Speaking this morning at the Spring Meetings opening press conference, Bank President Robert Zoellick said high and volatile food prices continue to threaten the world's poor.
Already, 44 million people have fallen into poverty since June last year. “If the Food Price Index rises by just another 10%, we estimate that another 10 million people will fall into extreme poverty where people live on less than $1.25 a day,” Zoellick said. “The world can do something about this.”
Today Benoît Bosquet writes about Jane Goodall's visit to the World Bank earlier this week.
"When Jane Goodall spoke Tuesday at the World Bank, she said she had recently begun to understand the exciting potential value of REDD – reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. For decades, Dr. Goodall and others have been fighting for the conservation of forests to preserve and protect animal habitat– in the case of Dr. Goodall, that of chimpanzees in Tanzania. And now, many people like Jane Goodall are making the connection between this battle and the fight against climate change," he writes.
Otaviano Canuto writes about the Food Price Watch today on the the Growth and Crisis blog.
“According to the World Bank’s Food Price Watch, a brief just released tracking food prices and poverty trends, global food prices are 36% above their levels a year ago and remain volatile, close to their 2008 peak. Key staples going through the roof include maize (74%), wheat (69%), soybeans (36%) and sugar (21%)...For some of us, expensive food might mean we spend more money in the supermarket, but for millions of people around the world, it is a real threat. The poor spend most of their money on food. So think about Mexicans, whose daily diet includes a good amount of tortillas. Or a family in Mauritania trying to get enough bread amid the 40% wheat price increase of the last year.”
Antonio Lambino writes about the release of the Results App (available for iPhone) today on the CommGap Blog.
"Dubbed “Results at a Glance”, the app was created to help members of the international development community – including CSOs, NGOs, and donors—advocate for development issues by featuring more than 450 results stories from over 85 countries," he writes.
Read more of Antonio's blog post. Learn more about the Results iPhone app.
The World Bank has a clear vision: A world free of poverty. When integrity prevails, projects deliver and the poor benefit. When they fail, development is set back and the poor suffer. That‘s why at the World Bank, we take the position that Rule of Law equals Development. In the Bank’s pursuit of results, openness and accountability, we assert integrity in our operations, without reservation. At the heart of our strategy is a commitment to remove the conditions that dent international security and make corruption flourish.
The World Bank has just published its annual World Development Report, something it has been doing for more than three decades. [Disclosure: this economist has been contributing comments to early drafts of the WDR for the past 20 years.] The new volume is about security and development. It says that societies are constantly under internal and external “stresses”—think corruption, youth unemployment, racial discrimination, religious competition, foreign invasion, and international terrorism.
In an effort to spur to the “Food First” debate, the Bank has asked the public for suggestions on solutions to the food crisis. Five of these suggestions are being used in a Facebook poll asking fans which idea should be put to experts at the April 15 Open Forum. Out of a total 851 votes, 331 considered the following solution as most important: "Governments should control black markets and fight corruption."
Nigel Roberts, co-director of the World Development Report 2011, blogs on the report’s release today over on the Bank's Conflict and Development blog. "We’ve estimated that 1.5 billion people live in areas experiencing or threatened by organized violence; that’s roughly a quarter of the world’s population," he writes.
>WDR Webcast and Panel Discussions: April 14
>World Development Report
Speaking today ahead of the World Bank-IMF Spring Meetings, Bank President Robert Zoellick said the crisis engulfing the Middle East and North Africa shows that greater citizen participation and better governance are crucial for economic development. The World Bank will do more to emphasize both, he said.