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May 2015

Nepal earthquake – one week in

Johannes Zutt's picture
 One week in
House of Rabindra Maharjan, contract driver (with blue-framed doors and windows)

It has been one week since a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, its epicenter 75 km northwest of Kathmandu, and the toll is only beginning to be counted.

As the number of dead rose, to more than 6,000 today, early reports of the destruction inevitably focused on search-and-rescue efforts in the easily-accessible Kathmandu valley, the deadly avalanche at Everest’s base camp, and the collapse of many of the historic Hindu temples in the palace squares of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur.

Stunned by the original quake and the long line of aftershocks—some as large as 6.5 or 6.8 in magnitude—most Nepalis in the first days focused on their immediate needs:  connecting with their families, mourning the dead, getting medical treatment for the injured, setting up camp outside of their homes, and laying aside key supplies for the coming days and weeks.

Overnight the Kathmandu valley was interspersed with IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camps, as people pitched tents and built tarpaulin lean-tos in their yards, in public parks, on traffic roundabouts, on sidewalks and plazas, and even on the streets--too frightened to return to their homes as the aftershocks continue to rumble through. For a week they have hunkered down on a bit of grass or pavement, under tarps and blankets, in cold rainy nights made darker by the loss of electricity. For many, it was misery.

Friday round up: Kaushik Basu lecture, ABCDE registration, Nepal and remittances post-quake, patent problems, world happiness

LTD Editors's picture
Kaushik Basu delivered the keynote address at a panel discussion in Ithaca, NY titled "Cornell and Global Poverty Reduction: Philanthropy, Policy and Scholarship".
 
Registration for the 2015 Annual Bank Conference on Development Economics has opened.  The conference takes place Jun 15-16 in Mexico City.
 

Highlighting a free resource for PPP project development

Mark Moseley's picture
Public-private partnership (PPPs) transactions tend to be complex. Both the legal frameworks that enable sustainable PPPs projects, and the contractual arrangements underlying those projects, are different from those used in traditional government transactions.
 
Recognizing this complexity and uniqueness, almost a decade ago, the World Bank Group developed a unique platform – the PPP in Infrastructure Resource Center (PPPIRC) – as a knowledge product for use by governments and other parties interested in PPP transactions in developing economies.
 
Since 2006, PPPIRC has been providing practical guidance on legal, regulatory and contractual issues for infrastructure projects involving PPPs. PPPIRC receives financial and other support from the World Bank Group, the African Legal Support Facility of the African Development Bank, the Multilateral Investment Fund of the Inter-American Development Bank, the Public-Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility trust fund, and other donors.

Access to this helpful data is at your fingertips. The PPPIRC website (www.worldbank.org/pppirc) provides practical guidance and examples of good practice, in the form of sample project agreements, laws, regulatory instruments, checklists, risk matrices and consultant terms of reference. The materials on the site are collected by PPPIRC’s core team of lawyers and infrastructure specialists, with a focus on developed and developing economies. Documentation is provided in a number of languages, including French, Mandarin, Portuguese and Spanish.

Global Daily: U.S. manufacturing growth remains unchanged in April

Global Macroeconomics Team's picture
Financial Markets

U.S. Treasuries prices fell on Friday, extending an April slump, as a sell-off in European government bonds continued to diminish investor appetite for relatively higher U.S. yields. The Treasury 10-year note yield climbed 7 basis points to 2.10% after touching a seven-week high of 2.121% earlier. Investors cut their holdings of U.S. government debt in April, as hefty debt supply and growing optimism about Europe reduced safe-haven appeal of U.S. Treasuries, German bunds, and British gilts.

Cleaning the planet, one web application at a time

Annika Ostman's picture

When you think about clean technology, images of wind turbines, solar panels and electric cars most likely come to mind. You probably don’t connect it with things like mobile applications, Big Data, remote sensing and cloud computing. Yet, at a very low cost, these web and mobile functions are driving ground-breaking solutions that help us make more efficient use of resources and, as a result, lower our collective carbon footprint.

In the technology world, this green growth model is called Cleanweb.

Cleanweb solutions have been spurred by pioneering business models and recent advances in information and communications technologies (ICTs). A new paper by the World Bank explains how these solutions are already disrupting high-cost Cleantech financial models and enabling smarter, more efficient use of resources in everything from our homes and cars, to factories and farms.

One of the best and most well-known examples of Cleanweb is Airbnb. The lodging website challenges the traditional hotel business model by giving homeowners the opportunity to share their accommodation with travelers at a low cost. According to their own studies, home sharing not only cuts costs but also promotes more efficient use of resources. For example, when compared to hotel stays in the European Union, Airbnb properties consume 78 percent less energy, 48 percent less water and produce 89 percent less Green House Gases (GHG) per guest night.

Europe and North America have been early adopters and developers of Cleanweb applications, but their potential benefit for emerging and developing markets is immense. Thanks to low startup costs and small risk to investors, Cleanweb can offer even bigger benefits in terms of private sector development and job creation, where capital and investor appetite may be low. New forms of capital formation such as crowdfunding are also helping catalyze existing efforts to create entrepreneurial cultures and ecosystems in developing markets, as outlined by an infoDev report last year called “Crowdfunding’s Potential for the Developing World”.

Weekly Links May 1: Trends in Impact Evaluation, JHR Symposium on Empirical Methods, Superstar Inventors and more...

David McKenzie's picture
  • The Growth Economics blog hits hard with “there’s more to life to manufacturing”, among other things, making the point that even the way we code industries and occupations is heavily biased towards manufacturing and misses most of the action taking part in services growth.

Blog post of the month: Mapping Nepal after the earthquake

Roxanne Bauer's picture

Each month People, Spaces, Deliberation shares the blog post that generated the most interest and discussion. In April 2015, the featured blog post is "Media (R)evolutions: Mapping Nepal after the earthquake".

On April 25, 2015, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, rattling the country and affecting 8 million people across 39 districts, with a quarter of those in the worst affected areas. More than 5,000 people have been confirmed dead so far.

Relief agencies are now in the country, providing supplies, administering medical treatment, and searching for survivors. In an effort to support disaster responders, teams of volunteers around the world are scouring through thousands of high-resolution satellite images to provide those on the ground with as much information as possible so they can do their jobs most effectively.

Many of these so-called “crisis mappers” are untrained volunteers who compare before and after images of the affected areas to tag buildings that have collapsed, roads that are blocked, and areas of heavy debris. This provides crucial information to disaster response teams on the ground.

The people of Nepal have also been utilizing other tools to locate missing family and friends, identify themselves as safe, and find rescue and gathering places where help can be obtained.

Here are a few of the initiatives underway:Nepal Earthquake: Before And After In Kathmandu

It’s Heating Up: Industry Needs Climate-Friendly Policies to Keep Cool and Competitive

Etienne Kechichian's picture


Emiko Kashiwagi / Flickr

Industries account for nearly one-third of direct and indirect global greenhouse-gas emissions, and they will be playing an increasingly important role in achieving the global targets expected to be set at the international climate summit in Paris in December. For example, the cement (5 percent), chemicals (7 percent) and iron and steel (7 percent) sectors account for nearly one-fifth of all global greenhouse-gas emissions, and those sectors have significant potential to reduce those emissions.
 
Tackling climate change by focusing on industries has long been a contentious issue. Some industries claim that regulation will impede economic growth by imposing additional burdens on competitive sectors. In some cases, they have an argument; but, if it is designed well and adapted to the context, a smart and timely intervention can influence a socially and economically positive systemic change.
 
Many businesses themselves, by pursuing cost-effective, long-term, environmentally sustainable production, long ago realized that “going green” can be highly advantageous, and they have been taking a pro-active approach toward addressing the issue precisely because it makes business sense. One group of global business leaders – including Unilever, Holcim, Virgin Group and others – have taken their commitment further by encouraging governments to lend their support for net-zero emissions strategies by 2050.
 
Even in developing countries, companies like Intel are investing millions of dollars in energy efficiency to save on current and future energy costs. The company has already saved $111 million since 2008 as a result of $59 million worth of sustainability investments in 1,500 projects worldwide.
 
  

Source: New Climate Economy 2014; World Bank World Development Indicators 

The sentiment that climate action by both the private sector and the public sector is urgent was also an important theme highlighted by World Bank Group President Jim Kim during January's World Economic Forum conference in Davos. Mitigation measures, such as energy-efficiency policies, have long been seen as a way to improve profits and manage risks. The logic for energy efficiency, a key set of abatement actions by the manufacturing sector, is there.
 
The recent New Climate Economy initiative, produced by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, estimates that at least 50 percent – and, with broad and ambitious implementation, potentially up to 90 percent – of the actions needed to get onto a pathway that keeps warming from exceeding 2°C could be compatible with the goal of ensuring the competitiveness of industries.


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