World Bank Voices
Syndicate content

March 2019

How the new World Bank Group SDG Fund helps reach the Global Goals

World Bank Group SDG Fund Steering Committee's picture
A family submitting an application at the UNHCR registration center in Tripoli, Lebanon. © Mohamed Azakir/World Bank
A family submitting an application at the UNHCR registration center in Tripoli, Lebanon. © Mohamed Azakir/World Bank

World Bank Group SDG Fund Steering Committee members are Mahmoud Mohieldin; Karin Finkelston; Mamta Murthi; Robert Saum; Aradhana Kumar-Capoor; Ousseynou Nakoulima; Sebnem Akkaya 


We all want our work to have a positive impact on the people we serve, as reflected in national or global goals. The Sustainable Development Goals are one way to keep score on our progress, along with the World Bank Group Corporate Scorecard and other measures. But the SDGs are universally recognized as the global benchmark for progress.

As of yet, we haven’t done enough to show how the Bank Group’s contributes to the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda, but that is something that we’re working on.

That’s why we launched the World Bank Group Partnership Fund for the Sustainable Development Goals (WBG SDG Fund) which supports the growing demand for catalytic initiatives that can help countries strengthen implementation of the global goals.

Help us design a new look for blogs.worldbank.org

Christine Montgomery's picture
Also available in: العربية | Español | Français | 日本語
The beta site homepage of the redesigned World Bank Blogs website. © World Bank
The beta site homepage of the redesigned World Bank Blogs website. © World Bank

Today marks an important day. Over the last few months, we’ve been working hard to improve the design of blogs.worldbank.org for a better, more engaging experience for our blog community.

Today, we’re happy to announce the launch of our beta blogs site, showcasing the new design’s first phase.

The beta blogs site’s redesign will help us in providing a modern and engaging experience for the World Bank blog community.

3 ways to follow World Bank Group activities at the 2019 Spring Meetings

Bassam Sebti's picture
© Dominic Chavez/World Bank
© Dominic Chavez/World Bank

Our 2019 Spring Meetings is just around the corner and it’s time to get organized. Mainstage speakers include representatives from top-notch institutions and organizations such as the United Nations, National Geographic, World Trade Organization, Bloomberg, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, among others.
 
The Spring Meetings of the Boards of Governors of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an event that brings together central bankers, ministers of finance and development, private sector executives, representatives from civil society organizations and academics to discuss issues of global concern, including the world economic outlook, poverty eradication, economic development, and aid effectiveness.

This year's events will take place in Washington, D.C., April 8-14, 2019.

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

Laura Tuck's picture
Also available in: Español | العربية
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.

Fighting climate change with capital markets

Akinchan “Aki” Jain's picture
 istockphoto.com
© istockphoto.com

As a structured finance specialist in the World Bank Treasury, I work on a trading floor and talk to banks, investors, and development partners daily, so together we can find cost-effective and sustainable solutions to address climate change. The World Bank estimates that without urgent action, climate change could push an additional 100 million people into poverty by 2030. Climate is now a key consideration in all our development projects, and we have committed to ramp up adaptation financing to $50 billion over FY21–25. However, the public sector alone cannot finance the trillions of dollars needed for green infrastructure. We need to mobilize significantly more private sector flows to have any realistic chance of achieving climate goals. Enter: bonds and the power of the capital markets. 

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?

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
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.

The jobs challenge is bigger than ever in the poorest countries

Akihiko Nishio's picture
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.