There’s been a lot of talk about food riots in the wake of the international food price hikes in 2007. Given the deaths and injuries caused by many of these episodes, this attention is fully justified. It is quite likely that we will experience more food riots in the foreseeable future—that is, if the world continues to have high and volatile food prices. We cannot expect food riots to disappear in a world in which unpredictable weather is on the rise; panic trade interventions are a relatively easy option for troubled governments under pressure; and food-related humanitarian disasters continue to occur. In today’s world, food price shocks have repeatedly led to spontaneous—typically urban—sociopolitical instability.
Author Archives: WorldBankBlogs
Ellen Goldstein, The World Bank’s Regional Director for Eastern Europe, talks about the Bank’s response to devastating floods in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
This is for anyone who ever found themselves frustrated by numbers — myself included. Right before college, I remember my parents asking me what degree I wanted to pursue. Vaguely, I answered “Anything without math.” Even during my post graduate studies, I consciously picked a degree with less mathematics in its curriculum. The irony is, I now work in the World Bank Group and numbers is its core language. But there is good news, not only for rookies like me, but for everyone – numbers can be fascinating, insightful and even fun.
In September, the world’s top scientists said the human influence on climate was clear. Last month, they warned of increased risks of a rapidly warming planet to our economies, environment, food supply, and global security. Today, the latest report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) describes what we need to do about it. The report, focused on mitigation, says that global greenhouse gas emissions were rising faster in the last decade than in the previously three, despite reduction efforts. Without additional mitigation efforts, we could see a temperature rise of 3.7 to 4.8 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times by the end of this century. The IPCC says we can still limit that increase to 2 degrees, but that will require substantial technological, economic, institutional, and behavioral change
With people around the world struggling to afford health care, countries as diverse as Myanmar, Nigeria, Peru, Senegal, Kenya, South Africa, and the Philippines are warming to the idea of universal health coverage. This growing momentum was the subject of a high-profile Spring Meetings event examining the case for universal health coverage and the steps to get there. Some 70 governments have asked the United Nations for help to achieve universal health coverage, said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. He spoke at Toward Universal Health Coverage by 2030, co-sponsored by the World Bank and World Health Organization and moderated by the WHO Director-General Margaret Chan. “We can celebrate the fact that virtually all mothers in Sweden survive childbirth,” Ban said
The world needs to step up efforts to educate large numbers of young people to meet the challenges of the 21st century. That was a key message at the Learning for All Symposium, Investing in a Brighter Future, at the IMF-World Bank Spring Meetings. The event, moderated by PBS News Anchor Judy Woodruff and webcast in three languages, linked what several participants described as an ongoing “learning crisis” with high unemployment among young people worldwide.
One voice can make a difference. Many can change the world. From civil rights in America to the global fight against AIDS, history has shown that when people come together in pursuit of a goal, they can overcome seemingly insurmountable odds. We’re urging everyone to come together to help end extreme poverty by 2030. The World Bank Group, along with other like-minded organizations and individuals, is part of a global movement to change the lives of millions of people who survive on less than $1.25 a day.
Remember when you were a kid and everyone asked: “What do you want to become when you grow up?” What did you answer? Have you fulfilled your dreams? Most of us aspire to live our lives to the fullest; to develop our talents; to make a difference in the world. Sometimes we may feel lost in the great scheme of things. But as the World Bank Group’s Jim Yong Kim points out: The most successful movements to change the world started with a small group of like-minded people.
Laura Tuck, Vice President for the World Bank’s Europe and Central Asia region, discusses her trip to Poland, its economy, progress in boosting shared prosperity, and the World Bank’s partnership with the country. <span itemprop=”name” content=”Laura Tuck Vlog – Poland”></span> <span itemprop=”description” content=””></span> <span itemprop=”duration” content=”207″></span> <span itemprop=”thumbnail” content=”https://cdnsecakmi.kaltura.com/p/619672/sp/61967200/thumbnail/entry_id/1_ddoyflmm/version/100001/acv/341″></span> <span itemprop=”width” content=”400″></span> <span itemprop=”height” content=”333″></span>
With its scenarios of increasing risks as a result of climate change – from sea level rise to disappearing fish populations, food insecurity, and forest diebacks from extreme heat – the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) paints a picture of a complicated future where no one gets by unscathed, where existing vulnerabilities are exacerbated, and where, as Fred Pearce so aptly puts it, we need to “prepare for the worst.” But, as the scientists rightly point out, it doesn’t have to be like this.
Each month, about one million people enter the labor force in Africa. Another one million start looking for work in India. Add to this millions of others around the globe, and worldwide, some one billion people will enter the labor force between now and 2030. Why is that date important?
On December 17, 2013, Prof. Raj Chetty gave a talk on “Improving equality of opportunity” at the World Bank in Washington, D.C. I have always found the concept of equality of opportunity fascinating. “A world where your future does not depend on where you come from, how much your family earns, what color your skin is, or whether you are male or female” sounds like a good world to me – a world I am sure we all would want to live in.
Around Christmas time and at the beginning of every academic year, I have routinely sent cash to my extended family back home in Zimbabwe. That’s been the pattern since I joined the World Bank mid-career and settled in Washington D.C. 23 years ago. I am not alone; the number of Zimbabweans that have left the country is estimated at more than 3 million. Most have left since 2000, for reasons varying from the socio-economic to political