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South Asia

Joining forces to revive Nepal’s heritage

Marisa Garcia Lozano's picture
View of Kathmandu Valley
Photo: The World Bank

Many people traveling to Nepal choose the Himalayas as their primary destination.

After landing in the capital city of Kathmandu, most adrenaline junkies and nature lovers quickly make their way to the mountains to spend days trekking along high peaks.

But just five kilometers away from the capital city, there is a special place in the Kathmandu Valley with a rich and diverse cultural heritage that’s well worth the trip.

This place is Lalitpur City, or locally known as Patan, “the city of fine arts.”

Located in the center of the city is Durbar Square, one of the seven monument zones in the Kathmandu Valley UNESCO World Heritage site known for its beautiful Newari architecture and home to the ancient royal palace and various Hindu temples and Buddhist monuments.

How has Citizens’ Charter brought positive change in Jalalabad, Afghanistan?

Akram Sajid's picture
Also available in: دری | پښتو
 Rumi Consultancy/ World Bank
Residents discussing their community development projects in a Community Development Council meeting in Jalalabad city. Photo Credit: Rumi Consultancy/ World Bank
The Citizens’ Charter Afghanistan Project (Citizens’ Charter) is a national program to provide every village and city in Afghanistan with basic services, such as water, roads, and electricity—based on decisions made by the community.
 
When we first started activities in Jalalabad city, the capital of the eastern province of Nangarhar, people were not familiar with community driven programs in urban areas; and there was no tradition of cooperation among different members of the community to jointly solve issues. Their relations with local government, especially the municipality, were weak since it could not address many of their basic needs, like access to clean drinking water.
 
As the Citizens’ Charter Communication and Outreach Officer in Jalalabad, I initially felt that community members were not feeling empowered and, therefore, didn’t see the value of working together to increase the prosperity of their community.
 
Before the project started in 2017, there were no organized councils that people could turn to, to address their shared problems. Shir Mohammad, a resident from Jalalabad’s District 5, told me: “It was so hard to gather people to discuss an issue in the area.
 

چگونه برنامه ملی میثاق شهروندی سبب تغییرات مثبت در شهر جلال گردیده است؟

Akram Sajid's picture
Also available in: English | پښتو
 
باشندگان شهر جلال آباد هنگام بحث روی پروژه های انکشافی محلی در جلسه شورای انکشافی. عکس: شرکت مشورتی رومی/ بانک جهانی

د ولسي تړون پروګرام په جلال آباد ښار کې څرنګه د مثبت بدلون لامل ګرزیدلی؟

Akram Sajid's picture
Also available in: English | دری
 
د جلال آباد ښار اوسیدونکې د پراختیایی شورا په یوه ناسته کې د خپل سیمې پراختیایی پروژو باندې د خبرې په حال: انځور: رومی شرکت/ نړیوال بانک

How South Asia can become a free trade area

Sanjay Kathuria's picture
Women knit handicrafts for export at Everest Fashion Fair Craft in Lalitpur, Nepal
Women knit handicrafts for export at Everest Fashion Fair Craft in Lalitpur, Nepal. Photo: Peter Kapuscinski / World Bank

The South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) agreement has been in effect since 2006—with little success.

This is in sharp contrast to the ASEAN free trade area (AFTA), which started in 1992 with six six countries and later added more members, completing the ASEAN ten by 1999.

Between 1992 and 2017, intraregional imports as a share of global imports in ASEAN increased from 17 to 24 percent, and exports from 21 to 27 percent.

In South Asia, these shares were largely stagnant since SAFTA came into effect, at 3 percent for intraregional imports and 6-7 percent for intraregional exports.

In fact, intraregional trade in South Asia has been the lowest among world regions for quite some time, hovering around 5 percent of its overall trade with the world.

What’s keeping India in the dark?

Fan Zhang's picture
To boost and sustain its energy supply, India needs urgent investments and reforms to fix the inefficiencies that plague its entire electricity supply chain.
To boost and sustain its energy supply, India needs urgent investments and reforms to fix the inefficiencies that plague its entire electricity supply chain. Credit: World Bank

Statistics show that what is commonly perceived as an energy gap in India is actually an efficiency gap.

To boost and sustain its energy supply, India needs urgent investments and reforms to fix the inefficiencies that plague its entire electricity supply chain. 

But first, the good news. In 2018, every village in India got connected to the grid.  That same year, power shortages declined dramatically to 0.9 percent from 8.5 percent in 2012.  

As for clean power, India has become one of the world’s leading countries in renewable energy and aims to add 227 gigawatts of green electricity by 2022.

True, India today generates more power than ever. Yet, 178 million Indians still lived without access to grid-connected electricity in 2017.

On top of that, air pollution from coal-powered plants contributed to 82,900 deaths across India in 2015.

Given its rapidly growing economy, demand for power in India is expected to triple by 2040.

The country faces a monumental task to meet this demand while protecting its natural environment and the health of its people.

As I write in my new report, ‘In the Dark’, power distortions cost India much more than previously estimated: $86 billion in 2016—that is 4 percent of the country’s economy.

The rising cost of nutritious food in South Asia

Felipe F. Dizon's picture
 World Bank
A malnourished child will face poorer outcomes as an adult. In South Asia, where malnutrition persists in multiple forms, improving nutrition in the early stages of life is critical to a child's future development and health. Credit: World Bank

A malnourished child will face poorer outcomes as an adult.
 
That’s why improving nutrition, especially in the early stages of life, is critical.
 
The path toward better nutrition includes adequate maternal and child care, access to better sanitation facilities, health services, and naturally, nutritious foods.
 
But whether an individual consumes—or not—nutritious food is contingent upon a myriad of factors, ranging from the availability of certain foods, how convenient they can be turned into meals, or simply, if they meet consumers’ tastes.
 
But above all, the high cost of food remains the most critical barrier to proper nutrition and affects the poor more than the rich.
 
And in South Asia, where malnutrition persists in multiple forms, the cost of nutritious food is prohibitive.

How to diversify Bhutan’s economy?

Yoichiro Ishihara's picture
Bhutan has made tremdendous progress in reducing poverty. But it needs to do a better job at diversifying its economy by improving its physical and human capital by using resource rents from hydropower.
Bhutan has made tremendous progress in reducing poverty. But it needs to do a better job at diversifying its economy by improving its physical and human capital by using resource rents from hydropower.

Will diversifying its economy help Bhutan address its youth unemployment, let alone its macroeconomic volatility and vulnerability?

With the right approach, yes.

And to that end, the latest World Bank Bhutan Development Report: A Path to Inclusive and Sustainable Development proposes solutions relevant to Bhutan’s context.

For more than ten years, developing the private sector through greater economic diversification has been Bhutan’s top policy as described in the 10th and 11th five-year plans.

Yet, youth unemployment, especially for educated Bhutanese, has remained high: 67 percent of bachelor’s degrees holders were jobless in 2016.

Diversifying the economy is touted as a standard prescription to cure such development ailments as joblessness, low productivity, and macroeconomic volatility.

However, international experience shows that this prescription does not always work.

Case in point: A World Bank’s analysis Diversified Development concludes that in resource-rich countries, investing in physical capital, human capital and economic institution are the best ways to sustain growth in the private sector.

Further to that, the development of specific sectors, which is often a common ingredient of diversification strategies in certain countries, is neither necessary nor sufficient for private-sector-led growth.

The main driver of Bhutan’s high growth and poverty reduction, hydropower has led the country’s development and will remain the backbone of its economy.

However, Bhutan needs to do a better job at diversifying its economy by improving its physical and human capital by using resource rents from hydropower.

Bhutan ranks 149 out of 160 countries on the 2018 Logistics Performance Index and 121 out of 176 countries on the 2017 ICT index.

Bhutan falls in the bottom half of the Human Capital Project rankings on critical indicators such as expected years of schooling.

ایجاد صلح و ثبات در افغانستان از صنف درسی شروع می شود

Mohammad Ibrahim Shinwari's picture
Also available in: English | پښتو
Education is the bedrock for peace and a more resilient and self-sufficient Afghanistan
شاگردان یکی از مکاتب ابتداییه در ولایت پنجشیر. امتیاز عکس: شرکت مشورتی رومی/ بانک جهانی

امروز ۲۴ ماه جنوری مصادف به روز بین المللی معارف میباشد. این در حالیست که در ماه دسمبر سال ۲۰۱۷ میلادی مجمع عمومی سازمان ملل متحد این روز را بمنظور ارج گذاری به نقش محوری و اساسی تعلیم وتربیه در راستای تامین صلح و انکشاف پایدار مسمی نموده و قرار است منبعد از این روز همه ساله بعنوان روز جهانی معارف تجلیل بعمل اید.

هدف از تجلیل این روز جهانی نه تنها جلب توجه به معارف به عنوان یکی از اهداف کلیدی اهداف انکشاف پایدار ۲۰۳۰ سازمان ملل متحد میباشد، بلکه بر نقش کلیدی تعلیم و تربیه در راستای فقرزدایی، افزایش دسترسی به خدمات صحی، گسترش و نهادینه سازی تساوی جنسیت، تامین و تحکیم صلح در سراسر جهان نیز تاکید میورزد.

بدون شک اموزش یگانه راه ایجاد نیروی بشری مورد نیاز برای رشد پایدار در دراز مدت پنداشته میشود.

اختصاص دادن یک روز به عنوان روز جهانی معارف، اراده و عزم جامعه بین المللی را مبنی بر حمایت همه جانبه از دسترسی عادلانه همه ای مردم به تعلیم و اموزش با کیفیت را نشان میدهد.

منحیث معین وزارت معارف افغانستان، خوشحالم که معارف امروز درصدر اجندای جامعه جهانی قرار گرفته زیرا تعلیم و تربیه در تامین صلح و ثبات نقش خیلی مهم و ارزنده دارد.

در حالیکه افغانستان با چالش های ناشی از چندین دهه جنگ روبرو است، تاکید بر اهمیت نقش تعلیم وتربیه در راستای تامین و تحکیم پایدار صلح و ثبات در این کشور بسیار مهم و حیاتی است.

 برای ما، معارف به معنای بنیاد یک افغانستان صلح آمیز، خودکفا و مترقی میباشد.

په افغانستان کې سوله او ثبات راوستل له درسي ټولګيو پیلېږي

Mohammad Ibrahim Shinwari's picture
Also available in: English | دری
Education is the bedrock for peace and a more resilient and self-sufficient Afghanistan
د پنجشیر ولایت د یوه ابتدایه ښونځۍ زده کونکې. د انځور امتیاز: د رومی شرکت/ نړیوال بانک

نن، د جنورۍ مياشتې ۲۴مه د پوهنې نړيواله ورځ ده. د سولې په راوستو او دوامداره پرمختیا کې د ښوونې او روزنې اساسي او رغنده رول ته د درناوي له پاره د ملګرو ملتونو سازمان د ۲۰۱۷ زېږديز کال په ډسمبر مياشت کې دغه ورځ [د جنورۍ ۲۴مه] د پوهنې د نړيوالې ورځې په نامه ونوموله او ټاکل شوې ده، چې تر دې وروسته به هر کال دا ورځ د پوهنې نړیوالې ورځې په نامه لمانځل کېږي.

د دغې نړيوالې ورځې له لمانځلو هدف نه یوازې دا دی، چې پوهنې ته، چې د ملګرو ملتونو د ۲۰۳۰زېږديز کال د دوامداره پراختیا مهم هدف بلل کېږي، پام راجلب شي، بلکي د بې وزلۍ پر کمښت، روغتيايي خدمتونو ته د لاسرسۍ پر زیاتوالی، د جنسیتي برابرۍ پر زیاتوالی  او عامولو، په ټولې نړۍ کې د سولې پر تامينولو او ټينګښت کې هم د ښوونې او روزنې اساسي په رول باندې ټينګار کوي.

له شک پرته زده کړه یوازينۍ لاره ده، چې په اوږدمهال کې د دوامدارې پرمختیا لپاره د اړتیا وړ بشري قوه تامينولی شي.

د پوهنې نړيوالې ورځې په نامه د یوې ورځې نومول، د نړيوالې ټولنې ټينګه اراده او ژمنه څرګندوي، چې تعلیم او زده کړې ته د ټولو خلکو د مساوي او باکیفیته لاسرسي په پار يې ملاتړ کوي.

د افغانستان د پوهنې وزارت د معين په توګه، خوښ یم چې نړيوالې ټولنې پوهنه د خپلې اجنډا په سر کې راوستې ده، ځکه ښوونه او روزنه د سولې او ثبات په ټينګښت کې رغنده رول لري.

په داسې یو حالت کې چې افغانستان د څو لسیزو راهیسې د جګړو له ګواښونو سره لاس او ګريوان دی، د دوامدارې سولې په راوستو او د ثبات په ټينګښت کې د ښوونې او روزنې پر رول تينګار کول حياتي موضوع بلل کېږي.

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