ranging from the Netherlands to the United States that have tried for 20 years to coax the Central Asian nations to use their water cooperatively and create a win-win situation for all have found that the Central Asians are cooperating less and less, not more and more.

The Aral Sea yields fish again. Credit: Christopher Pala/IPS.

KAZAKHSTAN: Sea Reclaimed as Lake

Just six years after the completion of a dike that raised the level of the northern part of the Aral Sea by two metres and slashed its salt content by two-thirds, this remote Central Asian lake once synonymous with ecological catastrophe has become a model of environmental recovery.

Christopher Pala/IPS Credit: A purse-seiner with a load of skipjack in Pohnpei, Micronesia.

Key Fisheries Treaty to Lapse in Rebuke to U.S.

For the past quarter century, the United States' relations with Pacific island nations were framed by the South Pacific Tuna Treaty, which combines foreign aid, subsidies to the U.S. fleet of purse-seine fishing vessels and their largely unfettered access to the islands' waters, which contain the world's last major stocks of tuna.

A purse seiner (right) unloads its catch of frozen skipjack and bigeye tuna to a freezer ship (left), for canning in Asia. Credit: Christopher Pala/IPS

Big Fleets Resist Pacific Islands’ Plan to Save Fisheries

Eight Pacific island nations that are leveraging their contracts with foreign fishing fleets to save the world's last great stocks of tuna are getting little sympathy from the countries representing those fleets.

At this Bonaire reef, the olive-green coral is alive, but the mottled-gray coral is dead. Credit: Living Oceans Foundation/IPS

Bonaire’s Resilient Reefs Offer Hope for Dying Corals

Scientists are closely examining the reefs of this island just north of Venezuela to determine why it has escaped the devastation that wiped out 85 percent of the Caribbean's corals since the 1970s.

Bison numbers along the Mackenzie River have shot up to over 2,000 from less than 200 a few decades ago. Credit: Christopher Pala/IPS

Historic Conservation Pact a Decade in the Making

It was here in Yellowknife, on an inlet of the Great Slave Lake, that Stephen Kakfwi, then a minister of wildlife and economic development who would go on to become premier of the Northwest Territories, brought together in 1996 a group that would decide which areas of the forest needed to be protected and which areas could be developed.

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