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January 2012

Weekly Wire: the Global Forum

Kalliope Kokolis's picture

These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.

Freedom House
Freedom in the World 2012: The Arab Uprisings and Their Global Repercussions

"The political uprisings that have swept the Arab world over the past year represent the most significant challenge to authoritarian rule since the collapse of Soviet communism, according to Freedom in the World 2012, the latest edition of Freedom House’s annual global survey of political rights and civil liberties. Yet even as the Arab Spring triggered unprecedented progress in some countries, it also provoked a harsh and sometimes murderous reaction, with many leaders scrambling to suppress real or potential threats to their rule. The repercussions of this backlash have been felt across the Middle East, as well as in China, Eurasia, and Africa.

A total of 26 countries registered net declines in 2011, and only 12 showed overall improvement, marking the sixth consecutive year in which countries with declines outnumbered those with improvements. While the Middle East and North Africa experienced the most significant gains—concentrated largely in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya—it also suffered the most declines, with a list of worsening countries that includes Bahrain, Iran, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. Syria and Saudi Arabia, two countries at the forefront of the violent reaction to the Arab Spring, fell from already low positions to the survey’s worst-possible ratings." READ MORE

Maya Nut Could Boost Resilience to Climate Change

DM2009 Winner, Masagni, adopted the Maya Nut Institute's "Healthy Kids, Health Forests Maya Nut School Lunch Program" in Nicaragua's Miskito indigenous communities. For more information on this DM project, click here.

This article was originally published on http://ourworld.unu.edu/, for the original blog post, click here. The Our World 2.0 web magazine shares the ideas and actions of citizens around the world who are transforming our lives for the better.


Photo by Our World 2.0

Global climate models indicate that Central America will experience temperature rise and increasingly dry conditions over the next decades. Precipitation will decrease, causing severe water stress and more frequent and intense drought periods. Pressure on natural resources will grow, as a result of both demographic pressures and climate change, while degradation of ecosystems will further exacerbate water and food scarcity, worsening the living conditions of vulnerable people and communities.

Vietnam: Say NO to plastic bags for a prosperous Year of the Dragon

Hoang Duc Minh's picture

Cũng có ở Tiếng việt

 
Pop singer Ngoc Khue and MC My Linh, along with 80 volunteers, took part in a flash mob to support the ‘I Hate Nylon’ project.

These days, when most people in Vietnam stay home to celebrate the Lunar New Year (locally known as Tet holiday), hundreds of Vietnamese youth flocked to the streets of Hanoi, the country’s capital, to work on a community project to reduce plastic bag usage in the city.

The ‘I Hate Nylon’ project (plastic bags are commonly called nylon bags in Vietnam) aims to raise Vietnamese people’s awareness about the dangers of plastic bag usage through several community activities before the Lunar New Year, the biggest holiday in Vietnam when people consume a lot of plastic bags.

Việt Nam: Nói KHÔNG với túi nylon vì một năm con Rồng thịnh vượng

Hoang Duc Minh's picture

Available in English

 
Ca sỹ Ngọc Khuê, MC Mỹ Linh cùng 80 tình nguyện viên, khiêu vũ và tham gia vào dự án "Tôi ghét nilon"

Những ngày này, trong khi đa số người dân ở Việt Nam đang quây quần bên gia đình đón năm mới thì hàng trăm bạn trẻ tại Hà Nội lại lao ra đường để tham gia vào một dự án cộng đồng nhằm giảm thiểu sử dụng túi nylon trong thành phố.

Dự án Tôi Ghét Nylon (túi nhựa là thường được gọi là túi nylon tại Việt Nam) nhằm nâng cao nhận thức của người dân Việt Nam về nguy cơ của việc sử dụng túi nylon thông qua nhiều hoạt động cộng đồng trước Tết Nguyên đán, kỳ nghỉ lớn nhất tại Việt Nam khi người dân tiêu thụ rất nhiều túi nylon.

Dự án được khởi động vào đúng ngày Tết Ông Công, Ông Táo năm nay, là ngày 16/1/2012 theo Dương lịch. Theo truyền thuyết, vào ngày này, ba vị thần bếp núc lại cưỡi cá chép bay về trời và báo cáo những gì chủ nhà đã làm trong năm qua trên những con cá chép. Người dân có thói quen thả ba con cá chép và tro hương xuống hồ nhằm “tiễn ông Táo về trời”. Trước đây - khi túi nylon chưa phổ biến, người dân vẫn thường thả cá bằng bát hoặc chậu. Mấy năm trở lại đây, túi nylon ngày càng được dung nhiều hơn để thay thế. Vì vậy mà sau mỗi dịp Tết Ông Công Ông Táo, các hồ trong thành phố đều tràn ngập túi nylon.

Do the Bank’s Operational Staff Support the Bank’s Research Department?

Martin Ravallion's picture

The quality of development projects depends in part on how well grounded project preparation is in knowledge about what works and what does not. Development practitioners need to be well informed if their projects are to have impact.

The World Bank’s in-house research department—the Development Research Group (DECRG)—is the main unit aiming to supply relevant research findings to Bank operations, as well as to external clients. It is not a large department, accounting for about 1% of the Bank’s administrative budget. But it produces the majority of the Bank’s research, and has a high profile internationally. Indeed, it is often ranked ahead of almost all universities and think tanks in development economics, measured by the quantity of research outputs, downloads and citations to research findings. For example, the highly-regarded and much-watched ranking done by the IDEAS project currently puts DECRG ahead of all but one university. 

Empowering Parents to Improve Schooling: Powerful Evidence from Rural Mexico

Harry A. Patrinos's picture

In a bid to provide quality education for all, several programs to increase accountability in schools have been piloted. So far the evidence is sparse. Recent evaluations suggest that even in rural settings, school autonomy and accountability can help improve learning outcomes. This is further supported by a series of evaluations of programs that attempt to alter the power balance between consumers (parents) and providers of schooling services. Recent studies show that autonomy and accountability can improve education outcomes.

Poverty and the school dropout rate in Nepal

When I started school, my parents earned less than $1 a day. It was hard for them to send their four children, including me, to school. Still, we all went. I’m now 23 and in my last year of a bachelor of science at the Institute of Agriculture and Animal Sciences in Chitwan District in Nepal.

Morocco: When Governance, Transparency, Integrity, Accountability, & Public Procurement Entered the Constitution

Laurence Folliot Lalliot's picture

This post originally appeared on Voices & Views: Middle East & North Africa

Although many events from the Middle East and North Africa region have enjoyed large press coverage and headlines, one has remained, to date, a rather well-kept secret: the inclusion of governance and a dedicated provision on Public Procurement in the new Moroccan Constitution, adopted by referendum on July 1, 2011. In doing so, Morocco has joined the very small list of countries (i.e., South Africa and the Philippines) to grant a constitutional status to this rather technical field, the impact of which will be progressively felt in the world (even outside the small world of procurement lawyers), as it affects how government money is converted into goods and works like roads, schools, vaccines, etc.

Rising Inequality in the United States: Lessons from developing countries

Francisco Ferreira's picture

As the United States prepares for its first presidential election after the Great Recession, inequality has emerged as a central political issue. This is not unremarkable: Americans have historically seemed much less troubled by income differences than, say, Europeans. You may remember a 2004 article by Alberto Alesina, Rafael di Tella and Robert MacCulloch in the Journal of Public Economics, which reported that happiness in the US was much less sensitive to inequality than in Europe.


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