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Speaking to participants at the 2009 Development Marketplace (DM), it’s hard not to be optimistic about the future. There are 100 finalists from nearly 50 countries here at the World Bank in Washington, DC. They are all participating in this year’s global grant competition, which is focused on climate adaptation. These social entrepreneurs were selected from among over 1700 applicants. Taken together, their projects represent “100 ideas to save the planet and its people from the effects of a changing climate.” This may seem like quite a tall order, but among these innovators, no challenge seems too great. In fact, one wonders how the DM jurors will manage to select which 20 to 25 project proposals most deserve to be funded.

The DM, now in its ninth year, is a competitive grant program administered by the World Bank. It seeks to identify and fund innovative, early-stage development projects that can be scaled up and replicated. Competition winners receive grant funding of up to US$200,000 each to implement their projects over two years. This year’s program is funded by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the World Bank, among others.

The 100 finalist project proposals for the 2009 DM fall into three sub-themes: resilience of Indigenous Peoples’ communities to climate risks; climate risk management with multiple benefits; and climate adaptation and disaster risk management. Many of the finalist proposals are focused on rural areas and share IFAD’s approach to climate change, which seeks to strengthen the resilience of poor rural people.

The 100 finalist teams will be presenting their ideas to attendees and jurors over the next few days. The winners of the 2009 DM will be announced at an awards ceremony on Friday, 13 November. Stay tuned for additional blog entries on some of the specific finalist proposals and their teams.

To learn more about the DM, as well as the 100 finalists and their projects, please visit the Development market website.

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