This month, we’re talking about food on Youthink!, and how so many people don’t have enough. I recently came across a couple of blogs on the topic of food security—one had some good news, and the other not so good. Let’s start with the bad news first.
As I posted on the blog last week, the Doing Business 2010 report launched on September 9th. While the report itself always contains useful information, what is often equally interesting is the response in the countries and economies concerned.
Is social media going to change the world? The makers of this video seem pretty convinced:
Every fall, Governors of the World Bank Group and the IMF meet to discuss progress on the work of the two institutions. The joint World Bank-IMF Development Committee and the International Monetary and Financial Committee are also convened.
This year’s meetings will focus on the impact of the financial crisis and the ensuing global recession on developing countries, as well as solutions to help countries hit hard by the downturns in capital flows, trade, remittances, and tourism.
Governors are expected to discuss the Bank’s financial capacity as it continues to meet the demand from countries coping with the crisis. In fiscal year 2009, the Bank Group committed nearly $60 billion to help developing countries, which marked a 54 percent increase over the previous year and was a record high.
Other issues on the agenda include the impact of climate change on developing countries and the World Bank's role, against the backdrop of the upcoming climate change negotiations in Copenhagen. Climate change complicates efforts to reduce poverty in developing countries, but a “climate smart” world is possible if we act now, act together, and act differently, according to the latest World Development Report.
Governors are expected to reflect on the results of IDA15 to date. The International Development Association (IDA) is part of the World Bank that provides grants and no-interest loans to the poor countries. A mid-term review of IDA15 gets underway in November.
Climate change in the news (Sept 14 - Sept 18, 2009)
- News Update
I saw one of the World Development Report’s recommendations in action yesterday. Kenya’s Green Belt Movement (founded by Professor Wangari Maathai) is working with the Kenya Forest Service, with support from the French Development Agency, a grant from the Government of Japan (PHRD) and carbon credits (both managed by the World Bank), to replant native forests.
|Mercy Karunditu, Project Officer|
The original forest had been cut down and a tough native grass had taken over. Patches of grass had to be cut in order to plant the seedlings of native trees and the grass constantly managed for the first years until the trees were strong enough. The team told us how the carbon credits were planned for 12 years from the start of the project, though it was clear that the trees would still be small at that point. Up front financing for a period of many years is clearly essential.
Project officer Mercy Karunditu told us of the multiple challenges the team faces in nurturing these seedlings. First, villagers grazing their animals on the land where the year old seedlings stand at just ankle height. Second, elephants which destroy the seedlings. Third, fires set by villagers in the native forests to encourage growth of new grass for their animals. And fourth, climate change.
“We used to be sure when the rains would come, now we cannot be sure and when they do come they are very strong and last only for a very short period,” Mercy said.
Getting the operational details right so that teams like this can succeed will be key to making this tool, which brings both mitigation and adaptation benefits, succeed.
A follow-up to an earlier post on Toby Mendel’s new book The Right to Information in Latin America: A Comparative Legal Survey. 11 country cases and a comparative analysis chapter are organized around the following categories: definition of access to information (“The Right of Access”); rules for processing of information requests (“Procedural Guarantees” ); public authorities responsible for disclosure (“Duty to Publish”); grounds for refusal to disclose (“Exceptions”); complaint mechanisms for refusal of access (“Appeals”); punishment for obstructing access (“Sanctions and Protections”); and public engagement and education (“Promotional Measures”).
The systematic manner in which Mendel breaks down each country analysis gives the reader a comparative sense of the 11 Latin American countries covered. As I continued going through the country chapters, I gained an appreciation for the various dimensions of how the “right to information” has been institutionalized to varying degrees in different countries in the region. It became clear to me that all these categories are important in getting a sense of whether the “right to information” is indeed a right since, as we know, when it comes to law, the devil lurks in the details.
As I suspected, the event earlier this week on Industrial Policy and the Role of the State in Promoting Growth attracted a standing-room only crowd. Although the event was billed as a "panel discussion", the structure ended up being much more of a friendly debate, with Justin Lin and Ann Harrison sitting on one side of the table and Bill Easterly on the other.
Reading about the financial crisis and the effects that have rippled around the world, it’s always heartening to find something positive in the midst of piles of red ink and pessimistic expectations.
Although the majority of industries and economies around the world have suffered due to the downturn, Internet traffic growth accelerated at an increasing rate in 2009 compared to 2008 with no discernible slowdown due to the crisis. According to data released by Telegeography, every single region around the globe registered growth in internet traffic, or flow of data. South Asia has registered over a 100% increase, higher than the 79% posted worldwide, although it must be noted that South Asia had a lower baseline capacity.