East Asia and Pacific
|It was clear that our study area on the Indonesian island of Siberut is now rarely visited by anyone. (More photos)|
My last post described my reactions to going back to Siberut Island with my wife after a 30-year break, and this one considers the changing conservation situation there. The terrestrial mammals of the island are remarkable in that almost all are endemic, and among them are four species of primates (one an endemic genus) – levels of endemism equivalent to those found in Madagascar.
There has been formal logging on and off over the last 30 years but we hadn’t found a map of exactly where. When we reached the basin where our study area had been, the views from the villages was of logged-over forest. The rights to log the forests had been negotiated with local clans, but in hindsight the benefits were pretty meager and short-lived. The trees the loggers sought were the large and magnificent Shorea, and with these now gone it is getting harder for people to make their dugout canoes. Also, we were struck by the contrast of the timber quality of the longhouses we visited in areas without logging against the timber quality of the small government-sponsored modern houses with corrugated iron roofs. The timber available now seems to start looking decayed as soon as it is nailed into place.
Officials at the World Health Organization have said that a second wave of the Influenza A/H1N1 virus could get worse, and large numbers of people in all countries, including the East Asia and Pacific region, remain susceptible to the pandemic. The World Bank is working with the United Nations and WHO to help strengthen developing countries’ health systems and increase pandemic readiness.
Starting in about 15 minutes, World Bank health expert Keith Hansen will be answering questions about H1N1 and health systems in developing countries in an online discussion. Hansen will be online today at 10:30 a.m. (Washington DC time). Submit your questions now.
The buzz is building in Istanbul, our beautiful host city, as delegates, press and CSOs from around the world begin pouring in for the 2009 joint Annual Meetings of the World Bank and IMF.
The press room opened Monday, providing temporary work quarters for the more than 1,200 registered media who are covering the events over the next week for news outlets large and small.
They are joined by representatives from civil society organizations here to take part in a Civil Society Policy Forum being held from October 2-7. The event is jointly organized by the World Bank Group and IMF civil society teams. The forum will bring together Bank and Fund staff, CSO representatives, including from Oxfam, Civicus and Africa Monitor, to name a few, along with government officials, academics, and others to exchange views on a variety of topics ranging from the global economic crisis and climate change, to governance reform. Bank President Robert B. Zoellick and Fund Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn will co-host a CSO townhall meeting Friday afternoon.
Is social media going to change the world? The makers of this video seem pretty convinced:
A presentation this afternoon sponsored by the Development Research Group of the World Bank promises to generate some heat (and hopefully some light as well). Justin Lin, Chief Economist of the World Bank, will be on a panel with Bill Easterly, professor at New York University and author of The White Man's Burden, to discuss Industrial Policy and the Role of the State in Promoting Growth.
Most growth analysis has been primarily a macroeconomic subject with particular emphasis on contribution of capital, education adjusted labor, and total factor productivity to output growth (see Collins and Bosworth 1996, Hu and Khan, 1997, Sarel 1997, Sala-i-Martin 2000, Hall and Jones, 1999, Easterly and Levine 2001). Importance of macroeconomic policies as represented by budget deficits, exchange rate premia, inflation, trade openness and inflow of foreign Investment etc are tagged on in the growth analysis at a macroeconomic level. A few studies have invoked ethnic differences and other exogenous factors to understand cross country differences in total productivity growth and per capita incomes.
In trying to understand the rapid output growth of East Asian ‘miracle’ countries, Krugman (1994), Young (1995), and others were engaged in an interesting debate on whether capital accumulation or total factor productivity growth best explained the high and sustained output growth of these countries. Their conclusion that capital accumulation was most important was based on macroeconomic data analysis in a factors of production approach to sources of growth. Others have found that the growth of output is strongly correlated with productivity growth in developed and developing economies as reported by Kehoe and Prescott (2002) and Solimano and Soto (2004), and this co-movement appears to be stronger the longer is the time period considered.
In the context of a discussion of ICT/education policies, GeSCI's Jyrki Pulkkinen takes a step back and asks, who really needs policy? While he doesn't provide answers to this question himself in his note (yet -- I suspect this is coming), he follows up with a set of high-level, practical guiding questions for people involved in these processes.
When thinking about the questions that Jyrki poses, I had a few questions of my own: What are best practices for the development of such policies and plans? Where can we turn to for examples of such policies and plans to help inform work in this area?
"... Empowering people means more than just giving them elections. It means enlarging their contact with government, and habituating them to the direction of their own affairs. People empowerment, by direct participation in government or by indirect involvement through NGOs, was the surest means of making government mirror the aspirations of the many rather than merely advance the interests of the few.
It is on the work of people empowerment that I now devote the greater portion of my time... to put in the hands of ordinary people the quite ordinary, but organized, means of effecting major changes in their lives.
This was the force that toppled dictatorships and tore down the Berlin Wall. Can it be made to build up? In the past, the idea was to give the people just enough political power to make a mistake at the polls; in the future, the idea should be to empower them to decide meaningfully, and throw the full weight of their numbers behind their choice. "
- H. E. Corazon C. Aquino, 1933-2009
President Of The Phillipines, 1986-1992
Fulbright Prize Ceremony
U.S. Department of State
Washington, D.C., October 11, 1996