Why are petroleum prices dropping so fast anyway? Have they reached rock bottom yet? Should we be worried if they continue to fall? These are questions that probably every finance minister in either oil-rich or oil importing nations is trying to answer.
Probably, Mafalda - an Argentinean comic book character - was right when she said that "the urgent things do not leave time for the important things". However, it is necessary that, in this context, we must stop and think what should be done and what is important.
Argentina is going through a demographic transition process, which implies opportunities and challenges in economics and social fields. That is the actual case of Argentina, as well as the rest of Latin America.
The January 2010 Haiti earthquake killed many thousands and caused damage and losses estimated at US$7.8 billion, more than US$3 billion of which was in the housing sector alone.
What might surprise those who have heard only anecdotal accounts of the shortcomings of the Haiti response is that some exemplary practices that emerged from that event have already been redeployed in other disaster responses.
Soon will be January 1, 2015. Most of us will make New Year’s resolutions and most of us will fail to keep them. Keeping New Year’s resolutions is hard. But it turns out that we are much more likely to make good on our resolutions if we decide to build upon our strengths rather than focus on fixing what’s wrong. This insight is all the more important if we combine it with the intriguing view that it is the depth of our strengths, not the absence of weaknesses, which makes us successful. People are successful not because they are perfect but because they have deep strengths. What if this was also the case for countries?
With this in mind I turn my attention to some of the strengths of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, three countries that have recently put together their “Plan of the Alliance for Prosperity in the Northern Triangle.” The Plan is in part a response to the well-known security challenges facing those countries and the challenges posed by the surge in unaccompanied migrant children but it is also an opportunity to focus on the strengths of the Northern Triangle of Central America and how to develop them even further. And when one goes beyond the headlines one discovers a variety of success stories.
Latin America has a long, fractured, and ultimately failed history of public media. So-called “public media” typically functioned as government-controlled institutions for spurious goals - propaganda and clientelism - rather than quality content in the service of multiple public interests.
It has now been more than four and a half years since the January 12, 2010 earthquake devastated one of the most vulnerable countries in the Western Hemisphere. Just before 5pm local time on, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti. The epicenter was near the town of Leogane, about 20 miles west of the capital city Port-au-Prince. The heavy block and concrete style construction of the capital— intended to withstand hurricane force winds—collapsed and caused massive loss of life and injury. It is now estimated that over 40,000 people died and over 1 million were displaced. As many as 40% of Haiti’s civil servants were injured or killed, and the majority of government buildings were damaged or destroyed. The World Bank along with donor governments and other international organizations launched one of the largest disaster relief and reconstruction efforts in history.
“Despite all the work that we have been doing, the number of women reporting domestic violence cases has been increasing,” one of the participants in a workshop of the Safer Municipalities project said, expressing his frustration. The Safer Municipalities project is an initiative of the Government of Honduras aimed at preventing violence nationwide. He added, “There must be something missing in the services and referral system we offer for domestic violence in the Municipal Office for Women.”
As the facilitators of the workshop discussion, we replied that quite the opposite was true: an increase in the reporting of domestic violence cases is a positive sign that there is growing confidence in local institutions and a result of the Municipal Office’s efforts. The challenge, we explained, is to address the causes of violence to better support prevention efforts and improve services and response systems.