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Social Development

Local communities combat climate change in Bangladesh

Shilpa Banerji's picture
Mahfuzul Hasan Bhuiyan/World Bank
Bangladesh is among the most vulnerable countries to flooding and climate change impacts. Photo Credit: 
Mahfuzul Hasan Bhuiyan/World Bank

How can a country vulnerable to natural disasters mitigate the effects of climate change? In Bangladesh, resilient communities have shown that by using local solutions it is possible to combat different types of climate change impacting different parts of the country.
Every year, flash floods and drought affect the north and north-west regions. Drinking water becomes scarce, land becomes barren and people struggle to find shelter for themselves and their livestock. In the coastal districts, excessive saline makes it impossible to farm and fish.
The Community Climate Change Project (CCCP) has awarded grants to around 41 NGOs to address salinity, flood and drought-prone areas. With the help from local NGOs, communities innovated simple solutions to cope up with changing climate and earn a better living benefiting at least 40,000 people in the most vulnerable districts.
Raising the plinths of their homes in clusters has helped more than 15,000 families escape floods, and they continued to earn their livelihoods by planting vegetables and rearing goats on raised ground. Vermicomposting has also helped to increase crop yields. In the saline affected areas, many farmers have started to cultivate salinity tolerant crabs with women raising their income level by earning an additional BDT 1500 a month from saline tolerant mud crab culture in high saline areas.
Watch how communities use these three solutions to tackle climate change impacts.

Leveraging the urbanization dividend in Afghanistan

Sateh Chafic El-Arnaout's picture
Also available in: دری | پښتو
With support provided by the KMDP, over one million people (about 73 percent women and children) have benefited from the construction of about 247 kilometers of neighborhood roads. Photo: Rumi Consultancy/ World Bank

Afghanistan is undergoing a rapid urban transition. While the current share of its population living in cities is comparatively low (25.8 percent in 2014 compared to 32.6 percent across South Asia), Afghanistan’s urbanization rate is among the highest in the region. Its urban population is growing at 5 percent annually, more than twice the regional average.

The country’s urbanization transition is impacted by Afghanistan’s history of conflict and fragility, which presents additional challenges for urban areas. Cities are struggling to accommodate increasing numbers of persons seeking security, shelter, and jobs. These newcomers include internally displaced persons, returning refugees, as well as those leaving rural agricultural employment and seeking service-based jobs in urban areas. This migration will continue for a generation; by 2060, half of all Afghans will live in cities, which means that roughly 15 million people will be moving to cities in the next 40 years.[1]

Over the same time period, the country will also see a substantial increase in demand for employment as slightly more than half of the current population is aged 15 or younger and will soon be entering the workforce for years to come.

Against this background, Afghanistan will have to leverage and manage its urban transition to ensure that cities can provide job opportunities, housing, and improved quality of life to their citizens. Recognizing the important challenges, the Afghan government introduced the Urban National Priority Program (U-NPP) in 2016. It provides policy guidance and investments in support of municipal governance, improved access to basic services, and vibrant urban economies for the next 10 years.

د افغان کډوالو او بې ځايه شوو د بېرته يو ځاى کولو کاري پلان

Shubham Chaudhuri's picture
Also available in: English | دری
 یوه بې ځایه شوې کورنۍ د کابل د یوې ناحیې په یو کندواله ودانۍ کې. انځور: رومي شرکت/ نړیوال بانک

څرنګه چې د جون ٢٠مه د کډوالو نړيواله ورځ نومول شوې، بايد په ياد ولرو، چې د کډوالو ناورين  يوازې په يوه هېواد کې د پرمختګ مخنيوى نه کوي، بلکې يو بل داسې بحران، چې د ودې په حال کې دى، په خپل هېواد کې د ګڼو نورو خلکو کورنۍ بې ځايه کېدنه ده، دغه خلک د کورنيو بې ځايه شوو په نامه يادېږي. د دغې ستونزې د حل په موخه د سترو سياسي او ټولنيزو فشارونو تر څنګ، دا موضوع د نړۍ په څو هېوادونو کې د ودې په حال کې ده.

په افغانستان کې نږدې ۱،۲ميليونه بې ځايه شوي وګړي شته، چې د امنيتي او طبيعي پېښو په سبب د کورونو پرېښودو ته اړ شوي دي. شپږ ميليونه نور کډوال له ٢٠٠٢ زېږدیز کال راهيسې بېرته خپل هېواد ته راغلي، چې په پورتنۍ ياده شوې شمېره ور زيات شوي، کولى شو  ووايو، چې په هرو پنځو افغانانو کې يې يو راستنېدونکى دى. په ٢٠١٦ زېږدیز کال کې څه باندې ۶۲٠،٠٠٠ افغانان يوازې له پاکستان څخه افغانستان ته را ستانه شوي دي.  د بې ځايه شوو او راستنېدونکو دغه ستر هجوم د افغانستان پر ټولنه او اقتصاد ستر فشار راوړى او تر څنګ يې د هېواد سيمه ييز ثبات ته ستر خطر ګڼل کېږي.

کله چې په افغانستان کې د نړيوال بانک د مسوول په توګه وټاکل شوم، د بې ځايه شوو او بېرته را ستنو شوو ستونزو او د  دغوستونزو د افغان حکومت هڅو ستومانه او خپه کړم. د خپلو لومړيو کاري ورځو په ترڅ کې مې د ٢٠١٦ زېږدیز کال په نومبر کې د کډوالو لپاره د ملګرو ملتونو عالي کمېشنري مرکز څخه ليدنه درلوده. دې مرکز د افغان بېرته راستنېدونکو لپاره د لومړي مرکز په توګه دنده اجرا کوله. په همدې مرکز کې د بېرته راستنو شوو لپاره نغدي، غير نغدي مرستې، د عامه پوهاوي او ساتونکي پروګرامونه تر سره کېدل. 

A roadmap to reintegrate displaced and refugee Afghans

Shubham Chaudhuri's picture
Also available in: دری | پښتو
A displaced family has taken shelter in a ruined house on the outskirts of Kabul. Photo: Rumi Consultancy/ World Bank

As the world marks World Refugee Day on June 20, we must remember that it is not only the refugee crisis that is hampering development efforts in many countries. There is also a silent emerging crisis of people driven from their homes to another part of their own country, people known as internally displaced persons (IDPs). It is a growing issue that several countries are facing, with enormous social and political pressures to address.

In Afghanistan, there are an estimated 1.2 million people who are internally displaced because of insecurity or are being forced to leave their homes due to natural disasters. This is in addition to the nearly 6 million people who have returned to Afghanistan since 2002, making one in five Afghans a returnee. In 2016, more than 620,000 Afghans returned from Pakistan alone.

The massive influx of returnees and IDPs is placing tremendous pressure on Afghanistan’s already fragile social and economic infrastructure and is a threat to regional stability.

When I first took up my position as Country Director of the World Bank for Afghanistan, I was struck by the plight of returnees and IDPs and by how hard-pressed the Afghan government was in dealing with them. During my first days in office, back in November 2016, I visited a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) center on the outskirts of Kabul. The center serves as the first entry point for returnees where they can receive assistance—including cash—and attend awareness and safety sessions to help them better integrate in their new communities.  

پلان کاری برای اسکان مجدد بیجاشدگان و مهاجرین افغان

Shubham Chaudhuri's picture
Also available in: English | پښتو
یک فامیل بیجاشده در یکی ازنواحی کابل در یک ساختمان مخروبه. عکس: شرکت رومی/بانک جهانی 

ازآنجایکه ٢٠ جون روز بین المللی مهاجرین نامیده شده است؛ باید به یاد داشت که بحران مهاجرین، تنها مانع پیشرفت در یک کشور نیست. بحران دیگری که آهسته در حال رشد است، همانا بیجا شدگان داخلی است بیجا شدگان داخلی به کسانی گفته میشود که از خانه های خودشان به مناطق دیگر همان کشور بیجا میشوند. با وجود فشارهای زیاد سیاسی و اجتماعی برای رسیدگی به آن، این موضوع در چندین کشور جهان در حال رشد است.

در افغانستان، تقریباً ۱،۲ میلیون نفوس بیجاشده وجود دارد، که یا بخاطر مشکلات امنیتی و یا هم بخاطر حوادث طبیعی، مجبور به ترک خانه های شان شده اند. شش میلیون افغان دیگری که از سال ٢٠٠٢ میلادی بدینسو، دوباره به کشور شان برگشته اند را نیز میتوان به آمار فوق علاوه کرد و میتوان گفت که در هر پنج افغان، یک تن آنها از بازگشت کنندگان میباشد. در سال ٢٠١٦میلادی، بیش از ٦٢٠،٠٠٠ افغان، تنها از پاکستان به افغانستان بازگشت نموده اند. این هجوم بزرگ بیجاشدگان و عودت کنندگان، فشار سنگین را بالای جامعه و اقتصاد ضعیف افغانستان وارد کرده، خطر بزرگی به ثبات منطقوی این کشور محسوب میشود.

زمانیکه به حیث ریس دفتر بانک جهانی برای افغانستان تعیین شدم، گرفتاری های دولت در رسیدگی به مشکلات عودت کنندگان و بیجاشدگان در این کشور، مرا سخت نگران ساخت. در جریان روزهای اول کاری ام در نومبر ٢٠١٦ میلادی، براى بازديد از یکی از مراکز کمیشنری عالی سازمان ملل برای پناهندگان  در کابل رفتم. این مرکز به عنوان اولین محل ورود برای عودت کنندگان افغان ایفای وظیفه میکند. کمک های نقدی و غیرنقدی، آگاهی دهی و جلسات ایمنی برای بازگشت کنندگان، در همین مرکز صورت میگیرد.

Pakistan bridges the gender divide by embracing a digital economy

Priya Chopra's picture
Registration at the Digital Youth Summit. DYS is an age and gender-inclusive diversified digital platform.
Photo Credit: Digital Youth Summit

Standing in line to sign up for the Digital Youth Summit in Peshawar this May, I struck up a conversation with a young woman from Peshawar. I was pleasantly surprised by her level of interest and eagerness in participating at the tech conference.  She was keen to develop an app that would allow her to sell home-based food products at a national level.  She had already gathered a group of friends who would work with her on different aspects of task planning and implementation.  Her enthusiasm was palpable and infectious.  Born and raised in South Asia, I understand the constraints local women face in largely male dominated societies.  I was therefore heartened by the large turn-out of women queuing to enroll for the workshops.  

Our commitment to the people of Afghanistan stays strong

Annette Dixon's picture
Also available in: دری | پښتو
Despite government efforts with support from the international community, Afghanistan's development needs remain massive. Photo Credit: Rumi Consultancy/ World Bank

I am still shaken and saddened by the many lives lost to the attacks in Kabul two weeks ago and since then there has been more violence. As we grieve these tragedies, now is the time to stand strong with the people of Afghanistan and renew our commitment to build a peaceful and prosperous country.

To that end, we announced this week a new financing package of more than half-a-billion dollars to help Afghanistan through its struggle to end poverty, increase opportunity to help stabilize the country, and ensure all its citizens can access basic services during a time of economic uncertainty.

Afghanistan has come a long way since 2001 and achieved much progress under extremely challenging circumstances. Life expectancy has increased from 44 to 60 years, maternal mortality has decreased by more than three quarters and the country now boasts 18 million mobile phone subscribers, up from almost none in 2001.

Yet, the development needs in Afghanistan remain massive. Nearly 40 percent of Afghans live in poverty and almost 70 percent of the population are illiterate. The country needs to create new jobs for about 400,000 people entering the labor market each year. The situation is made more challenging by the return of around 5.8 million refugees and 1.2 million internally displaced people.

Our new support is in line with our belief that Afghanistan’s economic and social progress can also help it address security challenges.  Our financing package meets the pressing needs of returning refugees, expands private-sector opportunities for the poor, boosts the development of five cities, expands electrification, improves food security, and builds rural roads.

Taking lessons from rural India to Azerbaijan

Ahmed Ailyev's picture

I have always believed that communities are like musical instruments. You need to tune them properly to hear their divine music. I actually heard this music from rural communities in India. And their song, which still resonates within me, is something I will now take back to my own country.
In May 2017, my colleagues and I from the World Bank’s Azerbaijan Rural Investment Project were on an exposure visit to India to see firsthand how self help groups and cooperatives were impacting the lives of rural people.

Kerala: AzRIP and Bank team at the Trade Fair of all SHG livelihood groups across Kerala organized by Kudumbashree at Kollam.

In my years of work in rural development, I have found that the unique feature we as human beings have is the ability to share  skills, values and experiences. As we travelled across six states, this proved to be true in all the people we met, be it in large commercial companies or in remote rural  communities.
The people told us that transparency and honesty were an essential factor in their success. I also found that the spirit of cooperation was clearly present. Cooperatives belong to all members, they said, and the managers were there to serve the members. The leaders of self help groups, producer organizations, cooperatives, and micro enterprise groups also told us that they must be party to the risk taken by the group, and should lead by example in order to motivate others.

What can Bangladesh do to deliver more and better jobs for everyone?

Qimiao Fan's picture
Bangladesh woman working in flourescent lamp section
Bangladeshi woman works in the flourescent lamp section of SEED Bangla Limited. Photo Credit: World Bank

Bangladesh has made remarkable progress toward ending poverty and sharing prosperity with more of its people. As recently as 2000, about one in three Bangladeshis lived in extreme poverty based on the national poverty line; today, this has fallen to 13 percent. The poorest 40 percent of the population also saw positive per person consumption growth. Like in most countries, a key reason was broad-based growth in earnings. With more than 20 million people still living in extreme poverty and many workers with insecure jobs, Bangladesh cannot be complacent. It needs faster economic growth that can deliver more and better jobs for everyone.

New Zealand has much to offer the world

Annette Dixon's picture
New zealand - World maps on line
New Zealand Map.  Photo Credit: Academia maps GeoAtlas

When people think about New Zealand’s most famous son, Sir Edmund Hillary, they mostly think about the quiet Auckland bee-keeper who conquered Everest in 1953.

Of course, there’s much more to the man. He raised money for the Sherpa communities in Nepal that built schools, hospitals and much more. His commitment to the people of South Asia was also reflected in his successful term in the 1980s as New Zealand’s High Commissioner to India.

As the most senior New Zealander in the management of the World Bank, I have come to appreciate Sir Edmund’s commitment to the people of South Asia and believe it shows how much New Zealand can offer the world.  This will not only make the world a better place but can also help New Zealand too.