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How can Bangladesh increase its resilience to disasters through data sharing?

Debashish Paul Shuvra's picture
 
How can Bangladesh increase its resilience to disasters?

Schools across Bangladesh are highly vulnerable to floods, cyclones, and earthquakes. How can the country mitigate and respond to the risks of these natural hazards?

By using the GeoDASH platform - a geospatial data sharing platform - the Directorate of Primary Education of Bangladesh has assessed 35,000 schools with respect to the type of infrastructure, water and sanitation facilities, access to roads, and overall capacity during natural disasters.

The GeoDASH platform is a reliable and extensive geographic and information (geospatial) data network.

These data are Geographic Information System (GIS) and other geolocation services-based information to represent objects or locations on a globally referenceable platform to enable mapping.

For example, locations of road network data can be merged with the flood risk map to get a single map for identifying vulnerable road communication in flood-prone areas.

This type of data will allow the Government of Bangladesh, communities, and the private sector to create, share and use disaster risk and climate change information to inform risk-sensitive decision making.

Better data sharing to improve the lives of Afghan refugees

Shubham Chaudhuri's picture
Also available in: دری | پښتو
A bus with returnees from Pakistan at the IOM Screening center on Turkham border in Nangarhar province
A bus with returnees from Pakistan at the IOM Screening center on Turkham border in Nangarhar province. Photo Credit: IOM Afghanistan / E. Schwoerer

Four decades of conflict, violence and uncertainty has made Afghans the world’s largest protracted refugee population and among the largest group of returnees in the past few decades. Each year as many as 100,000s Afghans are on the move.

Since 2002, some 5.8 million Afghan refugees and several million more undocumented Afghans have returned to Afghanistan. More than two million of these refugees and undocumented returnees have returned since 2015. Recent surges in returns such as the 2016 spike of over 600,000 returnees from Pakistan were recorded in just six months.
 
Most returnees relocate to urban and peri-urban areas where they find limited job opportunities and inadequate access to essential services, thus jeopardizing their reintegration prospects and fueling secondary displacement. Therefore, it is imperative that joint initiatives between international organizations and Afghan government ministries help support both returnees and the host communities in which they relocate.
 
To that end, the World Bank and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) today signed a data sharing agreement (DSA), which formalizes an existing partnership between the two organizations in Afghanistan.

تشریک بهتر معلومات میتواند وضعیت زندگی افغان های عودت کننده را بهبود بخشد

Shubham Chaudhuri's picture
Also available in: English | پښتو
A bus with returnees from Pakistan at the IOM Screening center on Turkham border in Nangarhar province
یک موتر بس حامل عودت کنندگان افغان از پاکستان در یکی  از مراکز سازمان بین المللی مهاجرت حین ارزیابی وضیعت آنها در مرز تورخم، ولایت ننگرهار. عکس از  ایوا سوریر ، سازمان بین المللی مهاجرت

چهار دهه جنگ، خشونت، ناامنی، اوضاع شکننده یی سیاسی، اجتماعی و اقتصادی افغانستان را به بزرگترین نفوس بیجا شدگان مبدل ساخته است. تخمین میشود که هرسال بیشتر از۱۰۰۰۰۰ افغان در حرکت از یکجا به جای دیگر میباشد.

از سال ۲۰۰۲ به این سو، حدود ۵،۸ میلیون پناهجوی افغان و چندین میلیون افغان ‌دیگر که اسناد و مدارک پناهجوی بودند، به افغانستان عودت نموده اند. این در حالیست که از سال ۲۰۱۵ به این سو بیشتر از ۲ میلیون پناهنده و مهاجر بدون  اسناد دوباره به کشور عودت نموده اند.

موج تازۀ برگشت مهاجرین از پاکستان درسال ۲۰۱۶ بخش مهم این روند را تشکیل میداد؛ چنانچه که در این جریان بیشتر از ۶۰۰۰۰۰ هزار عودت کننده صرف در ظرف شش ماه نخست این سال ثبت شده بودند. ارقام و معلومات موجود نشان میدهد که اکثر عودت کنندگان در محلات شهری و اطراف شهرها مسکن گزین میگردند زیرا انها نمیخواهند با مشکلات و محدودیت های فرصت های کاری، دسترسی به خدمات اساسی، و زیرساخت های اندک مواجه شوند. باور اینست که اگر آنان در این محلات جابجا نشوند ممکن مشکلات اساکان شان در مناطق دیگر مانع موفقیت ادغام مجدد شان شده و امکان دارد سبب بیجا شدن دوباره آنها گردد.

حمایت از عودت کننده گان و محلات میزبان که برگشت کننده گان در آن مناطق استقرار مجدد میابند، نیازمند ایجاد ابتکار و همکاریهای مشترک بیشتر میان موسسات بین المللی و وزارت های ذیربط حکومتی میباشد.

در همین راستا،  امروز بانک جهانی و سازمان بین المللی مهاجرت یک توافقنامۀ تشریک معلومات (DSA) را امضاء نمودند که مطابق آن همکاری های موجود میان این دو نهاد تقویت میابد.

د غوره معلوماتو شریکول کولی شي د راستنېدونکو افغانانو ژوند ښه کړي

Shubham Chaudhuri's picture
Also available in: English | دری
A bus with returnees from Pakistan at the IOM Screening center on Turkham border in Nangarhar province
له پاکستان څخه یو بس چې افغان کډوال په کې لیږدول کیدل او په تورخم پوله کې  د کډوالو نړیوال سازمان په یوه مرکز کې د هغوی وضعیت څیړنې پرمهال. انځور له ایوا سوریر/ د کډوالۍ نړیوال سازمان

په افغانستان کې څلور لسیزې جګړې، تاوتریخوالي، ناامنۍ، د افغانستان بد سیاسي، اقتصادي او ټولنیز وضعیت له امله زیاتره کسان ګډوال شوي دي. داسې اټکل کېږي چې هر کال له ۱۰۰۰۰۰ ډېر افغانان له یو سیمې څخه بلې سیمې ته کډه کوي.

 له ۲۰۰۲ کال راهیسې شاوخوا ۵،۸ ميلیون افغان پناه غوښتونکي او څو ميلیونه هغه افغانان چې د پناه غوښتونکو اسناد او مدرکونه لري بېرته افغانستان ته راستانه شوي دي. دا په داسې حال کې ده چې له ۲۰۱۵ کال راهیسې له ۲ ميلیونه ډېر هغه افغان پناه غوښتونکي او کډوال چې اسناد یې نه لرل بېرته هېواد ته راستانه شوي دي.

له پاکستان څخه په ۲۰۱۶ کال کې د کډوالو بېرته راستنېدل د دغه بهیر مهمه برخه جوړوي؛ په دغه بهیر کې یوازې د روان کال په لومړیو شپږو میاشتو کې له ۶۰۰۰۰۰ ډېر راستنېدونکي ثبت شوي و. دغه شمېرې ښيي چې ډېری راستنېدونکي په ښاري او اطرافي سیمو کې ځای پر ځای کېږي، ځکه دوی نه غواړي چې د بېکارۍ له ستونزو، اساسي خدمتونو ته د لاس رسي له لږو ستونزو سره مخ شي. باورکېږي، چې که دوی په دې سیمو کې ځای پر ځای نه شي ممکن د استوګنې په نورو سیمو کې ستونزې د دوی د راټولېدو مخه ونیسي او د بیا بېځایه کېدو لامل یې شي.

له راستنېدونکو او هغه سیمو څخه ملاتړ، چې راستنېدونکي په کې مېشت کېږي، د اړونده حکومتي وزارتونو او نړیوالو موسسو تر منځ ډېرو نوښتونو او همکاریو ته اړتیا لري. په همدې خاطر نن نړیوال بانک او د کډوالو نړیوال سازمان ( DSA ) د شریکو معلوماتو یو هوکړه لیک لاسلیک کړ.

Toward Great Dhaka: Seize the golden opportunity

Qimiao Fan's picture
Toward Great Dhaka
Read the Full Report
Read Press Release
Originally Appeared on the Daily Star

Had you looked across Shanghai's Huangpu River from west to east in the 1980s, you would mostly have seen farmland dotted with a few scattered buildings. At the time, it was unimaginable that East Shanghai, or Pudong, would one day become a global financial centre; that its futuristic skyline, sleek expressways, and rapid trains would one day be showcased in blockbusters like James Bond and Mission Impossible movies! It was also unimaginable that the Shanghainese would consider living in Pudong.

How wrong that would have been! Pudong is now hosting some of the world's most productive companies, and boosting some of the city's most desirable neighbourhoods. And Shanghai has become China's most important global city, lifting the entire hinterland with it.

The same potential for urban transformation exists in Bangladesh, across the Pragati Sarani Airport Road that divides Dhaka into its west and east. West Dhaka is urban, hosting vibrant centres. East Dhaka remains largely rural, with a vast expanse of farmland. This sharp contrast presents a golden urban development opportunity for Dhaka, one that is not available to other major Asian cities.

Realizing the Promise of a Great Dhaka


Dhaka's population has grown from three million in 1980 to 18 million today and it continues to increase rapidly, which is a clear sign of success. However, Dhaka's development has been mostly spontaneous, with its urban infrastructure not keeping pace with its population growth.

Bangladesh Collaborates with China in Strengthening the Skills of its Youth

Mokhlesur Rahman's picture
Agreement Signing
The sigining of an agreement for educational exchange between the Ministries of Education of Bangladesh and China's Yunnan Province. 

With its youthful workforce and the aspiration to be a developed country by 2041, Bangladesh emphasizes skills development to provide its people the ability to transform the country into a high productivity economy. To accelerate progress in this area, the government has been actively tapping into greater South-South cooperation, especially with other Asian countries.

Bangladesh and the China’s Yunnan Province’s partnership on the Skills and Training Enhancement Project (STEP) is one example. Following the International Skills Conference held in Dhaka held in March 2018, a  Bangladesh delegation, led by Mr. Md. Alamgir, Secretary of the Technical and Madrasah Education Division of the Ministry of Education, visited technical education institutions in Yunnan that are expected to receive students from Bangladesh.

Expert trainers in China will help their Bangladesh counterparts improve in the areas of student exchange, teachers’ professional development, and knowledge sharing among others. The agreement will mean that that the first cohort of 85 Bangladeshi students will be enrolled in the partnered Yunnan institutions with scholarships by September 2018.

Bringing Sri Lanka's traders one step closer to the global market

Marcus Bartley Johns's picture
Making trade more efficient in Sri Lanka
The recently launched Sri Lanka Trade Information Portal is a one stop shop for traders. Photo Credit: Joe Qian/World Bank

Sri Lanka’s traditional lacework famously known as Beeralu is slowly moving into the spotlight of the global fashion industry. Udeni, who is a traditional Beeralu lace maker from Galle, learned the technique from her mother and developed it into a part-time business. 

At the moment, she sells to buyers from Colombo who then sell her product internationally. She would like to export directly one day, but for the time-being, she must rely on “middlemen” because of the complexity of the export process. A major barrier is the lack of information on what government procedures apply in Sri Lanka before her product can even reach a foreign buyer. 

Being unable to access information related to export and import procedures isn’t just a problem for entrepreneurs like Udeni, but a significant barrier for the entire Sri Lankan trading community. In a recent set of interviews conducted by the World Bank, every business interviewed said that personal experience was the leading source of information on import and export procedures. Only half said that they turn to government agencies for information, with concern expressed that the little information available online is often out of date, and spread across many websites. 

Has Bhutan’s growth been jobless?

Tenzin Lhaden's picture
Bhutan's youth unemployment rate has increased from 10.7 percent in 2015 to 13.2 percent in 2016
Bhutan continues to maintain solid growth and macroeconomic stability but job creation is lagging; its  youth unemployment rate has increased from 10.7 percent in 2015 to 13.2 percent in 2016. This indicates that high growth has not been able to generate enough jobs for youth. 

“The main driver of growth in Bhutan continues to be the hydropower sector, but electricity generation does not create job,” said a senior government officials attending the presentation of The World Bank’s South Asia Focus on Jobless Growth on June 28th in Thimphu. The report was presented by Martin Rama, World Bank South Asia Region Chief Economist and was attended by senior government officials, parliamentarians and development partners. The presentation alongside the launch of Bhutan Development Update was a great opportunity for the policy makers to better understand and synthesize Bhutan and the South Asia region’s development opportunities.

In the case of Bhutan, it seems clear that growth alone will not allow it to attain higher employment rates as enjoyed by some other developing countries.

"More than 1.8 million young people will reach working age every month in South Asia through 2025 and the good news is that economic growth is creating jobs in the region,” said Martin Rama,. “But providing opportunities to these young entrants while attracting more women into the labor market will require generating even more jobs for every point of economic growth.”

The report informs that the fall in employment rates has been much faster in the region particularly in India, Bhutan and Sri Lanka and especially for women, risking foregoing the demographic dividend. While it is evident that the number of working age people is increasing, the proporation who are at work has declined owing to prioritization of the households to education, health and other commitments with increasing level of income.

Electrocracy in India: power of, by, and for the people

Amit Jain's picture
India Solar
To boost India’s solar rooftop program, the World Bank has partnered with the Government of India to provide $648 million to place solar panels on rooftops across the country.

Solar energy is not just for the elite and wealthy. Today, with growing numbers of people taking power generation into their own hands, solar energy has become the world’s most democratic source of power - of the people, by the people, and for the people. However, the pathway to this goal requires a fundamental paradigm shift in the power sector – one in which more and more people take “power” generation into their own hands.
 
In the words of environmentalist and author Ross Gelbspan, “A common global project to rewire the world with clean energy could be the first step on a path to global peace and global democracy -- even in today's deeply troubled world.”
 
In Germany, solar rooftops have already set off a transformation. Home to more than 1.7 million citizen-owned solar power systems, Germany now accounts for almost one-fourth of the world's PV capacity. Armed with solar rooftops and smart battery storage, German households have turned into energy producers, are paying lower utility bills, and are fast approaching energy independence.  
 
In California too, solar rooftops have taken center stage. The state is the first in the U.S. to require solar panels on almost all new homes. And as solar rooftop installations rise, domestic storage systems are simultaneously being developed to keep pace. Tesla's Powerwall, for example, enables users to store solar power generated during the day for use at night when the sun goes down.
 
As the world’s third-largest producer of conventional energy, India too is now rapidly expanding its capacity to generate solar power. The country has set itself an ambitious target of generating 100 GW of solar power by 2022. Today, solar power has emerged as the cheapest source of energy in India, at prices that are a fraction of grid power. In fact, India’s 100 GW solar target, of which 40 GW is to come from rooftop solar, will play a key role in providing 24 X 7 sustainable, affordable, and reliable electricity to 300 million people. Currently, however, only some 2 GW of this 40 GW target has been installed.
 
To boost India’s solar rooftop program, the World Bank has partnered with the Government of India to provide $648 million to place solar panels on rooftops across the country. The program has financed 600 MW in rooftop solar installations so far, of which 80 MW has already been installed.

How to boost female employment in South Asia

Martin Rama's picture
What's driving female employment in South Asia to decrease


South Asia is booming. In 2018, GDP growth for the region as a whole is expected to accelerate to 6.9 percent, making it the fastest growing region in the world. However, fast GDP growth has not translated into fast employment growth. In fact, employment rates have declined across the region, with women accounting for most of this decline.

Between 2005 and 2015, female employment rates declined by 5 percent per year in India, 3 percent per year in Bhutan, and 1 percent per year in Sri Lanka. While it is not surprising for female employment rates to decline with economic growth and then increase, in what is commonly known as the U-shaped female labor force function (a term coined by Claudia Goldin in 1995), the trends observed in South Asia stand out. Not only has female employment declined much more than could have been anticipated, it is likely to decline further as countries such as India continue to grow and urbanize.

The unusual trend for female employment rates in South Asia is clear from Figure 1. While male employment rates in South Asia are in line with those of other countries at the same income level, female employment rates are well below.
From the South Asia Economic Focus
Source: South Asia Economic Focus (Spring 2018).

If women are choosing to exit the labor force as family incomes rise, should policymakers worry? There are at least three reasons why the drop in female employment rates may have important social costs. First, household choices may not necessarily match women’s preferences. Those preferences reflect the influence of ideas and norms about what is women’s work and men’s work as well as other gendered notions such as the idea that women should take care of the children and housework. Second, when women control a greater share of household incomes, children are healthier and do better in school. Third, when women work for pay, they have a greater voice in their households, in their communities, and in society. The economic gains from women participating equally in the labor market are sizable: A recent study estimated that the overall gain in GDP to South Asia from closing gender gaps in employment and entrepreneurship would be close to 25 percent.

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