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Efficient cities are crucial to Vietnam’s transformation into a high-income society

Axel van Trotsenburg's picture
Also available in: Tiếng Việt

A striking feature of Vietnam’s remarkable progress over the last few decades is the rapid pace of urbanization. In 1986, there were fewer than 13 million urban residents. Today there are 30 million. Cities have become strong growth poles, with urban areas growing twice as fast as the national average rate, and contributing over half of the country’s gross domestic product.  
 
The increasing importance of Vietnam’s urban areas in driving growth is not surprising. It is widely acknowledged globally that urbanization, if managed well, can lead to higher productivity and growth, through positive agglomeration effects such as larger, more efficient labor markets, lower transaction costs and easier knowledge spillovers. However, a closer look suggests that the current urbanization process in Vietnam needs a major rethink to ensure that it contributes fully to the goal of achieving a high-income country.
 
Vietnam needs to reshape its urbanization process to create more efficient cities – cities that have sufficient population densities, are well connected internally and regionally, and well managed. In addition, in line with Vietnam’s strong preference for social equity, cities will need to ensure inclusion of all residents, with no groups or area “left behind.”   
 

Cambodia: from poverty reduction to shared prosperity

Axel van Trotsenburg's picture
Photo: Saroeun Bou/World Bank

Before I set foot in this beautiful country, I was told the story of Siv Mao and her newborn baby.

Last year, Siv Mao, a young woman from a village in northern Cambodia gave birth to a boy after an emergency Caesarean section at a new hospital in her province’s capital.

The boy was named Rith Samnang “Lucky” for a good reason: without the doctors and modern equipment in the new 16 Makara Hospital in Preah Vihear, he wouldn’t have been able to survive.

The traditional midwife had difficulty assisting the birth at her home, and other hospitals were far away.

Baby Lucky is a symbol of Cambodia’s development success in the last decade: the country has gone a long way in improving economic and social conditions for its people, especially the poorest.

Reflections from the field: On the road with communities in Myanmar and Laos (Part 1)

Susan Wong's picture

So I just returned from a terrific mission to Myanmar and Laos, two countries experiencing strong annual growth rates, and both facing challenges of making rapid growth inclusive and just for all its citizens.

Bộ mặt mới của TP. Hồ Chí Minh: Giải pháp phát triển bền vững đang thay đổi thành phố như thế nào

Madhu Raghunath's picture
Also available in: English


Khi đến thăm thành phố Hồ Chí Minh lần đầu cách đây 3 năm tôi cố hình dung hình ảnh thành phố lấy từ các bộ phim của Hollywood với các tòa nhà nhìn ra bốn phía theo kiểu kiến trúc Pháp, những hàng cây được trồng thẳng hàng gọn ghẽ, những đường phố dài và các món ăn địa phương hấp dẫn.

How Ho Chi Minh City got a facelift: sustainable development solutions are changing a city

Madhu Raghunath's picture
Also available in: Tiếng Việt



When I visited Vietnam for the first time three years ago, I imagined a Ho Chi Minh City out of Hollywood movies, with panoramic buildings of French architecture, tree-lined, long boulevards and the melting pot of Indochine cuisine.

After I began working in the city as an urban professional in 2012, I quickly learned to see it as much more: a vibrant, young, hip and energetic city with a vision and determination to become a leading metropolis in East Asia, not just in Vietnam, one of the fastest-growing emerging economies in the region.

And it has taken all the right steps just to do that, combining infrastructure development with social services to make sure the city is more livable and growth more sustainable. As the World Cities Day approaches, I thought it would be useful to share the city’s experience with the world. 
 

เพศสถานะในโรงเรียนไทย: เราเติบโตมาในแบบที่เราได้รับการสั่งสอนในโรงเรียนหรือไม่?

Pamornrat Tansanguanwong's picture
Also available in: English
ขณะที่ฉันรอสัมภาษณ์คุณครูท่านหนึ่งที่โรงเรียนในพื้นที่ห่างไกลในประเทศไทย ภาพโรงอาหารในช่วงพักกลางวันทำให้ฉันหวนนึกถึงวันเวลาในวัยเด็ก ระหว่างนั้นฉันมีโอกาสพูดคุยและถามเด็กนักเรียนสองสามคนไปพลางๆ ว่าโตขึ้นพวกเขาอยากเป็นอะไร เด็กผู้ชายคนหนึ่งตอบว่า “ผมอยากเป็นหมอครับ” และเด็กผู้หญิงอีกคนตอบว่า “หนูอยากเป็นพยาบาลค่ะ” คำตอบของเด็กๆ ชวนให้ฉันคิดว่าค่านิยมทางเพศนั้นมีบทบาทขึ้นในชีวิต เมื่อตอนที่เราอายุยังน้อยขนาดนี้เลยหรือ
 
ครอบครัวและโรงเรียนเป็นสถาบันหลักของเด็กๆ ในการเรียนรู้เกี่ยวกับบรรทัดฐานต่างๆ ของสังคม โดยเฉพาะอย่างยิ่งในโรงเรียน ซึ่งเป็นสถานที่ๆ เด็กๆ จะได้เรียนรู้วิธีการเข้าสังคม ค่านิยมต่างๆ และความสัมพันธ์ระหว่างบุคคล ซึ่งรวมถึงเรื่องเพศสถานะด้วย
 
ในความเชื่อของหลายคน โรงเรียนนั้นมีอิทธิพลอย่างสูงในการสร้างค่านิยมเรื่องเพศ และที่ผ่านมานั้นงานวิจัยเชิงประจักษ์ในประเทศไทยยังมีไม่มากพอที่จะสร้างความเข้าใจที่ดีเกี่ยวกับประเด็นนี้
 
ในปีที่ผ่านมาคณะกรรมการส่งเสริมและประสานงานกิจการสตรี (PCWA) ได้ดำเนินโครงการศึกษา 2 โครงการ ซึ่งได้รับการสนับสนุนจากมูลนิธิร็อคกี้เฟลเลอร์ และธนาคารโลก เพื่อสร้างงานวิจัยเชิงประจักษ์ในเรื่องของเพศสถานะในระบบการศึกษาไทย โดยมีจุดมุ่งหมายในสนันสนุนหรือกำจัดสมมติฐานต่างๆ เกี่ยวกับเรื่องกรอบความคิดและอคติทางเพศว่ามีการการเรียนรู้ การสอน การแบ่งปัน หรือ การถ่ายทอดอย่างไรในประเทศไทย 
 

Gender in Thai schools: Do we grow up to be what we are taught?

Pamornrat Tansanguanwong's picture
Also available in: ภาษาไทย

Also available in: Français | العربية

While waiting to interview a teacher at one remote school in Thailand, the lunch scene reminded me of my childhood years in school.  I spoke to the young boys and girls asking them what they wanted to be when they grow up. “I want to be a doctor,” one boy said and “I want to be a nurse when I grow up” said another girl. Their answers left me wondering how young we were when our gender values formed.
 
Families and schools are the key institutions where young children learn social norms.   

Schools, in particular, provide the playground for children to socialize and work out their social values and relationships, including gender.
 
The impact of schools in forming gender values is believed to be high, but in the past there has been little evidence-based research in Thailand to generate understanding on this issue.
 
Last year, the Promoting and Coordinating Women’s Affairs Committee (PCWA) conducted two studies, supported by the Rockefeller Foundation and the World Bank, to provide evidence-based research on the gender situation in the Thai education system. It aims to help strengthen or dispel assumptions about how gender biases and stereotypes are learned, taught, shared and transmitted in Thailand.
 

How good are Filipinos with their finances?

Nataliya Mylenko's picture
Making ends meet is a challenge for many Filipinos, and not only for those who are poor.  A recent survey on financial capability and inclusion, conducted by the World Bank in collaboration with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), for the first time provides data on household financial behavior decisions and knowledge of financial concepts.

The survey results indicate that 55% of respondents in the Philippines report not having enough money to pay for food or basic necessities and 26% say that this is a regular occurrence. Estimates derived from the survey data indicate that about 23 million adults making financial decisions face this situation.

The majority identify lack of income as the main reason for running short of money for basic necessities. Among households earning less than 10,000 Pesos ($217), 62% report lack of income as the reason.  Somewhat surprisingly, 64% among those with income of 50,000 Pesos ($1,086) or more also say that lack of income is the reason for not having enough money for basic necessities.

Staying the Course in Mongolia: 14 years institutionalizing community participation

Helene Carlsson Rex's picture
Also available in: Mongolian
In development we want things to go accordingly to plan.  We look for tools, guidelines and best practices in our quest for results and impact. But we also know that development is not an exact science and things do not always go according to plan.  Changes in government or an economic downturn can quickly make a project design irrelevant.

But in some cases, it does go (more or less) accordingly to plan despite bumps in the road along the way.  One such example is the Sustainable Livelihoods Program series in Mongolia, which on September 17, 2015 launched its third and final phase.

Back in 2002, after a series of particularly harsh winters that killed one-third of the livestock in Mongolia and added even more strain to an already impoverished rural population, the World Bank decided to support a new approach to sustainable livelihoods. At that time, the country had little history of community participation in local development planning, and few rural finance options.  

The vision was to place investment funds at the local level and to give the communities a strong voice in the allocation of these funds. Because of the risks associated with the severe winters in Mongolia, pastoral risk management and winter preparedness were to be strengthened. And with a history of inefficient central planning, supporting a policy shift towards greater fiscal decentralization was very important.

This vision and core principles were translated into the design of the three-part Sustainable Livelihoods Series, which included piloting, scaling-up and institutionalization phases.

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