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Setting Smart Goals to Ensure Success on the MDGs

Mark Suzman's picture

There are about 1,000 days to go before the deadline to achieve the current Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) expires in December 2015.  The clock is ticking, both to maximize progress on the existing goals and targets, and to ensure that the next set of goals sustain and push forward the successes that the current MDGs have generated.

While there are  wide variations within and between countries, it’s clear that remarkable overall progress has been made in the last 15 years on the MDGs. The gains in health have been especially significant, as a recent op-ed in the Lancet co-authored by the World Bank’s Keith Hansen and others points out.  The decline in child deaths from almost 12 million a year in 1990 to fewer than 7 million in 2011 is just one example of how a clear, compelling, measurable goal can motivate shared action toward a specific outcome. 

Going through the hoops with the support of the financial system: The Story of Jan Sarkis

Martin Melecky's picture

The following post is a part of a series that discusses 'managing risk for development,' the theme of the World Bank’s upcoming World Development Report 2014.

A composite story based on prevailing business practices

In January 1990 after the Velvet Revolution, Jan Sarkis, the son of a Greek immigrant in rural Czech Republic, decides to start a business to produce bottled juices. To obtain needed machinery and funds for working capital (fruits, containers, bottles, etc.), Jan takes credit from a local bank. He had heard from the locals that the region used to experience periodic floods. Although Jan hasn’t experienced any himself, he still buys flood insurance from a reputable insurance company.  In the 90s, rural Czech Republic was prone to thefts and burglary. So, Jan decides to protect his savings by depositing them in a bank. Good times settle in Czekia, and Jan’s business and the country begin to boom.

Protecting the vulnerable during crisis and disaster: Part II Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Program

Matt Hobson's picture

The following post is a part of a series that discusses 'managing risk for development,' the theme of the World Bank’s upcoming World Development Report 2014.

Despite more than 19 episodes of severe food shortage in Ethiopia since 1895, it was the dramatic images of famines in 1972 and 1984 which came to the world’s attention and (wrongly) made Ethiopia synonymous with drought and famine. Despite consistent food shortages in Ethiopia for decades, it only became clear in the run-up to the 2002/3 drought that, while the humanitarian system appeared to be saving lives, it was proving to be ineffective in saving livelihoods and managing risks effectively. In essence, rural Ethiopians had faced chronic food insecurity for decades, but were receiving ‘treatment’ for transitory food insecurity. In part as a result of this misdiagnosis, rural Ethiopians were becoming increasingly less resilient to drought and were unable to manage risks effectively. This realization prompted the birth of the Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP).

Empowering Women by Making Legal Rights Work -- A Winning Idea

Mary Hallward-Driemeier's picture

Madame Ngetsi wanted to start a business in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  What was her first step was in making her dreams a reality? Did she go to a bank for a loan, a notary to formalize her documentation, or the company registry to register her company? In fact, her first stop was to go to her husband to get legal permission to start her business. By law, Madame Ngetsi has to have written legal permission to register a business, formalize a document, open a bank account, and register land—a requirement that doesn’t apply to her husband.

Insights from Botswana’s Mogae & Kaushik Basu: Land Matters

Merrell Tuck-Primdahl's picture

Whether talking about nomadic bush men and staking out communities based the location of watering holes or the disparate quality of land management in India, former President of Botswana Festus Mogae and World Bank Chief Economist Kaushik Basu provided sharp insights on the complex interplay of land, development and poverty yesterday afternoon at the opening of the World Bank Land and Poverty Conference.

So what exactly is the “science of delivery”?

Adam Wagstaff's picture

The World Bank’s president, Jim Kim, has now made two major speeches outlining his vision for the institution – one at the Annual Meetings the other at Georgetown University on April 2 ahead of the upcoming Spring Meetings.

Several themes are emerging. Two are easy to grasp and likely to resonate strongly with Bank staff and stakeholders: “ending poverty” and “boosting shared prosperity”. For years the Bank has seen fighting poverty as its mission. It has made major contributions in the areas of measuring and monitoring poverty – Bank staff have authored many of the world’s most-cited publications with poverty in the title. The Bank’s work at the country level has always had a strong anti-poverty focus. “Ending” poverty – rather than merely “fighting” it – is a natural next step. The idea of “boosting shared prosperity” also resonates. While economic growth is still seen as the principal driver of poverty-reduction, the goal has always been pro-poor growth – a concept that links naturally to the idea of “shared prosperity”.

Moving towards transparent land governance

Klaus Deininger's picture

Land issues continue to grab headlines –and most of the time in a negative way: ‘Land grabs’ by foreign investors that ride roughshod over local rights, dispossession of farmers with little or no compensation to make way for urban developers or infrastructure, regulations and red tape that stifle private business and encourage shady deals, widespread neglect of women’s rights, and widening inequality and landlessness are all too familiar from the news and highlighting the dire consequences impact of countries failing to come to grips with one of the –literally- most fundamental issues to most poor people’s lives. 

Protecting the vulnerable during crisis and disaster: Part I

Rasmus Heltberg's picture

The following post is a part of a series that discusses 'managing risk for development,' the theme of the World Bank’s upcoming World Development Report 2014

Income support is an essential part of crisis and disaster response. Time after time, governments, donors, and humanitarian agencies step in with support to people affected disasters and economic crisis. They often do this on an ad hoc basis, improvising how and what support to provide. Why not build systems that could respond quickly wherever and whenever crisis or disaster strikes?

Disasters wipe out homes and livelihoods in an instant. Millions of workers lose their jobs in economic crises. Food price spikes put basic staple foods out of the reach of the poor. Governments often feel compelled to act in such situations. To be effective, support to crisis and disaster-affected people needs to be provided rapidly.

Ariel Unbounded

Merrell Tuck-Primdahl's picture

Ariel Rubinstein sat down for a video interview with me last week following a DEC lecture. A professor at Tel Aviv University as well as NYU, Rubinstein is an eminent game theorist and expert on the economic theory behind bargaining.

He spoke about how economic theory has gone through fundamental changes, in no small part due to growing interest in behavioral economics.

Friday Roundup: Social Enterprise, Collective Actions, Gross Capital Flows, and Economic History

LTD Editors's picture

About 70% of India's salt comes from the state of Gujarat, where about 70,000 self-employed small-scale salt workers/producers often have to borrow money from exploitative lenders-cum-traders who fix a low price for the salt. However, this might be changing. A social enterprise initiative, called “Sabras,” now allows salt producers to borrow money at a much lower rate. To learn more about this, read the article from the Guardian.

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