Syndicate content


Panama: plan, prepare, mitigate – key actions for disaster prevention

Jeannette Fernandez's picture

Tiny homes made of non-reinforced concrete blocks, without columns in the corners or ties where the walls and roof and the walls and foundation meet. These are dwellings that can collapse like a deck of cards in the event of an earthquake. Photo: World Bank.

I have lived in Panama City for nearly two years and there are two things that still capture my attention: the traffic that gets worse by the day due to the more than 36,000 new vehicles on the road every year and the pace of construction.
The number of new buildings popping up in the city daily is amazing.

Huge, luxurious, expensive buildings in fashionable areas, but also housing projects promoted by the national government and a large supply of houses for the Panamanian middle class responsible for the private sector.

Latin America: Should this Earth Day be different from others?

Karin Erika Kemper's picture

También disponible en español e português

It’s tempting to think that this is just another Earth Day – after all, it has been celebrated since 1970. But perhaps this year should be different, at least in Latin America and the Caribbean.

This year marks the third year of drought for Northeast Brazil - still affecting some 10 million people, according to recent reports; a year when Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro suffered torrential rains and floods, impacting hundreds of thousands of people in these large metropolitan areas.

Salt, health's silent enemy

Sumito Estévez's picture

También disponible en español

Também disponível em português


This year, World Health Day focuses on hypertension. Specialists report a clear link between excessive salt consumption and high blood pressure. In this blog, Venezuelan chef Sumito Estévez explains how the use of salt in our cooking has changed. He also shares some ideas for reducing salt consumption and reminds us that governments are also responsible for taking measures to decrease consumption.

Coq Au Vin (Chicken in red wine) is a delicious traditional French dish. Those who have had the privilege of preparing this slow-cooked recipe know that once the sauce has thickened, practically no extra salt is needed.

Colombia: the cup of coffee that changed the life of a whole community

Willem Janssen's picture

También disponible en español

Last Friday was International Women’s Day, but before adding to the general celebratory messages in cyberspace, I would like to tell you about a specific case that truly deserves to be celebrated.

If you are reading this blog while drinking coffee or after a coffee break, this story has to do with you.

Latin America 4 degrees warmer? Not cool!

Erick Fernandes's picture

También disponible en español y portugués

So you may be wondering if those scenes from the movie 2012 are not too much of a stretch after all, huh?

In the Hollywood blockbuster, apocalyptic images of rising oceans, erupting volcanoes and crumbling cities prelude the end of the world as we know it. Well, let me tell you that even though I’m not a great fan of end-of-days films –I think they oversimplify issues and de-sensitize the public-- I do believe that the world as we know it is on a path to dangerous climate change

Growing the middle class

Francisco Ferreira's picture

También disponible en español

Shoppers in Chile

Since the Great Recession of 2008, there has been a widespread sense of malaise among the American middle class. Their incomes are close to stagnant, employment has not recovered, and the gap between them and the famously rich top 1% continues to grow. Look south of the Rio Grande, though, and it is quite a different picture. In the last decade, moderate poverty (under U$ 4 a day) in Latin America and the Caribbean fell from over 40% to 28%.

Cost-Effective Conservation

Rachel Kyte's picture

También disponible en español

The success of the Amazon Region Protected Areas Program (ARPA) drew a crowd here in Hyderabad at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity meeting. This effort by the government of Brazil – supported by the World Bank, the Global Environment Facility, WWF, and the German Development Bank (KfW) – is protecting almost 60 million hectares of rainforest, an area roughly the size of France and Belgium combined.

Speakers from the governments of Brazil and Germany, as well as from the GEF and foundations, all agreed that ARPA’s results are impressive: Between 2004 and 2006, ARPA accounted for 37 percent of Brazil’s substantial decrease in deforestation, and the program’s first 13 new protected areas will save more than 430 million tons of CO2 emissions through 2050.

The struggle for survival for Caribbean cleantech SMEs

Eleanor Ereira's picture

They had to do something different, something memorable, which would make people realize just how tough it is for small businesses in the Caribbean to survive, “So we held a funeral”. Rosalea Hamilton, the President of the Jamaica-based MSME Alliance explained that they staged a funeral to mourn for the death of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Jamaica. The objective was to draw attention to a petition presented to the Prime Minister on ways to support the sector. As the poster for the event underscored, if nothing changed to help Caribbean entrepreneurs, their ventures were as good as dead.Life isn't a beach for cleantech SMEs in the Caribbean, which face high energy costs, lack of financing and other challenges. (Credit: Clive Gutteridge, Flickr Creative Commons)

According to Rosalea, one of the top challenges facing businesses in Jamaica is the cripplingly high electricity costs, which can account for 25% of a business’s expenses. Jamaica, along with many other Caribbean countries, is highly dependent on foreign oil. This is in spite of numerous domestic natural resources that could be used to move away from fossil fuels, such as solar, wind, and geothermal energy, biofuels such as bagasse, and waste-to-energy systems. Given the high energy prices, start-ups developing alternative energy solutions should thrive in the Caribbean. But ask regional cleantech entrepreneurs, and a different story emerges.

Central America: learning how to create better jobs

Ana María Oviedo's picture

También disponible en español

Trabajo informal en Centroamerica


The global events of the last few years, beginning with the 2008 financial crisis, have revived the debate around job creation as a key element for economic recovery.


In Central America, the global financial crisis had a significant effect on production and employment, and even though the region has recovered, the debate regarding how to create better jobs is still going strong.


Doubling down on early childhood development in Latin America and the Caribbean

Keith Hansen's picture

También disponible en Español

Centro Aeiotú, Bogotá. / Foto: Yanina Budkin

Two years after the World Bank joined forces with Shakira and ALAS to create the Early Childhood Initiative, a happy second birthday for the program will mean millions of happier birthdays for children throughout the region.

About 5 million children and their mothers are already enjoying the benefits of this initiative which has seen investments of $400 million—more than double what we expected by this stage, and $100 million more than the total forecast for the program overall.

Follow the conversation on Facebook.