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The World Region

Helping civil society build peace and restore trust

Alua Kennedy's picture


I like entertaining my western friends with stories of growing up in the post-communist Kazakhstan limbo, when everything ended, but nothing had yet started. Stories of how my friends and I would collect old newspapers to trade for books and Moscow magazine subscriptions. ​And later on, selling empty milk bottles back for some cash to buy candy and chewing gum in the newly opened Chinese shops. The audience goes “oohh” and “ahh”, and oh do I feel like I’ve seen a lot and know what life is like!

I have to admit – attending the Fragility Conflict and Violence (FCV) Forum 2015 that took place at the World Bank HQ last week was an experience that changed my perspective on hardships of life in developing countries. There are developing countries and then there are fragile and conflict-affected countries.

Can you visualize the structure of the world economy and population in one chart?

Morgan Brannon's picture
Following the International Comparison Program (ICP) 2011 final report release from last October, there was particular interest in the charts presenting the results. To give a deeper explanation of one of the most popular charts, we’ve recently produced this video:
 
Real GDP Per Capita and Shares of Global Population, ICP 2011
Source:  ICP, http://icp.worldbank.org/

How opinion leaders view the role of governance in development

Ravi Kumar's picture

Every year World Bank Group conducts country opinion surveys (COS) to better understand how its work is being perceived on the ground. These surveys help World Bank Group improve its operations, results, and bolster its engagement with countries.
 
These surveys also allow the Bank Group to get a sense of development priorities, and what kind of projects people think can contribute to poverty reduction and shared prosperity. We looked at these surveys to see how survey respondents view governance’s role in reducing poverty and whether they view governance as a development priority.
 
Survey respondents are opinion leaders who typically come from national and local governments, media, academia, the private sector and civil society. They are also from multilateral/bilateral agencies.
 
As you can see in the maps below, for example, in the 2014 survey, in Zimbabwe, 40% of respondents believed governance should be the top development priority and 34% of them believed that governance is the top contributor to poverty reduction.

Aid is politics

Sakuntala Akmeemana's picture



A few weeks ago, the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) concluded a three-day visit to the Bank with a presentation by its Chief Economist, Stefan Dercon. ‘Aid is Politics’ traversed the big picture debates in economics, politics and development with ease, but the focus was the practice of aid.   
 
Once we’re on the ground at scale, we become part of the politics.  Not only do domestic politics shape the impact of our interventions, our programs today affect politics tomorrow.   Economic policy, although seemingly about ‘removing market failures and correcting distortions’, impacts upon the distribution of rents or income, at times adversely affecting political equilibria by benefitting already powerful groups.
 
Since walking away from politically fraught environments is not an option (aid practitioners are “the intervention squad”), we need to constantly analyze, adapt programing to politics, be creative, make political engagement endogenous, and try to nudge aspects of the political settlement to a better place.   
 
Although Stefan gave a lively  presentation, what struck me was not the content -- over the last decade, a virtual consensus has formed in development praxis that political drivers shape development outcomes, and that effective interventions require both deep understanding of the distribution of power and resources in a given country and the flexibility to adapt to changing context. Most striking was the mission underlying Stefan’s comments.

#EachDayISee Instagram photo contest finalists and National Geographic honorable mentions

Mario Trubiano's picture

The #EachDayISee photo contest wrapped up on February 13, having received more than 1,400 submissions. To say that the number and quality of the entries exceeded all our expectations would be an understatement. We asked you to share your view of the world, and the visual stories we received from every region were breathtaking. Beyond the photos themselves, most submissions included detailed captions that set the context and helped viewers understand the stories behind the photos.

The growing popularity of justice impact evaluations in developing countries

Nicholas Menzies's picture
Source: billsonPHOTO 


I was lucky to recently attend a workshop on justice and governance impact evaluations in the wonderful city of Istanbul. The spark of the workshop discussions lived up to the liveliness of the location.

Some time ago I blogged about the pros and cons of impact evaluations for justice projects in developing countries.  Since then, interest in impact evaluations in the justice sector has grown at the World Bank and within the larger development community. 

Engaging citizens: a game changer for development?

Mario Marcel's picture



Nearly every week, I read news stories about citizens clamoring for change in governance- citizens who want their voices heard and acted upon. In countries all over the globe, citizen groups are working (sometimes with governments and sometimes against them) to build a more citizen-centric approach to governance. Why? People—ordinary citizens—are at the heart of good governance, and governments are genuinely more effective when they listen to and work with citizens to tackle development challenges.

Engaging citizens can help improve transparency and accountability of public policies, promote citizens’ trust, forge consensus around important reforms, and build the political and public support necessary to sustain them.  

​Smart measures in transport: Moving beyond women’s-only buses

Bianca Bianchi Alves's picture
Civil society has been dealing with the problem of sexual harassment in public spaces in innovative ways. Creative marketing campaigns are popping all over the world, including Take Back the Metro in Paris, Chega de Fiu Fiu in Brazil, and Hollaback in 84 cities around the world.
 
The problem seems to stem from strong, ingrained cultural beliefs. Unfortunately, the problem might be getting stronger as formal barriers to the participation of women decline, as suggests Marty Langelan, a World Bank consultant, professor of American University.

 
Bus operators receive harassement
response training.
Specialists know that the complexity of the problem requires changes in social norms, and that this can only come from comprehensive approaches and time. Some governments may acknowledge the same; however, they still have to deal with the pressing urgency of the theme, and therefore adopt quick, pragmatic solutions.

Currently, countries like Mexico, Brazil, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Japan, and Nepal all have some form of women-only cars in public transportation.

While there are strong arguments that these women-only cars are effective temporary solutions, in the long-term they could reinforce the stereotypes of uncontrollable men and victimized women. They also remind us of the United States Supreme Court decision Plessy vs. Ferguson, which considered constitutional segregated black and white populations in public facilities under the idea of “separate but equal.”

The World Bank Group’s full project portfolio is now on the map

Philippa Sigl-Gloeckner's picture



We promise to add rich detail to our maps so that anyone will be able to go online, click on the maps, and immediately learn where we are working and what we are doing.” (Jim Yong Kim, Annual Meetings 2013)

For the first time, the World Bank Group’s (WBG) full portfolio, including IFC and MIGA is on the map (maps.worldbank.org). This accomplishment marks the completion of the geo-mapping target President Kim announced at the 2013 Annual Meetings. It is the result of a long collaboration across the WBG team’s to overcome numerous hurdles and successfully built on the foundation put down by the Mapping for Results team.

Justice proposed for sustainable development goals

Heike Gramckow's picture
​Source UN, 2014. The Road to Dignity by 2030: Ending Poverty, Transforming All Lives and Protecting the Planet

This year will see a major milestone with the adoption of sustainable development goals (SDGs) by the UN’s member states. Expanding on the 8 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set in 2000, the currently envisioned 17 SDGs are aiming to address broader, transformative economic, environmental and social changes. For the first time, however, the centrality of justice in achieving sustainable development has been recognized in the Open Working Group’s proposed Goal 16:
 
Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
 
The mention of justice, governance and peaceful societies in the SDGs is seen as an important step, but one that will pose many challenges. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has put his support behind the inclusion of justice as a central pillar for achieving sustainable development.


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