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January 2017

Kicking off 2017 with the new Water Cartoon Calendar

Yehude Simon's picture
Photo credit: STARS/Flickr
Enabling a robust market for information and communications technologies (ICTs) is fundamental to rebuilding fragile and conflict affected states (FCSs) and addressing the human suffering. As I have explained elsewhere, ICTs are critical because they can be used to alert people to renewed violence, build community, restart the economy, and facilitate relief efforts. The critical strategies that enable ICTs are protection of property rights and minimal barriers to competition.
 
South Sudan provides examples of the importance of ICT. Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative’s Youth Peacemaker Network tells the stories of John from Twic East Country whose life was spared by a phone call warning of an impending attack, and of Gai Awan, Artha Akoo Kaka, and Moga Martin from Numule whose ICT trainings opened employment and education opportunities. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) explains how ICT can help protect refugees: Biometrics enabled Housna Ali Kuku, a single mother of four, to obtain precisely scheduled treatments for her respiratory tract infection and for her children. GPS is used to identify sources of diseases and to track their spread.
 
A World Bank study by Tim Kelly and David Souter identified five themes in post-conflict recovery and how ICT plays critical roles.

Bank Funding Helps Emergency Programs on the Ground in Yemen

Auke Lootsma's picture

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.  

‘My Favorite Number,’ is a YouTube series that shows how digits can give us unique insight into global development and humanity. World Bank Group’s economists share their stories on their favorite numbers – demonstrating how their brilliance (and humor) reaffirm that numbers are vital to everyday life. The videos show us that economists are not just about numbers. They bring passion and personal perspectives to relevant issues around the world. 

Phenomenal development: New MOOC draws economic policy lessons from South Korea’s transformation

Sheila Jagannathan's picture
هذه المدونة متوفرة باللغات التالية: English


في الشهر الماضي، التقيت قابلة في الهند، وفي سياق الحديث سألتها كم طفلا ساعدت في ولادته.

قالت، "بعد أن أتممتهم 10 آلاف طفل، توقفت عن العد".

وبالطبع دفعني فضولي إلى معرفة ما إذا كان هناك شيء قد أثار خوفها وهي تساعد في ولادة أي طفل. كان جوابها، "أتمنى أن يكون هناك كهرباء لتعقيم المياه والتجهيزات الأخرى أثناء الولادة".

In India, small interventions bring big changes for gender equality

R. Kyle Peters's picture

At 23, starting graduate school for international relations, the prospect of taking economics frightened me. Having just spent my college career as a history major that marched for peace probably had something to do with it. There was also that time in 4th grade when I got a D in math, but we won’t go there.

Anyway, it was a very nice surprise when I found that the math and logic of economics made sense to me. I was proud of myself for “getting it.” And of course, for starting my own subscription to the Financial Times. Ah, the conspicuous consumption patterns of a newly-minted student of economics.

Searching for New, Better Data to Measure GVCs

Klaus Tilmes's picture
Haiti map after the 2010 earthquake. Over 450 OpenStreetMap volunteers from an estimated 29 countries digitized roads, landmarks and buildings to assist with disaster response and reconstruction. OpenStreetMap/ITO World

The word “disruption” is frequently used to describe technology’s impact on every facet of human existence, including how people travel, learn, and even speak.

Now a growing cadre of digital humanitarians and technology enthusiasts are applying this disruption to the way humanitarian aid and disaster response are administered and monitored.

Humanitarian, or crisis, mapping refers to the real-time gathering and analysis of data during a crisis. Mapping projects allows people directly affected by humanitarian crises or physically located on the other side of the world to contribute information utilizing ICTs as diverse as mobile and web-based applications, aggregated data from social media, aerial and satellite imagery, and geospatial platforms such as geographic information systems (GIS).

Innovative solutions for resource mobilization in Zambia

Srinivas Gurazada's picture
Industrial area in the city of Kitwe, Zambia - located in the copper belt. Photo: Arne Hoel

What would you expect in a mineral rich developing country? High Government revenues from the mineral resources? Not always, and definitely not in the case of Zambia - until recently.

Zambia has a considerable wealth of mineral resources and its economy depends heavily on these minerals. Zambia's primary export, copper and copper-related products, account for as much as 77% of the country's exports.

#1 from 2016: The neglected universal force for peace and stability: LOVE?

Leszek J. Sibilski's picture
2016 Summer Session students, Montgomery College

Our Top Ten blog posts by readership in 2016. This post was originally published on January 8, 2016. 

“Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love.”– Albert Einstein
 
When I present lectures on sociological theories, I often see in my students’ bored facial expressions indicating a total lack of interest in the subject. But, when I move the lecture to issues related to education, social class, or global stratification, I can see a few faces turning into a full attention mode, but still not all the students are with me. However, there is one topic that will cause the entire class to lay down their e-devices and start to listen to every word: that is the topic of LOVE. Love strikes me as a neglected force that, once released, could bring about international stability and boost economic development.
 
Love emerges in my lectures for its role in interpersonal relations in socialization and development. I begin my lecture with a discussion about the role of family in social development and then move towards marriage and, more broadly, love. The topic family frequently triggers strong emotional reactions among students. As classroom discussions reveal many have experienced some family difficulty or problems. And then comes the topic of love: each time when I talk about love, I can see melting facial expressions in each of my students. The purpose of the lecture is not only focused on romantic teenage love based on hormones and erotic attraction. In the Bible, in the Gospel of John, Chapter 15:13 “The Greatest Social Worker Ever” says, “Greater love has no one than this – that someone lay down his life for his friends.” I always substantiate this quote with a compelling story about the Polish Franciscan Maximilian Kolbe who volunteered to die by starvation in place of a stranger in the Nazis’ death camp of Auschwitz. Pope John Paul II declared him "The Patron Saint of Our Difficult Century." All of sudden, gender, complexion or ethnicity no longer matter. Neither does religion, age or sexual orientation. When I see students’ reaction to my lecture on love in everyday life, I get chills down my spine and goose bumps all over my body.

Getting beyond PPPs as just projects

Malcolm Morley's picture
Aerial shot of Bazaruto's clear blue waters. Photo: Andre Aquino/World Bank


An innovative World Bank project with a co-management agreement hopes to make conservation more equitable in one of Mozambique’s most beautiful national parks.
 
If paradise exists, it looks like central Mozambique’s Bazaruto archipelago. White-sand beaches and sky-high dunes ring Indian Ocean islands draped in forest, savannah, and wetland. Crystal-clear waters support an abundance of marine-life—manta rays, sharks, and whales make their homes amongst the mangroves, beds of algae, and coral reefs.

监管科技:监管机构准备好迎接数据革命了吗?

版本:English

在金融科技(FinTech)行业的引领下,技术和数据被认为是金融新一轮颠覆式变革的引擎。而FinTech为其不太出名的姊妹RegTech(监管科技)也打开了大门。

英国金融市场行为监管局(Financial Conduct Authority)最早使用RegTech一词并将其定义为FinTech的一个分支。从定义来看,其“重点是那些能比现有手段更有效地促进监管达标的技术”。换言之,RegTech是能提高监管流程的效率、一致性和简便性的技术。

比如,将授权、市场监测、非现场监管和收集监管反馈等现有程序自动化——目前,很多程序都依赖于纸质文件、装订夹或Excel电子表格。例如,巴西中央银行(Central Bank of Brazil)开发出了用于远程审查的技术解决方案。利用被称为Siscom(监管支持与通信综合系统)的系统,监管机构可远程收集数据和文件,并与金融机构进行在线互动。系统将监管任务标准化,将官僚职能(比如,存档)自动化,使监管机构能在兼顾成本效益的情况下,覆盖小型金融机构,提高监管队伍的生产力。

Will Sovereign Wealth Funds Go Green?

Håvard Halland's picture



Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs) currently have a very limited role in climate finance and green investment – reportedly, below the average for institutional investors. According to the Asset Owners Disclosure Project (AODP), which evaluates institutional investors on the basis of their low-carbon performance, five of the 10 lowest-rated large investment funds were SWFs.

However, the more progressive SWFs are currently divesting from assets with large climate-related risks, and some countries are pondering whether their SWF should take a more pro-active role in green finance. What lies ahead for SWFs in this rapidly changing landscape?
 
SWFs could have an impact on climate finance
 
The sheer amount of capital managed by SWFs means that their impact on green finance, while marginal historically, has the potential to become significant. According to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute (SWFI), SWFs hold assets worth approximately $7.4 trillion, and the total capital of SWFs has more than tripled over the last decade.
 
But SWFs’ mandate does not typically include green finance. To the extent that they have been active in this area, it has been to reduce climate-related risk to their portfolios – including exposure to fossil fuels. For example, last October the $22.6 billion New Zealand Superannuation Fund (NZSF) announced a strategy to address climate-change risks that represent a “material” issue for long-term investors, and to “intensify its efforts” in areas including alternative energy, energy efficiency and “transformational” infrastructure. Norway’s giant Government Pension Fund Global ($873 billion) has adopted similar policies to reduce climate-related risk.


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