In most regions of the world, over 70 percent of freshwater is used for agriculture. By 2050, feeding a planet of 9 billion people will require an estimated 50 percent increase in agricultural production and a 15 percent increase in water withdrawals.
The World Region
Over the last 25 years Brazil lost around half a million square kilometers of forest - around the same area that China gained. Since 1990, the growing demand for forest products and for agricultural land has contributed to an average annual loss of 50,000 square kilometers of forest globally - an area the size of Costa Rica. Read more in "Five forest figures for the International Day of Forests."
The fragile and conflict situations in which the World Bank Group supports development programs are seen as a top and increasingly urgent strategic priority for the institution and donors, and the Bank Group is increasing attention and focus there (note the WBG’s paper “The Forward Look”). The statistics related to fragile situations are staggering. Two billion people live in countries where development outcomes are affected by fragility, conflict and violence. Nearly fifty percent of the global poor is predicted to be living in fragile and conflict affected situations by 2030. Terrorism incidents have increased and forced displacement is a global crisis.
The WBG pays close attention to what its key stakeholders in client countries think about development and the work of the Bank through its Country Opinion Survey program - a mandated survey effort that assesses the views of influential across the Bank’s client countries annually (40+ countries/year on three year cycles). By keeping ‘ears to the ground’ it can understand what the institution’s key stakeholders think about their own development situations, the Bank’s work within this context, and how the Bank can increase its value in these increasingly difficult and complicated situations. The data below reflects opinions from more than one thousand opinion leaders in FCV countries.
As we mark International Women’s day, I’ve been considering how laws often apply differently to men and women. When they work well, laws ensure greater gender equality, offer protection against child marriage and domestic violence, and open up economic opportunities for women and girls.
A new policy paper from the Women, Business and The Law team discusses laws that protect women from violence. Child marriage is one of the first issues they address - . Even where the legal age of marriage is 18 or above, many countries allow countries allow girls to be married earlier with parental consent.
And 17 economies have a different legal age of marriage for boys than for girls. Where this is the case, girls are allowed to get married at a younger age:
Where should telecom providers place their towers and what frequencies should they use?
How can governments best calculate commodity imports to ensure food security?
How can communities better manage areas at risks of floods?
These are just some of the questions that organizations around the world try to answer by using open government data — free, publicly available data that anyone can access and use, without restrictions. Yet around the world, much government data is yet to be made available, and still less in machine-readable formats. In many low and lower-middle income countries, finding and using open data is often challenging. It may take a complicated request process to get data from the government, and the data may come in the form of paper-based documents that are very hard to analyze. A new study looks to better understand how organizations in low and lower-middle income countries utilize machine-readable open data.
In producing the study, the Center for Open Data Enterprise, supported by the World Bank, interviewed dozens of businesses and nonprofit organizations in 20 countries. The organizations were identified through the Open Data Impact Map, a public database of organizations that use open data around the world, and a resource of the Open Data for Development (OD4D) Network. Over 50 use cases were developed as part of this study, each an example of open data use in a low or lower-middle income country.
Who are Spain's neighbors? Is Canada closer to Spain than Portugal? What about Estonia or Greece? The answer? Depends on the data you are looking at!
Earlier this week I crunched data based on a selected list of indicators from the new Open Trade and Competitiveness platform from the World Bank (TCdata360) and found some interesting trends. In 2009 Spain was closer to economies like Estonia, Belgium, France and Canada while 6 years later in 2015, Spain's closest neighbors were Greece and Portugal. How and when did this shift happen?
Other trends I spotted using the same data? It seems the Sub-Saharan region ranks the lowest in Ease of Doing Business, that in 2007 Israel held the record for R&D expenditure as % of GDP, while in the same year Malta topped FDI net inflows as % GDP, and that the largest annual GDP growth in the last 20 years occurred in Equatorial Guinea in 1997.
Figure 1: Dots represent values for an economy at a given point in time for years 1996 to 2016 overlaying their box-plot distributions. Colors correspond to geographical regions.
The answer put forward by World Development Report (WDR) 2017 is better governance – the ways in which governments and citizens work together to design and implement policies.
The report is a detailed exploration of a complex topic. I won’t be able to do it justice in a short blog – I’d encourage you to download the report and summary here.
What I will do though, is pull out a few of the charts and ideas I found most striking while reading through it – have a look below and let us know what you think.
Constitutions – fundamental principles or laws governing countries – have proliferated since the late 18th century. The growing numbers, especially since the 1940s, correspond to the postcolonial increase in the number of independent states, and more recently the breakup of the Soviet Union.
… but they are often replaced or amended
– the average lifespan of a constitution is 19 years, and in Latin America and eastern Europe it is a mere eight years.
Over the last 25 years, different forms of gender quotas for representation in national legislatures have spread globally. Out of 74 countries studied where gender quota laws were passed, the 2017 World Development Report finds that 26 had achieved the quotes, and as of 2016, 48 countries had yet to do so.
Read more in 11 charts from the 2017 World Development Report on Governance & The Law
Energy and non-energy commodity price indexes are projected to increase by 26 and 3 percent respectively in 2017. The Agricultural Price Index is expected to remain stable. Prices for industrial commodities such as energy and metals appear to have bottomed out in 2016, and are forecast to rise substantially this year due to strong demand and tight supplies. Read more in Commodity Markets Outlook.
In the past five years, the World Bank’s Country Opinion Survey Program surveyed more than 25 thousand opinion leaders in the field of development in nearly all client countries across the globe. In some countries the surveys were conducted two or even three times during 2012-2016.
"What is the most important development priority for your country?" was one of the questions to representatives of national and local governments, multilateral/bilateral agencies, media, academia, the private sector, and civil society in developing countries.
At the global level, -- where 57 million children in the world still remain out of school, -- “education” has emerged amongst survey respondents as one of the top two development priorities across the regions.
Percentage and number of opinion leaders seeing “education” as a top development priority by region (123 developing countries, 2012-2016).