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October 2017

Sharing the future of open access

Elisa Liberatori Prati's picture


On October 26, as part of the World Bank’s celebration of the 10th International Open Access week, I moderated a panel discussion on behalf of the Bank and the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC). Experts shared their experiences, success stories, and identified remaining challenges in advancing Open Access. External participants and Bank Group staff were invited to the event, which was also live-streamed and recorded

Why distressed asset resolution is important to development finance

Joaquim Levy's picture
© Jonathan Ernst/World Bank
© Jonathan Ernst/World Bank

Addressing high levels of non-performing loans (NPLs) is key to preserving financial stability and an important element of an integrated development agenda. High levels of NPLs lock in capital that could support fresh lending, and they create a negative macro-financial feedback loop, as debt overhang depresses borrowers’ investment and consumption decisions. High NPLs have particularly adverse implications in emerging market and developing economies (EMDEs), which lack fully developed capital markets and where credit is provided mostly by banks. Hence expanding the role of debt servicing companies and a secondary market for distressed debt is a constructive strategy: it should be a priority in most EMDEs.

Steps to increase cooperation between national development banks, the private sector and multilateral banks

Ceyla Pazarbasioglu's picture
Also available in: Español | Français | العربية



The program of events at the just concluded 2017 World Bank-IMF Annual Meetings was rich, and covered a range of topics instrumental to the World Bank Group’s work.

However, the event closest to my heart was on the role national development banks (NDBs) can play to close the staggering financing gap needed to reach the Sustainable Development Goals, nicknamed going “from billions to trillions” of dollars.

Since the SDGs were announced, the international development community has been looking at ways to tap into new funding venues, attract the private sector and build relevant private-public sector partnerships.

National development banks are important: they are key in attracting and mobilizing private sector funding.

Reflections on the fifth anniversary of the Open Knowledge Repository

Elisa Liberatori Prati's picture


This blog post is a part of the International Open Access Week blog series. 

Five years ago, the World Bank Open Knowledge Repository (OKR) was launched, making the most recent publications and research easily discoverable and freely available to the general public. Stuart Tucker, the OKR’s Curator, was there from the very beginning. He shares his thoughts and experiences in today’s blog. We also invite you to join us online for our International Open Access Week panel discussion today from 2:00-3:30pm ET at live.worldbank.org.
 


When it was first suggested that the World Bank should have an Open Access “repository,” I joined a small team charged with designing and building it.  As I attended my first Open Repository conference, I witnessed the blossoming field of activity within the Open Access community.

Streamlining open access (OA) for World Bank authors

Elisa Liberatori Prati's picture
This blog post is a part of the International Open Access Week blog series

Today’s contributor to our International Open Access Week blog series is Mayya Revzina, Copyright Officer/Rights Manager in ITS Knowledge and Information. Among other things, she works with academic publishers to streamline the process for World Bank authors who publish in non-Bank journals and to enable those articles to be made open access:
 
The World Bank launched its Open Access Policy in 2012 as part of its Open Development Agenda to enable the widest possible dissemination of its research and knowledge and to increase the users’ ability to discover and use pertinent information. The OA Policy mandated that Bank knowledge products shall be made available to the public under Creative Commons (CC) licenses.

In 5 years of supporting open data around the world, what have we learned?

Elisa Liberatori Prati's picture
This blog post is a part of the International Open Access Week blog series

World Bank Global Data Editor & Senior Data Scientist, Tariq Khokhar, introduces a new report on lessons learned while supporting open data in the Bank’s client countries.
 


 
When the World Bank’s launched its open data initiative in 2010, we were convinced it was the right thing to do, but unsure what the results would be.
 
We soon saw that removing the technical and legal barriers to accessing our data triggered a 15-fold increase in its use. From carrying out economic analyses and highlighting gaps in our data, to creating news stories, data visualizations and games - more users, in more places were doing more things with our data than we’d ever seen before.

Securing the benefits of development for local communities: A series on social safeguards for social sustainability

Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez's picture

Development is challenging even under the best of conditions.  It can be even more difficult when the local context is complex, and when some groups face the risk of losing out as part of the development process.

The World Bank's environmental and social safeguard policies are a cornerstone of its support to sustainable poverty reduction. The objective of these policies is to prevent and mitigate undue harm to people and their environment in the development process.

On the people side, the World Bank has two specific policies that support this objective. These are often referred to as the social safeguard policies – on "Involuntary Resettlement" and "Indigenous Peoples." 

While the implementation of the policies can sometimes be challenging, they have – in the large majority of World Bank-financed projects – made a real difference in peoples’ lives and livelihoods. Together with communities, implementing agencies, and technical specialists, the application of these policies have brought restoration and improvement of livelihoods to families across the world.

We have best practices and many human stories emerging from different parts of the world on the application of these policies that we want to share.  Going forward, we'll share some of these experiences to help promote sustainable development through a “Social Safeguards in Action” blog series.

We want to invite you to follow this “Social Safeguards in Action” blog series – as part of our Sustainable Communities blogs – where we will be illustrating with a variety of examples,  results stories, and in some cases, even unexpected lessons learned that go beyond just doing no harm, in implementation of social safeguard policies in resettlement and Indigenous Peoples in the World Bank.  In the coming weeks, you’ll see examples from India, Kenya, Vietnam, and many other countries.

In 2018, the Environmental and Social Framework (ESF) will come into effect and will gradually replace the Safeguard policies. The two sets of policies will operate in parallel for about seven years. The ESF builds on the experience and the good practice the Bank has developed implementing the Safeguards.

 
 


Watch a conversation between World Bank Senior Director Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez (@Ede_WBG) and Director Maninder Gill to learn more about the World Bank’s social safeguard policies on involuntary resettlement and Indigenous Peoples. 

The World Bank open access research guide

Elisa Liberatori Prati's picture

This blog post is a part of the International Open Access Week blog series

Duncan Omole, Knowledge and Information Officer in ITS Knowledge and Information, explains why the World Bank Open Access Research Guide is a good starting place for researchers looking for information by and about the Bank:
 
The World Bank Group 2017 Open Access (OA) week theme is “Open in order to eradicate extreme poverty.” The World Bank Group Library supports the World Bank Group’s mission by supplying evidence-based data driven information and knowledge.
 
The World Bank’s Open Access Research Guide is one of the most important sources of this information. Why? Links to several World Bank Group Open Agenda Initiatives are found on the guide’s landing page. The World Bank’s Policy on Access to Information, the World Bank Group Finances, and Corporate Procurement Awards ($250K and above) are among the most important of these.

Open access resources

Elisa Liberatori Prati's picture


This blog post is a part of the International Open Access Week blog series

Thanks to Open Access (OA), scientists, health care professionals, libraries, and institutions facing budget limitations can access scholarly publications at little or no cost. Claire Guimbert, Research Librarian in ITS Knowledge and Information has gathered just a few of the many resources from outside the World Bank that our library staff has found helpful: 

Academic libraries and open access resources in Latin America

Elisa Liberatori Prati's picture

This blog post is a part of the International Open Access Week blog series

In our continuing blog series leading up to International Open Access Week (October 23-27), Eduardo E. Quintero Orta, Research Librarian in ITS Knowledge and Information* discusses the importance and prevalence of Open Access to research in Latin America:

“Education is a powerful driver of development and one of the strongest instruments for reducing poverty and improving health, gender equality, peace, and stability”

Demystifying appeals under the World Bank’s Access to Information policy

Elisa Liberatori Prati's picture
© World Bank


This blog post is a part of the International Open Access Week blog series

Today Frances M. Allen, a Communications Officer in the World Bank’s Access to Information Policy Unit, explains how the appeals process works when a request for information is denied:

The World Bank’s Policy on Access to Information (AI), effective in July 2010, was a pivotal shift in the institution’s approach to making information available to the public. Underlying the policy is the principle that Bank will disclose any information in its possession that is not on a list of exceptions.

Open access and development: Research findings

Elisa Liberatori Prati's picture
© Graham Crouch/World Bank


This blog post is a part of the International Open Access Week blog series

The goal of the Bank’s Open Agenda is to support development. In fact, several research findings show that Open Access leads to tremendous positive societal, academic and economic benefits. Today’s guest contributors, Duncan Omole, Knowledge and Information Officer, ITS Knowledge and Information with input from Eliza McLeod, Sr. Team Lead, ITS Knowledge and Information share some of these findings: 

Open in order to end extreme poverty: Access to Information as an enabling strategy

Elisa Liberatori Prati's picture
© World Bank

In 2009, the World Bank envisioned “open” in exactly the same way you “see” the word . . . an open door . . . and waiting behind the door . . . access to buildings and ideas, people and events.  And in the Bank’s case, access to a plethora of information on projects throughout the world, current ‘of the moment’ information on open projects, outcomes and lessons learned culled from closed projects, small grants that showed impact and improvement, research into cutting edge topics that affect everybody like climate change and displacement, and much more. 
 

IDA: On the Frontlines of Ending Extreme Poverty

Axel van Trotsenburg's picture
Also available in: Español | Français | Русский | 日本語


Today is “End Poverty Day.” This is an important marker in the fight to end extreme poverty by 2030—a time for us to renew our collective commitment to do more and better to end poverty, and reflect on what the global community has accomplished together.
 
Since 1960, the International Development Association, IDA, has stood at the frontlines of our work in the poorest countries. IDA investments help spur greater stability and progress around the world by preventing conflict and violence, generating private sector investment, creating jobs and economic growth, preventing the worst effects of climate change, and promoting gender equality and good governance.
 
With IDA’s help, hundreds of millions of people have escaped poverty—through the creation of jobs, access to schools, health facilities, social safety nets, roads, electricity, and more. Our most recent results show quite simply that IDA works. For example, from 2011-17, IDA helped more than 600 million people receive essential health services, 30 million pregnant women receive prenatal care from a health provider, recruit 8 million teachers, and immunize a quarter of a billion children.

Let’s work together to make land rights for women a reality

Victoria Stanley's picture
Video: Land ownership for women prevents fears of uncertainty


Around the world, rural women are a major provider of food and food security. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations argues that improving women’s access to productive resources (such as land) could increase agricultural output by as much as 2.5% to 4%. At the same time, women would produce 20-30% more food, and their families would enjoy better health, nutrition, and education.

But women in rural areas often face both formal and informal barriers to accessing and owning land. Today, only 30% of land rights are registered or recorded worldwide, and women are the least secure in their access to land rights, with major gaps existing between law and practice in many developing countries.

Building an #EndPovertyMosaic – Together

Mario Trubiano's picture
Also available in: Français | Español | العربية | 中文
© World Bank


Every October, the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund (IMF) come together for our joint Annual Meetings. There, thousands of delegates from around the globe convene to discuss the world’s most pressing challenges in the quest to End Poverty.

These discussions, covering dozens of sectors in every region of the world, offer many innovative solutions that affect millions – if not billions – of people globally. Looking back, all the small gains from many initiatives from 1990 to 2013 led to a reduction of global extreme poverty of more than one billion people.

VGGT: The global guidelines to secure land rights for all

Jorge Muñoz's picture
A man holds his family's "red book," the land use rights certificate in Vietnam, which includes both his and his wife's names. (Photo by Chau Doan / World Bank)
A man holds his family's "red book," the land use rights certificate in Vietnam, which includes both his and his wife's names. (Photo by Chau Doan / World Bank)

Ground-breaking, far-reaching global guidelines for governments to help them safeguard the rights of people to own or access land, forests, and fisheries were endorsed five years ago by the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), based at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Rome.

Today, the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure (VGGT) are a true global norm of reference in the governance of (land) tenure. The guidelines are pioneering – outlining principles and practices that governments can refer to when making laws and administering land, fisheries, and forests rights. Ultimately, they aim to promote food security and sustainable development by improving secure access to land, fisheries, and forests, as well as protecting the rights of millions of often very poor people.

Sounds simple, maybe even jargony, but no – they are concrete, with real impacts. All of a sudden, we had an internationally negotiated soft law or a set of guidelines on (land) tenure navigating successfully through the global web of interests on land, reaching a common ground. The consensus at the CFS was further strengthened by the endorsement of the VGGT by the G20, Rio+ 20, the United Nations General Assembly, and the Francophone Assembly of Parliamentarians.

[Read: Land Tenure: What have we learned four years after approving a set of international land tenure guidelines?]

This journey started with an inclusive consultation process started by the FAO in 2009, and finalized through intergovernmental negotiations. Importantly, no interest group – governments, CSOs, academia, private sector – felt left behind, and the States were engaged in word-by-word review of the guidelines.

This can be seen in the result. The VGGT’s power stems from the consensus on its principles that States were to:
  • Recognize and respect all legitimate tenure right holders and their rights;
  • Protect tenure right holders against the arbitrary loss of their tenure rights; and that
  • Women and girls [were to] have equal tenure rights and access to land.

And the list goes on.

A journey through time and across borders

Kristalina Georgieva's picture


Thirty years separate these two photographs. When I returned to the LSE to give a lecture the memories flooded back of my year at the university as a British Council scholar. Still there, close to the main entrance, was the local branch of the NatWest Bank, the first bank where I ever opened an account.

The circumstances of my arrival in London were all down to perestroika. Gorbachev was urging the eastern bloc to open up to the world. Suddenly we were allowed to apply to study overseas, beyond the Iron Curtain. My first hurdle was to learn English – I have the BBC World Service to thank for accomplishing that task in a very narrow timeframe. Added to my PhD in environmental policy — a relatively rare subject for an east European at the time — got me a British Council scholarship and an entry into life on the other side of the Iron Curtain.

8 things we learned from running a challenge fund

Amal Ali's picture
Challenge funds can help harness technology for development – here, a team from the international Water Management Institute (IWMI) shows off an open source mobile weather station developed for the GFDRR/DFID Challenge Fund. © IWMI
Challenge funds can help harness technology for development – here, a team from the international Water Management Institute (IWMI) shows off an open source mobile weather station developed for the GFDRR/DFID Challenge Fund. © IWMI 

While historically confined to medical and academic research, challenge funds – competitive financing for innovative solutions to entrenched problems – have gained traction in the international development field over the last decade.
 
Pioneered by the UK Department of International Development (DFID), challenge funds have championed transformational disruptive technologies, such as M-Pesa, Kenya’s mobile money transfer service. The electronic payment system, which allows users to withdraw, deposit and transfer cash through their mobile phones, started as a pilot project funded by DFID’s Financial Deepening Challenge Fund. Today, more than two thirds of Kenyans use the channel, and the innovation has changed the scope of financial inclusion programs globally.

Cash it out? Why food-based programs exist, and how to improve them

Ugo Gentilini's picture
© Dominic Chavez/World Bank
© Dominic Chavez/World Bank

India’s state of Chhattisgarh faced a daunting challenge in the mid-2000s. About half of its public food distribution was leaked, meaning that it never reached the intended beneficiaries. By 2012, however, Chhattisgarh had nearly eliminated leakages, doubled the coverage of the scheme, and reduced exclusion errors to low single digits.
 
How did they do it? 

Voices of non-violence

Chloe Fevre's picture

Today, October 2nd, is the International Day of Non-Violence, a day that reminds us of the serious development challenge of interpersonal violence.
 
Violence is a multi-causal phenomenon. Therefore, preventing violence requires a multi-sectoral approach. What does this concretely mean? It means that to prevent violence in a sustainable way, we need to address its multiple causes at the same time. It also means to move away from a punitive perspective solely focused on the criminal justice system and acknowledge the shared responsibility for violence prevention and the need for different sectors and government agencies to contribute to solving the issue.