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Controlling the burn: Indonesia’s efforts to prevent forest and land fire crisis

Ann Jeannette Glauber's picture

Forest and land fires making the news in Indonesia is nothing new. But a hostage drama in the middle of “fire season”? That’s a new twist, and indeed dominated headlines in early September. After collecting evidence of burned land within a palm oil concession in Rokan Hulu, Riau, seven inspectors from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MOEF) were taken captive and violently threatened to handover or delete the gathered evidence.

Powering Sub-Saharan Africa – A fresh take on an old problem

Masami Kojima's picture
Man looking at electricity meters in Bamako, Mali 
Pic: Aarthi Sivaraman/World Bank

“If there is one thing that could really help my business, it would be reliable power supply,” said David, a small business owner in Lagos, on my recent trip to Nigeria.
“I agree. If only …,” echoed another.

And not without reason.

Africa lags every other region in the world when it comes to electricity access for its people. Only one in three Sub-Saharan Africans has access to electricity. That’s less than half of the rate of access in South Asia, the region with the second-lowest access rate. If we were to measure access to “reliable” electricity, then those numbers would be even more dismal.

Worryingly, the rate of access has been increasing at a mere 5 percentage points every decade, against population growth of 29 percent. If something is not done to dramatically change this trend, Africa will not see universal access to electricity in the 21st century. This is a seriously worrying prospect as the world races toward a 2030 deadline of universal access to electricity.

The target of achieving universal access by 2030 by the U.N.’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative and the billions of dollars committed by the U.S. government’s Power Africa plan underline the urgency of the situation. As a reminder, more than 1 billion people around the world still live without access to electricity and 600 million of those live in Africa.

So, are Africa’s utilities financially equipped to respond to this call?

For the people, by the people: How inclusive design can help tackle extreme poverty

Patrick Kabanda's picture
The Obinju Climate-Smart Farm in Kenya was designed by an agriculture scientist to create solutions to common problems faced by the local farming community, including an unpredictable rainy season.

A museum is probably not the most obvious place to examine global inequality, but something is happening at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City that deserves a good look.

Data needs to be local, equitable and collaborative

Haishan Fu's picture
Opening Session at IODC 2016

Earlier this month, over 1,500 people gathered in Madrid for the International Open Data Conference 2016. The World Bank is proud to be a co-organizer of this series of conferences which brings together the global community to shape the future of open data. I was asked to share our thinking on what’s on the horizon for open data and I’ve highlighted a few key ideas below.

Before I carry on though - a quick personal note. Being in Madrid reminded me of my first trip to the city 18 years ago, a few days before I took a new job as the chief of statistics at the UNDP's Human Development Report. Little did I know, while enjoying tapas before flying to New York, that a big part of my job was to become good friends with other international organizations, including the World Bank, so we could get, for free, in Excel sheets, the data they compile and disseminate, often through publication sales.

How things have changed since then with the Open Data Initiative! Now open data accounts for almost two thirds of all web traffic to the Bank and is freely available for anybody to access and use. I’d like to acknowledge my predecessor, Shaida Badiee, for having led the team to make open data happen at the World Bank six years ago, and for continuing to be a force for open data as head of Open Data Watch.

Improve workforce development systems in 5 (not so simple) steps

Viviana Roseth's picture
Nurses listen during a training program to learn more about child and adolescent mental health in Monrovia, Liberia

In the last decade, policy attention to better develop the knowledge and skills of the workforce has increased for several reasons. First, global youth unemployment rates, three times higher than the unemployment rate for those over 25 years old, have raised concerns about social stability as well as sustained and long-term economic growth. Second, many who argue that youth unemployment is partially caused by a mismatch between graduates’ skills and the skills that employers need, also believe that revitalizing vocational education and training can help address the problem. Third, a skilled workforce that can easily adapt to technological change is likely a fundamental component for countries to remain competitive in the global economy.

Campaign Art: Fight Unfair

Darejani Markozashvili's picture

People, Spaces, Deliberation bloggers present exceptional campaign art from all over the world. These examples are meant to inspire.

Every child has the right to a fair chance in life, regardless of where they are born. However, according to new data from “The State of the World’s Children”, an annual flagship report from United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), nearly half of the world’s extreme poor are children, and many more experience multiple dimensions of poverty in their lives. Unless progress is accelerated, 167 million children will live in extreme poverty in 2030, and 69 million children under 5 will die between 2016 and 2030.

Children living and working in the streets are one of the most marginalized and disadvantaged. They are often deprived of services and care, pushed aside and neglected. Lack of shelter, nutritious food, and access to education robs these children of an opportunity of a better future.

In June 2016 UNICEF published the video below to illustrate the challenges children living in the streets face, especially the stigma society associates with them. It is a social experiment to test the public’s reaction to a young homeless girl.

Would you stop if you saw this little girl on the street?

Source of the video: UNICEF

Land records go digital in Punjab, Pakistan

Mary Lisbeth Gonzalez's picture

Pakistan land records

The Government of Punjab started computerization of rural Land Records with the overall objective to improve service delivery and to resolve the overall dispersed nature of land records. The transaction costs were very high for the poor during the old days of patwari system. Women were denied their land rights and the low mobility of land markets contributed to preserving the highly unequal distribution of land and, therefore, opportunities to improve people’s livelihoods.
Before the Land Records Management Information System (LRMIS) was set up, the Board of Revenue (BOR),​Government of Punjab, operated a land record maintenance system which involved several levels of administration: the district, Tehsil, Qanungo circle, and Patwar circle. At the lowest administrative level of the records system – the Patwar Circle – are the Patwaris, who were not only responsible for preparing community maps and issuing land records, but also for many social, political, and administrative tasks. Administrative tasks included keeping weather records, collecting crop harvest information, reporting crimes, and updating the voter registry. Imagine 8,000 Patwaris maintaining the land records – usually very small holdings -- of about 20 million land owners. The Patwaris, who were the custodians of these confidential and important records, kept this information in a cloth bag called Basta.
LRMIS has been performing really well. The Project was rolled out in all 36 districts of Punjab. The Project has successfully tested linkages between the land records system and the deeds registration system. The biggest achievement of the project is that the time required to complete transactions has been reduced from 2 months to 45 minutes. Land record services are now provided on an automated basis throughout all 150 Tehsil Service Centers. There are many contributing factors to the success of the Project:

More replication in economics?

Markus Goldstein's picture
About a year ago, I blogged on a paper that had tried to replicate results on 61 papers in economics and found that in 51% of the cases, they couldn’t get the same result.   In the meantime, someone brought to my attention a paper that takes a wider sample and also makes us think about what “replication” is, so I thought it would be worth looking at those results.  

What do we know about remittances and forced displacement?

Kirsten Schuettler's picture
Over 65 million persons were forcibly displaced worldwide due to conflict and persecution at the end of 2015. Many of them remain displaced for a long period of time. Personal transfers sent to refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) can contribute to livelihoods in protracted situations and increase self-reliance. Existing evidence suggests that they can be an important source of income, sent from the diaspora in third countries or from families and friends left behind. They can also play an important role in helping set up economic activities in protracted situations.