I remember a visit to Nicaragua like it was only yesterday. Three years have passed, and it is still etched in my mind. I was visiting a road construction project when I realized that the paving surface was not the typical asphalt I was used to seeing on many road projects but some form of concrete like paving blocks known as adoquines.
Safe, Clean, Affordable Transport is the motto of the World Bank’s Transport Sector. Evidence from several analyses for urban transport systems suggests that improving the transport system:
- reduces passenger travel times,
- reduces GHG emissions due to transport,
- reduces vehicle operating costs for the transport system, and
- reduces transport-related road accidents (injuries and fatalities).
En Haïti, le recrutement de jeunes femmes pour les former à ce qui a toujours été perçu comme des métiers majoritairement masculins est une tâche difficile. Notre équipe a découvert que, si de nombreuses familles voulaient profiter de l'occasion qu’offrait la formation pour éduquer leurs filles, elles étaient hésitantes parce que la formation offerte était dans des rôles non traditionnels.
En effet, ces étudiantes allaient apprendre des professions attribuées à des ouvriers/artisans tels que la maçonnerie, la menuiserie, la manœuvre d’engins lourds, la plomberie et le câblage électrique. Les pères et surtout les mères se sont farouchement opposés à ce que leurs filles exercent ce type de métier, mais pour des raisons différentes.
Chez les pères c’était souvent la même question qui revenait : «Pourquoi vous ne leur apprenez pas à faire quelque chose de plus respectable, plus adapté pour une fille, à être secrétaire, ou travailler dans un hôpital ?". Quant aux mères, la principale raison du refus était la crainte pour la sécurité de leurs filles, de peur qu’elles puissent devenir des cibles faciles pour des hommes sans scrupules, au sein de professions à domination clairement masculines.
In Haiti, recruiting young women to train for what has traditionally been perceived as predominantly masculine disciplines is a challenging task. Our team discovered that many families wanted to take advantage of an opportunity to educate their daughters, yet they were hesitant because the training being offered was in non-traditional roles.
These female students were going to learn professions attributed to tradesmen such as masonry, carpentry, heavy machinery maneuvering, plumbing and electrical wiring. Fathers and especially mothers were fiercely opposed to having their daughters do this type of work but for different reasons.
Fathers often asked the question: “Why you don’t teach them to do something more respectable, more suited for a girl, to be a secretary, or work in a hospital?” Mothers countered the idea with safety concerns, afraid that their daughters could become easy targets for unscrupulous men in what are clearly male dominated professions.
Although 9000 miles apart, the states of Himachal Pradesh (India) and Quintana Roo (Mexico) have one thing in common: a vision and mission of promoting an economic growth that reaches as many people as possible while respecting the environment and the natural resources. This is what we call inclusive green growth.
Both the states are endowed with nature’s bounty and its curse: rich in biodiversity and the ecosystem services that it provides but highly vulnerable to the climate change and natural disasters and environmental degradation that development impacts bring.
Environmental sustainability and climate change resilience are thus a top priority, and it is no surprise that both the states are leaders and frontrunners in formulating green growth and development strategies in their respective countries.
It was therefore very apt for a delegation of senior officials from the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh to visit Quintana Roo to exchange ideas, share knowledge and best practices with their counterparts.
Corruption has a considerable negative impact on development. Besides considerations associated with public ethics, corruption discourages private initiative and reduces available public resources, which in turn translates, for example, in less hospitals and poor education quality. Corruption also distorts the way governments use resources and undermines the public’s confidence in institutions.
Bribing, embezzlement, nepotism, and traffic of influence in decision-making processes are some of the typical manifestations of this form of bad government.
As I was driving through the Bolivian highlands this past week, I thought about how much patent progress has been made over the last decade in poverty alleviation.
Both poverty and extreme poverty levels were reduced by more than 20 percentage points between 2001 and 2011, and poverty is now at around 45 percent.
It’s not easy to reach Morro da Formiga, a favela that perches precariously like a bird’s nest on the side of a cliff in the northern part of Rio de Janeiro. But once you get there, its dramatic view of lush forested hillsides is impressive. It wasn’t always like this though. Sixteen years ago, it was just a barren mountain with recurring mudslides threatening its residents.
Morro da Formiga is one of 144 sites of Rio’s reforestation program. I visited last week, together with a team from the Environmental Secretariat of Rio City Hall and a journalist from Agence France Presse.
Morro da Formiga. Photo: Franka Braun
Since 1986, the Environmental Secretariat of Rio’s City Hall (SMAC) has led a community reforestation program and planted over six million seedlings on 2,200 hectares of land within the city limits. Rio had long suffered from deforestation of its hills as a result of development, causing soil erosion, sediment build-up in waterways, floods, landslides, and pools of water filled with disease-carrying mosquitos.
Imagine a busy metropolitan avenue crossing the length of Buenos Aires, Argentina, transited daily by buses and trains and lined with a large hospital, medical buildings, schools, shops and businesses.
Now imagine for 27 years this avenue flooding severely 37 times as if it were a river. During a flood, envision people being evacuated in motorboats, cars practically floating downstream, and cars and pedestrians on the bridge above it having to remain stranded there until the waters on the avenue below receded. It sounds implausible doesn’t it? Not for Buenos Aires residents it didn’t. The Juan B. Justo Avenue was such a thoroughfare.
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