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7 reasons for land and property rights to be at the top of the global agenda

Laura Tuck's picture
City view in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar. © Sarah Farhat/World Bank
City view in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar. © Sarah Farhat/World Bank

This week, more than 1,500 development professionals from around the world are gathering at the World Bank’s annual Land and Poverty Conference, discussing the latest research and innovations in policies and good practice on land governance.

Secure property rights and efficient land registration institutions are a cornerstone of any modern economy. They give confidence to individuals and businesses to invest in land, allow private companies to borrow – using land as a collateral – to expand job opportunities, and enable governments to collect property taxes, which are necessary to finance the provision of infrastructure and services to citizens.

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

Patti Kristjanson's picture
Also available in: العربية | Español | Français
Liberian woman's forest product market stand. © Gerardo Segura/World Bank
Liberian woman's forest product market stand. © Gerardo Segura/World Bank

According to WRI'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?

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

Sarah Iqbal's picture
Also available in: Русский
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 | Русский
© 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 received the Nari Shakti Puraskar 2017 award, the highest civilian award for women in India, for her work along with the “Hargila Army” to protect the greater adjutant stork. © Jantin Das.

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.

Which is why we created 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 in 2013 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
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.

What happens to women when men leave the farm? Sharing Evidence from Nepal and Senegal

Anuja Kar's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français | Español
 Poverty Alleviation Fund II Project, Government of Nepal.
Smallholder female farmer in Nepal: Poverty Alleviation Fund II Project, Government of Nepal.

Kofi Annan once said that ‘There is no tool more effective than the empowerment of women.’ This is definitely true in the agriculture sector: Empowered women are critical to sustainable agricultural growth and equitable rural transformation.  In June 2018, we published a report on “Male Outmigration and Women’s Work and Empowerment in Agriculture, which explores the impacts of rural outmigration on the lives and livelihoods of women who stay behind on the farms. The first in what will be a series of publications, this report uses innovative survey data to produce rigorous evidence on the gendered impacts of rural outmigration.  

Why does it matter? Globally, migration is an important development agenda and is closely connected with agriculture in many countries. The available evidence suggests that across the globe, migration originating from rural areas is predominantly male, which could potentially lead to significant socioeconomic changes in rural areas, including changes in traditional gender norms. Using data from two comparable, surveys for Nepal and Senegal collected between August and November 2017, we studied the effects of male outmigration from rural, primarily agricultural areas on women’s work and empowerment--both in agriculture and in the household.

Innovative research has an impact against gender-based violence

Diana J. Arango's picture
Also available in: Español | Français
WBG/SVRI Development Marketplace 2018 winner Equal Playing Field is helping boys and girls in Papua New Guinea build social and soft skills to participate in advocacy campaigns to end gender inequality and violence against women and girls. © Equal Playing Field
World Bank Group/SVRI Development Marketplace 2018 winner Equal Playing Field is helping boys and girls in Papua New Guinea build social and soft skills to participate in advocacy campaigns to end gender inequality and violence against women and girls. © Equal Playing Field

Violence against women and girls is a global pandemic affecting one-third of women. It takes many forms, including female infanticide, female genital mutilation, battering, rape, sexual abuse, harassment and intimidation, trafficking, and forced prostitution. It occurs in the home, on the streets, in schools, workplaces, farm fields, and refugee camps, during times of peace as well as in conflicts and crises.

To stem violence, it is crucial that countries and program implementers are informed by evidence on what works best. There needs to be a stronger, broader knowledge base about prevention and response that can inform investments, policy and practice.

Tackling gender inequality through investments in health equity

Kristalina Georgieva's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français | Español
© Dominic Chavez/Global Financing Facility

Still today, in almost all societies around the world, women are less well-off than men. Women are still paid less than men; they are less represented in business, politics and decision-making. Their life chances remain overwhelmingly less promising than those of men. 
 
This inequality hurts us all. The world would be 20% better off if women were paid the same as men. Delaying early marriage in the developing world by just a few years would add more than $500 billion to annual global economic output by 2030. 
 
But this is more than a problem of lost income. For women and girls in poor countries, it cuts life short before it can flourish.  
 
Today, 830 women will die from complications related to pregnancy or childbirth. This month, 450,000 children under the age of five will die. This year, 151 million children will have their education and employment opportunities limited due to stunting. If current trends continue, 150 million more girls will be married by 2030.
 
Clearly, we need to accelerate progress so that no woman or child is left behind.

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