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Climate change's biggest effect on poverty? Agriculture.

Tariq Khokhar's picture

The biggest impact climate change will have on the poor will be through agriculture. Under a pessimistic "poverty" scenario with high climate change impacts, there could be more than 100 million additional people in poverty by 2030, largely due to changing crop yields and prices. Under an optimistic "prosperity" scenario, these effects are greatly reduced. Read more in the new "Shock Waves" report.


Weekly wire: The global forum

Roxanne Bauer's picture

World of NewsThese are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.

The Library’s Global Future
Discussions of the future of libraries are often surprisingly nostalgic endeavors, producing laments for vanished card catalogs or shrinking book stacks rather than visions of what might be. Even at their most hopeful, such conversations sometimes lose track of the pragmatic functions that libraries serve. Imagined as unchanging archives, libraries become mere monuments to our analog past. But envisioning them as purely digital spaces also misses the mark, capturing neither what they can be nor the way their patrons use them.

The world’s urban population is growing – so how can cities plan for migrants?
The Conversation
The world’s population is becoming increasingly urban. Sometime in 2007 is usually reckoned to be the turning point when city dwellers formed the majority of the global population for the first time in history. Today, the trend toward urbanisation continues: as of 2014, it’s thought that 54% of the world’s population lives in cities – and it’s expected to reach 66% by 2050. Migration forms a significant, and often controversial, part of this urban population growth. In fact, cities grow in three ways, which can be difficult to distinguish: through migration (whether it’s internal migration from rural to urban areas, or international migration between countries); the natural growth of the city’s population; and the reclassification of nearby non-urban districts. Although migration is only responsible for one share of this growth, it varies widely from country to country.

The poverty line’s battle lines

Kaushik Basu's picture

For a long time, as a college professor and then as the chief economic adviser to the Indian government, I was a happy user of the World Bank’s data on global poverty, tracking trends and analyzing cross-country patterns. I seldom paused to think about how those numbers were computed. Then, three years ago, I joined the World Bank as its Chief Economist. It was like a customer, happily ordering dinner in a favorite restaurant, suddenly being asked to go into the kitchen and prepare the meal.

DFIs should work together to measure job impacts

Dirk Willem te Velde's picture

The creation of jobs and the promotion of economic transformation are the main development challenges in low and middle income countries. Development finance institutions (DFIs) support private sector activities through finance and technical assistance. These are key instruments in stimulating private sector-led job creation. However, without active collaboration amongst DFIs it will be difficult to fully understand their impact. For instance, collective action through the Let’s Work partnership has the potential to enhance the evidence base on the impact of DFI-supported firms on job creation.

Civil registration and vital statistics: key to better data on maternal mortality

Samuel Mills's picture
Domimic Chavez / World Bank 2015

Today, the UN Maternal Mortality Estimation Inter-Agency Group (MMEIG)* released Trends in Maternal Mortality: 1990 to 2015.  It reports that, worldwide, maternal mortality ratio (MMR) declined by almost 44% between 1990 and 2015, from 385 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births to 216. 

Estimating bilateral remittances

Dilip Ratha's picture
From time to time, we receive queries seeking more information on the estimation of bilateral remittances posted here. Data issues relating to remittances are well-known. We know that outward remittances reported by countries tend to underestimate the true size, because the sum of inflows worldwide is far larger than the sum of outward flows worldwide. We also know that many countries that are known to host large migrant populations report no data on remittances. And many countries tend to attribute a larger-than-real share of inward remittance flows to countries where correspondent banks are domiciled. See Ratha (2007, annex), Global Economic Prospects 2006 (p 105) and Migration and Remittances Factbook 2011 (p xvi) for caveats relating to data on remittances. See also the IMF’s International Transactions in Remittances: Guide for Compilers and Users for more information on remittances data.

The original write-up (from Ratha and Shaw 2007) explaining how bilateral remittances are estimated, is reproduced below (click on the snapshot to download):

Why are payment services essential for financial inclusion?

Massimo Cirasino's picture

Joint Development Bank's ATM, Lao PDR. IFC Photo Collection

While some 700 million people have gained access to a transaction account between 2011 and 2014, there are still about 2 billion adults in the world who lack access to transaction accounts offered by regulated and/or authorized financial service providers. The increased role that non-banks play in financial services, particularly in the payments area, has contributed to making them available and useful to many people who were previously locked out of the financial system. 
There is broad recognition that financial inclusion can help people get out of poverty as it can help them better manage their finances. Access to a transaction account is the first step in that direction. A transaction account allows people to take advantage of different (electronic) ways to send or receive payments, and it can serve as a gateway to other financial products, such as credit, saving and insurance.

Payment services are usually the first and typically most often used financial service. Understanding how payment aspects can affect financial inclusion efforts is important not only for the Committee of Payments and Market Infrastructures (CPMI) of the Bank for International Settlements and the World Bank Group, but for all stakeholders with interest in increasing financial access and broader financial inclusion.

Why those promoting growth need to take politics seriously, and vice versa

Duncan Green's picture

Nicholas Waddell, a DFID Governance Adviser working on ‘Governance for Economic Development’ (G4ED) explores the links between governance and economic growth. 

Should I play it safe and join a governance team or risk being a lone voice in a sea of economists and private sector staff? This was my dilemma as a DFID Governance Adviser returning to the UK after a stint in East Africa. I gambled and joined the growth specialists in DFID’s newly created Economic Development arm.  A year in, I now think differently about the relationship between growth and governance.

Man working inside a large reinforced steel tube, PhilippinesEradicating poverty will not be possible without high and sustained growth that generates productive jobs and brings benefits across society. Historically, this has included boosting productivity within existing sectors as well as rebalancing economies towards more productive sectors (e.g. from agriculture to manufacturing). Such structural change or economic transformation has lifted millions from poverty.

Economic transformation can have a strong disruptive effect on political governance – giving rise, for example, to interest groups that push for accountable leaders and effective institutions. As countries get richer, more effective institutions also become more affordable. Over time, economic transformation can therefore advance core governance objectives.

But this is easier said than done. Economic development is an inherently political process that challenges vested interests. Often the surest ways for elites to hold onto power and profit aren’t in step with measures to spur investment, create jobs and foster growth. Shrewd power politics can be bad economics.

Making the risky business of agriculture ‘climate-smart’

Vikas Choudhary's picture

Farmers harvest crops in Madagascar.

Agriculture is an inherently risky business.  From natural disasters and erratic rainfall to pests, few other sectors are as exposed or as vulnerable to shocks.
Climate change is a source of significant risks for agricultural and food systems: Climate projections suggest that average growing conditions will shift and there will be more uncertainty in predicting climate and weather conditions. More concretely, these impacts will translate into an overall warming trend, an increasingly erratic distribution of precipitation, more frequent and more devastating extreme weather events, and spatial shifts in the occurrence of pests and diseases. These impacts can cause production losses which lead to market volatility and in some cases, reactionary shifts in policies and regulations.