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September 2009

A Renewed Faith in Public Investment

Marcelo Giugale's picture

In the lead-up to the World Bank-IMF Annual Meetings, the Latin America and Caribbean Region VPU of the World Bank is co-hosting and attending the Americas Conference.

As the dust settles in Latin America in the wake of the global financial crisis, along with the tough challenges ahead for the economic recovery, there seem to be unique opportunities to improve our region’s long-term outlook.

I have no doubt that this important Miami Conference –where Latin America converges in many ways, cultural and economic- is the ideal place to bring these ideas to the table and kick off a fruitful debate.

What AIDS Leaves Behind: A Heavy Burden on African Women

Kathleen Beegle's picture

Unlike other diseases in Africa (malaria, tuberculosis, intestinal worms, etc.), which mainly affect the young and the old, HIV/AIDS takes its toll on prime-age adults during the most productive years of their lives. The death of an adult family member can have large consequences for the surviving family. Given prevailing social norms in many African societies, the burden may likely be heaviest for women.

Most studies focus on the consequences for orphaned children – their schooling and health. We know less about how older adults are impacted.  In our study, we track individuals and their households in northwest Tanzania, an area of high HIV prevalence in the 1990s, over a 13-year period.

We find that, when a family member dies, women (even old women) end up working more on the farm; men do too, but not as much.  Having an asset such as goats enables them to work less. 

Talking with Teeth: Micro-Planning with Community Scorecards

Darshana Patel's picture

Coming together is a process
Keeping together is progress
Working together is success

This message, written on the wall of a public building in Gureghar village in Maharashtra, India, implies the significant changes that have recently taken place. Since 2007, 178 villages including Gureghar have been part of an innovative social accountability process that has redefined relationships between citizens, service providers and local government. Building upon two decades of experience with micro-planning, the innovation in this pilot project is that micro-planning has been combined with a community scorecard process to strengthen accountability.

Partnered with the Yashwantrao Chavan Academy of Development Administration and the World Bank, the project was spearheaded by then CEO of the District, S. Kadu-Patil.

(The primary role of a District CEO is to administer all development project and services, such as health and education services, for the District.) The project team and the CEO invested a lot of effort to build the political will of other decision-makers and service providers. In fact, many of these functionaries were then organized into Task Forces to actually implement the process while a cadre of facilitators underwent intensive 20-day training.

Ask your question and join the debate on 'What Now? The World Beyond the Crisis'

Nina Vucenik's picture

How should the world look after the global financial and economic crisis?

A special high-level panel will discuss the world post the global economic crisis on Friday, October 2, in Istanbul during the Annual Meetings.

The panel will feature Robert B. Zoellick, Bank Group President; H. E. Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Minister of Finance, Indonesia; H.E. Mahmoud Mohieldin, Minister of Investment, Egypt; Ms. Eleni Gabre-Madhin, CEO, Ethiopian Commodity Exchange; and Professor Paul Collier, Department of Economics, University of Oxford.

The debate will be recorded on Friday, October 2, and will be broadcast over the next two days on France 24.

The panel is taking questions from people from around the world. If you have any questions for the panelists, you can ask them directly through Speak Out, our online chat, and we will pass them on.

 

Philippines: Surviving Tropical Storm Ondoy - Ketsana

Dave Llorito's picture
For 24 hours last Saturday, Typhoon Ondoy dumped 455 millimeters of rain on Luzon, causing massive floods and destroying lives and property in Metro Manila. (Photo courtesy of IRRI Images under a Creative Commons license)

Muelmar Magallanes, an 18 year-old construction worker, had already saved 30 people from the raging floodwaters last Saturday. Shivering and exhausted, he dived back into the murky waters to save a mother and a baby girl who were bobbing up and down among the floating debris and brought them to safety. Then he was gone, swept away by the torrents. His body was found the following day.

Magallanes is one of the more than 240 casualties caused by Tropical Storm Ondoy (international name: Ketsana). For 24 hours last Saturday, Typhoon Ondoy dumped 455 millimeters of rain (double the volume brought to New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina) on Luzon, causing massive floods in Metro Manila and the adjoining regions, destroying lives and property, and creating anguish and devastation in the metropolis.

In Defense of Diversity

Nicola Cenacchi's picture

Svalbard Global Seed Vault. Photo © Mari Tefre/Global Crop Diversity Trust

If you are not familiar with it, I highly recommend taking a look at the TED website. TED is a small nonprofit devoted to “Ideas Worth Spreading”. It organizes conferences where people from different fields and walks of life, scientists, engineers, and politicians, can present their ideas and projects.

The talks are filmed and made available for free on their website, which now contains a vast collection of brilliant presentations and speeches, always informative and at times downright jaw-dropping (in fact, “jaw dropping” is one of the categories you can use to scan through the presentations.)

The presentation that recently caught my attention is one by Cary Fowler, about the importance of genetic diversity in agriculture. Dr Fowler is Executive Director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, whose mission is to conserve Earth’s agricultural biodiversity. Jointly funded in 2004 by FAO and Biodiversity International the Trust worked with the Norwegian Government and the Nordic Gene bank to create the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, also dubbed by the media “the Doomsday vault,” which was officially opened on February 26, 2008.

Lessons from Latin America’s experience with H1N1

Sameer Vasta's picture

Laboratory tests on the flu.

The World Bank announced earlier this year that it would back Mexico’s fight against Influenza A (H1N1) with $205 million in fast-disbursing funds. Since then it has supported more than a dozen countries in Latin America in their efforts to control the effects of the virus.

Latin America’s experience with the H1N1 virus in the last six months has revealed that early, aggressive and honest communication with the public and a strong public health surveillance system are critical in mounting an effective response to the virus.

Keith Hansen, World Bank Health Expert for Latin America and the Caribbean, recently spoke about the Bank's work in the region:

"Epidemics can be very costly for the economy, for business, and this is why it’s worth investing a great deal to strengthen and maintain good surveillance and public health control measures. Also, the economy is not the measure of all things. The fundamental issue is that people’s lives, health, productivity and happiness are all at stake. Epidemics aren’t entirely preventable but they can be minimized, and that’s the role of a good public health system, and partners, such as the Bank, can support this."

In the upcoming week, Keith Hansen will post a few videoblog entries here on the Meetings Center, explaining more about the virus, the Bank's work, and some of the issues being discussed at the Meetings.

If you have any questions for Keith Hansen, you can ask him directly at our Speak Out online chat on health systems.

The G20 Pittsburgh Summit Concludes: Main Outcomes and Next Steps

Ihssane Loudiyi's picture

On September 24-25, twenty world leaders met for the third time this year and reiterated their common goal for global cooperation on the road to recovery from the financial crisis. The G20, which includes developed nations and fast-growing emerging economies such as Brazil, China and India, accounts for about 90% of the world’s economic activity; it is quickly replacing the G8 as the leader of world economic management.

The following important points emerged during the Summit:

Mitigation Costs Update

Marianne Fay's picture

A question we’ve been asked (and have asked ourselves) is how much climate change mitigation will cost developing countries.   We recently revised our numbers so that the ones presented in the final version of the World Development Report 2010, due out in early November, differ from those in the advance version of the report, which is now online. 

What are our new numbers? Here goes: In the medium term estimates of mitigation costs in developing countries ranges between $140 billion and $175 billion annually by 2030.  That is the annual net cost of developing-country mitigation  measures to stay on a  2 °C trajectory.

But financing needs will be higher however as many of the savings from the lower operating costs associated with renewable energy and energy efficiency gains only materialize over time.  McKinsey, for example, estimates that while the incremental cost in 2030 would be $175 billion, the upfront investments required would amount to $563 billion (over and above business-as-usual investment needs).  McKinsey points out that this amounts to a roughly 3 percent increase in global business-as-usual investments, and as such is likely to be within the capacity of global financial markets (McKinsey 2009).

Second International Migration and Development Conference

Caglar Ozden's picture

The World Bank, jointly with Agence Française de Développement (AFD), organized the Second International Migration and Development Conference on September 10-11th. The organizing committee consisted of Caglar Ozden and Maurice Schiff of the World Bank and Hillel Rapaport of Bar Ilan University (currently visiting Harvard University). This was a follow-up of the conference in Lille, France in June 2008, after which AFD agreed to sponsor a conference every year. The next conference is scheduled to be held at the Paris School of Economics in June 2010, hosted by Francois Bourguignon, former Chief Economist of the World Bank.

The conference program included the latest papers by the leading academics and researchers addressing a wide range of issues on the development and the migration nexus. Among the topics were migration and institutions, illegal migration, link between poverty and migration, human capital formation and migration, self-selection, migrant networks and social externalities. A total of 38 papers including two keynote addresses via parallel sessions were presented.  


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