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Trees and forests are key to fighting climate change and poverty. So are women

Patti Kristjanson's picture
Liberian woman's forest product market stand. © Gerardo Segura/World Bank
Liberian woman's forest product market stand. © Gerardo Segura/World Bank

According to IUCN’s ‘Global Forest Watch’, from 2001 to 2017, 337 million hectares of tropical tree cover was lost globally – an area the size of India.
 
So, we appear to be losing the battle, if not the war, against tropical deforestation, and missing a key opportunity to tackle climate change (if tropical deforestation were a country, it would rank 3rd in emissions) and reduce poverty. A key question, then, is what can forest sector investors, governments and other actors do differently to reverse these alarming trends?

Celebrating 25 years of LGBT+ advancements at the World Bank Group

Emily Bartels Bland's picture
Kristalina Georgieva, Interim World Bank Group President and World Bank CEO, at the 25th anniversary of GLOBE, the World Bank Group Employee Resource Group for LGBT+ staff members. © World Bank
Kristalina Georgieva, Interim World Bank Group President and World Bank CEO, at the 25th anniversary of GLOBE, the World Bank Group Employee Resource Group for LGBT+ staff members.
© World Bank

GLOBE, the World Bank Group Employee Resource Group for LGBT+ staff members, turned 25 this year. On February 19, we held a reception to celebrate our achievements in improving equality and protections for LGBT+ employees at the World Bank Group and discuss the challenges that are ahead of us.

We are a group of LGBT+ employees and allies who have been doing this work for the last 25 years. GLOBE stands on three legs. Firstly, we are a community for LGBT+ staff and employees and allies, secondly we work closely with our partners in HR to make this a more inclusive workplace, and thirdly we work on sexual orientation and gender identity in operations.

Reflections from social media conversations: What obstacles do women face in their working lives?

Sarah Iqbal's picture
Young women work at sewing clothes in Boké, Guinea. © Vincent Tremeau /World Bank
Young women work at sewing clothes in Boké, Guinea. © Vincent Tremeau /World Bank

Despite numerous reforms, women continue to face discriminatory laws and regulations in many places and at many points in their working lives. Over 9 days leading up to International Women’s Day, we asked you about some of the obstacles you face in your own countries through the World Bank’s Instagram and Twitter channels – and the response was overwhelming.

The inspiration for this campaign was our recent work Women Business and the Law 2019: A Decade of Reform. The study introduces a new index that scores 187 economies in 8 areas, to understand how women’s employment and entrepreneurship are affected by legal discrimination, and how this impacts  women’s participation in the labor market.

Advancing diversity in international dispute settlement

Meg Kinnear's picture
© World Bank Group
© World Bank Group

As an international organization tasked with the resolution of investment disputes—diversity is, in fundamental respects, embedded in ICSID's DNA. The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) has 154-member states, encompassing the majority of the world's countries. ICSID cases involve investors and states from every region in the world and concern all economic sectors—from poultry farms in Turkmenistan to pharmaceuticals in Canada.

It is therefore imperative that the people who argue, decide and administer cases reflect this global makeup. And measurable progress is being made towards greater diversity and inclusiveness, thanks to the concerted efforts of the ICSID Secretariat, government officials and legal professionals operating in the field of international investment dispute settlement. 

Gender equality: Unleashing the real wealth of nations

Annette Dixon's picture
Also available in: Español | العربية
© World Bank
© World Bank

Last week, we launched the Women, Business, and the Law report, which found that despite the considerable progress that many countries have made in improving women’s legal rights over the last decade, women are still only accorded 75 percent of the legal rights that men, on average, are given. As a result, they are less able to get jobs, start businesses and make economic decisions, with economic consequences that reverberate beyond their families and communities.

This is a particularly timely piece of research because as we mark International Women's Day, it’s another reminder of the work we have ahead of us: women without legal protections to go to school or work outside the home are stripped of their voice and agency—and unable to invest in human capital for themselves or their families. With the Human Capital Project in full swing and work underway with more than 50 countries on improving people-based investments, putting gender equality at the top of the agenda will be critical to crafting better policy.

Women in nature conservation: a win-WiNN

Claudia Sobrevila's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français
Purnima Devi Barman and the "Hargila Army" receiving an award for their work to protect the Greater Adjutant stork. Photo: © Courtesy of Purnima Devi Barman. 
Purnima Devi Barman and the "Hargila Army" receiving an award for their work to protect the Greater Adjutant stork. Photo: © Courtesy of Purnima Devi Barman.

A common theme of our work on conservation projects has been the lack of networks for women to share their ideas and learn from others doing the same work.

This is where the idea was born to create an all-women’s network to support and empower women in nature conservation. It is called WiNN: the Women in Nature Network, and was founded that same year by the two of us and 12 other women.

WiNN is a volunteer-run network of women interested in nature conservation. It serves as a platform for women to interact and learn by sharing experiences and stories relevant to other women in order to enhance conservation impacts and also inspire the next generation of conservation leaders.

Every day is Women’s Day for IDA

Akihiko Nishio's picture
Also available in: Español | العربية | Français | 日本語
Basira Basiratkha, principal of the Female Experimental High School in Herat, Afghanistan. Her school benefited from an IDA-supported program. © Graham Crouch/World Bank
Basira Basiratkha, principal of the Female Experimental High School in Herat, Afghanistan. Her school benefited from an IDA-supported program. © Graham Crouch/World Bank

At the World Bank, we believe no country, community, or economy can achieve its potential or meet the challenges of the 21st century without the full and equal participation of women and men, girls and boys. This is particularly true in developing countries supported by the International Development Association (IDA), the arm of the World Bank that supports the poorest countries.

IDA countries have made encouraging progress on closing the gaps between women and men in recent years, especially in health and education. For example, women in IDA countries on average can expect to live longer than men (66 years vs. 62 years). With education, girls have caught up with or overtaken boys in enrolling in and completing primary school, as well as in transitioning on to secondary education.

The jobs challenge is bigger than ever in the poorest countries

Akihiko Nishio's picture
Also available in: Français | Español | 日本語 | العربية
Researchers at the CSIR-Crops Research Institute (CSIR-CRI) in Ghana. © Dasan Bobo/World Bank 
Researchers at the CSIR-Crops Research Institute (CSIR-CRI) in Ghana. © Dasan Bobo/World Bank 

Over the next decade, close to 600 million people will be looking for jobs, mostly in the world’s poorest countries. The South Asia region alone will need to create more than 13 million jobs every year to keep pace with its demographics. In Sub-Saharan Africa, despite a smaller population, the challenge will be even greater—15 million jobs will need to be created each year.
 
Adding complexity, the jobs challenge is also a concern for today. Many people in poorer countries who do work are stuck in informal, low-paying, less productive jobs, which are often outside the formal and taxed economy. And as the trends of urbanization continue, scores of internal migrants are searching for work, but can’t find quality, waged jobs, nor do they have the skills demanded by the markets. As a result, too many people are left on the economic sidelines and are limited in what they can contribute to their countries’ growth.  

Join sector and communication specialists for a leadership, strategy and stakeholder analysis training course

Umou Al-Bazzaz's picture
Also available in: العربية | Español
Flora Bossey, center, Communication Officer, Edo SEEFOR Project, Nigeria, attended in 2015. © World Bank
Flora Bossey, center, Communication Officer, Edo SEEFOR Project, Nigeria, attended in 2015.
© World Bank

When Amr Abdellah Aly, a department manager at the Electricity Ministry in Egypt, returned home from the Summer Institute in California training course at last year, his first question to his supervisors was if they had a communications strategy in place for the efforts of reforms in the electricity sector. His goal was to stress on the important role of communications throughout the reform process, something he had just learned from the course.
 
Each summer, the World Bank collaborates with the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California to offer the executive education course on reform communication: Leadership, strategy and stakeholder alignment. 

Community-based forestry in Malawi will soon bear fruit

Hasita Bhammar's picture
Firewood on bicycles as primary mode of reaching markets, Malawi. © Dejere/Shutterstock.com
Firewood on bicycles as primary mode of reaching markets, Malawi. © Dejere/Shutterstock.com

The jeep came to an abrupt halt, a few miles before we reached Lengwe National Park. I saw the Forest Officer jump out and stop a villager on a bicycle that was overloaded with a giant stack of firewood. The villager looked distraught as the Forest Officer confiscated the logs and sent him off with a cautionary warning. With a shrug of resignation, the officer explained that harvesting firewood in forest reserves and national parks was illegal and incidents like the one I had just witnessed were increasing tensions between the community and the Department of Forestry. 

For many Malawians, firewood and charcoal provide their only source of income and for the majority, they are also the only form of energy (fewer than one in 10 people has access to electricity). Their economic predicament forces them to risk being apprehended but under these circumstances, they take their chances.

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