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July 2016

Lights, camera, #ClimateAction!

Pabsy Pabalan's picture


“In a time when gods walked the earth, an epic battle rages between the encroaching civilization of man and the gods of the forest…” That’s the opening line of the official movie trailer for Princess Mononoke.

I’ve always been a fan of Studio Ghibli, but among their films, Princess Mononoke was one that inspired me most. If you don’t know the story, there’s a prince that gets involved in a war between mankind and gods. The fate of the world rests on a forest princess! Yes, there’s a fearless forest princess in this movie. With its strong plot, interesting characters and fantasy elements, it became one of the highest-grossing films in Japan. Sure enough, Mononoke led me to a path of believing in heroes and saving the world.

If I ask you what movie changed your life or inspired you to action, I’m guessing that you would tell me about a blockbuster, or maybe, a cause-related documentary. Stories speak to us differently and individually. The bigger question is, where can these stories take us?

Well-regulated financial technology boosts inclusion, fights cyber crime

Joaquim Levy's picture

Luceildes Fernandes Maciel is a beneficiary of the Bolsa Família program in Brazil. © Sergio Amaral/Ministério do Desenvolvimento Social e Agrário

Financial technology — or FinTech — is changing the financial sector on a global scale. It is also enabling the expansion of financial services to low-income families who have been unable to afford or access them. The possibilities and impact are vast, as is the potential to improve lives in developing countries.

The financial sector is beginning to operate differently; there are new ways to collect, process, and use information, which is the main currency in this sector. A completely new set of players is entering the business. All areas of finance — including payments and infrastructure, consumer and SME credit, and insurance — are thus changing.

Quote of the Week: Jürgen Habermas

Sina Odugbemi's picture
Jurgen Habermas"Today, however, the increasingly high-pitched appeal by politicians to "our values" sounds ever emptier – alone the confusion of "principles", which require some kind of justification, with "values", which are more or less attractive, irritates me beyond all measure. We can see our political institutions being robbed more and more of their democratic substance during the course of the technocratic adjustment to global market imperatives. Our capitalist democracies are about to shrink to mere façade democracies."

- Jürgen Habermas, a German sociologist and philosopher whose work focuses on the political domain and rationality. He is best known for his theories on communicative rationality and the public sphere.  Associated with the Frankfurt School, his work also focuses on the foundations of critical social theory, the analysis of advanced capitalistic societies and democracy, human freedom within modern society, the rule of law in a critical social-evolutionary context, and contemporary politics-- particularly German politics. 

Chart: Protected Land Area Has Nearly Doubled Since 1990

Tariq Khokhar's picture

Land protection laws are an important conservation strategy that help to preserve natural habitats and biodiversity. Globally, the share of the world's land under protection has doubled since 1990, and Latin America has the most land within protected areas of any region of the world. Read more.
 

Politics and Governance: calling for evaluation of “atypical” interventions: Guest Blog by Stuti Khemani

A “meta” problem facing not only impact evaluation work but all development policy dialogue is perverse behavior in the public sector to not pursue evidence-based, technically sound policies. Politics and governance come between statistically significant research results and real impact in the world. We confront these problems in a policy research report that has been described as having transformational implications for the business of international development assistance. And we derive implications for a research agenda that involves atypical impact evaluations that would complement work on how to fix the pipes with work on how to fix the institutions that would fix the pipes.

What is the business community recommending to the G20's leaders on SME development?

This blog post was originally published on the website of the World SME Forum, at  http://worldsmeforum.org/blog/what-is-the-business-community-recommendin...

This coming September, the G20 Leaders will meet in Hangzhou, China, at a time of increasing volatility in global markets and political uncertainty. Across G20 economies and beyond, there is a pressing need to unlock growth, investment and jobs. Unlocking the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) provides one of the best opportunities to achieve all of that.


In most countries, SMEs of all sizes contribute more than 50 percent of GDP and three quarters of formal employment. They are important for social stability, innovation, equitable growth and poverty alleviation, and they form the backbone of the working middle class.

However, SME development has historically been constrained by a lack of access to markets, critical resources such as finance and skills, and a complex set of regulations and standards.

In the last few years, G20 governments have made SME development a priority. This has been strongly encouraged by the Business 20 (B20), the premier dialogue platform of the business community with the G20 policymakers representing the most important economies of the world.

The 2016 China B20 SME Development Taskforce (“SME Taskforce”) builds on the work of the 2015 Turkey B20. Established under the Chair of Mr Jack Ma, Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group, with Accenture as Knowledge Partner and the World SME Forum as Network Partner, more than 100 senior executives from SME businesses, entrepreneurs and business associations contributed to the Taskforce.

Chart: Nepal’s Exports Struggle Amidst Outdated Trade and Investment Policies

Erin Scronce's picture

Nepal is a country full of untapped potential, but several obstacles stand in its way of becoming a more modern and globally connected economy. Outdated trade and investment policies hurt exporters especially and make it difficult for them to reach markets in developed countries. A new World Bank Group report takes stock of current participation in global markets and makes recommendations on how the country can increase trade integration and boost its economy.

Read more in this feature story and report, and learn more about improving trade in Nepal in this video.

Weekly Links, July 15 -- U.S. Edition: what does police bias have to do with colliders, questions on POTUS publishing in JAMA.

Berk Ozler's picture
  • What’s JAMA’s new impact factor now that POTUS has published a paper there? As you probably heard, Mr. Obama published a paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association this week, describing the progress to date of the US Health Care Reform and outlining the next steps. I have so many questions: was the review process (if there was one) double blind? Was he first rejected from NEJM? Was there a revise and resubmit? Was Obama totally nice to that rude referee #2, so that his paper could get published without further hassle? If you’re a handling editor or a referee, we want to hear from you (anonymously or not)...

Advancing a 21st century skills agenda for today's youth

Matt Hobson's picture
Also available in: Español


On World Youth Skills Day, we acknowledge the millions of young people that are falling in between the cracks because of a “skills gap” – a mismatch on the skills that they have acquired and the skills demanded by today’s employers.


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