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September 2011

Disaster resilience: Closing the loop

Last Friday - together with the European Union and the Government of Japan - the World Bank/Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery hosted some of our major humanitarian and development partners in an effort to identify and overcome barriers for coordination and work together in the planning and financing of disaster risk reduction and resilience strategies in critical disaster hotspots around the world.

Family planning, healthier economies

Julia Ross's picture


Countries like South Korea and Thailand have seen similar demographic formulas work to their advantage in recent decades:  falling fertility rates lead to burgeoning adult working populations lead to greater economic productivity.

How did they harness these changes to create engines of growth? According to speakers at a World Bank panel on “Realizing the Demographic Dividend,” greater investments in health, family planning, and gender equality paved the way, followed by further investments in education, youth development, and job creation.

Knowledge Bank: More than lending


The old Bank: hub and spoke….the new Bank: just one node in a vast network.

But in this network the Bank is still a “super-node,” as Martine Haas, Associate Professor of Management at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School describes it. In an information-based, totally connected world, the Bank brings a lot of material to the table.

Developing countries face economic uncertainty

World Bank Chief Economist Justin Lin convened an open roundtable this week—the first of its kind—made up of all the Bank’s regional chief economists to discuss global economic prospects. There has been rising uncertainty in emerging economies, which until recently had not only remained somewhat insulated from the financial crisis in the developed world, but enjoyed continued growth.

Scoring the Bank’s progress: Are we satisfied?

Joachim von Amsberg's picture

In almost every meeting that I’ve been in over these last few days – be it with government officials, development partners or civil society –   the words ‘results’, ‘accountability’, ‘openness’ and ‘effectiveness’ dominate.  It’s not that the focus on results or accountability is new or unexpected, but I think each one of us has recognized the urgency to deliver and demonstrate results, in an open and transparent manner, and step back and assess what we’re doing and how it is helping our partner countries and the people who live there.

Africa bloggers take on gender, climate, economy

Julia Ross's picture

Several World Bank bloggers are writing on Africa this week, expanding on themes discussed at the Bank-IMF Annual Meetings.  A few posts to note:

>World Bank Africa Region Vice President Obiageli Ezekwesili says the Bank’s 2012 World Development Report on gender “constitutes an urgent call to action, especially for African policymakers and those of us who work on the world’s last development frontier.”

CSO Engagement Key to ‘Democratized Development’

World Bank President Robert Zoellick this week urged civil society to help show how greater engagement on the ground brings about better development outcomes, particularly by improving governance and service.

Zoellick and IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde met with civil society organization (CSO) representatives in a town hall prior to the 2011 Annual Meetings. Some 600 CSOs—the largest number ever-- are participating in this year’s Civil Society Forum—four days of discussions to promote substantive dialogue between civil society representatives and Bank and Fund staff. Topics include climate change and energy, gender, aid dependency, and jobs as well as mechanisms for Bank-civil society engagement. 

Who holds the key to delivering basic services in post-conflict Africa?

Ritva Reinikka's picture

During a visit to Sierra Leone a few months ago, I was struck by the commitment that the government has shown to making changes in delivering basic services—such as education, health, and water—so as to try to reach and benefit poor people. But it was also clear to me that while the government must continue to make improvements in its existing programs, it cannot reach all citizens immediately—and this is true in many low-income countries in Africa, especially those recovering from conflict or civil war.

Leaders offer advice to Arab World in transition

Donna Barne's picture

Experts from three countries that have undergone political and economic transitions had advice September 22 for Arab nations where citizens have taken to the streets demanding voice and participation.

One of the most important lessons: “Develop and nurture a culture of citizenship,” said Corazon Soliman, Philippines Secretary for the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

Artists’ renditions of the ‘Girl Effect’ reinforce gender equality theme


Showcasing the World Bank’s recently launched “Think Equal” campaign, the Nike Foundation yesterday unveiled an unusual visual message of equality and potential of girls at Bank headquarters in Washington, D.C.  Artists from Brazil, Argentina, and Kenya created installations to display at the Bank, including a banner hanging outside the Bank’s main complex and a series of murals inside the atrium.

The art works champion what the foundation calls the Girl Effect movement. “If you invest in a girl you can stop poverty before it starts,” said Nike Foundation President and CEO Maria Eitel.

Zoellick: ‘Darkening outlook’ for developing countries

Donna Barne's picture


Developing countries should take steps now to prepare in the event of global economic turbulence, World Bank President Robert Zoellick said in a press conference on the eve of the World Bank-IMF Annual Meetings.

While Zoellick said he believes a double-dip recession remains unlikely, he said recent economic indicators are eroding his confidence.

Open Forum on Gender Equality: It’s time to invest in girls and women

Donna Barne's picture

Open Forum
Despite progress, the world is still under-investing in gender equality, a panel of experts agreed at the World Bank’s September 21 Open Forum on Getting to Equal.

More girls are in school and women are living longer, but there is also a “mixed story” on gender equality, said World Bank President Robert Zoellick. While there is “huge potential” for more progress, significant changes are needed to achieve it, he said.

Open Forum sur l’égalité des genres : Il est temps d’investir dans la population féminine

Donna Barne's picture

À l’échelle mondiale, malgré des avancées, l’investissement au profit de l’égalité des genres reste insuffisant. C’est ce qu’a reconnu, le 21 septembre, un panel d’experts lors de l’Open Forum – Hommes-femmes : parvenir à l’égalité organisé par la Banque mondiale.

 

Think Equal: Gender, jobs focus of Bank Annual Meetings

Julia Ross's picture



The 2011 World Bank-IMF Annual Meetings get under way next week with a full slate of discussions, webcasts and seminars planned around two issues critical to sustaining economic growth – gender and jobs.

In a world where women make up the majority of unpaid workers, and only 15% of landowners and one in five lawmakers are women, there’s a lot to talk about.