World Bank Voices
Syndicate content

Europe and Central Asia

What the world can learn about sustainable food systems from Ireland's 'Origin Green'

Juergen Voegele's picture
To feed up to 9 billion people by 2050, the agriculture sector will need to produce about 50% more food.
But the natural resources needed to grow food are overstretched, and in many cases, severely depleted. Agriculture is also vulnerable to climate change and a changing climate could reduce crop yields by up to 25%. At the same time, agriculture is a big contributor to the climate problem, generating close to a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions. Without targeted interventions, that number could rise further, threatening the world’s food supplies.

Rain and shine: Deliberations in Istanbul on the impact of oil prices

Ulrich Bartsch's picture
On a recent rainy Saturday in Istanbul, the mood was so gloomy that a roomful of macro-economists were at pains to admit that the sharp fall in the oil price since June 2014 would actually benefit a lot of people. On display was an impressive assortment of "two handed economists", who saw almost as many losers as winners. They cited negative effects on fiscal balances in oil exporting countries, investment declines because of uncertainty, and demand shortfalls in countries in which consumers are still deleveraging after the Global Crisis. In addition, the gains in many countries would be tempered by government interventions, which may reduce subsidies or raise taxes without translating fiscal space into higher spending.

Can Court Fee Waivers Open the Door for Justice in Serbia?

Georgia Harley's picture
The courts are open and justice is blind, or so they say. But if you’re poor, the courts may be beyond your reach. How can you protect your rights if you cannot afford to walk through the door of the courthouse?

In many countries, courts offer to waive their fees to anyone who can demonstrate that they cannot afford them.

Whilst it is true that fee waivers will not overcome profound barriers to access to justice, they do provide an important safety net for the poor to access essential services. And by helping the poor to pursue their rights, the courts can help to level that unequal playing field that is the courtroom.

In Serbia, providing court fee waivers are particularly pertinent.

Rising Financial Pressures from the East

Aurora Ferrari's picture
It’s hard to get a break in the Europe and Central Asia region, it seems – even a short one. Hit hard by the troubles in the Eurozone at the beginning of the decade, emerging and developing countries in Eastern Europe are, at the beginning of this year, contending with renewed fears. Meanwhile, external pressures have built up on the Central Asia side as well.

All eyes turned to Russia recently, when on 16 December the ruble plunged by more than 11 percent, despite the Central Bank of Russia’s last-minute interest rate hike of 6.5 percentage points to 17 percent. When it looked like Russia’s turmoil might spread to global markets, western economies sat up and paid close attention.

What may have gone unnoticed, however, is the ongoing impact on our client countries in the Europe and Central Asia region.

What Does It Take For Turkey To Close The Regional Gap?

Can Selçuki's picture
Also available in: Türkçe
When our friends who are new to Turkey arrive in Istanbul, they are often surprised to find a developed country. Then they may be told that the west of the country is well developed, but there are regions in the east that are really lagging behind. However, upon a visit to Gaziantep or Kayseri, they realize that these cities are doing much better than they initially thought with developing industry and rapid urbanization.

So what  is the story about regional inequalities in Turkey?


Can Selçuki's picture
Also available in: English
Türkiye’yi daha önce tanımayan dostlarımız İstanbul’a geldiklerinde gelişmiş bir ülke ile karşılaşınca şaşırıyorlar. Bu durumda ilk aldıkları açıklama ülkede ikili bir ekonominin olduğu ve tipik olarak ülkenin batısının gelişmiş olduğu, ama doğuda gerçekten geri kalmış bölgelerin bulunduğu oluyor. Ancak, Gaziantep veya Kayseri gibi bir şehri ziyaret ettiklerinde, bu şehirlerin gelişmekte olan sanayileri ve hızlı şehirleşmeleri ile aslında düşündüklerinden çok daha iyi bir durumda olduklarını fark ediyorlar.

Peki, bunun ardında yatan hikaye nedir?

Managing EU Funds – What We Can Learn from Slovenia

Maya V. Gusarova's picture
Effective management of European Union (EU) funds is not only high on the agenda of the new EU member states but also of the Western Balkan countries that are progressing in the EU integration process. As such, these countries face several important challenges and questions today.

On becoming an EU member, how much will the budget calendar and its preparation need to change? How best to plan and execute projects which are pre-financed? How to record unspent EU funds in the next fiscal year? To what extent should the Ministry of Finance be involved in the process before the signing of financial agreements with the EU? These and other questions arise in relation to the impact on a country’s fiscal position, co-financing obligations, pre-financings and bridging resources, and payment of errors.

Poland’s Junk Contracts - Or A Tale of Labor Market Duality

Roberta V. Gatti's picture
Warsaw, PolandThe journalist who came up with the name junk contracts for the Civil Law Contracts (CLCs) that now regulate the employment of anywhere between 1 and 1.4 million workers in Poland must have known a thing or two about capturing national sentiment. In a country which skillfully skirted the great recession and continues to display stable growth, the gap between employment conditions of those who work under CLCs and the rest of the labor force is a lightning rod for debate.

Why Skills Matter in the Kyrgyz Republic

Mohamed Ihsan Ajwad's picture
During my visits to the Kyrgyz Republic I am always surprised to talk with people who fondly reminisce about the economy during Soviet times.  Taxi drivers nostalgically describe traffic coming to a stop as factories changed shifts.  I guess I should be less surprised, given that, prior to 1991, the Kyrgyz Republic produced almost exclusively for the Soviet Union.

With the fall of the Soviet Union, much of Russia’s demand disappeared and many firms in the country closed during the 1990s. Although the industrial sector has begun a revival over the last few years - with garment shops and private enterprises expanding - the service sector now dominates in the country - accounting for approximately 54% of GDP and 64% of jobs.

Following two rounds of low PISA test results, the government became concerned about skills more broadly and how those skills might affect employment outcomes.

But, little was known about skills in the country!