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November 2012

Cities in the aftermath of great recession

Jean-Jacques Dethier's picture

Cities around the world face a serious fiscal crisis following the Great Recession of 2008. Five years later, the after-effects of this crisis continue to be felt and limit economic opportunities in cities.

Revenue of cities around the world—either generated by municipalities or derived from State transfers—have decreased sharply because of the economic slowdown, as did the fiscal value of real property. Some local governments also lost major assets that they invested in risk funds and banks that collapsed during the crisis. City expenditures—especially spending to address social needs—rose because of the slowdown in economic activity and the corresponding increases in unemployment and social welfare needs.  The decline in revenue and increase in expenditure led many cities to experience the worst “fiscal crunch” in decades. Financing capacities shrank owing to the difficulty in obtaining loans and the increase in the cost of money. Banks and bond issuers—the main financiers of cities—have been heavily impacted. The credit rating of cities was heavily impacted because of declines in the tax base, expenditure pressures and increasing debt. Foreign investment to finance infrastructure has declined; operations underway have been put on hold and many projects have either been cancelled or delayed.

Should we believe the hype about adolescent girls?

Markus Goldstein's picture

There aren't that many development initiatives I know that have their own slickly produced video, sponsored by a major corporation, let alone a parody. But the "girl effect," which makes the argument that investing in adolescent girls is a great thing, is one.  

South Asia Would Be Permanently Altered at 4 Degrees and Beyond

Charles Cormier's picture

Ferry point at river in southern Bangladesh. Stephan Bachenheimer/World Bank
For a number of years, a majority of South Asians have been painfully aware that climate change is real and, if left unfettered, has the potential to reverse the significant gains the region has made on poverty reduction and other Millennium Development Goals.

In 2009, the government of the Maldives held a Cabinet meeting underwater to remind the world that the country – which is on average 2.7 meters above sea level – will be completely wiped out if oceans rise.

Nepal’s government held a Cabinet meeting at the base of Mount Everest – at an altitude of 5,242 meters above sea level – to stress that 1.3 billion Asians depend on the seven major rivers with headwaters originating from the vulnerable Himalayan glaciers for their livelihoods.

Within Reach

Asma Lateef's picture

With 2015 fast approaching, many of us in the development community are paying close attention to how post-MDG plans are unfolding. At Bread for the World Institute, we are using the 2013 edition of our annual Hunger Report to share our thoughts about getting to 2015 and how we’d like to see the post-MDG agenda develop.

The 2013 Hunger Report, Within Reach – Global Development Goals, calls for a strong push, starting right now, to meet the MDG targets by 2015.

Fecal Matters: Developing the post-2015 sanitation agenda even as the MDGs remain unmet

Eddy Perez's picture

As the world marks World Toilet Day today, with just three years to 2015, there is a need to consider why the MDG targets on access to sanitation have not been met.

In May 2011, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) convened a consultation in Berlin, co-hosted by the German Government, to start a process of formulating proposals for the post-2015 goals, targets and corresponding indicators for water, sanitation and hygiene. The consultation reviewed the current global drinking-water and sanitation monitoring landscape, identified the strengths and weaknesses of the current MDG target and indicators, discussed the relevance of the principles underlying the human right to water and sanitation for consideration in future goals and targets, and reached agreement on a roadmap towards the formulation of a menu of options.  Technical working groups were established to deal with drinking-water, sanitation, hygiene and a fourth area, cutting across these three, on equity and non-discrimination. All working groups were asked to:

Africa's MICs

Wolfgang Fengler's picture

Hardly a week goes by without an African investors’ conference or growth summit. Portuguese professionals are looking for opportunities in Angola. Silicon Valley companies are coming to Kenya to learn about its homegrown ICT revolution. This is not an irrational fad. Since the turn of the century, Africa’s growth has been robust (averaging 5-6 percent GDP growth a year), making important contributions to poverty reduction. The current boom is underpinned by sound macro policies and political stability. Unlike in some rich countries, public debt levels in most of Africa are sustainable.

One way to track Africa’s progress is by charting the number of countries that have achieved “Middle Income status”.

Leveraging New Tools to Report Fraud and Corruption: The World Bank Launches its Integrity App

Stephen Zimmermann's picture

The World Bank has been making increasing use of Apps to make its information and data more accessible via mobile devices. The launch of the Integrity App expands the World Bank’s open data universe, and - perhaps even more excitingly - enables users to engage as 'citizen corruption fighters' to help protect the integrity of its projects, and ensure that development funds are used for their intended purposes.

So what does the new World Bank Integrity App do? It enables users to report concerns of fraud or corruption in Bank-financed projects. As with all such reports received, these are handled by the World Bank Integrity Vice Presidency, a specialized unit responsible for investigating and pursuing sanctions in cases of fraud and corruption in World Bank-financed projects.

Users of the Integrity App can identify projects (by name, country, sector or key word) and submit a confidential report of their concerns. Other features include attaching an image or recording the location of the complaint through the optional use of GPS. Users can also view the World Bank’s integrity policies.

Toilet Stories

Submitted on Mon, 11/19/2012 - 10:33

Toilets - everyone has a story to tell about these. The World Bank’s Europe and Central Asia online communications team reflects on global sanitation issues and their personal experiences on World Toilet Day.

Up to the Knees, Down to the Knees
John Mackedon (USA), Online Communications Officer

“Up to the knees – down to the knees.” Though nonsensical the first time I heard it, this mantra soon defined the five years I lived in the country, Georgia. Growing up in the United States had allowed me to remain ignorant of one of the most critical topics in the global health discourse: unsanitary toilets.  This ignorance soon turned to shock, dismay and finally, acceptance, as I mastered rolling up pants and perfected a mean squat.

With World Toilet Day upon us, I reflect on this transformation and my thoughts go out to anyone around the world who is denied access to such a fundamental need.  I think back on some of most unsavory locations I have encountered over the years and am acutely aware that even today, someone might consider that an unknown luxury. I hope there comes a day when “up to the knees – down to the knees” seems as unfamiliar to anyone in the developing world as it once did to me.


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