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February 2012

The Art of War: Cultural Policies and Post-Conflict Reconstruction

Uwimana Basaninyenzi's picture

Are post-conflict societies that foster, promote, and develop their cultural industries providing important reconciliation benefits to their communities? If so, should governments make cultural policy a vital part of their post-conflict reconstruction plans?

After the traumatic experience of war, a number of policymakers may consider health, security, food, and shelter as the highest priorities without much consideration for culture. However, what many leaders in post-conflict zones often forget is that a conflicted, divided, and wounded population often compromises real prospects for peace and stability. Consequently, I argue that policies that encourage the development and growth of the cultural industries should be a critical part of post-conflict reconciliation efforts.

Tools of the Trade: Beyond mean decompositions (with an application to the gender wage gap in China)

Jed Friedman's picture

Suppose you were investigating the observed wage gap in urban China, where men are paid approximately 30% more than women. The first thing you would like to know is whether the higher wages paid to men are a result of the greater average years of schooling and years in the labor force that men have or whether, instead, men are paid more even after accounting for education and experience. If the latter situation is the case then the difference in wages may at least in part be due to labor market discrimination.

To make sense of Egypt you need first-aid kits, fire extinguishers, and pressure washers

Khaled Sherif's picture
In 1989, I remember reading in Al Akhbar, a prominent government newspaper, that all cars in Egypt were mandated by government to have first-aid kits and the police would be randomly stopping cars to check if drivers were in compliance.  No first-aid kit, you would pay a fine. I remember thinking this is crazy, but I bought the first-aid kit anyway.  So did eight million other people who had cars.  I recall going to a car parts store to buy my first-aid kit, and the salesman told me there was only one kit that was in compliance according to the requirements of this new law.  Could this get any more bizarre?

Wildlife Friendly Rice Captures Elite Market

Karen Wachtel Nielsen's picture

The Wildlife Conservation Society was awarded a DM grant in 2008 to pilot Cambodia's first market for payment for environmental services generated from agriculture using a "wildlife-friendly" branding and marketing strategy. Here is an update after 4 seasons.

Photo Credit: Karen Nielsen

In early 2009, when Ibis Rice first hit the dining tables of ten of Siem Reap’s elite and socially responsible hotels and restaurants, Le Meridien Angkor was amongst them. Going on the basis of a tasty sample and the willingness to aid conservation in Cambodia, these early supporters were vital to the fledgling enterprise. Today many have joined the ranks of Wildlife Friendly® establishments, both here and in Phnom Penh.

Spaceship city: drinking wastewater, and going back to the future

Sintana Vergara's picture

Seattle, WA

One of the marvels of the modern city is its ability to make waste disappear. Along with electricity, water, and the internet, sophisticated waste networks allow residents to discard or flush away any signs of urban consumption. But this may be changing. As cities increasingly face the prospect of droughts and uncertainty about future water availability due to climate change, a new source of water is now being explored that might prompt city residents to pay close attention to its origin and fate: their toilets.

Wastewater reuse – known as “reclaimed water” to proponents, and “toilet to tap” to critics – is used to augment supply in two prime water-scarce environments: spaceships and urban areas. Though resistance to wastewater reuse is mostly psychological, citizen’s disgust is balanced by three realities:

Live web chat - How can cities prepare for and manage floods?

Claudia Gabarain's picture

Copyright Gideon MendelFloods are the most frequent among all natural disasters. In 2010 alone, 178 million people globally were affected by floods. More than 90 % of the global population exposed to floods lives in Asia.

 

The East African ride to Middle Income

Wolfgang Fengler's picture

You have embarked on a long train ride in Africa. The train is in bad shape, the ride is bumpy and breakdowns frequent. You wonder when you will arrive at destination or if you ever will. But after a tortuous first half of the trip, the train is starting to gain speed. There are still a number of unnecessary stops but the destination is now in sight and passengers are becoming upbeat. Just as the train is about to enter the station you are overtaken by three trains, which had been accelerating even faster.

This train could be Kenya in East Africa’s race to Middle Income. The country remains the richest in East Africa and with almost US$800 income per capita is the closest to meeting the international Middle Income threshold of US$1000.  But its EAC partners Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania are catching up fast.

How Social Networks Improve Your Health

Maya Brahmam's picture

My neighbor, who is 44, just suffered a heart attack and underwent triple bypass surgery. His wife, with two young children, was understandably in a state of shock. We rallied around with home-cooked heart-healthy meals and helped with exercise. My family stepped up because we knew that our neighbors, without close relatives locally, could use our help and support.

So I felt a sense of connection when I read Mark Hyman’s recent article in the Huffington Post on how communities are often the best medicine for change.  He pointed out that the secret of an effective model for treating drug resistant TB and AIDS in Haiti lay not in new drugs or medical centers, but in the community. He notes, “Recruiting and training over 11,000 community health workers across the world…proved that the sickest, poorest patients with the most difficult to treat diseases in the world could be successfully treated. The community was the treatment…”

Tanzania: Building bridges through education and small businesses

Jacques Morisset's picture

Attracted by the prospects of large unexploited natural gas reserves in the south of Tanzania, big players are in town. The British Gas Group has publicly announced that it may invest over US$35 billion in the next 25 years – 1.5 times Tanzania’s current GDP. Policymakers and donors are jockeying to position themselves and understand what is at stake.

The excitement is well founded but perhaps a little bit premature. According to the most optimistic projections, revenues from natural gas will not materialize for 5-7 years. Moreover, international experience shows that commodity-driven growth does not guarantee success. The Tanzanian authorities are therefore right to prepare for the future by setting up the fiscal and financial rules required for future transparent and rational use of these funds now. They should not forget also to focus on the coming 5-7 years because the economy is facing a number of challenges.


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