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From “High-Speed” to “High-Quality” Growth: Shenzhen, the birthplace of China's economic miracle, goes low-carbon

Xiaodong Wang's picture
Shenzhen, in south China, has grown from a small fishing community to a metropolis of 10 million people in just 35 years.
Shenzhen, in south China, has grown from a small fishing community to
a metropolis of 10 million people in just 35 years.
Shenzhen occupies a special place in modern Chinese reform history. Set up as the first Special Economic Zone under economic liberalization in 1980, the city has grown from a small fishing community to a metropolis of 10 million people in just 35 years.

Tonga: a national effort to reconstruct Ha’apai after Tropical Cyclone Ian

Liana Razafindrazay's picture
Woman with her baby in a shelter after Tropical Cyclone Ian hit the Ha'apai Islands (Haano Island, Tonga, April 9, 2014). The woman left Haano to deliver her baby in Lifuka Island (the capital of Ha'apai). When she got back, her house had been completely destroyed by the cyclone. She stays in a shelter with her baby and husband.

In the morning of January 11, 2014, after an early warning from the Department of Meteorology and the National Disaster Management Office on the upcoming category 5 tropical cyclone Ian, power and radio transmission went off on the Island of Ha’apai, one of the most populated among the 150 islands of the Tongan archipelago in the South Pacific.

The Pacific Islands are inherently prone to hazards due to their geographic location and small size. Each year Pacific Island countries experience damage and loss caused by natural disasters estimated at an average $284 million, or 1.7% of regional GDP (World Bank 2013). In the coming decades, climate change is expected to make things worse through sea level rise and more intense cyclones.

Philippines: Education that Knows No Boundaries

Nicholas Tenazas's picture
Filipino pride and boxing champion Manny Pacquiao completed highschool
under the Alternative Learning System, after taking the required exam in 2007
Photo by the DepEd

My relationship with the Philippine Department of Education’s (DepdEd) Alternative Learning System is one of ignorance, humiliation and inspiration.

As a young economist joining DepEd back in 2002, I was full of ideas on how to improve the country’s education system. I was coming in as a junior staff for a World Bank-funded project focusing on elementary education in poor provinces.

At around the same time, I had been hearing about this ALS program, which was providing basic education to out of school youth and adults, but I really paid no mind to it. All I knew about it was that it was largely non-formal, that it was conducted periodically through modules and that it was too small to make any significant statistical impact on globally-accepted education performance indicators.

A Bigger and Better Harvest: Myanmar’s Rice Export Opportunities

Sergiy Zorya's picture
A rice farmer in Myanmar
A farmer in Myanmar plows a rice field.
Photo: Nyain Thit Nyi / World Bank
 

I met a young rice farmer during my recent trip to Myanmar. He has a tiny plot of land on the outskirts of the irrigation system and could harvest only one rice crop a year.  Even if he worked hard, and the weather was at its best, he produced only enough rice to feed his family for 10 months. During the last two months of the rice-growing season, he would walk around his village, a small plastic cup in his hands, and ask neighbors if he could borrow some rice. This would happen year after year.

Unfortunately, this story is not uncommon. A majority of Myanmar’s laborers work in agriculture. A third of them live below the poverty line and depend on rice for survival.

China’s urbanization lessons can benefit the global community

Axel van Trotsenburg's picture
Also available in: 中文

(Infographic) China: Better Urbanization Leads to Higher-Quality Growth for All People

We all know urbanization is important: Nearly 80% of gross domestic product is generated in cities around the world. Countries must get urbanization right if they want to reach middle- or high-income status.

But urbanization is challenging, especially because badly planned cities can hamper economic transformation and cities can become breeding grounds for poverty, slums and squalor and drivers of pollution, environmental degradation and greenhouse gas emissions.

That’s why it’s important for us to build cities that are livable, with people-centered approaches to urbanization and development. That will allow innovation and new ideas to emerge and enable economic growth, job creation and higher productivity, while also saving energy and managing natural resources, emissions and disaster risks. When the process is driven by people, it can lead to important results, the same way London and Los Angeles addressed their air pollution problems.

中国城镇化经验可造福全世界

Axel van Trotsenburg's picture
Also available in: English

(Infographic) China: Better Urbanization Leads to Higher-Quality Growth for All People

众所周知,城镇化很重要:全世界近80%国内生产总值由城市创造。一国如想进入中等收入或高收入国家行列,就必须要正确推进城镇化。

但城镇化具有挑战性,突出原因在于规划很差的城市有可能阻碍经济转型,也有可能成为滋生贫困、贫民区和肮脏的温床,还有可能成为污染、环境退化和温室气体排放的驱动器。

这就是我们要采用“以人为本”的城镇化模式和发展模式构建宜居城市的原因所在。推进城镇化可促进创新,催生新创意,为经济增长、新增就业和提高生产率创造条件,同时还可以节约能源,管理自然资源、二氧化碳排放和灾害风险。城镇化进程如由人推动,就有可能产生重要成果。伦敦和洛杉矶就是采用这一方式来解决其空气污染问题的。

ASEAN Cooperation is Crucial to Global Food Security

Bruce Tolentino's picture


There is clear and present danger that another global food price crisis will emerge sooner than later. 

A key signal is the lackluster result of the December 2013 Ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Bali, Indonesia - in the heart of the ASEAN community. 

The compromises arising from the WTO Bali meeting further demonstrates that many WTO member-nations have returned to a focus on internal domestic politics, sacrificing long-term gains shared across nations, in favor of short-term gains motivated largely by domestic political survival or sheer short-sightedness.

Thailand after the floods: When communities own their change

Flavia Carbonari's picture
Also available in: ภาษาไทย

In 2011, Thailand suffered the worst floods in half a century. The flood crisis impacted more than 13 million people. About 97,000 houses were damaged and entire villages and cities were under water for months.

House in Ayutthaya affected by the 2011 floods
House in Ayutthaya affected by the 2011 floods

Three years later, Thailand has been able to deal with the worst of the impacts but some of the poorest households are still struggling to recover. We visited 10 affected communities in Ayutthaya and Nakhon Sawan as part of the supervision of the Community-based Livelihood Support for Urban Poor Project (SUP). We could still see the water marks on their walls, damaged ceilings, and wobbly structures. The unrepaired houses stuck out but just as striking was the strong sense of community in the area. We were reminded that villagers came together to overcome the worst natural disaster most of them ever witnessed in their lives.

The flooding led to better disaster risk management in the neighborhoods  that are most at risk. Local governments have taken the lead. But the disaster has also, just as importantly, mobilized ordinary citizens in some of the most deprived communities. Here are some of their stories:

ชุมชนหลังน้ำท่วม: สร้างความเปลี่ยนแปลงด้วยลำแข้งของตัวเอง

Flavia Carbonari's picture
Also available in: English

เมื่อปี 2554 ประเทศไทยประสบภัยพิบัติน้ำท่วมที่เลวร้ายที่สุดในรอบครึ่งศตวรรษ วิกฤตนี้ส่งผลกระทบต่อประชากรกว่า 13 ล้านคน บ้านเรือนราว 97,000 หลังเสียหาย หมู่บ้านทั้งหมู่บ้านและในตัวเมืองต้องจมอยู่ในน้ำเป็นเดือนๆ

บ้านในจังหวัดอยุธยาที่ได้รับผลกระทบจากอุทกภัยปี 2554
บ้านในจังหวัดอยุธยาที่ได้รับผลกระทบจากน้ำท่วมปี 2554

สามปีต่อมา ประเทศไทยสามารถผ่านเรื่องเลวร้ายนี้ไปได้ แต่บางครัวเรือนที่ถือได้ว่ายากจนที่สุดนั้นยังคงต้องดิ้นรนที่จะฟื้นฟูตัวเอง เราเดินทางไปยังชุมชนที่ได้รับผลกระทบ 10 แห่งในอยุธยา และนครสวรรค์ ภายใต้การดำเนินงานในโครงการสนับสนุนการพัฒนาคุณภาพชีวิตคนจนเมือง (ภาษาอังกฤษ) บนกำแพงบ้านยังมีคราบน้ำให้เห็น เพดานถูกทำลาย และโครงสร้างบ้านก็โคลงเคลง เห็นได้ชัดว่า ยังมีบ้านเรือนที่ยังไม่ได้ซ่อมแซม แต่ที่เห็นได้ชัดเหมือนกัน ก็คือ พลังที่เข้มแข็งของชุมชนที่นั่น ทำให้เราตระหนักได้ว่า ชาวบ้านต่างรวมใจกันฟันฝ่าภัยพิบัติธรรมชาติอันเลวร้ายที่สุดเท่าที่พวกเขาเคยได้พบประสบเจอในชีวิต

น้ำท่วมครั้งนี้ทำให้ชาวบ้านในระแวกที่มีความเสี่ยงสูงเหล่านี้ ได้มีการบริหารจัดการความเสี่ยงจากภัยพิบัติที่ดีขึ้น ซึ่งทางเทศบาลได้ดำเนินการนำร่องไปแล้ว แต่ที่สำคัญไม่แพ้กัน คือ ภัยพิบัตินี้ยังได้ระดมพลังพลเมืองธรรมดาๆ ในชุมชนที่มีความยากไร้สูงนี้ด้วย นี่คือเรื่องราวบางส่วนของพวกเขา

East Asia and Pacific countries can do better in labor regulation and social protection

Truman Packard's picture

Those unfamiliar with the fast growing emerging economies of East Asia are likely to think that governments in these countries let market forces and capitalism roam free, red in tooth and claw. That was certainly my impression before coming to work in the region, and generally that held at the outset of our work by the group of us that wrote a new World Bank report “East Asia Pacific At Work: Employment, Enterprise and Wellbeing” .

The report shows just how wrong we were. We could be forgiven this impression—many of us had come from assignments in Latin America and the Caribbean or in Europe and Central Asia, where the distortions and rigidities from labor regulation and poorly designed social protection are rife, and where policy makers cast envious looks at the stellar and sustained employment outcomes in East Asia.

Well, it turns out that although they came relatively late to labor regulation and social protection, many governments in the region have entered this arena with gusto. We were surprised to find that, going just by what is written in their labor codes, the average level of employment protection in East Asia is actually higher than the OECD average.

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