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It’s About the Data not Just the Maps

Aleem Walji's picture

 It’s been remarkable to me to see the level of excitement generated by the World Bank’s early efforts to “mash-up” the location of development projects within countries with MDG indicators like infant mortality, attended child births, and malnutrition. Being able to visualize correlations between poverty and the location of development projects is sometimes surprising, often encouraging and never uninteresting.

Why are health projects concentrated in parts of country X where life expectancy is high? Where are the water and education projects in country Y in districts with the highest rates of under 5 mortality? The answers are seldom straightforward but good data and simple visualizations can provoke good questions, healthy debates and animate stories of what’s going on. Some will be stories worth celebrating for replication and others will be about lessons learned and things to avoid.

But getting caught-up in the mapping narrative almost misses the point. In a geo-enabled world, many people can create maps and different maps will tell different stories. The key is liberating the underlying data that allows people to create maps in the first place. That’s what has started at the World Bank and where Mapping for Results goes beyond traditional GIS and mapping projects. It’s about geo-enabling the Bank and creating the foundational data that will allow for all kinds of analysis, better planning, better monitoring, and eventually direct engagement with citizens based on actual data.

Charting a New Course for Education

Elizabeth King's picture

Last week I attended the fall meeting of the board members of the  Education for All – Fast Track Initiative  (EFA-FTI), hosted by the government of Spain.  Present were senior representatives of bilateral aid agencies, UN agencies, civil society organizations, and high-level government officials from Burkina Faso, Mongolia, and Rwanda.  In the wake of the recent Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Summit in New York City, the discussions among the members about the future direction of the EFA- FTI partnership—which coalesces critical financial and technical support around country-owned education plans—illustrated that in these times the need for sustained support to education remains greater than ever. Commitment to the principles of education for all is needed from all stakeholders.

Les modifications de la Convention de MIGA, une nouvelle ère pour notre Institution?

Michael Strauss's picture

Les modifications de la Convention de MIGA, une nouvelle ère pour notre Institution ?

MIGA vient d’amender sa Convention. Et les clients s’en réjouissent. Objectivement, les changements qui ont été introduits dans notre Convention sont significatifs et devraient avoir un impact important.

En tant que Juriste et développeur d’affaires chez MIGA, nous voulons mettre l’accent sur les principaux changements :

How does a citizen express her “voice” in the face of State neglect?

Cyprian Fisiy's picture

What does the demand for good governance mean to an ordinary citizen living in a remote village in the developing world? For a woman in Bangladesh, social accountability means she can state “when I open the tap every morning, water should flow from it.”  Could a villager in Cameroon in similar circumstances demand such a service of the state?

Building Climate Resilience into Timor Leste’s Roads

Chris Bennett's picture

The only thing worse than taking 5 hours to drive 106 km along winding and often damaged mountainous roads, is the realization that having reached your destination you have to turn around and repeat the trip to get home. That was in the forefront of my mind as I sat in the very quiet town of Ainaro, south of the capital in Dili.

A report back from the Korea Summit on the G-20's development agenda

Zia Qureshi's picture

The themes and areas for action emphasized by the World Bank find a good reflection in the outcome of the recently concluded G-20 summit in Seoul, Korea.  The main theme of the report submitted by the Bank - that in a progressively multipolar world economy, the goals of global growth, rebalancing, and development are increasingly interconnected - had good resonance in the summit discussion. The point was made by several leaders, some echoing verbatim the report's message that rebalancing "should not be a zero-sum game, rotating demand from one to another", that the "objective is to lift growth, not just shift growth", and that "developing countries can be an important source of new demand for stronger and more balanced global growth" (words from para 2 of the report's executive summary).  For example, UK's prime minister David Cameron said exactly that.  India's prime minister Manmohan Singh made the same point, echoed also by presidents Hu Jintao (China), Lula (Brazil), and Zuma (South Africa).

Who should we listen to? Each other, that's who.

Mamata Pokharel's picture

Last week was an exciting week. I was running around from youth conference to youth conference, inundated with ideas, and thoroughly exhausted, yet completely inspired. On Thursday, the Youth to Youth community of the World Bank Group (which I am also a part of) organized a conference designed to inspire young people to get engaged with our biggest global challenges, and take leadership roles in tackling them.

Coalitions, Norms, and Extractive Industries

Johanna Martinsson's picture

My last blog post addressed progress made in the extractive industries, in terms of fighting corruption, and in particular the new U.S. law (the Dodd-Frank Act) that will impact some of the largest gas, oil and mining companies in the world when it goes into effect in 2011.  I also mentioned a few initiatives that have played an important role in advocating for this law and for a global norm on transparency.  Another important player in this field is the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), as rightly pointed out by a reader and colleague.  Launched in 2002, EITI advocates for transparency in the extractive industries through the publishing of financial information and promoting a culture of transparency that involves dialogue, empowering civil society, and building trust among stakeholders.  A fundamental principle of the EITI is the development of multi-stakeholder initiatives to oversee the implementation and monitoring process, which is supported through a multi-donor trust fund, managed by the World Bank.