Statistical agencies in the Middle East and North Africa have now started to open up access to their raw datasets (micro-data). In a break with their old ways, they have begun either to post them on their websites or to share them on a bilateral basis. To support this wind of change, a group of donors active in the statistical domain and avant-garde partner countries joined forces for the first time to launch the Data Improvement and Quality in Access initiative (DIQA – which reads as “precision” in Arabic).
The week ended with the passing at age 95 of Nelson Mandela, father of South African democracy and a global icon for freedom. Read President Jacob Zuma's statement as well as a statement from World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim --
Universal health coverage was the topic of a December 6 speech by Jim Kim in Tokyo.
On the heels of World AIDS Day on December 1, Tariq Khokhar of the World Bank's Data Group provided a snapshot of the global state of AIDS in four charts.
- weekly roundup
One of the few bright spots at the recent UN climate talks in Warsaw was the announcement of new financial commitments to the World Bank’s BioCarbon Fund.
Coming hard on the heels of that groundbreaking initiative for sustainable forest landscapes is another piece of good news in international efforts to bring more carbon finance to low-income nations.
The governments of the United Kingdom and Sweden and the Switzerland-based Climate Cent Foundation have pledged more than $125 million for the World Bank’s Carbon Initiative for Development (Ci-Dev), a financial initiative that, like the third tranche of the BioCarbon Fund, will help the least-developed countries access financing for low-carbon investments.
More specifically, the new funding allows the World Bank to focus on helping the world’s poorest countries – especially in Africa – access carbon finance to develop clean energy sources.
It will enable the development and scaling up of a diverse range of projects similar to household biogas systems in Nepal or solar home systems in Bangladesh. It’s also an example of how the World Bank continues its efforts to mobilize private-sector investments for clean development and climate mitigation.
We’re showing, through actions on the ground, that putting a price on carbon is a key part of the solution to the climate challenge.
Migration policy has focused on South-North flows in recent years, especially as the financial crisis created havoc in OECD labour markets and immigrants became targets in political debates. However, South-South migration is gaining importance due to various demographic, economic and social factors.
Many developing countries are growing rapidly, while mature OECD countries are slowing down with the weight of demographic and fiscal burdens. Lower cultural, physical and legal barriers between neighbouring countries are contributing to increased mobility.
But nothing stays the same forever.
Because the penetration of high speed internet is strongly correlated with economic growth, governments around the world are eager to promote the diffusion of broadband technologies. The Turkish Government recently set out ambitious roll-out and take up targets for broadband: 60 million subscriptions in 2023 (up from 33.7 in September 2013), at least 100 Mbps connection for every household, with fiber-optic cables deployed to most homes or buildings (in short: FTTH (Fiber to the Home) or FTTB (Fiber to the Building), diffusion of next generation mobile broadband technologies (such as 4G/LTE), and a vision of the country being a regional hub for telecommunications infrastructure.
At the climate talks last month in Warsaw, Poland, negotiators again delayed discussions around agriculture. The good news is that there are steps we can take now to make agriculture part of the solution, World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development Rachel Kyte writes in a new blog post.
"Agriculture is the only sector that can not only mitigate, but also take carbon out of the atmosphere. It has the potential to substantially sequester global carbon dioxide emissions in the soils of croplands, grazing lands, and rangelands," Kyte writes. Importantly, she says, climate-smart agriculture techniques also improve crop yields, nutritional value, food security, and farmers' incomes, at the same time.
The potential is enormous, she writes. Read the full blog post.
Did you know that funding Moldova’s Parliament costs each citizen on average $2 per year - the country spends double the share of its public budget for the cost of its Legislature when compared to Finland, Lithuania or Ireland. Or that the cost of passing a law in Moldova in 2012 was twice what it cost in 2011? These are just some of the many interesting facts I recently learned about my country through an Open Data initiative.
Budget Stories is an Open Data initiative which originated as a grassroots idea among the “think-tank” community in Moldova and has quickly developed into a popular and useful online tool for citizens, primarily by digesting raw budget execution numbers and presenting them as visually-engaging infographics.