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August 2017

LED street lighting: Unburdening our cities

Jie Li's picture
LED street lighting in a municipal park. © Orion Trail / Thinkstock Photos.
Further permission required for reuse.
Each city is unique, defined not only by the individuals who call it home but also by the energy it exudes…and consumes. Projections indicate that 5 billion people (60% of the world’s population) will live in cities by 2050 and, according to the International Energy Agency, the overall demand for lighting will be 80% higher by 2030 than in 2005. Street lighting energy consumption is an increasingly significant part of cities energy use and a growing burden on municipal budgets.

Finger Splints, Coding, Drones and R2D2: The Evolving Face of Technology and Development

Brittany Walters's picture
Launched in October 2016, the drone delivery project made Rwanda the first country in the world
to use the drone technology at the service of saving lives. The drone delivery project is a partnership
between the Government of Rwanda and the California based robotics company, Zipline, Inc.
With the help of these drones, patients no longer have to wait for blood for hours to get to remote
clinics and hospitals. They can now receive blood transfusions in minutes.
Photo: Sarah Farhat / World Bank


Blood-delivering drones? Check. 3D-printer working off grid to print finger splints? Check. Disadvantaged women trained and employed in software-developing? Check. Is this how technology can deliver for development?

What El Niño has taught us about infrastructure resilience

Irene Portabales González's picture
Also available in: Español
Photo: Ministerio de Defensa del Perú/Flickr
The rains in northern Peru have been 10 times stronger than usual this year, leading to floods, landslides and a declaration of a state of emergency in 10 regions in the country. Together with the human and economic toll, these downpours have inflicted tremendous damage to transport infrastructure with added and serious consequences on people’s lives.

These heavy rains are blamed on El Niño, a natural phenomenon characterized by an unusual warming of the sea surface temperature in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean. This phenomenon occurs every two to seven years, and lasts about 18 months at a time. El Niño significantly disrupts precipitation and wind patterns, giving rise to extreme weather events around the planet.

In Peru, this translates into rising temperatures along the north coast and intense rainfall, typically shortly before Christmas. That’s also when “huaicos” appear. “Huaico,” a word that comes from the Quechua language (wayq’u), refers to the enormous masses of mud and rocks carried by torrential rains from the Andes into rivers, causing them to overflow. These mudslides result from a combination of several natural factors including heavy rains, steep slopes, scarce vegetation, to name a few. But human factors also come into play and exacerbate their impact. That includes, in particular, the construction of human settlements in flood-prone basins or the absence of a comprehensive approach to disaster risk management.

This year’s floods are said to be comparable to those caused by El Niño in 1997-1998, one of the largest natural disasters in recent history, which claimed the lives of 374 people and caused US$1.2 billion worth of damages (data provided by the Peruvian National Institute of Civil Defense).

Twitter chat: Economic benefits of environment management in Sri Lanka

Ralph van Doorn's picture

Join us for #SLDU2017: Economic Benefits of Environment Management. This Twitter chat will be hosted by World Bank South Asia

What’s happening?

Join us for #SLDU2017: Economic Benefits of Environment Management. This Twitter chat will be hosted by World Bank South Asia (@WorldBankSAsia) in collaboration with the Institute for Policy Studies IPS (@TalkEconomicsSL).
 
When is it?
August 21, 2017 from 5.30 – 7.30 pm
 
Unpacking #SLDU2017
The chat will explore the findings of the Sri Lanka Development Update (SLDU), published this June.
 
I look forward to engaging with you together with a panel from different areas of expertise.
 
We’ll be discussing priority reforms with a focus on how Sri Lanka can better manage both its business and natural environment to bolster economic growth and sustain development.
 
In recent years, natural disasters have left parts of this island nation devastated, exacting a significant economic, fiscal and social toll. The SLDU identifies other challenges as well, pressing the case for fiscal consolidation, a new growth model, improved governance and programs to buffer against risk.
 
The latest update cautions against adopting piecemeal solutions, noting that the challenges facing the island nation are inter-linked and require a comprehensive and coordinated reform approach.
 
In the end, we also hope this Twitter chat will allow us to learn from you as we begin our preparations for the next SLDU.
 
How can you participate?
Never taken part in a Twitter chat before? It’s simple. Just think of this as an online Q&A. @WorldBankSAsia will moderate the discussion, posing questions to panellists. You are encouraged to join in too! Follow along, retweet and engage. If you have a question, simply tweet it out using the hashtag #SLDU2017. We’ll see it and try to get you some answers.

Using Non-Standard Units in Data Collection: The Latest in the LSMS Guidebook Series

Vini Vaid's picture
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Food consumption and agricultural production are two critical components for monitoring poverty and household well-being in low- and middle-income countries. Accurate measurement of both provides a better contextual understanding and contributes to more effective policy design.

At present, there is no standard methodology for collecting food quantities in national surveys. Often, respondents are required to estimate quantities in standard units (usually metric units), requiring respondents to convert into kilograms, for example, when many respondents are more comfortable reporting their food consumption and production using familiar “local” or “non-standard” units. But how many tomatoes are in one kilogram? How much does a local small tin or basket of maize flour weight? This conversion process is often an uncommon or abstract task for respondents and this added difficulty can introduce measurement error. Allowing respondents to report quantities directly in NSUs places less of a burden on respondents and may ultimately lead to better quality data by improving the accuracy of information provided.

This new Guidebook provides guidance for effectively including non-standard units (NSUs) into data-collection activities — from establishing the list of allowable NSUs to properly collecting conversion factors for the NSUs, with advice on how to incorporate all the components into data collection. An NSU-focused market survey is a critical part of preparing the conversion factors required for effectively using NSU data in analytical work. As such, the bulk of this Guidebook focuses on implementing the market survey and on calculating conversion factors to ensure the highest-quality data when using NSUs.

The Guidebook is the result of collaboration between the World Bank's Living Standards Measurement Study (LSMS) team, the Central Statistical Agency of Ethiopia, the National Bureau of Statistics in Nigeria, the National Statistics Office of Malawi, and the Uganda Bureau of Statistics.

For practical advice on household survey design, visit the LSMS Guidebooks page: http://go.worldbank.org/0ZOAP159L0

Does Peru need more affordable housing?

Zoe Elena Trohanis's picture
Banco Mundial

If you didn’t have an opportunity to purchase a safe, well-constructed home in a good location, what would you do? Live with relatives? Rent an apartment? Or, build a home in a less desirable, or potentially vulnerable area prone to natural disasters where you may not have clear property ownership but with the hope that one day you will become the owner officially? These are the decisions many families face in Peru, a middle income country with the third highest housing deficit in Latin America.

Narrowing the gender gap in education: Looking beyond the numerical data

From 2005 to 2012, the female gross enrollment rate in the DRC has increased by 21 percentage points, compared to the nine percentage points for male enrollment. (Photo: Simone D, McCourtie / World Bank)

I have always been amazed to find myself being the only woman participating in meetings and workshops in Kinshasa, the capital city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). It’s the largest country in Francophone Africa, with an estimated 77 million people of whom 50 percent are women. When asked where are the women of the country, the response is often the same.
 
It begins with a smile, followed by something like: “we don’t know, they are just not interested. Job vacancies are open to both genders, but female candidates either do not apply, or do not have the required skills. There is nothing we can do about it.” 

Citizen Report Cards for Better Citizen Engagement and Accountability: Sanitation Sector in Egypt

Amal Faltas's picture


Engaging with citizens to obtain their views on the quality of service and the responsiveness of governmental bodies is uncommon in Egypt.

The water and sanitation sector is no exception. Planning and implementation of sanitation projects in Egypt is typically dominated by technical design considerations — with little to no attention to ways in which the community might express its concerns. With an absence of accountability mechanisms to prod government agencies to make improvements, this conventional approach is associated with a weak sense of ownership by local communities and a poor record of delivery of quality infrastructure projects by the government.

But World Bank programs in Egypt are increasingly being designed to incorporate innovative social accountability tools that emphasize the right of citizens to expect quality public services and the responsibility of government to respond to the needs and expectations of citizens. A pioneering effort in this regard within the Bank’s Egypt portfolio is the Sustainable Rural Sanitation Services Program (SRSSP), which integrates a key social accountability tool in its design, namely the Citizen Report Card (CRC).

Better information to improve service delivery: New evidence

David Evans's picture

Countries around the world have experimented with “school report cards”: providing parents with information about the quality of their school so that they can demand higher quality service for their children. The results have been mixed. Andrabi, Das, and Khwaja bring a significant contribution to that literature in last month’s American Economic Review with their article using data from Pakistan, “Report Cards: The Impact of Providing School and Child Test Scores on Educational Markets.”


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