If you would like to showcase and share your views on Climate Change in Asia, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is hosting a video contest judged by a number of award winning directors and critics around the globe.
Forget the Homo Sapiens and the Homo Economicus. The guy who traces our destiny is the Homo Ludens, the man who plays. Johan Huizinga, a professor of history and linguistics, in his 1938 book, says that art and culture originate from our propensity to dance and have fun. But to enjoy life, play and build a peaceful world, you need a productive job that removes you from the daily struggle of making ends meet.
South Asia is unique in the multiplicity of its challenges and opportunities to generate productive employment. Start counting: many workers are stuck in low productivity agriculture and informal employment; there is low female labor force participation; the skill base is low; the countries in the region struggle with pervasive vulnerability and uncertainty, large economic and social disparities, and persistent conflict and violence.
Yet, there is no work that looks at all these factors in an integrated manner for the region. This is the reason why the World Bank’s first South Asia Region flagship report will focus on More and Better Jobs. This blog will keep readers informed on the progress of the report during next year.
If it were possible to separate public services into a public good aspect and a private good aspect, then government could probably ensure better outcomes for the poor by focusing primarily on the public good aspect.
A public good is both non-rival (the consumption of a unit does not reduce the units available for others) and non-excludable (it is not possible to include some while excluding others from this good). For example an illiteracy free community is a pure public good that demonstrates both non excludable and non rival qualities. It is non-excludable as it is not possible to exclude someone from the benefits of an illiteracy free jurisdiction while including others; and non-rival as one person consuming an illiteracy free jurisdiction does not reduce the stores for others. The private good have both rival and excludable characteristics (the consumption of a unit reduces the availability for others and it is possible to include some while excluding others during consumption). Alternatively a school is a private good - it is rival (there are only a certain number of children you can fit in a classroom) and excludable (you can be excluded if you do not meet certain socio-economic standards).
Assuming that all public services have rival and non-rival, excludable and non-excludable characteristics, it should be conceptually possible to separate the public good aspect and the private good aspect.
As the newly appointed (and first) World Bank Representative to Bhutan, my first month on the job has been challenging. A magnitude 6.3 earthquake with an epicenter in eastern Bhutan struck on September 21. There were 12 fatalities, including a mother breast-feeding her infant daughter by the hearth in their stone-walled kitchen. While there was fortunately relatively little loss of life, there was considerable damage to houses, schools, health clinics, temples, religious monuments and roads. In Bhutan's mountainous terrain, many affected villages are several hours walk away, so the provision of relief supplies and carrying out reconstruction is difficult.
In collaboration with the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator in Bhutan, Claire Van der Vaeren, who took up her assignment in Bhutan in June, the World Bank fielded a team of disaster experts. Claire and I accompanied the team of six (four from the UN, two from the Bank) to the eastern districts ("dzongkhags") of Mongar and Tashigang. The drive from Thimphu -- Bhutan's capital city of 100,000 people -- to the affected villages in Mongar takes two days.
The World Bank released its Data Visualizer tool last week, which compares 209 countries through the lens of 49 development indicators utilizing data ranging from 1960 to 2007. Using three dimensional bubbles whose sizes are proportional to populations and are color coded to the different regions (purple represents South Asia), they move horizontally or vertically based on their achievements on a number of indicators that range from GDP per capita to the percentage of children that are inoculated against measles.
Users will find similarities with the groundbreaking Gapminder World tool that Swedish Health Professor Hans Rosling first presented to the TED Conference in 2006. He concluded that the world is converging and that old notions of contrasting developed country (generally small families and long lives) with developing country (large families and short lives) to be grossly out of date.
Coming together is a process
Keeping together is progress
Working together is success
This message, written on the wall of a public building in Gureghar village in Maharashtra, India, implies the significant changes that have recently taken place. Since 2007, 178 villages including Gureghar have been part of an innovative social accountability process that has redefined relationships between citizens, service providers and local government. Building upon two decades of experience with micro-planning, the innovation in this pilot project is that micro-planning has been combined with a community scorecard process to strengthen accountability.
(The primary role of a District CEO is to administer all development project and services, such as health and education services, for the District.) The project team and the CEO invested a lot of effort to build the political will of other decision-makers and service providers. In fact, many of these functionaries were then organized into Task Forces to actually implement the process while a cadre of facilitators underwent intensive 20-day training.
Imagine that after an animated discussion on nutrition,a film star commits:'From now on, in all my movies, I will dedicate 5 minutes to the issue of malnutrition and build awareness about prevention.' or
The mayor pledges: 'I will organize awareness camps on malnutrition in all the wards of my city and will try to involve everybody.' or
A Member of Parliament promises:'Malnutrition free villages will be created in 21 impoverished hamlets. If more money is required, we will provide it from our funds.'or
An editor undertakes: 'Every week we will provide space for the views of experts on malnutrition.'or
The University Vice Chancellor vows: 'We will start a course on health and nutrition in our university, so that we have enough trained people to deal with this problem in India.' or
An industry representative pledges: 'We will adopt 10 malnourished children every year and see to their health care, education, and other day to day requirements.'
Well, these and many more such commitments were publicly made in 21 high-malnutrition districts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar – two states in India where the levels of malnutrition are alarming.
The National Solidarity Program (NSP) is a community-led reconstruction and rural infrastructure initiative. The program has made significant achievements in empowering communities, improving community relations, and increasing public faith in the system of government.
Protectionism is on the rise all over the world, thanks or should we say “no thanks” to the global economic crisis. Last November, G-20 leaders pledged to fight protectionism. Yet, according to the World Trade Organization (WTO), 18 out of these 20 economies have since taken measures to restrict trade. With the global economy struggling to recover, political pressures demanding protection from import competition to sustain domestic employment are intensifying. It is likely to prove right the old adage that the only thing we learn from history is that we never learn from history. One lesson from the experience of the 1930s that is currently most relevant is that raising trade barriers deepens and prolongs recession.
The Nutrition Development Marketplace was held in Dhaka on Wednesday August 5th. Twenty-one civil society organizations from across South Asia won grants from an $840,000 award pool funded by the South Asia Region Development Marketplace (DM). The winners received up to $40,000 each to implement innovative ideas on how to improve nutrition in their respective countries.
Titled “Family and Community Approaches to Improve Infant and Young Child Nutrition,” the competition was designed to identify some of the most innovative ideas to improve nutrition, focusing especially on children under two years of age and pregnant women.
South Asia has experienced high economic growth during the last decade. The region, however, still has both the highest rates and the largest numbers of undernourished children in the world. While poverty is often the underlying cause of child undernutrition, the high economic growth experienced by South Asian countries has not made an impact on the nutritional status of South Asian children.
Why South Asia has the largest numbers of undernourished and micronourished children in the world?
South Asia’s undernourishment problem has many numbers of factors, including the following: Low birth weight, infant and young child feeding practices, poor household hygiene, and status of women in society.
This video, A Call for Action, highlights some of the challenges and opportunities of undernutrition in the South Asia region with a focus on India.