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10 Years After the Tsunami: What We Lost and What We Learned

Sri Mulyani Indrawati's picture

What I remember most of the first hours after learning about the tsunami was radio silence. Aceh, it seemed, had ceased to exist. The limited infrastructure in Indonesia’s northernmost province was decimated and none of the survivors was able to update the outside world.
 
To understand the scope of what had happened I flew to Aceh the following day. Since then I have carried with me indelible images of survivors who had nothing left but the clothes on their bodies. There were remnants of lives swept away, of loved ones who disappeared, and a desert of mud and debris beyond repair.
 
The death toll kept on rising for weeks. In the end, of the over 230,000 people who died in 14 countries, 220,000 were from Aceh. We estimated the disaster had caused damage worth $4.45 billion.
 
Ten years after the tsunami, I remember the loss of lives not only as the tragedy it was, but as a moment that changed the way the world manages disasters. I take some consolation from the fact that people survive disasters more often today because of the lessons we learned from the tsunami that affected so many of my fellow Indonesians. 
 
There are three conclusions that are critical to our experience.                  

A Call to Youth to Contribute Ideas on Financing the Post-2015 Agenda

Farida Wael Aboulmagd's picture
Ideas 4 Action Competition

​The World Bank Group and the Wharton School of Business are co-sponsoring “Ideas for Action,” a competition to mobilize youth across the development community to invent, foster, and inspire innovative solutions to financing development post-2015.

Nearly half the world’s population is under 25 – 2.9 billion people. Today’s youth will be responsible for delivering the post-2015 development agenda, also known as the Sustainable Development Goals, which will replace the Millennium Development Goals when they expire at the end of 2015. The new goals will be more ambitious, covering a broad range of interconnected issues, from sustainable economic growth to social issues to global public goods. To realize this vision, an equally ambitious plan for financing and implementation is needed.

Teams are self-selected and made up of three to five members, ages ranging from 18 to 35 years old. The deadline for submissions is Jan. 31, 2015. Finalists will be announced on April 5, 2015, and the winners on March 30, 2015. Winners will be given an opportunity to influence the post-2015 financing discussions and its implementation.

Meet the winners and finalists of the first WBG Big Data Innovation Challenge!

Adarsh Desai's picture
I’m happy to announce and share the list of the winners and finalists of the first WBG Big Data Innovation Challenge. We remain open to partnerships to help push forward any and all of these initiatives.
 
Winning finalists (ordered by Global Practice name):
  1. Erick Fernandes, Agriculture: Big Data for Climate Smart Agriculture - Enhancing & Sustaining Rice Systems for Latin America and the World.

Remittances: A Gateway to Financial Inclusion for Poor People

Gloria M. Grandolini's picture
Also available in: العربية | Español | Français
As the United Nations marks International Migrants Day, it’s worth remembering that over 230 million people in the world are migrants. Whether they’re mothers or fathers, daughters or sons, wives or  husbands,  they left home to look for work elsewhere, usually abroad, to support families left behind.

More Work Needed to Make Labor Migration a Safer Option for Youth

Michael Boampong's picture
Also available in: العربية | Español | Français

Roughly 27 million young people leave their country of birth to find employment abroad. Does this trend suggest that migration may be a solution to the worrying situation whereby 60% of young people in developing regions that are either unemployed, not studying, or engaged in irregular employment?

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.

To End Poverty, We Need to Know What We Don't Know About Women and Girls

Sri Mulyani Indrawati's picture
A schoolgirl in Guatemala. © Maria Fleischmann/World Bank


Women make up almost half the world's labor force and perform most of its unpaid care work, for children, the elderly, and the disabled. They also earn less and own less than men — especially land and housing. And they face enormous constraints in the world of work — from laws that prevent them from opening bank accounts to social norms that push them into lower-paying, less secure jobs.

As a result women are more vulnerable to poverty than men.

Thoughts on Resilience: Action versus Definition

Marc Sadler's picture
Photo by F. Fiondella (IRI/CCAFS) via Flickr CCA new word has entered the running for buzzword of the moment: “Resilience” seems to appear on every other page and is lauded at events as the focus for all. Indeed, academics, institutions and organizations seem to be racing to define the term, which will most likely end in confusion and competing definitions.

However, the reality of the concept is extremely straightforward. Resilience equals the ability of people, communities, governments and systems to withstand the impacts of negative events and to continue to grow despite them. Or maybe that is simply the definition I use.

Whatever the definition, what we can agree on is the need for action. It has always been challenging to convince people to invest in things that are preventative—quite simply, demonstrating impact requires proving a negative most of the time. However, with the apparent increase in frequency and severity of negative events, political and commercial willingness to take prevention, avoidance and risk management seriously is increasing.

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