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Spring Meetings 2016

Why investing in forests is money—and time-- well spent

Tone Skogen's picture
Togo_Andrea Borgarello / World Bank

It is widely acknowledged that reducing emissions from deforestation could bring about one-third of the greenhouse gas emission reductions we need by 2030 to stay on a 2-degrees trajectory. But protecting and managing forests wisely does not only make sense from a climate perspective.  It is also smart for the economy. Forests are key economic resources in tropical countries. Protecting them would increase resilience to climate change, reduce poverty and help preserve invaluable biodiversity.

Here are just a few facts to illustrate why forests are so important. First, forests provide us with ecosystem services like pollination of food crops, water and air filtration, and protection against floods and erosion. Forests are also home for about 1.3 billion people worldwide who depend on forest resources for their livelihood. Locally, forests contribute to the rainfall needed to sustain food production over time. When forests are destroyed, humanity is robbed of these benefits. 

The New Climate Economy report shows us that economic growth and cutting carbon emissions can be mutually reinforcing. We need more innovation and we need more investments in a low carbon direction. This requires some fundamental choices of public policy, and the transformation will not be easy. However, it is possible and indeed the only path to sustained growth and development. If land uses are productive and energy systems are efficient, they will both drive strong economic growth and reduce carbon intensity.

Already, the world's large tropical forest countries are taking action. 

Early childhood development: A smart investment for life

Keith Hansen's picture
A young boy smiles at the camera, as his mother holds him. Photo Aisha Faquir / World Bank.

Early Childhood Development: A Smart Beginning for Economies on the Rise is one of the events at the 2016 Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group. It will be webcast on April 14, 4:30 pm- 6:00 pm ET.

Have you ever heard the phrase “Inequality starts at birth”? This is one of the most sobering statements in development but one that has an answer and it’s called early childhood development or ECD. No other development investment boasts a higher payoff for people and for economies than ECD.

A visit from Michelle Obama and a $2.5 billion pledge to ‘let girls learn’

Donna Barne's picture
Michelle Obama Excited by World Bank 2.5 Billion Pledge for Girls Education


U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama brought her passion for girls’ education and a powerful message to a packed World Bank atrium just ahead of Spring Meetings: Support education for adolescent girls, because it’s one of the smartest investments any country can make.

She was talking to the right audience — finance and development ministers entrusted with crucial spending decisions, development experts, and leaders from civil society, the private sector, and the media.

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim praised Obama as a “tremendous champion for the rights of girls and women.” He announced that the Bank Group would invest $2.5 billion over five years in education projects directly benefiting adolescent girls. 

Building safer cities for a volatile climate

John Roome's picture
Photo credit: Diego Charlón Sánche


Just consider some statistics. It’s estimated some one point four million people move to cities every week. And by 2050, we will add nearly 2.5 billion people to the planet, with 90 percent of the urban growth in that time taking place in developing countries.

Yet living in cities can be risky business. Many large cities are coastal, in deltas or on rivers and at risk from of flooding from powerful storms or rising sea levels. Globally 80 percent of the world’s largest cities are vulnerable to severe earthquakes and 60 percent are at risk from tsunamis and storm surges.

Join the discussion on forced displacement at the IMF-WBG Spring Meetings 2016

Saroj Kumar Jha's picture

With the war in Syria in its sixth year, concerns over the plight of Syrian refugees continue to capture the world’s attention. In addition to this great tragedy, their hosts in neighboring countries such as Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey are also struggling to accommodate the needs of so many people.

How we help the forcibly displaced people of the world – not just from Syria, but from Somalia, Afghanistan, and many other countries – is high on the agenda this week, at the IMF-World Bank Group Spring Meetings here in Washington DC.

Among the many events that focus on today’s toughest development challenges, we are looking forward to welcoming global leaders for a discussion on addressing the challenge of forced displacement.

For forests, a change in attitude in favor of indigenous communities

Myrna Kay Cunningham Kain's picture
Girl. Panama. Gerardo Pesantez-World Bank
In 2015, more than 500 million hectares of forests were held by indigenous peoples.  Despite the increase in forest area designated for and owned by indigenous peoples in recent decades, governments still administer 60 percent of these forest areas while firms and private individuals administer 9 percent. Pressure exerted by indigenous peoples over the past few decades has led to a 50 percent increase in forest areas recognized as being owned or designated for use by indigenous communities. The greatest strides have been made in Latin America and the Caribbean, where indigenous peoples control 40 percent of forest land. Similar trends have been observed in other regions across the globe.  

For the indigenous peoples who have always lived in the forests, these areas represent their space for cultural reproduction, food production, and spiritual security. For governments and companies, forests contain major assets for food production, economic development, security, climate change mitigation, carbon sequestration, water, minerals, and gas extraction. Added to these divergent views on forest ownership and use is the proliferation in recent decades of conflicts over territorial control and forest resources. Growing international demand for commodities (minerals, hydrocarbons, soybeans, and other basic agricultural products) has fueled greater economic activity linked to the development of forest resources. However, this progress has come at a price: adverse environmental impacts, the reclassification of spaces, and the dispossession of the rights, interests, territories, and resources of indigenous peoples (ECLAC 2014).  

In this context, a question arises: What is contributing to the behavioral change, both at the country and global levels, which leads us to conclude that a reversal in the situation has begun?

PabsyLive springs into Meetings

Etta Cala Klosi's picture
PabsyLive It’s that time of the year again. Each of us has our own personal spring rituals: spring cleaning, gardening, festivals, races, or baseball. But here at the World Bank multimedia department, warmer weather and cherry blossoms means it’s time to haul out banners, design graphics, and produce videos in advance of the Spring Meetings. The meetings are for the governors of the World Bank Group and IMF, but they’ve expanded to encompass all the best and brightest ideas about development, innovation, and improving lives.

We live in a fast-changing world, so we spend a lot of time trying to come up with new and exciting ways to inform people about the World Bank Group’s goal to end extreme poverty, and we especially want to engage young people. So that’s why, last year, we introduced PabsyLive. It’s a web-based video series aimed at increasing awareness about the World Bank Group with young online audiences around the world. Our colleague, Michelle ‘Pabsy’ Pabalan, who manages our YouTube channel, interviews speakers, experts, and VIPs with some pretty disarming questions and a lot of offbeat personality.


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