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November 2012

World AIDS Day 2012: Looking to the Future, Learning From the Past

Jim Yong Kim's picture

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Although I have committed much of my career to the global fight against HIV and AIDS, this year's World AIDS Day is a special one for me in two ways. First, there's the remarkable news from UNAIDS that more than 8 million people globally are now on treatment, and 25 countries have achieved more than a 50 percent decline in HIV prevalence. With this progress, I am more optimistic than ever about our ability to end AIDS.

As the US government’s new blueprint for an AIDS-free generation demonstrates, today we have the science, the knowledge, the experience, and the tools to fight the epidemic. I was particularly happy to see that the blueprint included multi-year, sustainability strategies and that it stressed the need to support country leadership. With that leadership, and with a long-term plan owned by countries, these efforts can succeed.

Jim Yong Kim Visits Quake Reconstruction Sites in China’s Sichuan Province

YUNXI TOWN, Yantang County, China—More than three years after a devastating earthquake hit Sichuan Province, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim toured four reconstruction sites, including stops that looked at road construction, a maternal and child health center, and an economic development zone.

After talking to several villagers in Yunxi's town square, during which Kim asked residents about the earthquake and its aftermath, Kim gives his impressions from the trip in the video below.

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Food Prices Still Critical Concern: 5 Questions for Economist José Cuesta

Karin Rives's picture

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High food prices appear to be the new normal, as are wild fluctuations in prices. The world ducked a global food crisis after some key staples such as maize and soybean soared to record levels in July 2012, but food security concerns have not dissipated. The latest issue of the World Bank’s Food Price Watch shows that while the October Food Price Index dropped 5 percent below its July peak, internationally traded foods such as grains and oils are still well above price levels a year ago.

World Bank economist José Cuesta, author of the quarterly Food Price Watch, says this is not the time for the world to become complacent about high and volatile food prices. We need more action to help the 870 million people who are hungry, and the many millions more who live under a constant threat of hunger, he says.

IDA Meeting Takes Stock of Progress, Next Steps

Axel van Trotsenburg's picture

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IDA16 Mid-Term Review
Photo: IDA16 Mid-Term Review, right to left, President Alassane Ouattara, Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Republic of Liberia, and Axel van Trotsenburg, Vice President of the World Bank, Concessional Finance & Global Partnerships. Credit: Abidjan.net

Two weeks ago, a consortium of donor and borrower countries met to take stock of progress on meeting commitments made by IDA, the World Bank's fund for the poorest countries. (Not sure what IDA is? Click here.) This meeting was an important check-in at the half-way point in what is known as IDA16—a three-year period running from July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2014, during which special grant and soft loan financing is made available for life-changing works in the world's 81 poorest countries.

The meeting was hosted by Côte d'Ivoire, our first mid-term meeting held in a client country. The talks were attended by IDA Deputies and Borrower Representatives, individuals appointed to represent their governments on IDA.

President Kim on High-Level Talks with Chinese Leaders

BEIJING -- On his first trip to China as World Bank Group president, Jim Yong Kim met with several senior leaders in the government, including Vice Premier Li Keqiang. In the meeting with the vice premier, the two, at Li Keqiang's suggestion, agreed to embark on a joint China-World Bank study on how developing countries can best prepare for the continuing massive movement of people into cities.
 
Details around the urbanization study have yet to be finalized, but the two leaders said it could be part of the new China-World Bank delivery knowledge hub, which was officially established Tuesday, Nov. 27 to initially examine issues around urban transportation.
 
In the video below, Kim talks about his first round of meetings with Chinese leaders.

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Toilet Stories

Submitted on Mon, 11/19/2012 - 10:33

Toilets - everyone has a story to tell about these. The World Bank’s Europe and Central Asia online communications team reflects on global sanitation issues and their personal experiences on World Toilet Day.

Up to the Knees, Down to the Knees
John Mackedon (USA), Online Communications Officer

“Up to the knees – down to the knees.” Though nonsensical the first time I heard it, this mantra soon defined the five years I lived in the country, Georgia. Growing up in the United States had allowed me to remain ignorant of one of the most critical topics in the global health discourse: unsanitary toilets.  This ignorance soon turned to shock, dismay and finally, acceptance, as I mastered rolling up pants and perfected a mean squat.

With World Toilet Day upon us, I reflect on this transformation and my thoughts go out to anyone around the world who is denied access to such a fundamental need.  I think back on some of most unsavory locations I have encountered over the years and am acutely aware that even today, someone might consider that an unknown luxury. I hope there comes a day when “up to the knees – down to the knees” seems as unfamiliar to anyone in the developing world as it once did to me.

The 24 Hours of Climate Reality Is about to Begin

Charles Cormier's picture

Teacher and students at a cyclone shelter in rural Bangladesh, 2011. Stephan Bachenheimer / World Bank
Photo: A teacher and school class stand at a cyclone shelter in rural Bangladesh. Stephan Bachenheimer/World Bank

Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project launches its “24 hours of Reality: Dirty Weather Report” today. It’s a global online multimedia event that seeks to demonstrate how climate change is manifesting itself around the world, showcasing countries, communities and individuals leading through innovative solutions.

Jim Yong Kim: A Hopeful Look at Haiti’s Future

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti | World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim’s trip to Haiti on Nov. 6 and 7 included holding meetings with the country’s senior political leadership, attending the opening of a hospital, delivering a speech at a poverty conference, and visiting several Bank Group projects.

And it also was a journey back to a country where he had helped provide health care starting in 1988 through Partners in Health, a Boston-based NGO that he co-founded. In a short video below, Dr. Kim gives his assessment of the visit and explains why he feels hopeful about Haiti’s future.

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267 Journeys: The Wonders of South-South Exchange

Arup Banerji's picture

Lima, Peru is 17,325 kilometers away from Hyderabad, India.  Monrovia, Liberia is 9,725 km away. Yerevan, Armenia is a mere 4,128 km distant. And the village of Rayaraopet in the Malgonda district of Andhra Pradesh, India, is 37 kilometers from Hyderabad. 

Last week, 267 policymakers, practitioners and professionals from 61 countries convened in Hyderabad, where they arrived from Lima, Monrovia, Yerevan … and from Dili and Delhi and Accra and Astana and Sana'a and Seoul.  We in turn took journeys from the skyscrapers and high-tech environs of this Southern Indian city to villages like Rayaraopet, to understand how lives are being changed by government policies in the area of social protection and labor, and by the poor people themselves.