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Does the World Bank search engine frustrate or amaze you? Have you spent hours searching our website for research, reports, or project information only to feel like you're going in circles? Wish you could share your great idea about improving the www.worldbank.org search engine or project information with the World Bank web team?
|View to Ulaanbaatar from a tourist camp on the slopes of Bogd Khan Uul|
Okay, so we changed our minds, but we did so for good reasons.
The Bangladesh Local Governance Support Project (LGSP) was initiated in 2005 when local leaders voiced their demand for discretionary funds among others to serve their constituencies at a meeting. Union Parishad (UP) is the lowest tier of rural local government has a history over 170 years and held regular elections, however, UPs never received direct funding.
Funds were previously allocated by line ministries at the Upazila (sub-district) level for certain activities; neither the local government (UP) nor local people had a say on their own development priorities. The UP act of 1983 designated 38 mandates on the UP, but made no fund provision for carrying out those mandates. The average population of an UP was about 35,000 and UPs are the closest service delivery institutes to citizens. In 1998, an UP amendment ensured direct election of women in three seats.
While the Minister of Local Government was supportive of the project, most of the national political leaders (ministers, members of parliament) and bureaucrats were against autonomous local governments. Nationwide consultations were organized between local leaders and communities, supported by civil society, for mobilizing a united voice of local needs and incorporating these in the project design. It was a challenging time with episodes of violence.
|David Manalo's organization wants to distribute unique floating generators to provide electricity to people in a remote part of the Philippines.|
We started distribution of the World Bank Annual Report 2009 this morning at the Annual Meetings in Istanbul. The free publication, outlining the Bank's activities in fiscal year 2008, is available for journalists, government officials, civil society organizations, academic and public libraries — and anyone else interested in learning more about the Bank and what it does.
The report summarizes the Bank Group’s commitments and approved projects during the recently completed fiscal year, and also includes a CD with complete financial information and a slideshow summarizing the regional, sectoral, and thematical categorization of funding.
I had a chance to work with the team that was preparing the Annual Report this year. Our goal was to put together a colorful and easy-to-read summary of the Bank’s development activities for everyone who is interested. Photos from the project sites and personal stories about recent Bank Group projects from all around the world are featured in this year’s report. All six of the Bank’s regions are presented with a regional snapshot as well as the summaries of funding operations taking place.
This year, the Annual Report 2009 website has been enhanced in terms of design, online content, and interactivity. The site includes interesting videos about recent projects taking place in the field. The PDF version of the Annual Report is downloadable in 8 different languages from the website. You can also view the whole ‘Year in Review’ with our interactive widget.
The World Bank’s South-South exchange is big on talk-talk.
But that is the whole point, and the South-South exchange has been so popular that the program is expanding.
The idea behind South-South is to get developing countries to share their knowledge and ideas about projects. The projects range from water power in Tajikistan, to keeping boys out of trouble in the Caribbean, to harnessing Indian expertise to train eight African countries how to offer IT services.
South-South has only been in existence for one year, but the World Bank Group’s Ngozi Okonjo Iweala says it has already funded 35 grants — and, she says, there’s “a great deal of excitement” surrounding the program.
South-South relies on peer relationships, and Okonjo Iweala says it is clear that the group that makes up the World Bank’s initiative have much to share with each other.
|The Superbotrechus Bennetti beetle was discovered during a survey of cave biodiversity in China.|
Editor’s note: Photo blogger Erdene-Ochir Badarch works on rural and environmental issues for the World Bank in Mongolia. Earlier this summer, he and a team of 17 people spent 160 hours traveling 2,300 kilometers through Mongolia’s forests, mountains and steppe to visit sites and people receiving support from the second Sustainable Livelihoods Project. The project is part of a three-phase 12-year program, which works to enhance secure and sustain livelihoods in communities throughout Mongolia by providing support in rural areas for improved health and education facilities, pasture management and access to financial services. Erdene took the pictures (seen below) at the Zavhan and Bayanhongor aimags (provinces). Read more about the Mongolian Sustainable Livelihoods Project II project here. (Hover your mouse over "Notes" for photo information.)
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|Better materials and student participation characterize the READ schools project. (photo by Prateek Tandon)|
Bogd Khan Uul Strictly Protected Area (SPA) (41,651 ha) is located on the edge of Mongolia's capital city, Ulaanbaatar, and dominates the views to the south. It is the oldest continuously protected area in Mongolia and possibly the world, being first established in 1778. Its establishment preceded by almost 100 years that of Yellowstone National Park in the United States. There is evidence the area held informal protective status as early as the 12th century. Bogd Khan Uul holds significant historical and cultural importance (pdf) for the people of Mongolia. In 1995, Bogd Khan Uul was formally designated a 'Strictly Protected Area' in accordance with current Mongolian law. Bogd Khan Uul was further recognized for its ecological importance when it was awarded UNESCO Biosphere Reserve status in 1997.
|Hover over "Notes" for photo information.
So, if one were going to undertake a conservation project focusing on forests in the central part of Mongolia, one would reckon on including it, right? Wrong.
|A view of Beijing's traffic gridlock from my office.|