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December 2018

Teachers and trust: cornerstones of the Finnish education system

Jaime Saavedra's picture



Public school teachers in Brazil, Indonesia or Peru have stable jobs, enjoy high level of legal protection, and are part of teacher unions that shield them politically. Public school teachers in Finland also have stable jobs and are rarely fired. They are represented by a powerful teacher union, which is very influential among other stakeholders in policy discussions. Why do student learning outcomes among these countries vary dramatically?

Tax policy should recognize the true value of user data

Davida Connon's picture

The latest revelations regarding covert data sharing practices by large tech companies demand governments finally take action to curb the unwanted exploitation of user data. To date, attention has been focused on privacy regulation; governments would be well served to look at tax policy, too. Digital taxes would better align taxation rights with value creation in the digital economy. They might also serve to communicate the growing frustration with abusive data management practices by the biggest offenders.

Celebrating a clean beach, clean sheet in Durres

David Michaud's picture
Credit: Albanian National Tourism Agency
Summer after summer, hundreds of thousands of urban dwellers flock from Tirana, Albania’s capital, and beyond to the nearby city of Durres, on the Adriatic coast, to enjoy its beaches and laid-back atmosphere.

Over the years though, many grew increasingly concerned as the smell of raw sewer became more and more prevalent, and the beach was listed as an environmental hotspot. Last summer though, the smell was gone, and the Durres beach quality was upgraded to “good” status, to the delight of both beachgoers and local residents. A happy end to a long and complex story, as you’ll see.

2018: A year of influence, impact and cooperation on global issues through social media

Zubedah Robinson's picture


​In 2018, the themes of climate change, disruptive technology, and human capital were not only priorities for the World Bank Group, but for governments, private companies, and international organizations of all kinds. The level of partnership online among these groups has been unprecedented as the world collectively tries to address global challenges.

The same kind of cooperation that is driving impact on the ground is also driving awareness and advocacy more broadly as the world rises to these challenges. Below are just a few examples of how collaboration online has strengthened and amplified the global effort to end poverty in 2018 across three key themes.

#TechWomenAfrica: Female role models lead the way in Sub-Saharan Africa’s digital transformation

Alicia Hammond's picture



It’s often said that you cannot be what you cannot see. The truth of this adage is becoming clear especially in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) careers, where a lack of female role models is increasingly cited as a key driver of women’s underrepresentation in these fields. But a new generation of female role models is emerging in technology, and some hope that their increased visibility will help confront gender stereotypes that often discourage young women from pursuing the careers of the future.

Live from Conakry: it's a citizen engagement brainstorm!

Fanny Hattery's picture
A teacher giving a presentation in Conarky, Guinea. Photo: Dominic Chavez/World Bank

The concept of engaging with citizen is a funny one - so simple and obvious, it’s hard not to roll your eyes and think of a wheel somewhere being reinvented. But the more you think about it, the more you realize: citizen engagement is what all governments currently grapple with.

Improving women’s mobility: it’s not just about the quality of buses

Karla Dominguez Gonzalez's picture
A young woman waits at a bus terminal in Brazil. Photo: WRI Brasil/Flickr
The global transport conversation increasingly recognizes that men and women have different mobility patterns, and that this reality should be reflected into the design of transport projects. In general, women engage in more non-work-related travel such as to run household errands and are more likely to travel with children and elders. Therefore, but not exclusively because of that, they travel shorter distances and within a more restricted geographical area; make more (multi-stop) trips, and rely more on public transport. Women also travel at lower speeds and spend a higher percentage of income in transport than men, limiting their access to certain employment areas. There are exceptions, however, as studies have shown that in some cities, like Mumbai, women follow mobility patterns that more closely resemble men’s, making longer trips during peak hours, directly from point to point.
 
Key variables like affordability, availability, and accessibility play a big part in this phenomenon. But are there other factors shaping women’s decision to travel in the first place? Current evidence on women’s mobility has focused on diagnosing differences in travel behavior or on characteristics of transport systems that affect women and men’s mobility differently. Less attention has been given to individual, social, cultural and relational factors shaping women’s travel behaviors and decisions. The desire to dig deeper on this motivated a forthcoming study on Women’s mobility in LAC cities, prepared under the auspices of the Umbrella Facility for Gender Equality.

Turning ‘disability’ into ‘ability’: opportunities to promote disability inclusive development in Indonesia

Jian Vun's picture



Before joining the World Bank, I worked as an urban designer and often provided advice on how the design of proposed developments could be more accessible for people with disabilities. Sadly, many developers tend to consider disability inclusion as an afterthought, meaning they incurred additional costs to retrofit poor designs, or worse, inadvertently restricted access for certain people.

Such oversights create cities that are not ‘friendly’ for people of all abilities. Disasters can further exacerbate such challenges, such as through inaccessible evacuation routes or information, poorly­‑designed shelters, loss of assistive aids, and limited opportunities to rebuild livelihoods.

Tackling climate change in the poorest countries

Axel van Trotsenburg's picture
Burundi. © Sarah Farhat/World Bank
Burundi. © Sarah Farhat/World Bank

How can we help the poorest countries deal with climate change? The challenge is huge. Globally, the last three years were the hottest on record.  Emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels and industry started rising again in 2017 after briefly leveling off. Many regions are experiencing more severe and frequent storms, floods, and drought. According to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, the climate consequences of a 2°C warmer world are far greater than for a rise of 1.5°C, and we are not on track for either.

Recognizing the urgent need for more action, the World Bank Group announced new and ambitious targets for our climate work with developing countries at COP24, this month’s global climate change conference in Katowice, Poland. Having recently exceeded our 2020 financing targets two years ahead of schedule, we are aiming to double our investments to $200 billion over the five years from 2021 to 2025. The Bank Group is also making adaptation and resilience a top priority, since millions of people are already dealing with the severe consequences of more extreme weather events. By ramping up direct adaptation finance to around $50 billion over FY21-25, the World Bank will now give it equal emphasis to investments that reduce emissions.


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