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March 2012

Can the Bank and CSOs Bridge the Trust Gap?

John Garrison's picture

This was a question asked by numerous participants during a consultation meeting held in Washington on February 29 on the Bank’s proposed Global Partnership for Enhanced Social Accountability (GPESA).  They noted that this lack of trust comes from a longstanding view that the Bank tends to favor governments in detriment of the broader society in many developing countries.  Others noted that the lack of trust comes from the perception that the Bank is not accessible and does not effectively engage civil society in some countries. This contrasts with the view, expressed by several participants, that the Bank has made important strides in opening up and reaching out to civil society at headquarters over the past decade and that this positive momentum should guide GPESA implementation.

Gasoline and Other Fossil Fuel Taxes: Why Are They Not Used?

Jon Strand's picture

When I moved from Norway to Washington with my family almost seven years ago, I went from paying more than $8 per gallon for gasoline in Oslo, to around $3 per gallon in the U.S. Our house is close to a bus stop for getting to the Metro, but the bus service is unreliable.  Here is a first-hand illustration of how the price of gasoline affects people’s behavior.  It is inexpensive to drive, so relatively few people are strongly dependent on bus service; with limited ridership there is less call for more reliable bus service and less money available to provide it.  Where it is more expensive to drive, there is greater demand for higher-quality service and lower demand for more fuel-intensive cars.  And fewer people want to live far away from their jobs or schools, or in very large dwellings that are costly to heat and cool.  Our work in energy and environmental economics confirms how economically sound energy pricing is crucial for inducing more efficient behavior.

From Oklahoma City to Kabul

Rana Amirtahmasebi's picture

It’s not often that the Mayor of Kabul visits Washington DC. So when Mohammad Younis Nawandish was invited to participate in a panel discussion on green growth as part of The World Bank’s Urban Sector Day, you can only imagine the clamor for seats in the auditorium. And Mayor Nawandish did not disappoint; neither did fellow panelist Mick Cornett, Mayor of Oklahoma City.

“Rome was not built in one day, but Oklahoma City was,” Mayor Cornett had declared in his earlier keynote address. As the result of a Land Run in 1889, Oklahoma City’s population went from zero to 10,000 within 24 hours. “And our City Planning Department is still paying for it,” the Mayor jokingly added.

Welcome to The Water Blog

Christopher Walsh's picture

Water is at the crux of several development challenges, from health impacts related to poor sanitation and drinking water, to food and energy shortages caused by poor water management. We’ve also heard leaders such as US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton describe water as a means for peace.

And investments in water are working. Last week, UNICEF and WHO announced that over 2 billion people gained access to safe drinking water between 1990 and 2010, meeting the Millennium Development Goal for increased access to water three years ahead of target. During this same timeframe, 1.8 billion people gained access to improved sanitation. 

Hybrid Courts in East Asia & Pacific: Does the international community have a role to play?

Peter Chapman's picture

In my previous entry, I asked what role the World Bank and other donors might be able to play in exploring whether hybrid courts might help enhance access to justice. I believe there are three key areas where we in the international community might be able to support country discussions of whether and how to incorporate community justice systems through hybrid courts.

Ignore the Political Economy at your own Peril

Rebecca Post's picture

Imagine a conversation. “So, your company is expanding its operations in country x, but I hear there is a lot of frustration among young people about unemployment. Are you worried about the possibility of political upheaval?” And the investor responds, “We’re not very worried about any instability. The current government has been in power for decades and we’re very well connected, so if there are any problems, we’ll be protected.” Without naming names, we can think about how this approach to risk management may have failed investors as of late, but such reversals of fortune predate the days of Twitter and Facebook – take the fall of the Suharto regime in Indonesia. At MIGA’s recent discussion titled “Best Laid Plans? How Ignoring Political Economy Affects Development Outcomes and Increases Risk", this attitude toward risk was aptly labeled “risk myopia.”

Arab voices loud and clear

Dale Lautenbach's picture
It’s so uplifting to walk into a room that’s crackling with energy. I was a little late for the opening session in Rabat today for a workshop focused on Supporting Citizen-State Engagement in the Arab World. That’s ok, I thought, forgiving myself a little too easily, it’ll take a bit of time to warm up. How wrong I was: some 90 people in the room from seven different countries across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) – Egyptian, Jordanian, Lebanese, Moroccan, Tunisian, Palestinian and Yemeni teams. The debate was whipping around with everyone pitching in about whether this workshop should be open and transparent.