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How to hold back the ocean?

Sandy Chang's picture

How to hold back the ocean?

    Photo © William Lane/World Bank

Sea-level rise is not a phenomenon of increasing frequency, but rather increasing magnitude in a persistent and continuous way. The effect of climate change is most palpably felt in small, low-lying island states such as Panza Island, the southernmost island off Pemba in Tanzania. Farming and fishing are the main means of livelihood. Significant parts of the island, especially the lower elevation southeastern side, are inundated by seawater bimonthly, during the spring cycles and most prominently during the diurnal flood tides. The local residents report up to four feet of water in some areas, which have only become vulnerable in the past year. Previously agricultural land can no longer be farmed. The area near the local school has been flooding for the past 15 years. Salt water has intruded into all the wells on the island, so drinking water has to now be piped in from a neighboring island.

Can they?: Implications of Obama victory for migration and development

Dilip Ratha's picture

What a moment in history! As soon as Obama was projected to be the next president of the United States of America, countless migrant mothers (I know one!) patted their children and said, with tears in the eyes, "You too have a chance to be the president of this great country!" Seems to me that overnight America has become more inviting to the immigrants. Has it? Will Obama follow through with his campaign promise, or will he change his stance? Should he? What would that mean from a development point of view?

Should we develop welfare funds for other migrant origin countries?

Neil Ruiz's picture

Last week, we released a new brief, "Protecting Temporary Workers: Migrant Welfare Funds from Developing Countries."  This note describes how countries of origin governments can play a major role in protecting their migrants abroad through migrant welfare funds.  It shows that a welfare fund operated from the origin country and financed by migrants or their employers can offer a potential efficient solution to protecting migrants from vulnerable situations abroad.&n

Africa Migration Project: Household surveys call for proposals

Sonia Plaza's picture

In collaboration with the African Development Bank, the World Bank is undertaking a comprehensive study of migration and remittances in Sub-Saharan Africa and destination countries outside Africa. The World Bank Household Survey of Migrants is part of this effort, and will be conducted in 10 countries (Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Ivory Coast, and Uganda). 

Innovative financing through migration and remittances

Dilip Ratha's picture

Perhaps one of the earliest utilitarians was Charvak (his name literally means "sweet talker" in Sanskrit) who a few centuries ago said, "live happily as long as you live/drink a lot of ghee, and borrow if need be!" Now in the thick of a financial crisis marked by excessive borrowing and lending, one might argue against the Charvak Doctrine. It's true that debt, like fire, can be dangerous ("Don't borrow, because you will get into debt"), but if managed prudently, it can also fuel new projects, new products, and growth and employment in many poor countries.

Melting glaciers redistribute Asia's water

David Dollar's picture

"The glacier at Karo-la pass covered the whole rock face when our Tibetan guide began leading tours in 1996."
I spent the October holiday in China traveling across the Tibetan plateau to Qomolangma (Mount Everest) base camp. One striking impression was how much water there is there. Most of the great rivers of Asia originate on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau: Ganges, Indus, Yangtze, Yellow, Mekong, Salween, Irrawady, and Yarhung Tsangpo (which becomes the Brahmaputra in India and Bangladesh). Half the world’s population gets its water from these rivers running off the plateau. The rivers are fed by the gradual melting of the huge glaciers that cover the Himalayan peaks, as well as the melting of the annual snowpack and seasonal rain. (The name of the Himalayan peak, Annapurna, in Nepal means “full of food,” reflecting the fact that the gradual melting of snowpack and glaciers each spring and summer waters the rice crop.)

The melting of the glaciers has accelerated dramatically in recent years. This is one of the most profound effects of global warming. The glaciers have shrunk 20% over the past 50 years, with much of that in the past decade. Our Tibetan guide took us to a number of different glaciers and showed us how they had receded since he starting taking tours around in 1996. At Karo-la pass we stood on hard, dry ground that had been covered by the glacier just 12 years ago. Climate scientists project that the glaciers will be 80% gone by 2035.


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