Now that I’ve introduced myself in my last blog, I want to tell you more about my DM2008 project called “Using cassava wastes to feed goats.” The project has created a new market linking cassava producers and goat keepers through the introduction of a simple drying technology that turns cassava waste into goat feed. As a result, the project is increasing farming incomes and reducing carbon dioxide wastes by eliminating the need to burn cassava waste.
“We're in an age of information overload, and too much of what we watch, hear and read is mistaken, deceitful or even dangerous. Yet you and I can take control and make media serve us --all of us--by being active consumers and participants.”
This statement appears on the cover of Dan Gillmor’s newly launched publication, Mediactive. In the book, Gillmor, director of the Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, provides tips and tools for how citizens can (and need to) become active consumers and producers of information.
While some staff of the World Bank and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) may have considered each other ‘enemy combatants’ on the proverbial policy battlefield some years back, today many are collaborating in joint training efforts geared to improving relations. In a reversal of roles, a number of policy advocacy CSOs are helping to train the very same Bank staff whom they often advocated against in the past. A good example is the participation of well known CSOs who monitor transparency issues in the extractive industries – Global Witness, Oxfam, and Revenue Watch – in a training session with staff from the Bank’s Oil, Gas, and Mining Department in April 2010. The session was geared to improving the Bank staff’s knowledge and skills to engage civil society, and the CSOs were asked to both diagnose the nature of Bank - CSO tensions and suggest ways to improve these relations. While CSOs highlighted the difficulty they often face to get information or set up meetings with Bank staff, they also noted how the Bank’s presence can actually guarantee the safety of local CSOs. Bank staff, in turn, shared the difficulty they have in identifying the appropriate CSOs to engage with at the country level, and expressed frustration with some of the critique the Bank receives despite their efforts to reach out. They also welcomed greater civil society involvement in Bank-financed extractive industry projects.
The volume of public sector debt issued in developing countries has grown substantially in recent years, but consistent data on the public sector debt have not been generally available until now.
Our friends at Santa Clara Univiersity would like to invite you to apply for the Global Social Benefit Incubator (GSBI) class of 2011. The GSBI works with select social entrepreneurs to expand and scale their impact through 4 months of online preparation and an intensive two week in-residence program held in Santa Clara, CA. This program is funded by a full scholarship, valued at $25,000, provided to all participating organizations.
Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu (pictured) participated at The Smallholders Foundation GSBI '09 and is also DM Winner '09.
"To become properly acquainted with a truth we must first have disbelieved it, and disputed against it.”
– Novalis, Fragments, late 18th century
The recent rise in China’s inflation has grabbed attention of the public and policymakers alike. Consumer price inflation rose to 5.1% in November. This is higher than we are used to in China, although it is modest in an emerging market perspective. To determine the best policy response to the rise in inflation it is important to know its cause and how much inflation we should expect in the coming 12 months. It is also good to decide what an acceptable rate of inflation is for a country like China.
So much has been written recently about the individual, economic and social benefits of investing in early childhood development (ECD), that it is becoming a challenge to summarize these studies. However, ECD is an area that I’m increasingly involved in with my work at The World Bank. Among others, Nobel Laureate Economist, James Heckman and his colleagues have provided very convincing evidence of the benefits of early childhood interventions, including preschool education, on later individual and social outcomes (my colleague and fellow blogger, Jishnu Das looked at Heckman's work in his last blog post "Are Non-Cognitive Gains in Education More Important than Test-Scores?"). These benefits are substantial and varied, ranging from improved education outcomes for the individual, access to better jobs, higher wages, and even lower risks of engaging in criminal activities – which, of course benefits society as a whole. Moreover, investing early is a better investment than waiting until the child is older, because the costs of achieving comparable benefits through interventions later in life – remedial education in basic education, programs to target at-risk youth, and the like – are so much more costly and also less likely to have an impact.
Negotiators have worked through the past three nights in search of agreements that all nations can sign up to (see my last blog). At 3 am this morning they reached consensus on a package of decisions that represents progress in the journey towards a global deal.
But most of those in Cancun have more down-to-earth reasons for being here. They’re here to initiate action – to share experiences, learn from best practice, forge new partnerships, and launch new programs.
Here’s a sample from the past 48 hours of some of the action that we’ve been moving forward, when many heads of state, ministers and global leaders such as Ban Ki Moon and Bob Zoellick were in town.
Developing Countries push the frontiers on Carbon Markets:
A new Partnership of Market Readiness was launched by the World Bank and by ministers from 15 countries with the purpose of supporting innovation in developing nations on market based instruments. Countries like China, Chile, Columbia, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Ukraine and many others – are introducing their own market based instruments. This new facility – now US$30 million but expected to rise to US$100 million – will provide technical support to these efforts, and seek to share practical lessons for others to follow.
This is part of a much bigger movement on carbon markets here in Cancun. The Clean Development Mechanism is in need of reform so that transactions costs are reduced and low income countries get better access to funds. [So far around US$25 billion has flowed to developing countries through carbon markets, but only 2% of this goes to Africa.] The High level Advisory Group on Finance estimates that US$30-50 billion could flow annually to developing countries through the offset markets by 2020 with moderate progress in policies. The fact that so many leading developing countries are now creating their own internal markets could help hugely in driving down the cost of mitigation, bringing in new technology and, over time, building a linked global market