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May 2013

Three wishes for PISA for Development

Marguerite Clarke's picture

In the story of Aladdin, the hero finds a magic lamp, which, when rubbed, releases a genie who grants him his every wish. Not surprisingly, this soon gets him into trouble. Recent announcements by the OECD suggest that the genie is out of the lamp for international assessments of educational achievement, and like Aladdin, we should choose our wishes wisely.

Barbara Ischinger and Andreas Schleicher of the OECD recently came to the World Bank to discuss the OECD’s new initiative called PISA for Development. Most of us are already familiar with the OECD’s PISA exercise, which assesses the reading, mathematics, and science competencies of 15-year olds around the world. The aim of PISA for Development is to identify how PISA can best support evidence-based policy making in emerging and developing economies that, until now, have been unable or unwilling to participate in the main PISA survey. This will be done through the following adaptations to the PISA design:

Tobacco: An Exception to Global Development Trends?

Montserrat Meiro-Lorenzo's picture

 Wiki Commons
photo credit: photo courtesy Tomasz Sienicki/Wiki Commons

It is a truth universally acknowledged that … tobacco prematurely kills about half of those who use it. That amounts to 6 million people, or one of every ten deaths worldwide, each year.  This, in and of itself, may not make tobacco a global development issue.  However, the fact that tobacco use in most middle-income and low-income countries   runs against otherwise generally positive global development trends related to  poverty, hunger and most of the MDGs, should give us pause, particularly on World No Tobacco Day (May 31). 

The 3rd Summer Institute on Communication and Governance Kicks Off!

Shamiela Mir's picture

The 3rd Summer Institute kicked off on Tuesday, May 27 2013 with participants from over ten countries with diverse professional backgrounds, ranging from government, multilateral agencies and NGOs. Despite arriving from far away countries and some in the wee hours of the night, participants were fully engaged, ready to learn and contributed to lively discussions. 

The Summer Institute is being offered at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at University of Southern California in partnership with the Annenberg School for Communication at University of Pennsylvania, the World Bank Institute’s Leadership and Governance Practice, and the World Bank’s External Affairs Operational Communications. The course primarily targets advisers in the public sector, civil society, senior development professionals and seasoned communication specialists who want to expand their network and strengthen critical competencies to provide implementation support to change agents and reform leaders in developing countries.

MENA Social Safety Nets virtual community expands in Kuwait

Lillian Frost's picture
        World Bank

“This is the first time when I left a conference that I really felt like we were a family. Already people have sent emails to continue the discussions we had. Some of the participants have really valuable experience with social safety nets and there is a lot we can learn from each other.”

What if crossing the road was the last thing you did?

Verónica Raffo's picture

What do the former South African president and Nobel Prize winner Nelson Mandela and Uruguayan soccer star Diego Forlán have in common? Both of their families have experienced tragedies caused by unsafe roads and have turned their pain into a commitment to do something about it.

Three years ago, Zenani Mandela was hit by a drunk driver as she was returning home from the World Cup opening ceremony in South Africa.  Zenani was just 13 years old. Forlán’s sister ended up in a wheelchair after a serious car accident 20 years ago.

Government choice and donor competition - a catalyst for doing development differently?

Nick Manning's picture

The Aid Transparency Initiatives and the focus on the use of country systems, emphasized in the Paris Declaration, encourage donors to publish what they fund and to use existing country public financial management systems. However, this focus on the how of development assistance somewhat distracts from the what. The bigger question really is why donors and governments focus on those particular areas and why those donors are the right partners to begin with.

 

Public Participation in the Budget Process in the Republic of Korea

Young Kyu Kang's picture

A recently released Open Budget Survey conducted by the International Budget Partnership (IBP) ranked the Republic of Korea as the top performer in public participation in the budget process. With a score of 92, Korea rose to the top as the only country “that provides extensive opportunities for public participation” (IBP 2012). Of 100 countries surveyed, the average score for public participation in the budget process was 19 out of 100. IBP found that in many countries there are limited, if any, opportunities provided to the public for engagement in the budget process. So what is it about Korea that makes it an exception?

Why energy poverty may differ from income poverty

Shahid Khandker's picture

There is a continuing controversy over what constitutes energy poverty and whether it is synonymous with income poverty or lack of access to electricity.  Several approaches are used to define and measure energy poverty, taking into account both demand and supply of alternative energy sources, including biomass, LPG, and electricity.  But as yet, no consensus has emerged for measuring and monitoring energy poverty and explaining why and how it differs from income poverty.

Like income poverty, energy poverty may be defined by the minimum energy consumption needed to sustain lives.  But unlike income poverty—based on the concept of a poverty line defined by the minimum consumption of food and non-food items necessary to sustain a livelihood—energy poverty lacks a well-established energy poverty line to determine the minimum amount of energy needed for living.  Current indicators used by such organizations as the World Bank and the International Energy Agency (IEA) measure energy poverty indicators as outputs (e.g., lack of electricity connections) rather than outcomes (e.g., electricity consumption and associated welfare gains).

Make a Wish: Climate Change or Energy Poverty

Mats van Kleef's picture

Make a WishIf you could have just one wish, would you choose to solve climate change or energy poverty?

Resolving these two calamities is fundamental to the wellbeing of the planet and people. Climate change is caused mainly by the consumption of energy and the associated greenhouse gas emissions. Energy poverty is the lack of access to modern energy services. Helping 1.3 billion people access electricity and 2.6 billion people to have clean cooking facilities will greatly increase the world’s energy consumption and resulting GHG emissions. Spending money to mitigate climate change uses valuable resources that could more directly benefit the poor who have so little energy and such unhealthy cooking facilities. How do we address both energy poverty and climate change? This is as much an ethical dilemma as a technological challenge.

Can Islamic Finance spur Inclusive Growth & Sustainable Development?

Abayomi Alawode's picture


Islamic finance can connect millions around the globe to the economy (Credit: The Reboot, Flickr)

In the wake of the global financial and economic crisis, the need for a new development model which is more sustainable and also fosters inclusive growth has become more apparent. Could Islamic finance be the answer? Islamic finance promotes risk-sharing, connection to the real economy and emphasizes financial inclusion and social welfare.  Can these dimensions contribute to inclusive growth and sustainable development?

Islamic finance is based on two intrinsic features: risk-sharing and the link between financial transactions and the real economy. Because all financial contracts are backed by real sector assets and risk-sharing among partners, including financing institutions, Islamic financial instruments have relatively more stability than conventional instruments and tend to be more flexible against unanticipated shocks. This critical link brings prudence to the system, promotes equity relative to debt, broadens financial participation, and minimizes overall vulnerability.


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