Protectionism is on the rise all over the world, thanks or should we say “no thanks” to the global economic crisis. Last November, G-20 leaders pledged to fight protectionism. Yet, according to the World Trade Organization (WTO), 18 out of these 20 economies have since taken measures to restrict trade. With the global economy struggling to recover, political pressures demanding protection from import competition to sustain domestic employment are intensifying. It is likely to prove right the old adage that the only thing we learn from history is that we never learn from history. One lesson from the experience of the 1930s that is currently most relevant is that raising trade barriers deepens and prolongs recession.
The year was 1975. I was a final year medical student in Pondicherry, South India. I was going for my practical test on Preventive and Social Medicine (PSM). PSM was (and probably still is) one of the least favorite subjects in the medical curriculum for most students. “Why should we prevent diseases? If we prevent all diseases what will we all do with our medical degrees? Isn’t that professional suicide?” asked one of my class-mates! But I digress. Coming back to the test, I was unusually nervous because I had not studied everything well. For some reason, one chapter that I did study the night before was nutrition. I had also volunteered for two months in a Nutrition Rehabilitation Center (NRC) which meant that it was one chapter that I was more confident about. As my luck would have it, every single question that the examiner asked me that day was on nutrition! I blasted my way through the test, and thanked my stars for that exceptional bit of good fortune. From that day, nutrition has always been close to my heart.
The NRC is a somewhat outdated concept nowadays. The idea was to have a malnourished child and mother live for a month in the NRC and learn good household behaviors that could result in better nutritional outcomes.
Excerpt from the budget speech (July 13, 2009, para 139) by the Nepal finance minister for the new fiscal year beginning this month:
"An arrangement has been made to issue "Infrastructure Development Bond" of an amount of Rs. 7 billion by Nepal Rastra Bank fixing pegged exchange rates targeting the Nepalese working abroad through Nepalese Embassies in South Korea, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, as a part of domestic borrowing for the coming fiscal year. Such Bonds can be purchased only from workers working abroad. From this arrangement, the remittance can be used for infrastructure development and the remittance itself remains free of additional charges while transmitting to Nepal. In addition to it, I am confident that such workers employed abroad will receive interest from the day of bond purchase and be benefitted."
It's been four years since the The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project (known then as the '$100 laptop) was announced. According to recent unconfirmed news reports from India, one quarter million of the little green and white OLPC XO laptops are now on order for use in 1500 hundred schools on the subcontinent. Four years on, what have we learned about the impact of various OLPC pilots that might be of relevance to a deployment in India? Thankfully, preliminary results are starting to circulate among researchers. While nothing yet has approached what many consider to be the gold standard of evaluation work in this area, some of this research is beginning to see the light of day (or at least the Internet) -- and more is planned.
The global financial crisis hit South Asia at a time when it was barely recovering from a severe terms of trade shock resulting from the global food and fuel price crisis.The food and fuel price shocks had badly affected South Asia, with cumulative income loss ranging from 34 percent of 2002 GDP for Maldives to 8 percent for Bangladesh. Current account and fiscal balances worsened sharply and inflation surged to unprecedented levels.
When the South Asia Development Marketplace for innovative ideas to tackle stigma and discrimination relating to HIV/AIDS was launched in November 2007 by the HIV/AIDS Group in the South Asia Region of the World Bank and its partners, civil society groups across South Asia sent in almost a thousand proposals.
People fear HIV/AIDS because of the association with sex, drugs, illness, and death. In South Asia, the epidemic is driven largely by high risk practices – buying and selling sex, injecting drugs, and unprotected sex among men having sex with men. This compounds the fear and stigma around HIV/AIDS, as sex workers, injecting drug users, and men having sex with men are already stigmatized.
Four hundred million people--if it were a country, it would be the third largest in the world--rely on the Ganges River and its tributaries for their livelihood. Six thousand rivers provide a perennial source of irrigation and power to one of the world’s most densely populated and poorest areas. The Himalayas, “the water tower of the Ganges,” provide 45 percent of the annual flow. These facts represent the potential payoffs to the populations of Bangladesh, India and Nepal as well as the threat that climate change poses to poor and already <
Political transformations are challenging processes; they can be messy; the signing of a peace accord is often only the first step in a long process. Opening up the political space, particularly in places that experienced years of domination, will increase the number of voices that call for more participation and a say in the process. These calls can feel threatening to an elite still used to the principle of exclusion and patronage; they require a change of political mind-set and acceptance of a fundamentally changed political framework.