· Haba na haba has a very interesting discussion on the role and ethics of deception in experiments (and an experiment in South Africa which involved deceiving politicians).
I enjoyed talking with everyone who signed into the live chat this week. If you missed it, you can catch up with the conversation at World Bank Live.
We talked a lot about the importance of moving beyond GDP to a more holistic way of measuring development that incorporates the value of natural resources. We also discussed inclusive green growth as the path to sustainable development, the need for better oceans management, expectations for Rio +20 – the UN Conference on Sustainable Development – and what people want to see in any sustainable development goals (SDGs) that emerge from the conference.
The hour flew by, and there were several questions that I didn’t have time to get to. I’d like to address some of those now.
- The World Region
- South Asia
- Middle East and North Africa
- Latin America & Caribbean
- Europe and Central Asia
- East Asia and Pacific
- Urban Development
- Social Development
- Science and Technology Development
- Public Sector and Governance
- Private Sector Development
- Culture and Development
- Agriculture and Rural Development
- Sustainable Development
- Natural Capital Accounting
It’s environment week, kind of. Tuesday was World Environment Day and tomorrow is World Oceans Day. Both days were institutionalized through United Nations resolutions to draw attention to the environment and the threats it is exposed to. For communicators in development, climate change is one of the most relevant issues. Communication scholars also have thought a lot about how to effectively communicate climate change. I am not quite sure, however, whether the two sides are working together. Let me therefore discuss how framing can influence our understanding and acceptance of climate change.
Matthew Nisbet from American University has written an interesting article on “Communicating Climate Change: Why Frames Matter for Public Engagement”. He argues that the enormous divide between the factual reality of climate change and citizens’ perception is partly due to the way interest groups have been framing the issue. He identifies a number of frames that are being used in the public discussion (p. 18):
In development circles, people talk about “countries that are too big to fail and too small to succeed”. The jury may be out on the former but a new book by Shahid Yusuf and Kaoru Nabeshima, “Some Small Countries Do It Better” dispels the notion that countries can be too small to succeed.
Three small countries studied in the book - SIFIRE (SIngapore, FInland, IREland) – not only grew at high rates but were able to sustain them.
The book – which concludes with a section on implications for African countries – contends that growth recipes for SIFIRE were not tightly bound to the East Asian model of extremely high rates of savings and investment (although arguably, Singapore was in many ways the epitome of that model, thanks to its mandatory savings scheme which led to gross national savings in the neighborhood of 50 percent for decades).
The larger point is that these three countries augmented physical investment with healthy doses human capital and knowledge; by “opening their windows and letting it [knowledge in various forms, for example, that embodied in FDI] stream in”. And even though the book does not explicitly discuss it, they did so without massive infusions of foreign aid. Or perhaps it was the lack of aid that forced them to be nimble, agile, and forward-looking?
What precisely did SIFIRE get right?
While the world’s population doubled in the last fifty years, global food production trebled – especially in the staple grains that form the mainstay of the poor man’s diet. Yet, over a billion people in the world still go hungry - why?
As the World Bank’s Global Monitoring Report of 2012 shows, it is not that the world as a whole lacks rice, wheat or maize, but produce from food abundant areas does not always make it to food deficit ones – i.e. it is not so much the availability of food that matters as access to it.
Movement of food within a country or across its borders remains hampered by dismal infrastructure and inefficient regulations, and shackled to the dictates of political economy. Yet, trading food can feed the poor at lower costs and help countries weather shocks to local production.
These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.
"Nations in Transit is Freedom House’s comprehensive, comparative study of democratic development in 29 countries from Central Europe to Eurasia.
Findings in Nations in Transit 2012 suggest that the countries that have achieved the greatest democratic success since the Cold War’s end are now displaying serious vulnerabilities in their young democratic systems. Over the past five years, stagnation and backsliding is evident in key governance indicators across the new EU member states and countries of the Balkans. Hungary, a powerful example of this trend, continued on a negative trajectory that was propelled by the current government’s drive to concentrate power. Ukraine’s scores similarly continued to worsen, with declines in five of the seven Nations in Transit categories, as authorities undertook a broad assault on institutional accountability and transparency. Difficult economic conditions and harsh austerity measures posed challenges to democratic development in the region. In the Balkans, critical reforms stalled in nearly all countries in 2011." READ MORE
"The current state of media freedom in Latin America was driven home in early May, when three journalists were murdered in Mexico within a week of World Press Freedom Day. This dramatic example underscores a larger trend identified by Freedom House in the recently released Freedom of the Press 2012 report, which noted that a range of negative developments over the past decade have left media freedom on the defensive in much of Central and South America." READ MORE
Private sector participation provides a promising solution to sustainable management and financing of water services, but we must bear in mind that a true PPP is all about the last P, partnership. At the Training Day preceding the PPP conference here in Dakar, Jane Jamieson said that PPP is not a date, it’s a marriage – you have to wake up next to it for the next 15-20 years (or 5 years or less for those management or lease/affermage contracts in countries such as Benin, Uganda, and Mozambique). So how do we make sure that it is indeed a true partnership?