|Despite the careless mistake, this letter represents to me individual concern translated into action. (Click for a larger view)|
In 2000, 192 countries and 23 international organizations agreed to work towards fulfilling the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. Although progress has been uneven between regions and much remains to be done, global poverty rates have been reduced from 52% of the world’s population living under $1.25 a day in 1981 to 26% in 2008.
Bangladesh has been quite successful through taking a multifaceted approach into achieving these goals. Initiatives such as Notun Jibon which means “New Life” in Bengali not only have emphasized community driven development but also stresses the role of women in education and the community decision making process. The country has already achieved gender parity in primary and secondary schooling and is on track to meet the majority of the MDG’s such as halving infant and maternal mortality rates by 2015.
A reader's response to the blog post “Open Government”: Open to Whom?:
"Excellent post! Investing in ICTs is fundamental to open and transparent governance.
I am particularly struck by the following lines, "For their part, government officials complained about the lack of recordkeeping and archiving, particularly of the digital variety. Even with the best of intentions, officials may not be able to make information available amid weak information management systems; some of the interviewees pointed out that information about existing programs goes missing, and with it lessons learned -- along with the public’s opportunity to hold agencies accountable."
The 40 Indigenous Peoples of the North, Siberia, and Far East in Russia have had to struggle mightily -- not only against a hostile environment but also what they see as sometimes arbitrary governmental action. But they're making fresh progress, according to this emailed report from DM2009 winner Rodion Sulyandziga (holding award in photo at right), Director of the Center for Support of Indigenous Peoples of the North (CSIPN), which has spearheaded recognition and -- more important practically -- enforcement of Indigenous Peoples' rights:
"On April 14-15 in Moscow the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North (RAIPON) -- the umbrella organization that includes CSIPN -- will be hosting (in partnership with the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation) the Arctic Indigenous Leaders Summit, with the main focus on climate change in the Arctic. The participants are international experts, academia, Arctic states, regional governments, business, and Indigenous Peoples. The Summit will create a good basis for our future activities and networking. It's vital for us to involve federal, regional governments, and business from the scratch.
"We are also invited to the high-level international meeting "The Arctic: Territory of Dialogue" on April 22-23 under Russian Premier Putin to make a presentation on behalf of Indigenous Peoples. This is a good progress."
- Russian Federation
- Europe and Central Asia
- Social Development
- Public Sector and Governance
- Private Sector Development
- Information and Communication Technologies
- Culture and Development
- Communities and Human Settlements
- Indigenous Peoples
- Climate Change
Why can’t international donors and project managers think more in terms of the geography and location of their programs? Last week the Aiddata conference in Oxford discussed new approaches to enhance aid transparency and donor coordination. Key issues many panelists discussed were:
- To what extent aid flows are responsive to local needs?
- How to enhance the social accountability of development aid?
- How to improve the impact of aid on improving the well-being of poor communities?
|Malaysia's New Economic Model proposes a number of strategic reforms.|
The objective of the NEM is for Malaysia to join the ranks of the high-income economies, but not at all costs. The growth process needs to be both inclusive and sustainable. Inclusive growth enables the benefits to be broadly shared across all communities. Sustainable growth augments the wealth of current generations in a way that does not come at the expense of future generations.
Editor’s Note: Lars Johannes is an Infrastructure Specialist in the World Bank’s Sustainable Development Network, working for the Global Partnership on Output-Based Aid (GPOBA). He is task team leader and advises projects in health, education, and energy.
The recent financial crisis has seen the demise of large investment banks in the U.S. This major change in the financial landscape has also rekindled interest in discussion of optimal banking models. All over the world, perceived costs and benefits of combining bank activities of various kinds have given rise to a wide variation in allowed bank activities. Should banks operate as universal banks, a model which allows banks to combine a wide range of financial activities, including commercial banking, investment banking and insurance; or should their activities be restricted?
To some policymakers the universal banking model may appear to be a more desirable structure for a financial institution due to its resilience to adverse shocks, particularly after the crisis. However, others have called for the separation of commercial and investment activities (along the lines of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 in U.S. which was repealed by Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act in 1999) to minimize the crisis-related costs imposed on taxpayers through the financial safety net. So which model is more desirable?
Theory, as usual, provides conflicting predictions about the optimal asset and liability mix of an institution. On the one hand, banks gain information on their customers in the provision of one financial service that may prove useful in the provision of other financial services to these same customers. Hence, combining different types of activities – non-interesting earning, as well as interest-earning assets – may increase return as well as diversify risks, therefore boosting performance. This argues for the merits of universal banks.
On the other hand, if a bank becomes too complex, bank managers may actually start taking advantage of this complexity for their own private benefit (what are sometimes known as “agency costs”) at the expense of the bank. So, too much diversification may actually not be optimal, increasing bank fragility and reducing overall performance. This tends to support the separation of commercial and investment activities.
(All credits go to SECOM for this information)
President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva announces US$ 526 billion in public and private investments over 2011-2014
Yesterday, Brazil launched phase two of the Growth Acceleration Program (PAC 2), announcing estimated investments of US$ 526 billion (R$ 958.9 billion) for the period from 2011 to 2014. PAC 2 includes new investment projects for the periods 2011 to 2014 and post-2014, as well as projects initiated during PAC 1 with activities that will conclude after 2010. For the period following 2014, the estimated investment is US$ 346.4 billion (R$ 631.6 billion). The two periods combined reach an amount of US$ 872.3 billion (R$ 1.59 trillion).
PAC is a strategic investment program that combines management initiatives and public works. In its first phase, launched in 2007, the program called for investments of US$ 349 billion (R$ 638 billion), of which 63.3% has been applied.
Similar to the first phase of the program, PAC 2 focuses on investments in the areas of logistics, energy and social development, organized under six major initiatives: Better Cities (urban infrastructure); Bringing Citizenship to the Community (safety and social inclusion); My House, My Life (housing); Water and Light for All (sanitation and access to electricity); Energy (renewable energy, oil and gas); and Transportation (highways, railways, airports).
“I consider PAC 2 as a portfolio of projects that the next administration can build from rather than starting from scratch, as there is no time to lose,” said President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva during the announcement of the program.
PAC 2 Initiative in Detail...
At a recent DFID conference on the Millennium Development Goals, I argued that Africa can meet the MDGs, if not by 2015 then soon thereafter. Here is why:
3. While Africa was probably hardest-hit by the global economic crisis, the response of African policymakers helped to dampen the impact, and set the stage for the continent to benefit from a global recovery.
In the last blog we saw that most resettlers are broadly satisfied with the resettlement process and are positive and optimistic about their lives as a whole. But…how do they feel about their lives in comparison to the very different world they lived in before relocation? What are the changes they value or regret?
The respondents were asked directly how they felt about life now compared with life before resettlement. The overwhelming majority think that life has got much better, and that the vulnerable households are even more likely to feel this way than the non-vulnerable—no vulnerable households felt that life had got worse.
As part of the AudienceScapes project, InterMedia has been conducting quantitative and qualitative research in Africa, to better understand how people gather, share and shape news and public interest information. In Kenya, InterMedia conducted in-depth interviews with 15 senior members of the policy-making community.
I moved to Bangladesh 3 years ago with a lot of excitement as I considered it a sort of mini-laboratory for development theory and practice.
My task was to oversee the Bangladesh portfolio from a social perspective. From day one, there was one issue that came up in almost all projects: land acquisition and resettlement. Once can expect this, given high population densities in a small country. Surprisingly, while there is a lot of debate about shortages of power and electricity for Bangladesh development, little attention is paid to the land issue. But all infrastructure has a footprint and access to land is complex.
This huge challenge was matched by a dearth of professionals to manage social risks. While the market for such services is growing, there was no institution to train people in those disciplines in the country. I could have continued to hire foreign consultants, but that didn’t seem very smart in the long run. So I thought: “let’s establish a course in a local university that would create that capacity over time and train a cadre of professionals capable of conducting a serious social impact assessment, carry out a good consultation process or design a solid resettlement action plan”. My intention was to fill a systemic gap. That could only happen over time, and it could only happen via local institutions.
And so I did.