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Next time it could be you: Why we should all care about International School Meals Day

Donald Bundy's picture

Two days before the world observes International School Meals Day, I’m here sitting in the U.K. Houses of Parliament thinking about the unexpected evolution of school meals programs in recent years.
 

Look Who Has a Megaphone!

Roxanne Bauer's picture

In an interview on TN TV Channel, Argentina in November 2013 Pope Francis said that, “Today we are living in an unjust international system in which ‘King Money’ is at the center.” He continued, “It is a throwaway culture that discards young people as well as its older people. In some European countries, without mentioning names, there is youth unemployment of 40 percent and higher.”

It seems Pope Francis has heard the rallying calls from youth around the world.

In 2010, youth in Mozambique staged protests in Maputo and Matola against rising food prices.

The ‘Geração à Rasca’ (Scraping-by Generation) of Portugal took to the streets in March 2011 as a spontaneous Facebook event to call attention to underemployment, lack of social protection, and unemployment that many experience.

Youth protests flared in Sao Paulo, Brazil in June and September of 2013 in reaction to high unemployment, low-paying jobs, inflation, and the high cost of living in big cities.

And just a month ago, around 2,000 unemployed Moroccans marched through their capital in January 2014 to demand jobs, a particularly thorny problem for university graduates.

The more famous protests of Arab Spring, the Occupy Movement and the Gezi Park protests in Turkey were also spurred, in part, by young people.

Are Super Farms the Solution to the World’s Food Insecurity Challenge? Ten Questions You Need to Ask Yourself

José Cuesta's picture

Join me in a Twitter Chat on why global food prices remain high on Dec. 4 at 10 a.m. ET/15:00 GMT. I'll be tweeting from @worldbanklive with hashtag #foodpriceschat. Ask questions beforehand with hashtag #foodpriceschat. Looking forward to seeing you on Twitter.


Agriculture workers on a strawberry farm in Argentina. © Nahuel Berger/World Bank

Today there are 842 million who are hungry. As the global population approaches 9 billion by 2050, demand for food will keep increasing, requiring sustained improvement in agricultural productivity. Where will these productivity increases come from? For decades, small-scale family farming was widely thought to be more productive and more efficient in reducing poverty than large-scale farming. But now advocates of large-scale agriculture point to its advantages in leveraging huge investments and innovative technologies as well as its enormous export potential. Critics, however, highlight serious environmental, animal welfare, social and economic concerns, especially in the context of fragile institutions. The often outrageous conditions and devastating social impacts that “land grabs” bring about are well known, particularly in severely food-insecure countries.

So, is large-scale farming—particularly the popularly known “super farms”—the solution to food demand challenges? Or is it an obstacle? Here are the 10 key questions you need to ask yourself to better understand this issue. I have tried to address them in the latest issue of Food Price Watch.

Youth Video Contest Winners Offer Solutions to Poverty

Liviane Urquiza's picture

Youth Video Contest Winners Offer Solutions to Poverty

When you are young and still in school, it’s hard to think of ways you can change people’s thinking at the global level. But sometimes, all you need is a video camera and Internet access.

Today, the winners of the European Development Days video contest “Young voices against poverty,” are being recognized for their contributions to the dialogue on global poverty.

Can Young People Make Government More Accountable?

Ravi Kumar's picture
Video: Opening Governments, Boosting Shared Prosperity
On a rainy Friday morning during the first week of this month, a young woman got on the stage of the auditorium in Queen Elizabeth Conference Center in Central London to talk about open government.
 
Even though it was windy and dark outside, Vivien Suerte-Cortez was smiling and full of energy on the stage. Suerte-Cortez is an accountability and transparency expert from the Philippines. Dressed in her gray jacket, she started to talk about Citizen Participatory Audit (CPA), a project in the Philippines that encourages citizens to participate in the audit process for government projects and explores how to ensure efficient use of public resources by the government.

Big educational laptop and tablet projects -- Ten countries to learn from

Michael Trucano's picture

tablets loom increasingly large on the horizon in many places[also available in Thai]

Recent headlines from places as diverse as Kenya ("6,000 primary schools picked for free laptop project") and California ("Los Angeles plans to give 640,000 students free iPads") are just two announcements  among many which highlight the increasing speed and scale by which portable computing devices (laptops, tablets) are being rolled out in school systems all over the world. Based on costs alone -- and the costs can be very large! -- such headlines suggest that discussions of technology use in schools are starting to become much more central to educational policies and planning processes in scores of countries, rich and poor, across all continents.

Are these sorts of projects good ideas? It depends. The devil is often in the details (and the cost-benefit analysis), I find. Whether or not they are good ideas, there is no denying that they are occurring, for better and/or for worse, in greater frequency, and in greater amounts. More practically, then:

What do we know about what works,
and what doesn't (and how?, and why?)
when planning for and implementing such projects,
what the related costs and benefits might be,
and where might we look as we try to find answers to such questions?

Prospects Daily: US oil prices at par with global crude prices, European government debt at historic high, Brazil industrial confidence weakens further

Financial and Commodity Markets…US oil prices have reached parity with the global crude benchmark Brent for the first time in almost three years. WTI, the US benchmark, whose September contract reached the same level as September Brent, was last at parity with the North Sea contract in October 2010. WTI has traded at a discount to Brent over the past few years as a surge in US oil production – due to the shale boom – led to a glut at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for the US benchmark.

Prospects Daily: Developing-country equities, bonds and currencies improve, Eurozone housing correction continues, Brazil raises interest rates

Financial MarketsItalian and Spanish government bonds fell on Thursday, with the benchmark 10-year yields climbing 7 basis points to 4.52% and 8 bps to 4.89% respectively, amid speculation that both countries are likely to struggle to find eager investors for their new debt auctions this year as the economic outlook for the nations deteriorates. The rate on similar-maturity Portuguese bonds also increased 12 bps to 6.89%.

Prospects Daily: Italy credit rating cut, Greek IP momentum builds, China exports and imports fall

Financial MarketsItaly’s sovereign credit rating was cut to ‘BBB’ from ‘BBB+’ by Standard and Poor’s due to a weakening of the country’s economic prospects and financial system. S&P also said in a statement the outlook on the rating, two levels above junk status, remains negative. Italy’s benchmark 10-year yield rose 5 basis points to 4.45%, the most since July 3.

Prospects Daily: Portuguese bonds tumble...Eurozone PMIs signal easing downturn…China PMI indicates contraction

Financial MarketsPortuguese government bonds tumbled on Wednesday, with the benchmark 10-year yield jumping as much as 139 basis points to an eight month high of 8.11% in morning trading, after two ministers resigned from the coalition government, putting at risk the country’s attempts to implement austerity measures to meet the terms of its bailout program. The cost of insuring Portugal’s bonds against default also surged to the highest level in eight months, rising as much as 105 bps to 507 bps.


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