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Lessons From Mapping Geeks: How Aerial Technology is Helping Pacific Island Countries Recover From Natural Disasters.

Michael Bonte-Grapentin's picture

For many Pacific Island countries, natural disasters such as cyclones and tsunamis, are an all-too common occurrence. Out of the top 15 most at-risk countries for natural disasters globally, four are Pacific Island countries, and Vanuatu is consistently at the top.

In 2015, Cyclone Pam hit Vanuatu, and knowing the extent of damage was vital for the government to identify and plan reconstruction needs. A team of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) experts were sent out to quickly establish credible estimates of the damages and losses. Many damage reports were already available from the field, but with varying quality, and the challenge was to consolidate and verify them, within a very tight timeframe. Cloud cover also prevented us from getting satellite images, so we mobilized two UAV teams to fly below the clouds and capture high-resolution footage showing the impacts on the ground in the worst affected islands in Tafea and Shefa province.

Challenges continued throughout, from needing to coordinate airspace with those flying relief goods into affected areas, to transferring massive datasets over low internet bandwidths. But with team-effort and ingenuity, solutions were found; the UAV teams were able to capture valuable damage footage within sampled areas during the day, which were analysed overnight by volunteers of the Humanitarian Open Street Map (HOT) and the Digital Humanitarian Network; new workflows were developed to collate the data and to feed the outputs into the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment.   

Interpreted damage information post-Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu, 2014: red – destroyed houses, orange – partially damaged houses, blue – no obvious damage to house.

Nông nghiệp 2.0: Internet vạn vật tạo ra cuộc cách mạng nông nghiệp như thế nào?

Hyea Won Lee's picture
Available in English
Ông Nguyễn Văn Khuyến (phải) và ông Tô Hoài Thương (trái). Ảnh: Flore de Preneuf/Ngân hàng Thế giới

Năm ngoái chúng tôi đã giới thiệu cách nông dân Đồng Bằng Sông Cửu Long ứng phó với biến đổi khí hậu. Các bạn hẳn còn nhớ ông Nguyễn Văn Khuyên, người đã mất cả vụ tôm do hạn hán bất thường làm tăng độ mặn trong đầm tôm và ông Tô Hoài Thương, người duy trì được sản xuất tôm bằng cách bơm thêm nước ngọt vào đầm để giảm độ mặn. Giả sử năm nay tiếp tục bị hạn ông Khuyên sẽ bơm nước ngọt vào đầm tôm của mình. Đó là một khởi đầu tốt, nhưng vẫn còn một số vấn đề cần giải quyết nếu muốn áp dụng cách làm trên. Ví dụ, khi nào cần bơm nước vào đầm? Bao nhiêu là đủ? Cần kiểm tra độ mặn bao lâu một lần? Khi ông đi vắng thì phải làm thế nào?

Transforming microfinance through digital technology in Malaysia

Djauhari Sitorus's picture
Dato’ Seri Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, launching the Virtual Teller Machine (VTM) at the National Savings Bank. Digital technologies such as the VTM are now changing the way microfinance works. Photo: The Star

Phenomenal development: New MOOC draws economic policy lessons from South Korea’s transformation

Sheila Jagannathan's picture

The World Bank Group’s Open Learning Campus (OLC) launched a free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) today — Policy Lessons from South Korea’s Development — through the edX platform, with approximately 7,000 global learners already registered. In this MOOC, prominent representatives of academic and research institutions in South Korea and the United States narrate a multi-faceted story of Korea’s economic growth. 
Why focus on South Korea? South Korea's transformation from poverty to prosperity in just three decades was virtually miraculous. Indeed, by almost any measure, South Korea is one of the greatest development success stories. South Korea’s income per capita rose nearly 250 times, from a mere $110 in 1962 to $27,440 in 2015. This rapid growth was achieved despite geopolitical uncertainties and a lack of natural resources. Today, South Korea is a major exporter of products such as semiconductors, automobiles, telecommunications equipment, and ships.

Source: World Development Indicators, 12/16/2016

Satu Peta: mempercepat administrasi pertanahan terpadu untuk Indonesia

Anna Wellenstein's picture
Also available in: English
Foto: Curt Carnemark / World Bank

Hutan-hutan primer telah lama hilang dari lingkungan desa Teluk Bakung di pinggiran Pontianak, ibukota Kalimantan Barat di Indonesia. Hal ini tampak ketika saya tiba di wilayah tersebut pada akhir November 2016, sebagai bagian dari kunjungan lapangan. Kami melihat bagaimana sebagian besar penduduk desa telah meninggalkan pertanian yang berat di lahan gambut untuk bekerja pada perkebunan-perkebunan besar kelapa sawit dan ladang kelapa sawit mereka sendiri. Yang lain memilih berinvestasi dalam produksi sarang burung yang menguntungkan. Namun mereka melakukannya di tengah-tengah tata kelola penggunaan lahan yang membingungkan: demarkasi batas wilayah kawasan hutan dan wilayah administratif tidak lengkap, sementara kelompok kepentingan masyarakat dan pihak berwenang memperdebatkan sejarah alokasi areal konsesi perkebunan. Kumpulan data publik menunjukkan keragaman penggunaan lahan dan hutan di wilayah tersebut, termasuk cagar alamnya. Namun dalam kenyataannya, hampir seluruh lahan yang ada semakin dikhususkan untuk produksi kelapa sawit. 

One Map: accelerating unified land administration for Indonesia

Anna Wellenstein's picture
Also available in: Bahasa Indonesia
Photo: Curt Carnemark / World Bank

The primary forests have long gone from the surroundings of Teluk Bakung village on the outskirts of Pontianak, the capital of Indonesia’s West Kalimantan province. This was evident when I arrived in the region in late November 2016, as part of a field visit. We saw how most villagers have abandoned the difficult peatlands agriculture to work on large oil palm plantations and their own oil palm fields. Others have opted to invest in lucrative edible bird nest production. But they do so against a backdrop of confusing land-use management: forest estate and administrative boundary demarcation is incomplete, and community interest groups and authorities debate over the historical allocation of plantation concessions. Public data sets show a wide variety of land and forest uses in the area, including reserves. But in reality, virtually all of the land is increasingly being devoted to oil palm production.


Ruidong Zhang's picture
Also available in: English
这是纪念10月17日国际消除贫困日的中国系列博客文章中的的一篇,中国对全球减贫事业的贡献超过世界任何国家,中国正在全力实现到2020年消除极端贫困的宏伟目标。 点击此处浏览系列中其他博客。






An example of how private corporations can help end poverty in China: Alibaba and the “Internet + Poverty Reduction”

Ruidong Zhang's picture
Also available in: 中文
This blog is part of a series produced to commemorate End Poverty Day (October 17), focusing on China – which has contributed more than any other country to global poverty reduction – and its efforts to end extreme poverty by 2020. Read the blog series here. 

Following a 2009 earthquake in Qingchuan County, Sichuan Province, Alibaba introduced the “Internet + Poverty Reduction” model, with the core concept to boost economic development in the affected areas with a business model that empowers people to move out of poverty using the Internet.

Alibaba announced its rural e-commerce strategy in October 2014, with a plan to invest RMB100 million (about $14.8 million) over the next three to five years in the development of local e-commerce service systems for 1,000 counties with 100,000 villages.

The program provides valuable services in three areas:
  1. Easy and affordable access to goods and services in poor areas including: delivery of consumer goods to rural areas and farm produce to cities, mobile phone recharge, utility bills payment, booking airline and train tickets, making hotel reservations, as well as microfinance, online medical consultation, and online learning;
  2. Provision of ecosystem support for sustainable rural development, including raising awareness about the Internet among local officials, building the capacity of local firms to use the Internet for business, Internet skills training for young people and farmers; and
  3. Infrastructure development for the new economy, including logistics infrastructure, payment systems, financial services, cloud computing and data collection. 
By mid-2016, Alibaba’s Rural Taobao Program established “Internet+” service systems in 18,000 villages in 400 counties (including about 200 poorest counties) in 29 provinces, and recruited more than 20,000 Taobao partners and helpers. In July, Rural Taobao launched its service-based 3.0 model, upgrading partners to rural service providers and village service stations to local service centers, business incubators and public-benefit cultural centers.
Alibaba’s “Internet + Poverty Reduction” features a number of innovations including e-commerce, job creation, access to finance, tourism development, education and healthcare.

The FinTech revolution: A perspective from Asia

José de Luna-Martínez's picture

Will cash and checks still exist 15 or 20 years from now given the increasing digitization of money? Is the smartphone our new bank? Will many people working in the financial sector industry lose their jobs due to growing use of technology, robots, algorithms, and online banking? Is financial technology (FinTech) the solution to providing financial services to the 2 billion people in the planet that still lack access to finance? Will digital currencies and other innovative FinTech products pose systemic risks in the future? What is the best approach to regulate FinTech companies?

Islamic finance in Malaysia: Filling the gaps in financial inclusion

José de Luna-Martínez's picture

In the past decade, the Islamic finance industry has grown at double digits despite the weak global economic environment. By 2020, the Islamic finance industry is projected to reach $3 trillion in total assets with 1 billion users. However, despite its rapid growth and enormous potential, 7 out of 10 adults still do not have access to a bank account in Muslim countries. This means that 682 million adult Muslims still do not have an account at a banking institution. While some Muslim countries have high levels of account ownership (above 90 percent), there are others with less than 5 percent of their adult population who reported having a bank account.