We all know, sadly, that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people suffer discrimination and stigma. This happens around the world, particularly in developing countries. But how does this discrimination affect their lives, their development outcomes?
“You can’t hold back time,” goes the saying (and the song). Indeed, the Laws of Nature dictate that people and societies get older and older, whether we like it or not.
But let me pose a question: are aging societies doomed to experience stagnation or a decline in living standards? Some might believe so, but I would argue that it is possible to address the realities of changing demographics that come from aging – through bold adaptive action!
I just came back from a trip to Russia. Back in 2006 and 2007, I had traveled to Russia frequently as the lead for the Cadastre Development Project. This time - as a Global Lead for Land and Geospatial at the World Bank - I saw something I did not expect to see.
Privatization of real-estate properties and protecting property rights became two important pillars of transformation following the end of the Soviet era. But, while they were important policy goals in the 1990s, the system did not really function properly: rights were not fully protected and people waited for many months to register property transactions.
Numbers don’t lie. That’s why, in our day-to-day lives, we rely heavily on numbers from household surveys, from national accounts, and from other traditional sources to describe the world around us: to calculate, to compare, to measure, to understand economic and social trends in the countries where we work.
But do we perhaps rely too much on numbers to gain an understanding of people’s lives and the societies in which they live? Do numbers really tell us the whole story, or give us the full picture?
The Europe and Central Asia region is the oldest region on the planet. This means that the 46 countries of the region are also at the forefront of addressing some of the many policy challenges that aging populations bring. How is the region faring with its heterogeneous group of countries?
There’s so much peace in Györgytelep. As you enter this neighborhood of Pécs, in Hungary, your eyes are immediately drawn to the horizon – where a gargantuan construction project leaves you marveling and pondering its purpose.
La opt ani de la debutul crizei economice globale, aproape un sfert din populația Uniunii Europene este în continuare expusă la riscul de sărăcie sau excluziune socială. Însă un anumit grup iese în evidență: Populația romă din Europa care este marginalizată și al cărui număr este în creștere.
Cifra echivalentă pentru copii romi are un nivel de 85% în Europa Centrală și de Sud-Est. Condițiile de trai ale populației rome marginalizate din această regiune seamănă adesea cu cele din țările mai puțin dezvoltate, decât cu cele la care ne-am aștepta în Europa.
Eight years on from the start of the global economic crisis, close to one quarter of the European Union’s population remains at risk of poverty or social exclusion. But one group in particular stands out: Europe’s growing and marginalized Roma population.
The equivalent figure for Roma children stands at 85 percent in Central and Southeastern Europe. Living conditions of marginalized Roma in this region are often more akin to those in least developed countries than what we expect in Europe.
Nature has given every species an intrinsic life span. Life span is a bit like an upper bound to life expectancy: if you got every member of a species healthier and healthier, life expectancy of that species would constantly increase, but eventually be bound by life span.
Every species has a different life span: for flies, it’s just a couple of days, for bowhead whales it’s 200 years. For humans, biologists have found that up until the 1960s, life span was around 89 years. This means that if we kept improving our health systems, the world population’s life expectancy would converge to our species’ life span of 89.
Reeling from a long year of work and toil, December is the month we turn toward our families and friends with joy and gratitude. December is a month of great generosity. Some of us have so much to give that we also look outside our families and think about those who are hungriest for warmth, joy and support. Here in Bucharest it is common to step-up our efforts and bid for charity. Initiatives to help children, including support for those in foster homes and orphanages, abound.
Romania’s recent history saw the country register very high rates of child abandonment. In the early ‘90s, Romania’s child protection relied on large institutions - which offered poor conditions to more than 100,000 children – and we know these children are some of the least fortunate members of society. Nowadays, Romania has not only halved the number of children in the child protection system but it is also promoting a major shift away from institutional care towards more individualized and efficient forms of care, such as extended family, foster families, and family-like homes.
Still, psychological strains and tragedies persist - even in this newer, more modern system. Recently, a 14 year old girl from a child protection center decided to take her life because she had been returned to the orphanage after living with a foster mother for 11 years. Her foster mother had fallen ill and the family could not manage to care for her and the other children at the same time. In her suicide note, she told her adoptive mother she loved her and that she couldn’t stand the fact that she was taken away.
For me, an adoptive mother of a now 23-year-old daughter who was abandoned at birth and that joined my family from an orphanage in Manila - first as a foster child and then as an adopted child - this story brings home many memories and a stark reminder that the agenda is still out there.