Film is a powerful tool for explaining environmental issues. I first learnt this lesson while trying to enlist local communities in northern Vietnam to help protect a strange blue faced and critically endangered primate called the Tonkin Snub Nosed Monkey. After a morning spent bombarding local leaders with facts and figures, they were polite but unmoved.
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Doing something useful for my country, Vietnam, always makes me happy. And I’ve tried to get this feeling through my work in developing the transport infrastructure network in Vietnam for over 10 years. Vietnam has come a long way, but there are still many related challenges ahead to make such development sustainable.
I still recall a conversation with a Bank’s specialist on HIV/AIDS a few years ago. We were discussing about the people who have recently availed of the Voluntary Counseling and Testing centers in the Mekong Delta region for HIV tests. She pointed out that they were mostly wives of construction workers employed in infrastructure projects. Sometime later I visited the construction sites and talked to the workers and their managers about the subject. I felt so worried, as their understanding on HIV/ AIDS was quite limited and wondered what could be done to protect this group of people from such a deadly disease?
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Tôi luôn cảm thấy vui khi làm được điều gì đó có ích cho đất nước Việt Nam. Và trong hơn 10 năm làm việc cho Ngân hàng Thế giới, tôi đã luôn nhận được niềm vui đó qua công việc của mình, một công việc giúp cho sự phát triển của ngành giao thông vận tải Việt Nam. Tuy nhiên, bên cạnh những thành tựu mà ngành giao thông vận tải Việt Nam đã đạt được, vẫn còn những thách thức cho sự phát triển bền vững của ngành khiến tôi phải trăn trở.
Tôi còn nhớ vài năm trước khi tình cờ nói chuyện với một đồng nghiệp của tôi là chuyên gia về HIV/ AIDS. Chị nói những năm gần đây ở vùng Đồng bằng sông Cửu Long trong số những người đến xét nghiệm HIV tại các Trung tâm y tế thì đa phần lại là những người phụ nữ có chồng đang làm việc ở các dự án hạ tầng giao thông. Tôi đem chuyện này kể lại cho các công nhân và cán bộ đang làm việc trong dự án của mình ở Đồng bằng sông Cửu Long. Và tôi đã thực sự lo lắng khi nhận thấy vốn hiểu biết về HIV/ AIDS của họ rất hạn chế. Một câu hỏi cứ lớn dần trong tôi: “Chúng ta cần phải làm gì để có thể bảo vệ những con người này khỏi căn bệnh chết người?”.
Right now, the carbon markets of the future are under construction in all corners of the world.
China is determined to pursue low-carbon development and is embracing the market as the most efficient way to do so. Wang Shu, the deputy director of China's National Development and Reform Commission, told us this week that he sees the "magic of the market" as the most efficient way to drive China's green growth.
Five Chinese cities and two provinces are piloting emissions trading systems with the goal of building a national carbon market. Chile is exploring an emissions trading system and focusing on energy efficiency and renewable energy. Mexico is developing market-based mechanisms in energy efficiency that could cut its emissions by as much as 30 percent by 2020. Costa Rica is aiming for a carbon-neutral economy by 2021.
Each of the countries pioneering market-based mechanisms to reduce their domestic carbon emissions are leaders. Bring them together in one room, and you begin to see progress and the enormous potential for a powerful networking domestic system that could begin to produce a predictable carbon price -- a sina que non for the speed and scale of climate action we need.
That's happening this week at the World Bank.
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Elephant ivory is on the march. Not elephants, but their ivory. The elephants are left bloodied and dead on the range. So are many rangers who work to protect a country’s natural capital. In the past 10 years, over 1,000 rangers have been murdered in 35 countries alone; the International Ranger Federation tell us that as many as 5,000 may have been murdered worldwide in that time.
At the CITES COP – the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species – the halls in Bangkok ring loud with concern for the elephants and other charismatic species, particularly rhinos, that are being exterminated across Africa in pursuit of private profit, at the expense of communities that rely on nature for their food, shelter, start-up capital, and safety net in a warming world.
So why should the World Bank care? Our concern is to build strong economies and healthy communities by revving the engine of inclusive green growth as we prepare countries and communities for the impacts of climate change.
What does this have to do with elephant ivory you ask? Simply put, we cannot achieve our dream of a world without poverty without taking account of the rise in wildlife crime.
- Sri Lanka
- South Africa
- Lao People's Democratic Republic
- Congo, Republic of
- Congo, Democratic Republic of
- South Asia
- East Asia and Pacific
- Communities and Human Settlements
- endangered species
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A version of this blog was published on Thanh Nien Newspaper on February 1, 2013
Historically, cities and civilizations have flourished along water bodies, which not only served as important transportation corridors to spur economic activity and trade, but also as prominent public spaces for religious and cultural interaction. Today, while a large number of cities have turned away from this important natural resource, many have reclaimed and transformed their waterfronts into thriving economic engines and nodes of social activity. Can cities redefine their relationship with water while managing challenges of rapid urbanization?
The World Bank’s South Asia Sustainable Development Unit, in collaboration with East Asia Pacific Sustainable Development Unit, is organizing a webinar on waterfront development to discuss different dimensions of waterfront initiatives and tools for a sustainable regenerative economic environment.
It’s difficult to do a background check of a company based in a foreign country with operations overseas.
It’s difficult to check to see whether a document is falsified or not.
It’s difficult to …
I heard a lot of that from the audience of the workshop on World Bank’s Anti-Corruption Framework & Common Integrity Risks in World Bank-Funded Projects in Hanoi recently. Majority of the participants were project managers and procurement staff from Project Management Units managing World Bank-funded projects.
Presentations from the Bank’s Integrity Unit show that corruption increases costs, reduces quality, delays impacts on poverty, creates public disgrace and even generates social instability. For a person who often has to look at results of development projects like me, corruption eats into the meager meal of the ethnic minority people in the northern mountainous areas of Vietnam, takes education away from girls in learning age, and lower the quality of hospitals for old people in Mekong river delta.
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Last month, we asked you for your views about whether Vietnam’s workforce is ready for the future, "from rice to robots". Developing a skilled workforce for an industrialized economy by 2020 is one of the stated top priorities of Vietnam, now that it has joined the ranks of middle-income countries. Not surprisingly, education reform was on the minds of members of the Central Committee of the Communist Party during a recent meeting. However, education is also hotly debated by Vietnam’s citizens as seen and heard in an online discussion on human resource development, organized by the World Bank and VietNamNet, a local online newspaper, and by readers of our blog.
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Tháng trước, chúng tôi đã hỏi ý kiến bạn đọc về việc liệu lực lượng lao động Việt Nam đã sẵn sàng cho tương lai hay chưa, chuyển “từ lúa gạo đến rô bốt” chưa. Việc phát triển một lực lượng lao động có tay nghề cao đáp ứng cho một nền kinh tế công nghiệp hóa vào năm 2020 đã được khẳng định là một trong những ưu tiên hàng đầu của Việt Nam, khi mà đất nước đã gia nhập nhóm các nước có thu nhập trung bình trên thế giới. Không có gì ngạc nhiên khi vấn đề cải cách giáo dục được đề cập đến nhiều trong các cuộc họp gần đây của Ban chấp hành Trung ương Đảng. Tuy nhiên, giáo dục cũng là vấn đề đang được bàn luận sôi nổi trong dân chúng và đã được đề cập đến trong một thảo luận luận trực tuyến về phát triển nguồn nhân lực do Ngân hàng Thế giới và báo VietNamNet tổ chức cũng như được các độc giả trên blog của chúng tôi thảo luận.
Vietnam has been one of the world’s fastest-growing economies over the past three decades. Along with that growth has come the expansion of energy-intensive sectors such as manufacturing, transport and power generation. Given the country’s dependence on fossil fuels, Vietnam’s total greenhouse gas emissions have more than doubled over the past decade, and are expected to triple by 2030. Although per capita CO2 emissions are still low, Vietnam has the 20th highest carbon intensity in the world.
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Last week I read about Malala, the 14 year old Pakistani girl who was shot in the head inside her school bus as retaliation for her active engagement in promoting girls’ rights to education in Pakistan. The same day I was helping a friend edit some text for her photo series on very young girls around the world (some as young as 5 years old), who are forced to marry often much older men out of economic necessity and due to cultural practices.
I suppose on that day, it really hit me how lucky I am to be working on gender issues in a country such as Vietnam, which in many ways is considered a front runner among developing countries when it comes to gender equality, and where such atrocities usually would not happen (although underage marriage does still occur in some mountainous areas of the country).
There is however one major challenge to gender equality in Vietnam, where there is reason for growing concern: the skewed sex ratio at birth. In Vietnam, the latest figures from 2009 show that for every 100 girls born, 111 boys are born. When looking at the richest 20% of the population and the rates for couples’ third child, this number increases to 133 boys for 100 girls.
Last week I attended a seminar in Bangkok on ‘active citizenship’ in Asia, part of an ‘Asia Development Dialogue’ organized by Oxfam, Chulalongkorn University and the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and supported by the Rockefeller Foundation. It brought together a diverse group of local mayors, human rights activists and academics, and discussed a series of case studies. Two in particular caught my eye.
In India, Samadhan, an internet-based platform for citizens to directly demand and track their service entitlements under national and state government schemes, is being piloted in two districts in Madhya Pradesh and Orissa. The pilot is supported by the UN Millennium Campaign and implemented by the VSO India Trust. Here’s the blurb from the case study: