The submissions – and we at the Global Platform for Sustainable Cities received more than 90 entries from over 40 countries around the world – are very revealing.
What the photographers tried to communicate was a need: both the urgent need for infrastructure that leads to more resilient, sustainable cities, or a need to aspire to greener ideals of building sustainable communities for all.
There is no better day than today, World Cities Day, for us to share with you the 10 finalists – including 3 winners and an honorable mention for climate action – of the photo competition.
In the winning photo by Yanick Folly, one can practically feel the chaos of a city in Benin, the smell of exhaust fumes as cars crawl up alongside motorcycles and pedestrians down narrow alleyways.
Yanick Folly (Benin) – Winner
The photo is also a reminder that cities are made of people. Any set of solutions for “sustainable cities” will have to make sense to a city’s inhabitants, who tread its streets daily.
In other photos, the aspiration is palpable.
Many of the photographers are nationals of developing countries from all over the world. Yet quite a few of them shared photos of cities we regard as environmentally friendly: Singapore, Amsterdam, London, and Paris... We saw many photos of parks in developed countries, and heard the same message: These green spaces and pedestrian walkways are what we want in a city.
Adedapo Adesemowo (UK / Nigeria)
We received photos of what many of us may categorize as rural areas, but we should reconsider these preconceptions: some “cities” in developing countries are little more than makeshift towns.
So, it is all the more reason why we are excited about this winning photo by Oyewolo Eyitayo from Nigeria. You might think this is an uneventful photograph of a typical urban suburb. Except that the half dirt roads are lined with solar panels.
Oyelowo Eyitayo (Nigeria) – Winner
I just returned from São Paulo, perhaps the third biggest metropolitan area in the world with a population of 18 million and an endless vista of apartment towers and commercial buildings in almost any direction from the center. The traffic problems are large and reported in the daily newspapers as the peak number of kilometers of the main road network in congested conditions (equivalent to LOS F). This indicator tends to range between 100 and 200 km for any given day. The resources that
The recent financial crisis has seen the demise of large investment banks in the U.S. This major change in the financial landscape has also rekindled interest in discussion of optimal banking models. All over the world, perceived costs and benefits of combining bank activities of various kinds have given rise to a wide variation in allowed bank activities. Should banks operate as universal banks, a model which allows banks to combine a wide range of financial activities, including commercial banking, investment banking and insurance; or should their activities be restricted?
To some policymakers the universal banking model may appear to be a more desirable structure for a financial institution due to its resilience to adverse shocks, particularly after the crisis. However, others have called for the separation of commercial and investment activities (along the lines of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 in U.S. which was repealed by Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act in 1999) to minimize the crisis-related costs imposed on taxpayers through the financial safety net. So which model is more desirable?
Theory, as usual, provides conflicting predictions about the optimal asset and liability mix of an institution. On the one hand, banks gain information on their customers in the provision of one financial service that may prove useful in the provision of other financial services to these same customers. Hence, combining different types of activities – non-interesting earning, as well as interest-earning assets – may increase return as well as diversify risks, therefore boosting performance. This argues for the merits of universal banks.
On the other hand, if a bank becomes too complex, bank managers may actually start taking advantage of this complexity for their own private benefit (what are sometimes known as “agency costs”) at the expense of the bank. So, too much diversification may actually not be optimal, increasing bank fragility and reducing overall performance. This tends to support the separation of commercial and investment activities.
Editor’s note: MIGA staffer Dessislav Dobrev recently returned from Nepal where he had been conducting due diligence for an energy project when the earthquake hit. These are his reflections.
It was just over a week ago. The streets of Kathmandu echoed with screams of horror and helplessness. Waves of people rushing hysterically, many with blood gushing down their limbs or foreheads. The suffering that followed cannot be put in words, they would only diminish the reality on the ground. A snapshot of a world already in terrible need bitterly exacerbated by the uncontrollable force of nature. A snapshot for me but a daily reality for so many.
Please allow me to share a few thoughts after having witnessed the pain under the shattered buildings and on the dismantled streets of the Nepalese capital. The human suffering was personalized for me to a degree that cannot be replicated by images on TV and social media, which have sadly numbed to some extent some of our most innate senses of compassion and empathy.
First, this disaster not only sheds light on the existing vulnerability of so many. It also shows how critical it is that we continue to work in the most vulnerable countries. The correlation is evident – for example, if we help build better and more robust infrastructure, we can have a real impact on a situation such as this. A real impact translated into saving lives and livelihoods. Every brick matters.
More importantly, in the inertia of our busy quotidian in our offices in Washington, DC and elsewhere, it is perhaps a little easy or convenient to lose sight of why we are all here. This is not supposed to be an ordinary job or a regular career where we simply make a comfortable living. It is a calling, a mission. We are entrusted by the world to spend every minute of our time here making it count for someone out there. We are fiduciaries of the world’s unrelenting quest and need for betterment, and are ultimately accountable to the people we serve – those in need.
Every mom wants a healthy baby. And in the early days of a child’s life, parents and doctors understandably focus on how the baby’s physical development—is she gaining weight? Is he developing reflexes? Are they hitting all of the milestones of a healthy and thriving child?
But along with careful screenings for physical development, there is an excellent opportunity to tap into those same resources and networks to promote early cognitive, socio-emotional, and language development. This helps children everywhere have a strong start in life, ensuring that they are able to learn as they grow and fulfill their potential throughout childhood.
This is important, as the sharing economy has the potential to bring efficiency gains and improve the welfare of many individuals in the region.
This can also generate important disruptions.
While online platforms represent a small fraction of overall incomes, the share of individuals participating in these platforms is large in many European countries. For example, roughly 1 in 3 people in France and Ireland have used a sharing economy platform, while at least 1 in 10 have in Central and Northern Europe (see figure below).
At the same time, the share of the population that has used these platforms to offer services and earn an income is also significant, reaching 10% or more in France, Latvia, and Croatia. This means that at least one out of every ten adults in these countries worked as a driver for a ride-sharing platform such as Uber, rented out a room of his or her house using a peer-to-peer rental platform such as Airbnb, or provided ICT services through an online freelancing platform such as Upwork, to name a few examples.
В течение прошедшего десятилетия государство предпочитало проводить «политику вмешательства», стремясь развивать промышленную базу страны и сформировать экономику, основанную на знаниях. Реагируя на падение цен на нефть и экономические санкции, в январе 2015 года правительство приняло антикризисный план. В нём сформулирована активная стратегия импортозамещения, призванная заменить импортные товары продукцией отечественного производства. К настоящему времени принято 19 «дорожных карт», которые должны обеспечить импортозамещение в ряде приоритетных отраслей, в том числе – металлургии, сельском хозяйстве, машиностроении, химической, лёгкой промышленности, а также в медицинской и фармацевтической отраслях.