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Are we prepared for the next global epidemic? The public doesn't think so

Jim Yong Kim's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français | Español | 日本語
A nurse checks the temperature of a patient at Redemption Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia.  © Dominic Chavez/World Bank


Too often, the conventional wisdom in diplomatic or scientific circles is that the general public doesn't know what's good for them when it comes to foreign policy or tackling global threats. It's too complicated, the experts say; the public wouldn't understand. Yet new polling suggests that many in the public understand very well how global infectious disease outbreaks pose a serious threat to their lives and economic security - and they know what should be done about it.

Clean air as a poverty reduction priority

Ernesto Sanchez-Triana's picture
​Many parts of the development community have long embraced the following narrative: When nations are young and poor, they are willing to sacrifice natural resources—dirtying their water and their air—to promote economic growth and meet their population’s basic needs. Then, once these nations achieve a certain level of wealth, they become less concerned with accumulating material goods and more concerned with quality-of-life issues, and only at that point are they willing to spend money—or sacrifice growth—for benefits like clean air.

However, a recent resolution by the World Health Organization's (WHO) governing body shows that this narrative is beginning to change. 

Human wellbeing depends on a functioning planet—the Pope’s call

Paula Caballero's picture
Children in Bhutan look out on terraced fields. (Photo by Curt Carnemark / World Bank)The papal encyclical “on care for our common home” reflects the kind of insightful and decisive leadership that will be needed to reverse trends that will affect humanity’s capacity to feed itself and provide for collective well-being. The encyclical is not only a sobering call to address climate change, but also a manifesto for environmental stewardship and action. It touches on topics that we, as earth’s dominant species, need to urgently care about if we are to keep millions out of poverty today and tomorrow, and deliver on the rising expectations of a global middle class.

At the core of the encyclical is both a concern for the health of the planet and for the earth’s poor, reflected in a commitment to social values and integrity, environmental resilience, and economic inclusion.

The stock-taking begins, aptly, with pollution: “Some forms of pollution are part of people’s daily experience. Exposure to atmospheric pollutants produces a broad spectrum of health hazards, especially for the poor, and causes millions of premature deaths.” The World Bank’s latest edition of the Little Green Data Book finds indeed that in low and middle-income countries, 86% of the residents are exposed to air pollution levels (measured in exposure particulate matter less than 2.5 microns in diameter) that exceed World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines. The WHO last year made headlines when it calculated that 7 million people had died prematurely from indoor and outdoor air pollution in 2012. From safer cookstoves in rural areas, to better air quality management in fast growing cities, this is an area where solutions are known and must be urgently applied.

Climate change, health and opportunities for sustainable development

James Close's picture
Also available in: Español | Français | العربية
Mosquito nets in Nigeria. Arne Hoel/World Bank


In a joint post, World Bank Director for Climate Change James Close teams up with Environment and Natural Resources Global Practice Senior Director Paula Caballero and Health, Nutrition and Population Global Practice Senior Director Tim Evans to comment on a new report released by The Lancet, which touches upon aspects of each of their portfolios and underscores the value in working collaboratively toward development solutions. 

 
In a new report released today, the Lancet Commission on Health and Climate Change tells us that “tackling climate change could be the greatest global health opportunity of the 21st century.”  
 
Among its recommendations, it calls on governments to invest in climate change and public health research and monitoring and surveillance, and to scale-up financing for climate-resilient health systems worldwide.
 
At the World Bank, we couldn’t agree more.

State of global development: Why 2015 is a pivotal year for ending poverty

Jim Yong Kim's picture
Also available in: العربية | Español | Français
© Arne Hoel/World Bank


In this series, professionals debate the state – and future – of their industry. Read all the posts here and write your own (use #MyIndustry in the body of your post).

I work in one of the most rewarding fields imaginable – helping low- and middle-income countries develop so that poor people have a fair chance at reaching their full potential. My field of work is at a critical crossroads, and it is no exaggeration that the decisions we make this year will have an impact on everyone in the world and especially the poorest.

#KidsEndPoverty: Чи юу хийж чадах вэ, хүүхдүүд та нар туслахын тулд яах вэ?

Korina Lopez's picture
Also available in: English | Français | Español | العربية | 中文

Өнөөдөр зургадугаар сарын 1. Дэлхийн олон оронд Хүүхдийн эрхийг хамгаалах өдрийг тэмдэглэж байна. Бид хүүхдүүддээ ямар дэлхийг өвлүүлэн үлдээж байна вэ гэдгийг эргэцүүлэн бодох боломж олгож байна. Хүүхдүүдээ өсч том болохоос өмнө ядуурлаас ангижирсан дэлхийг тэдэндээ үлдээхийн төлөө хамтдаа нэгдэцгээе. Өнөөгийн бүх хүүхдийн сайн сайхан ирээдүйн төлөө бид хамтдаа 2030 он гэхэд ядуурлыг ялж чадна. Энэ блогт бичигдсэн зүйлийг өөрийн орчин тойронд амьдарч байгаа хүүхдүүдтэй хуваалцаарай. Мөн тэдний урлагийн бүтээлийг ирүүлээрэй, тэдгээр бүтээлийг бид Дэлхийн банкны нийгмийн сүлжээгээр түгээх юм.

Маяа гэдэг охин байна гээд төсөөл дөө. Маяа охин ядуу оронд амьдардаг, аав ээж өдөржин ажилладаг, тэр сургуульд явж чадахгүй, яагаад гэвэл дүүгээ асрах хэрэгтэй. Аав ээж нь хичнээн хичээж махруу ажиллаад ч гэр бүлээ тэжээхэд хүрэлцэх, мөн Маяагийн сургуульд сурахад шаардлагатай мөнгийг олж чадахгүй. Маяа болон Маяагийн гэр бүл маш зайдуу амьдардаг, хэн нэг нь Маяагийн дүүг асарч Маяа сургуульд явах боломжтой боллоо гэхэд сургууль хүртэл явах автобусны зам ч тэнд байхгүй. Боловсрол гэдэг бол уншиж, бичиж, нэмж, хасаж сурна гэсэн үг. Өсч том болсоныхоо дараа ажил олж хийхийн тулд хүүхдүүд эдгээр зүйлсийг сурсан байх шаардлагатай. Боловсролгүй байна гэдэг бол ажиллаж, хөдөлмөрлөх боломж бараг байхгүй гэсэн үг. Ядуу учраас Маяа чам шиг сургуульд сурч чадахгүй байна гэдэг шударга гэж үү. Бүх хүүхэд сургуульд сурч, өвдсөн үедээ эмчид үзүүлж, идэх хоолтой, эцэг эхтэйгээ хамт амьдардаг гэр оронтой, тэндээ унтдаг байх учиртай. Харамсалтай нь Маяатай ижил олон хүүхэд бий. Бид тэдэнд хэрхэн тусалж чадах вэ? Түүнд туслахын тулд чи юу хийж чадах вэ??

#KidsEndPoverty: What can you — and your kids — do to help?

Korina Lopez's picture
Also available in: Français | Español | العربية | 中文 | Mongolian

Today, June 1, many countries around the world mark Children’s Day, offering an opportunity to reflect on the kind of world our kids will inherit. Let’s join together to make a better worldone free from extreme povertybefore they grow up. Together we can end poverty by 2030 and ensure a better world for today’s kids and all children in the future. Share this blog post with your kids, or children from your community, and submit their artwork to be considered for World Bank social media channels. 

​​Imagine a girl named Maya. Maya lives in a poor country where her parents work all day, and she can’t go to school because she has to care for her baby brother. Even though her parents work very hard, they barely make enough to feed the family, much less buy school supplies for Maya. She and her family live out in the country, and there are no roads for buses to take Maya to school, even if there was someone to care for her brother while her parents work. Education means learning to read, write, add, and subtract. Kids need to learn all these things to find jobs when they grow up. No education means very little access to jobs. Is it fair that just because Maya is poor that she can’t go to school, just like you?

Global citizens call and act to end pollution

Andy Shuai Liu's picture
Earth Day serves as a reminder each year that protecting the environment and working toward a cleaner, healthier planet not only benefits people nowbut also helps us leave a safer home for future generations. This year, nearly 300,000 people from all walks of life took to the U.S. National Mall in Washington D.C. on April 18 to mark the day as “global citizens” rallying for people and the planet.

Musicians, politicians, and non-profit leaders joined thousands of people to emphasize a message that relates both to poverty and environmental concerns:

Pollution kills and it hits the poor the hardest. To protect our lives and our planet, we must act now to end pollution.  

The World Bank talked to people at the event to see what types of pollution they see around them and what actions, however small, they take to reduce pollution on a daily basis.

Get inspired by their words and actions:
 
Patrick Quackenbush. Photo by World Bank

“I see pollution more in the air and water—in the creeks and in the sea. Pollution brings damage to nature and animals’ habitats. 

“I walk a lot. A lot of people may drive, but I am used to walking on campus. Subconsciously, it makes me feel I’m contributing [to the cause of ending pollution].”

– Patrick Quackenbush, a student at the University of Maryland

Ebola: $1 billion so far for a recovery plan for Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone

Donna Barne's picture
Also available in: Français | Español | العربية



With the Ebola outbreak waning but not yet over, the three most affected countries must now find ways to rebuild their economies and strengthen their health systems to try to prevent another health crisis in the future.

To that end, the presidents of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone came to the World Bank on April 17 to ask for help funding an $8 billion, 10-year recovery plan for the three countries, with $4 billion needed over the next four years to accelerate recovery. More than $1 billion was pledged by the end of a high-level meeting at the start of the World Bank Group -IMF Spring Meetings – including $650 million from the World Bank Group.

A Food System that can feed everyone, everyday, everywhere

Juergen Voegele's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français | Español



Whether you’re a food producer or consumer, and no matter what part of the world you live in, I’m sure we can agree: The world needs a food system that can feed everyone, everyday, everywhere.

A food system that works for everyone can also create jobs and raise the incomes of smallholder farmers and rural residents who are 78 percent of the world’s poor people. After all, growth originating in agriculture is proven to be 2 to 4 times more effective at reducing poverty than growth originating in other sectors. An effective food system can also provide better nutrition, steward the world’s natural resources, and even be a part of the solution to climate change.
 

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