Author Archives: WorldBankBlogs

Evidence for better-informed decisions and more inclusive policies

Photo: Arne Hoel/World Bank Why do we need evidence? The sustainable development agenda adopted by world leaders in September 2015 set a series of ambitious goals to end poverty, ensure equal economic growth, and tackle climate change by 2030. Rising inequalities, especially in developing countries, remind us that if we want to achieve these goals, we need more inclusive policies which consider the needs of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged populations. Policymakers are constantly trying to identify better solutions to address global challenges, and that implies considering different policy options, and making a choice that can benefit each group of the population, which sometimes is extremely difficult. Even well-designed policies might have adverse impacts, particularly on the poor and the most socially excluded groups.

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Think forests and start by listening to its people

Interview with Dr. Myrna Cunningham My childhood forests are tall, old growth trees clinging to mountainous slopes. My sister and I would spend the first two weeks of our summer break at camps in the mountains of Albania. Getting a spot at a camp was a coveted ‘luxury’ but my sister and I were lucky -our mother was an official chaperone.

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How can small island states become more resilient to natural disasters and climate risk?

About this series More blog posts Small Island States are particularly vulnerable to the impact of climate change and natural disasters. In fact, 2/3 of the countries that have been most severely impacted by disasters are small island nations, which have lost between 1 and 9% of GDP annually due to weather extremes and other catastrophes. The severity and recurrence of disasters makes it hard for those countries to recover, and seriously undermines ongoing development efforts. The World Bank and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) are actively working with small island states to mitigate the impact of natural disasters and climate risk. World Bank Senior Director Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez and GFDRR’s Sofia Bettencourt tell us more

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Remnants of the Soviet past: Restrictions on women’s employment in the Commonwealth of…

My father is a long-distance trucker based in Belarus. As a young girl, I spent long hours on the road with him. I loved traveling to neighboring and faraway cities and—even though I could barely reach the pedals at the time—dreamed of becoming a truck driver myself one day. Life ended up taking me on another path, but it wasn’t until I was older that I learned that the option of being a truck driver was never open to me to begin with. Why?

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Global wheat breeding returns billions in benefits but stable financing remains elusive

What do a chapati, a matza, or couscous have in common? The answer is wheat, which is a source for one-fifth of the calories and protein consumed globally. Yet, stable, assured funding for public research for this important food grain remains elusive. For 45 years, world-class scientists from two research centers of CGIAR – the world’s only global research system that focuses on the crops of most importance to poor farmers in developing countries – have battled the odds to provide wheat and nourish the world’s growing population. Their innovations have helped to boost wheat yields, fight debilitating pests and ward off diseases, improving the lives of nearly 80 million poor farmers.

Posted in Aid, Aid & Development, Delivery, Financing, Funding, Nutrition & Food Security, Policy & Systems, Research | Tagged | Comments closed

Innovation and the World Bank

Many in the development community believe that innovation is increasingly becoming important to achieve development outcomes. A consortium of development agencies, including the World Bank Group, jointly launched ‘A Call for Innovation in International Development’, at the Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa, last year.

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Researching violence against Syrian refugee women

He often used a stick or an iron wire to beat her. Her body was covered in bruises, sometimes in all kinds of colors. Hamada’s husband, frustrated with losing his son and his job in warring Syria, directed his anger and depression towards the mother of his children. It is a fact: War is one of many forms of violence to which women are subjected, and for some Syrian refugee women it is a prolongation of what has been happening already in their war-torn country.They have been beaten, forced into having sex and asked to never talk about it or else get killed — by their own husbands. For the helpless women, most of whom are mothers, the abuse has been taking physical, emotional and sexual forms

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Taxing tobacco and the new vision for financing development

As part of the 2016 World Bank Group-International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings held this past week in Washington, D.C., a fascinating panel discussion, A New Vision for Financing Development, took place on Sunday, April 17. Moderated by Michelle Fleury, BBC’s New York business correspondent, it included World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim,  Bill Gates, Justine Greening (UK Secretary of State for International Development), Raghuram Rajan (Governor of the Reserve Bank of India), and Seth Terkper (Minister for Finance and Economic Planning of Ghana).The panel was in consensus about the current challenging economic and social environment facing the world as a whole.  That environment includes low rates of economic growth across the world, drastic reductions in the price of commodities that are impacting negatively low-and middle-income countries, rising inequality, frequent natural disasters and pandemics, increased number of displaced populations and refugees due to conflict and violence spilling across national borders and continents, and the ambitious United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A question debated in the panel was, Where will the resources be found to address these challenges? This question is critical under the current scenario if countries are to continue to build on the progress achieved over the last decade and maintain previous gains.

Posted in Aid, Aid & Development, Environment, Financing, SDGs, Social, Violence & Conflict, WASH | Tagged , | Comments closed

Bill Gates talks about ‘game-changers’ in financing development

What would be a game-changer for achieving some of the world’s most difficult goals — such as ending poverty and hunger and making sure every child gets a quality education? Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates came to the World Bank Group Spring Meetings to answer that question in a thought-provoking conversation about how to finance development for greater impact.

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Jordan’s queen and high-level officials urge rapid solutions to refugee crisis

Jordan’s Queen Rania and other high-ranking officials said Friday that the world needs a new approach to deal with historically high numbers of forcibly displaced people. “This is a global crisis, and we’re deluding ourselves if we think it can be contained,” the queen said at the World Bank Group-IMF Spring Meetings, where forced displacement is a top issue on the agenda amid a refugee crisis that has spread from the Middle East into Europe over the last year. Queen Rania said Jordan has received 1.3 million Syrian refugees over the past five years. The influx has been a “demographic shock that is exhausting our social and physical infrastructure to its absolute limits,” she said. International contributions have made up less than a third of Jordan’s expenses.

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Panama Papers underscore need for fair tax systems

The so-called “Panama Papers” scandal reminds us that concealing wealth and avoiding tax payments is neither uncommon nor — in many cases — illegal. But the embarrassing leak exposes something else: The public trust is breached when companies, the rich and the powerful can hide their money without breaking the law. If this breach is left unaddressed, those who aren’t rich enough to hide money will be less willing to pay and contribute to the social contract in which taxes are exchanged for quality services. As finance minister in my home country of Indonesia, I saw firsthand how a weak tax system eroded public trust and enabled crony capitalism. Shadow markets arose for highly subsidized fuel, family connections secured jobs, and bribes helped public servants beef up their salaries. Tax avoidance among the elites was common and the country couldn’t mobilize the resources we needed to build infrastructure, create jobs, and fight poverty.

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To end poverty, there must be digital connectivity for all

If everyone had Internet access, then everyone would have a fair shot at financial stability and an education, right? If only it were so easy. On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim led a meeting of some of the top minds in global development to talk about the U.S. State Department’s Global Connect Initiative

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Why investing in forests is money—and time– well spent

It is widely acknowledged that reducing emissions from deforestation could bring about one-third of the greenhouse gas emission reductions we need by 2030 to stay on a 2-degrees trajectory. But protecting and managing forests wisely does not only make sense from a climate perspective.  It is also smart for the economy. Forests are key economic resources in tropical countries. Protecting them would increase resilience to climate change, reduce poverty and help preserve invaluable biodiversity.

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Nas florestas, uma mudança de atitude em favor dos povos indígenas

Em 2015, mais de 500 milhões de hectares de florestas eram posse de povos indígenas. Embora nas últimas décadas a área florestal designada aos povos indígenas e sob sua posse tenha aumentado, os governos ainda administram 60% dessas áreas, e as corporações e agentes privados, 9%. A pressão dos povos indígenas nas últimas décadas tornou possível aumentar em cerca de 50% a área florestal reconhecida como propriedade das comunidades indígenas e a elas designada. A América Latina e o Caribe, onde os povos indígenas controlam 40% das florestas, é a região com maiores avanços.

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