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July 2014

Sustainable Development Challenges Post 2015 Need a Multisectoral Focus

Paula Caballero's picture

A few weeks ago, the working group tasked with drafting Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) issued its official list of recommended goals and targets for consideration by the UN General Assembly in September. It is an extraordinary milestone:  As far as I know, it is the first time that metrics are defined through a robust intergovernmental process. The Millennium Development Goals, which will expire next year, were the result of a very different process.  The international community is showing a growing appetite for setting targets and tracking results to ensure concrete action on the ground.

While the ultimate outcome of the SDG process is still uncertain, sharpening our collective focus on results is good news for the sustainability of our planet and for creating the conditions not only for pulling people out of poverty, but for enabling rich, productive lives. It is a cliché, but it is true: what gets measured, matters.

August 1, 2014: This Week in #SouthAsiaDev

Mary Ongwen's picture

·         Work for me this summer: I'm looking for someone with good Stata skills who can help work with data coming in from a couple of randomized experiments, as well as to help develop and design some new work on improving measurement of business profits in developing countries. The latter would include the use of some innovative experiments with RFID technology, which I don't know much about, so the summer intern would spend some time trying to set this up.

Bad practices in mobile learning

Michael Trucano's picture
City and traffic lights at sunset in Jakarta, Indonesia

Translation of PPP Reference Guide into Bahasa Indonesia strongly supports national PPP delivery efforts

Indonesia’s strategy to become one of the 10 major world economies by 2025 – part of a long-term program outlined in its Masterplan for Acceleration and Expansion of Indonesia's Economic Development (MP3EI) – relies heavily on how quickly it can build new infrastructure to support its rapid growth. This entails cooperation among the central government, local governments, state owned enterprises, and the private sector. Of the four parties, according to experts on the ground, “the private sector has a vital role to play in this masterplan (in the form of PPP schemes), as it is expected to contribute the bulk of financing.”

Can Open Data boost economic growth and prosperity?

Amparo Ballivián's picture

What interventions are needed by governments - and by the World Bank - to stimulate and support the realization of the economic benefits of Open Data for everyone?  How do we prioritize what kind of data is needed?  These were some of the simmering questions that were posed at last Wednesday's World Bank Live event.  A collaborative effort among World Bank global practices and units – Transport and Information & Communications Technologies (ICT), the Development Data Group (DECDG), Open FinancesExternal and Corporate Relations, and others – this global policy dialogue event served as an opportunity to listen in on leading experts explaining and debating the latest evidence of the economic benefits of Open Data and how it can be applied to advance socioeconomic growth in the developing world.

From the short videoconference presentations we heard from five country officials, we learned that Open Data is already making an impact.

Examples of Open Data's use and impact in India, Russia, Macedonia, Ghana, and Mexico
We first heard from Rajendra Kumar, Joint Secretary (eGov) at the Department of Electronics and Information Technology of India.  "Ever since India launched its Open Government Data Platform, we've witnessed more government participation and interest – across ministries and state governments," stated Kumar.  He also pointed to an often underappreciated result of open data programs: increased data sharing among government agencies.

"Open Data is a major source for growth in Russia, especially for Internet and IT companies," commented Ekaterina Shapochka, Advisor to the Russian Minister of Open Government.  She also added that Open Data could help increase the quality of government services to its citizens.

Prospects Daily: China’s stocks post biggest monthly gain since 2012, Eurozone’s consumer price inflation slows to near 5-year low, Philippines’ central bank hikes key policy rates

Global Macroeconomics Team's picture

Financial Markets

China’s stocks rose on Thursday, sending benchmark indexes to their highest monthly gain since December 2012, amid optimism government stimulus will boost economic growth. The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.9% to 2,201.56 at the close, the highest level since December 2012, for a monthly gain of 7.5%. Meanwhile the CSI 300 Index advanced 1.2% for a July gain of 8.6%, and the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, or H-shares gauge, rose 0.2%, extending a rebound since a March low to a 21.0% monthly gain.

Building Trust - Jim Kim on the Role of Governance in Poverty Reduction and Shared Prosperity

Mario Marcel's picture

The great struggle of our generation is the global fight to end poverty and build inclusive prosperity while safeguarding the Earth for those who will come after us. At its heart, this is a fight for wiser, more capable governance.”

-World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim
Daylight Dialogue Speech, Manila, July 15, 2014
 
During a recent visit to the Philippines, World Bank Group (WBG) President Jim Yong Kim spoke about the imperative of effective governance for ending poverty. His remarks affirmed that good governance is a crucial part of the development agenda. Quoting President Aquino, President Kim also stressed that “good governance is good economics,” and applauded the Philippine government’s powerful “No Corruption, No Poverty” platform.
 
President Kim defined good governance as delivering public services effectively and efficiently; protecting citizens from violence and ensuring the rule of law; choosing wise policies and investments; maintaining public assets; fostering a transparent regulatory environment that allows the private sector to create good jobs; and directly confronting corruption so citizens have trust in institutions.
 

Can open data boost economic growth and prosperity?

Amparo Ballivián's picture
写真: Evan Blaser/Flickr
ペルーとエクアドルが抱える災害リスクの中でも特に大きな問題は、都市への人口集中と地震災害に対する脆弱性です。2007年、ペルー南部の沖合でマグニチュード8.0の地震が発生し、520人の命を奪い、数え切れないほどの建物が損壊しました。2016年にエクアドルで起きた最近の地震の犠牲者数は200人を超え、さらに多くの人が負傷しました。

もちろん、こうしたリスクは中南米の国だけに存在するわけではありません。世界有数の地震多発国である日本は、耐震性に関して他に例を見ない経験を培ってきました。国による地震リスクの管理体制の要となってきたのは交通セクターです。地震が交通インフラとその運営、乗客の安全に与えるであろう影響の大きさを考えれば、それも当然のことと言えるでしょう。

A Seismic Shift in Improving the Behaviour of Large Companies? Guest Post from Phil Bloomer

Duncan Green's picture

PhilBloomerMy former boss, Phil Bloomer is now running the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre (check out its smart new multilingual website). Here he sees some signs of hope that the debate on corporate responsibility is moving beyond trench warfare over voluntary v regulatory approaches. Fingers crossed.



‘Mind the gap’ is a refrain that any visitor to London’s Underground trains will have had drilled into their brains. In development and human rights, one of the most controversial issues is how to deal with the dangerous governance gap that has opened up between the powerful globalising forces in our economies, often led by large companies, and the often weak capacity of societies to cope with the problems and damage these forces can create.

A fortnight ago came a seismic shift in this debate. The UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution to create an international binding treaty for transnational corporations. This comes three years after the adoption, by consensus, of the more voluntary, UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Most observers put this major tremor down to rising frustration at the apparent glacial pace of implementation of the Guiding Principles by governments (only the UK, Netherlands and Denmark have so far agreed National Action Plans), and few companies are stepping up. The age-old, and sometimes theological, divisions between opposing panaceas of state-regulation v voluntary codes may be returning.

Weekly Wire: The Global Forum

Roxanne Bauer's picture

These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.


2014 Human Development Report - Sustaining Human Progress: Reducing Vulnerabilities and Building Resilience
UNDP
As successive Human Development Reports (HDRs) have shown, most people in most countries have been doing steadily better in human development. Advances in technology, education and incomes hold ever-greater promise for longer, healthier, more secure lives. But there is also a widespread sense of precariousness in the world today—in livelihoods, in personal security, in the environment and in global politics. High achievements on critical aspects of human development, such as health and nutrition, can quickly be undermined by a natural disaster or economic slump. Theft and assault can leave people physically and psychologically impoverished. Corruption and unresponsive state institutions can leave those in need of assistance without recourse.
 

The State of the State
Foreign Affairs
The state is the most precious of human possessions,” the economist Alfred Marshall remarked in 1919, toward the end of his life, “and no care can be too great to be spent on enabling it to do its work in the best way.” For Marshall, one of the founders of modern economics and a mentor to John Maynard Keynes, this truth was self-evident. Marshall believed that the best way to solve the central paradox of capitalism -- the existence of poverty among plenty -- was to improve the quality of the state. And the best way to improve the quality of the state was to produce the best ideas. That is why Marshall read political theorists as well as economists, John Locke as well as Adam Smith, confident that studying politics might lead not only to a fuller understanding of the state but also to practical steps to improve governance.

 

For rural communities, good roads mean the world

Maria Margarita Nunez's picture
Also available in: Mongolian | Chinese
 
Photo of Singapore by Lois Goh / World Bank

 
As we approach the 9th World Urban Forum in Kuala Lumpur next week, one of the essential challenges in implementing the New Urban Agenda that governments are struggling with is the provision at scale of high quality affordable housing, a key part of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11 of building sustainable cities and communities.
 
When I worked on affordable housing in Latin America, one consistent piece of advice we would give our clients was that it is not a good idea for governments to build and provide housing themselves. Instead, in the words of the famous (and sadly late) World Bank economist Steve Mayo, we should enable housing markets to work. Our clients would always respond by saying, “But what about Singapore?” And we would say the Singapore case is too sui generis and non-replicable.

[Learn more about the World Bank's participation in the World Urban Forum]
 
Now, having lived in the beautiful red-dot city state for two and half years, and seeing up close the experience of public housing in Singapore, one is struck by elements of the Singapore housing experience that are striking for its foresight and, yes, its replicability!
 
Singapore’s governing philosophy has famously been described as “think ahead, think again and think across.” Nowhere is this more apparent than how the founding fathers designed the national housing program, and how it has adapted and evolved over the years, responding to changed circumstances and needs.

It is hard to believe today but in 1947 the British Housing Committee reported that 72% of a total population of 938,000 of Singapore was living within the 80 square kilometers that made up the central city area. When Singapore attained self-government in 1959, only 9% of Singaporeans resided in public housing. Today, 80% of Singaporeans live a government built apartment. There are about one million Housing and Development Board (HDB) apartments, largely clustered in 23 self-contained new towns that extend around the city’s coastal core.
 
How has Singapore succeeded where so many other countries have failed dismally? At the risk of over-simplification, there seem to be four essential ingredients to this astonishing success story:


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