Arquivo da tag: Banco Mundial

When aid brings conflict, not relief (Science Daily)

[If economists and agronomists read sociological and anthropological assessments of development programs, this would not be a novelty to them]

Date: January 28, 2015

Source: University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES)

Summary: Although you might expect that providing aid to impoverished villages in the Philippines could only bring them relief, a study found that the villages that qualified for some forms of aid actually saw an increase in violent conflict.


Although you might expect that providing aid to impoverished villages in the Philippines could only bring them relief, a University of Illinois study found that the villages that qualified for some forms of aid actually saw an increase in violent conflict.

“Interestingly, those municipalities that were eligible to receive aid but didn’t accept it saw the largest increase in violence,” said U of I economist Ben Crost. “During what’s called the social preparation phase, it becomes known that the village is eligible for aid. Insurgent forces from the communist New People’s Army or a Muslim separatist group attack and then the village drops out of the program because they are intimidated. That’s why the places that didn’t participate saw the most violence.”

Between 2003 and 2008, more than 4,000 villages received aid through a flagship community-driven development program in the Philippines. The program used an arbitrary threshold of 25 percent to determine the poverty level at which communities qualified to receive aid.

“Only the 25 percent of the poorest municipalities qualified to receive aid,” Crost explained. “Those above the threshold are barely too rich to get it, and the others are just poor enough to get it. That means that these places should be comparable in all respects with the one exception that these slightly poorer places were much more likely to receive aid than the slightly richer places. So they were almost the same in poverty levels and in background levels of violence.” The same, until they became eligible for aid, that is.

“The way they targeted it with this arbitrary 25 percent cutoff allowed us to compare places that were just below the cutoff to places that were just above it,” Crost said.

Aid data from the World Bank were analyzed with data on conflict in the Philippines that was provided by his co-author from Stanford University, Joe Felter.

Ironically, projects anticipated to be most appreciated by the people receiving them may place them at a higher risk of being attacked. “We think that one mechanism that explains our results is that the insurgents actually tried to derail the project,” Crost said. “They didn’t want it to succeed. The insurgents had an incentive to strike and try to sabotage the program before it ever took off because its success would weaken their support in the population. We know that some of the municipalities actually dropped out of the program for this reason — because they were worried about insurgent attacks.”

Crost’s recent research is looking for ways to provide aid to those who need it that doesn’t also make them visible targets that are easy to attack. He said that because of the very public participation component in the community-driven development program, it was easier to derail.

“The aid in this case was given for improvements in infrastructure,” Crost said. “We need to find a more hidden way to give aid. One program we’re looking at now is conditional cash transfers, in which poor families get money if they do things like send their kids to school or have them vaccinated. These programs are popular in many developing countries. We have found some suggestive evidence that this kind of aid led to a decrease in violence — or at least we don’t find any evidence that it leads to an increase like we saw in this study.”

Crost said that, unfortunately, most of the evidence that has come out since this paper was published points in the same direction. “There’s evidence on U.S. food aid and on the national rural employment guarantee scheme in India, which is a huge anti-poverty program. Both of these studies found the same effect — that conflict increases in the places that get aid.”

“Aid Under Fire: Development Projects and Civil Conflict” was published in a recent issue of American Economic Review and written by Benjamin Crost, Joseph Felter, and Patrick Johnston.


Journal Reference:

  1. Benjamin Crost, Joseph Felter, Patrick Johnston. Aid Under Fire: Development Projects and Civil Conflict†American Economic Review, 2014; 104 (6): 1833 DOI: 10.1257/aer.104.6.1833
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Banco Mundial diz que seca no nordeste brasileiro pode piorar (Rádio ONU)

09/12/2014 – 09h39

por Edgard Júnior, da Rádio ONU

seca Banco Mundial diz que seca no nordeste brasileiro pode piorar

Afirmação foi feita pela assessora sênior para a América Latina e o Caribe da instituição financeira; Karin Kemper afirmou também que aumento do nível dos mares pode ter impacto no Rio de Janeiro.

A assessora regional sênior do Banco Mundial para a América Latina e o Caribe, Karin Kemper, disse, em entrevista à Rádio ONU, que se a temperatura global continuar aumentando, a seca no nordeste do Brasil pode piorar.

“Sabemos que o nordeste sempre sofreu com as secas, mas poderia ter uma frequência mais intensa ou poderia ter secas mais prolongadas. Sabemos que isso tem efeitos econômicos tanto para a população do interior, mas também podemos imaginar que, por exemplo, as cidades grandes do nordeste podem sofrer mais impactos por insegurança hídrica.”

Investimentos

Citando o relatório lançado pelo Banco Mundial na semana passada, Kemper disse ainda que os impactos do aumento da temperatura serão maiores sobre as populações mais pobres, mais vulneráveis, mulheres, crianças, como também grupos indígenas.

A assessora para a América Latina e o Caribe alertou que investimentos que poderiam ser feitos em outros setores vão acabar sendo destinados para combater os efeitos climáticos.

“Se houver um aumento do nível dos mares, por exemplo, o cálculo que temos no relatório para o Rio de Janeiro varia de uma alta de, no mínimo, 62 cm até 1 metro, no máximo. Isso significa que se precisa fazer investimentos nas cidades costeiras. Esse dinheiro poderia ser utilizado em outras coisas como em hospitais, escolas e outros setores de desenvolvimento.”

O relatório do Banco Mundial disse que um novo padrão climático global pode reduzir em 70% a produção de soja no Brasil e a de trigo em 60%.

O documento mostra dois cenários futuros prevendo as consequências de aumentos médios da temperatura global de 2 e 4 graus centígrados, até 2050. Os especialistas calculam que os danos causados por enchentes costeiras devem chegar a US$ 22 bilhões, o equivalente a mais de R$ 56 bilhões.

* Publicado originalmente no site Rádio ONU.

(Rádio ONU)

World Bank Revamping Is Rattling Employees (New York Times)

By ANNIE LOWREY

MAY 27, 2014

WASHINGTON — The World Bank, a famously bureaucratic institution, is undergoing its first restructuring in nearly two decades. The overhaul is intended to keep it relevant at a time when even the poorest countries can easily tap the global capital markets, but with just weeks to go, the process has turned into what several staff members described as a nightmare, stalling their work and sapping morale.

In an interview, Jim Yong Kim, the American doctor and former president of Dartmouth College who took over leadership of the bank two years ago, strongly defended his plan. The overarching goal is to break down the bank’s regional “silos,” he explained, which discourage, for instance, experts who are working on mobile banking in sub-Saharan Africa from sharing best practices with experts handling the same issue in Central America.

To tackle that problem, Dr. Kim has created more than a dozen new global practices — on subjects like trade, health and infrastructure. Technical staff based in Washington will be organized into those practice groups as of July 1. “We had to make this change in order to really force the information to flow,” Dr. Kim said.

“We had to make this change in order to really force the information to flow,” said Jim Yong Kim. Credit Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Along with that restructuring of 15,000 bank employees, Dr. Kim has also undertaken a sweeping financial review, to squeeze out inefficiencies and cut $400 million from the bank’s operating budget.

“This is the first time we’ve been able to say: Here’s where the revenue’s coming from” and where the spending is going, Dr. Kim said. “For the first time, we’re going to be able to compare expenditures.”

Current and former staff members said they agreed that change needed to come to the World Bank. “The bank is losing its relevance in middle-income countries,” said Uri Dadush, the director of the international economics program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, referring to countries like India, China and Brazil.

“These countries don’t need a $1 billion or $2 billion loan from the bank,” Mr. Dadush said. “And many of the countries now have a lot of indigenous capacity to analyze and make technical decisions” without assistance from World Bank experts, he added.

Dr. Kim pointed out that the bank had recently doubled its lending capacity for middle-income countries.

The complaints from the bank’s core staff in Washington, most of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity because they feared retaliation, started piling up almost as soon as Dr. Kim initiated the reorganization. And over time, more and more of those complaints have been directed at Dr. Kim personally.

“This is not the way you run a change program,” said Paul Cadario, who worked at the bank for more than three decades. “No vision. No communications mechanism. No indication when it’s all going to be over.”

That turmoil has created what some people inside the World Bank described as a toxic environment. In not-for-attribution interviews, midlevel officials voiced concerns about such moves as restrictions on travel expenses even as hordes of highly paid McKinsey and Booz Allen consultants roamed the halls — and Dr. Kim was accused of hypocrisy for his own expenditures.

“The staff are clearly unhappy,” said Nancy Birdsall, the president of the Center for Global Development, a Washington-based research group. “There’s been a loss of confidence, not necessarily in the idea of the reorganization, but in the process.”

Yet even some World Bank staff members said that employees’ own sense of entitlement, and the fact that the bank had not undergone such a major internal review in nearly two decades, also explained some of the negative reaction.

In part, employees said they were concerned about personnel decisions. Four dozen executives have had to apply for new jobs. Last year, three highly regarded female executives were also unceremoniously pushed from their positions, which angered many other women at the bank.

Others said they were unimpressed with the executives named to lead the global-practices teams. “They’re good people, they might be great people,” said one bank official. “But they’re not top-quality people. These aren’t big names.”

Moreover, the global-practices leaders did not include any people from Africa or East Asia, arguably the bank’s two most important client regions. When African governors of the bank objected, Dr. Kim sent a letter to reply, if not to apologize.

“Thank you for our meeting yesterday,” it said. “I apologize for having had to leave so quickly; I had a meeting scheduled immediately after our session. I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate to you my personal commitment to diversity and specifically the inclusion of Africans among all ranks of staff at the World Bank Group.”

Another central concern is that the restructuring has taken up too much time, distracting the bank’s workers, rattling relations with clients and leading to risk aversion. “People are desperately trying to justify themselves and veering away from projects that might raise questions,” a staff member said.

But Dr. Kim pointed out that the bank was on track to do more business this year than it did last year; during earlier restructurings, parts of the bank’s business shrank. High-level bank employees also stressed that Dr. Kim had instituted regular review processes that would reduce the need for such stark reorganizations in the future.

Pettier concerns have abounded, too. As part of the $400 million cost-cutting exercise, the bank issued new guidelines on travel, limiting business-class flights and even adjusting breakfast allowances. “Leadership needs to reflect: Are ‘breakfast savings’ worth the ‘expense’ of staff morale?” said one letter in a popular alumni newsletter.

Perhaps no change caused more outrage than the elimination of parking subsidies for the crowded and expensive downtown garages where many officials park. Yet “to subsidize parking is a little weird for an organization like us,” countered Bertrand Badré, the bank’s chief financial officer, pointing out that the bank is committed to combating climate change.

Many complaints, serious and frivolous, have also questioned Dr. Kim’s management — especially concerns about his lack of communication with rank-and-file employees and perceptions of his overspending when asking the rest of the bank to cut back.

A much-discussed Financial Times editorial rebuked him for his use of private planes. One other popular rumor had Dr. Kim purchasing a tuxedo and charging the World Bank for it.

A press officer responded that Dr. Kim had taken chartered planes only to otherwise inaccessible destinations, and that he had used them less frequently than past presidents. (More than 90 percent of his travel is commercial, the spokesman said.) And the tuxedo story is just a story, he said: Dr. Kim had purchased white-tie wear for a Nobel Prize event, but he paid for the clothes himself.

Dr. Kim said that he did think he could have communicated about the restructuring process more clearly, and sooner. “I’ve been told this a million times by people who have gone through this,” he said. “It’s this notion that you can never communicate enough.” He added: “If I were to give anyone else advice, it would be to overcommunicate from the beginning.”

For all the complaints, many others involved with the bank and its lending policies said they supported the reorganization. “Let’s keep the mission of the bank in mind,” said Ian Solomon, a former World Bank executive director. “This is not about whether people in Washington are comfortable, or whether the process is simple. Development is hard. There’s a lot more we don’t know about getting it right than we do know.”

He added: “I applaud Jim for taking this one on.”

The Obama administration, which effectively named Dr. Kim to his post, also threw its weight behind the reorganization. “The United States is confident that the World Bank’s restructuring addresses the changing development challenges of the 21st century and will better equip the bank to meet its global mission,” said Marisa Lago, the assistant Treasury secretary for international markets and development. “Implementation and execution are key to this process.”

And Dr. Kim himself said that he believed the bank’s staff would see dividends after July 1. “I think it’s going better than I could have imagined two years ago,” he said.

World Bank turns to hydropower to square development with climate change (Washington Post)

Michael Reynolds/European Photopress Agency – World Bank President Jim Yong Kim attends the Fragility Forum this month in Washington. The forum discussed ways for fragile nations to improve their economies, their infrastructure and the well-being of their citizens.

By , Published: May 8, 2013

The World Bank is making a major push to develop large-scale hydropower projects around the globe, something it had all but abandoned a decade ago but now sees as crucial to resolving the tension between economic development and the drive to tame carbon use.

Major hydropower projects in Congo, Zambia, Nepal and elsewhere — all of a scale dubbed “transformational” to the regions involved — are a focus of the bank’s fundraising drive among wealthy nations. Bank lending for hydropower has scaled up steadily in recent years, and officials expect the trend to continue amid a worldwide boom in water-fueled electricity.

Such projects were shunned in the 1990s, in part because they can be disruptive to communities and ecosystems. But the World Bank is opening the taps for dams, transmission lines and related infrastructure as its president, Jim Yong Kim, tries to resolve a quandary at the bank’s core: how to eliminate poverty while adding as little as possible to carbon emissions.

“Large hydro is a very big part of the solution for Africa and South Asia and Southeast Asia. . . . I fundamentally believe we have to be involved,” said Rachel Kyte, the bank’s vice president for sustainable development and an influential voice among Kim’s top staff members. The earlier move out of hydro “was the wrong message. . . . That was then. This is now. We are back.”

It is a controversial stand. The bank backed out of large-scale hydropower because of the steep trade-offs involved. Big dams produce lots of cheap, clean electricity, but they often uproot villages in dam-flooded areas and destroy the livelihoods of the people the institution is supposed to help. A 2009 World Bank review of hydro­power noted the “overwhelming environmental and social risks” that had to be addressed but also concluded that Africa and Asia’s vast and largely undeveloped hydropower potential was key to providing dependable electricity to the hundreds of millions of people who remain without it.

“What’s the one issue that’s holding back development in the poorest countries? It’s energy. There’s just no question,” Kim said in an interview.

Advocacy groups remain skeptical, arguing that large projects, such as Congo’s long-debated network of dams around Inga Falls, may be of more benefit to mining companies or industries in neighboring countries than poor communities.

“It is the old idea of a silver bullet that can modernize whole economies,” said Peter Bosshard, policy director of International Rivers, a group that has organized opposition to the bank’s evolving hydro policy and argued for smaller projects designed around communities rather than mega-dams meant to export power throughout a region.

“Turning back to hydro is being anything but a progressive climate bank,” said Justin Guay, a Sierra Club spokesman on climate and energy issues. “There needs to be a clear shift from large, centralized projects.”

The major nations that support the World Bank, however, have been pushing it to identify such projects — complex undertakings that might happen only if an international organization is involved in sorting out the financing, overseeing the performance and navigating the politics.

The move toward big hydro comes amid Kim’s stark warning that global warming will leave the next generation with an “unrecognizable planet.” That dire prediction, however, has left him struggling to determine how best to respond and frustrated by some of the bank’s inherent limitations.

In his speeches, Kim talks passionately about the bank’s ability to “catalyze” and “leverage” the world to action by mobilizing money and ideas, and he says he is hunting for ideas “equal to the challenge” of curbing carbon use. He has criticized the “small bore” thinking that he says has hobbled progress on the issue.

However, the bank remains in the business of financing traditional fossil-fuel plants, including those that use the dirtiest form of coal, as well as cleaner but ­carbon-based natural gas infrastructures.

Among the projects likely to cross Kim’s desk in coming months, for example, is a 600-megawatt power plant in Kosovo that would be fired by lignite coal, the bottom of the barrel when it comes to carbon emissions.

The plant has strong backing from the United States, the World Bank’s major shareholder. It also meshes with one of the bank’s other long-standing imperatives: Give countries what they ask for. The institution has 188 members to keep happy and can go only so far in trying to impose its judgment over that of local officials. Kim, who in his younger days demonstrated against World Bank-enforced “orthodoxy” in economic policy, now may be hard-pressed to enforce an energy orthodoxy of his own.

Kosovo’s domestic supplies of lignite are ample enough to free the country from imported fuel. Kim said there is little question that Kosovo needs more electricity, and the new plant will allow an older, more polluting facility to be shut down.

“I would just love to never sign a coal project,” Kim said. “We understand it is much, much dirtier, but . . . we have 188 members. . . . We have to be fair in balancing the needs of poor countries . . . with this other bigger goal of tackling climate change.”

The bank is working on other ideas. Kim said he is considering how it might get involved in creating a more effective world market for carbon, allowing countries that invest in renewable energy or “climate friendly” agriculture to be paid for their carbon savings by industries that need to use fossil fuels. Existing carbon markets have been plagued with volatile pricing — Europe’s cost of carbon has basically collapsed — or rules that prevent carbon trading with developing countries.

“We’ve got to figure out a way to establish a stable price of carbon,” Kim said. “Everybody knows that.”

He has also staked hope for climate progress on developments in agriculture.

Hydropower projects, however, seem notably inside what Kim says is the bank’s sweet spot — complex, high-impact, green and requiring the sort of joint public and private financing Kim says the bank can attract.

The massive hydropower potential of the Congo River, estimated at about 40,000 megawatts, is such a target. Its development is on a list of top world infrastructure priorities prepared by the World Bank and other development agencies for the Group of 20 major economic powers.

Two smaller dams on the river have been plagued by poor performance and are being rehabilitated with World Bank assistance. A third being planned would represent a quantum jump — a 4,800-megawatt, $12 billion giant that would move an entire region off carbon-based electricity.

The African Development Bank has begun negotiations over the financing, and the World Bank is ready to step in with tens of millions of dollars in technical-planning help.

“In an ideal world, we start building in 2016. By 2020, we switch on the lights,” said Hela Cheikhrouhou, energy and environment director for the African Development Bank.

It is the sort of project that the World Bank had stayed away from for many years — not least because of instability in the country. But as the country tries to move beyond its civil war and the region intensifies its quest for the power to fuel economic growth, the bank seems ready to move. Kim will visit Congo this month for a discussion about development in fragile and war-torn states.

Kyte, the World Bank vice president, said the Inga project will be high on the agenda.

“People have been looking at the Inga dam for as long as I have been in the development business,” she said. “The question is: Did the stars align? Did you have a government in place? Did people want to do it? Are there investors interested? Do you have the ability to do the technical work? The stars are aligned now. Let’s go.”

Make climate change a priority (Washington Post)

Graphic: A new report prepared for the World Bank finds that the planet is on a path to warming 4 degrees by the end of the century, with devastating consequences. Click on the infographic to go to the World Bank for more information.

By Jim Yong Kim, Published: January 24

Jim Yong Kim is president of the World Bank.

The weather in Washington has been like a roller coaster this January. Yes, there has been a deep freeze this week, but it was the sudden warmth earlier in the month that was truly alarming. Flocks of birds — robins, wrens, cardinals and even blue jays – swarmed bushes with berries, eating as much as they could. Runners and bikers wore shorts and T-shirts. People worked in their gardens as if it were spring.

The signs of global warming are becoming more obvious and more frequent. A glut of extreme weather conditions is appearing globally. And the average temperature in the United States last year was the highest ever recorded.

As economic leaders gathered in Davos this week for the World Economic Forum, much of the conversation was about finances. But climate change should also be at the top of our agendas, because global warming imperils all of the development gains we have made.If there is no action soon, the future will become bleak. The World Bank Groupreleased a reportin November that concluded that the world could warm by 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) by the end of this century if concerted action is not taken now.

A world that warm means seas would rise 1.5 to 3 feet, putting at risk hundreds of millions of city dwellers globally. It would mean that storms once dubbed “once in a century” would become common, perhaps occurring every year. And it would mean that much of the United States, from Los Angeles to Kansas to the nation’s capital, would feel like an unbearable oven in the summer.

My wife and I have two sons, ages 12 and 3. When they grow old, this could be the world they inherit. That thought alone makes me want to be part of a global movement that acts now.

Even as global climate negotiations continue, there is a need for urgent action outside the conventions. People everywhere must focus on where we will get the most impact to reduce emissions and build resilience in cities, communities and countries.

Strong leadership must come from the six big economies that account for two-thirds of the energy sector’s global carbon dioxide emissions. President Obama’s reference in his inaugural address this week to addressing climate and energy could help reignite this critical conversation domestically and abroad.

The world’s top priority must be to get finance flowing and get prices right on all aspects of energy costs to support low-carbon growth. Achieving a predictable price on carbon that accurately reflects real environmental costs is key to delivering emission reductions at scale. Correct energy pricing can also provide incentives for investments in energy efficiency and cleaner energy technologies.

A second immediate step is to end harmful fuel subsidies globally, which could lead to a 5 percent fall in emissions by 2020. Countries spend more than $500 billion annually in fossil-fuel subsidies and an additional $500 billion in other subsidies, often related to agriculture and water, that are, ultimately, environmentally harmful. That trillion dollars could be put to better use for the jobs of the future, social safety nets or vaccines.

A third focus is on cities. The largest 100 cities that contribute 67 percent of energy-related emissions are both the center of innovation for green growth and the most vulnerable to climate change. We have seen great leadership, for example, in New York and Rio de Janeiro on low-carbon growth and tackling practices that fuel climate change.

At the World Bank Group, through the $7 billion-plus Climate Investment Funds, we are managing forests, spreading solar energy and promoting green expansion for cities, all with a goal of stopping global warming. We also are in the midst of a major reexamination of our own practices and policies.

Just as the Bretton Woods institutions were created to prevent a third world war, the world needs a bold global approach to help avoid the climate catastrophe it faces today. The World Bank Group is ready to work with others to meet this challenge. With every investment we make and every action we take, we should have in mind the threat of an even warmer world and the opportunity of inclusive green growth.

After the hottest year on record in the United States, a year in which Hurricane Sandycaused billions of dollars in damagerecord droughts scorched farmland in the Midwest and our organization reported that the planet could become more than 7 degrees warmer, what are we waiting for? We need to get serious fast. The planet, our home, can’t wait.

World Bank’s Jim Yong Kim: ‘I want to eradicate poverty’ (The Guardian)

World Bank president says he will bring sense of urgency to efforts to end global poverty in exclusive Guardian interview

Sarah Boseley, health editor, in Washington
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 25 July 2012 13.48 BST

Jim Yong KimJim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank, speaks at the opening session of the International Aids Conference in Washington on 22 July. Photograph: Jacquelyn Martin/AP

The new president of the World Bank is determined to eradicate globalpoverty through goals, targets and measuring success in the same way that he masterminded an Aids drugs campaign for poor people nearly a decade ago.

Jim Yong Kim, in an exclusive interview with the Guardian, said he was passionately committed to ending absolute poverty, which threatens survival and makes progress impossible for the 1.3 billion people living on less than $1.25 a day.

“I want to eradicate poverty,” he said. “I think that there’s a tremendous passion for that inside the World Bank.”

Kim, who took over at the World Bank three weeks ago and is not only the first doctor and scientist (he is also an anthropologist) to be president but the first with development experience, will set “a clear, simple goal” in the eradication of absolute poverty. Getting there, however, needs progress on multiple, but integrated, fronts.

“The evidence suggests that you’ve got to do a lot of good, good things in unison, to be able to make that happen,” said Kim. “The private sectorhas to grow, you have to have social protection mechanisms, you have to have a functioning health and education system. The scientific evidence strongly suggests that it has to be green – you have to do it in a way that is sustainable both for the environment and financially. All the great themes that we’ve been dealing with here have to come together to eradicate poverty from the face of the Earth.”

Kim, who was previously head of the Ivy League Dartmouth College, is probably best known for his stint at the World Health Organisation (WHO), where he challenged the system to move faster in making Aids drugs available to people with HIV in the developing world who were dying in large numbers. In 2003, he set a target of 3 million people being on treatment by 2005 – thereafter known as “3 by 5”. The target was not met on time, but it did focus minds and rapidly speed up the pace of the rollout, which included setting up clinics and training healthcare staff.

Now, he says, he thinks he can do the same for poverty. “What 3 by 5 did that we just didn’t expect was to set a tempo to the response; it created a sense of urgency. There was pace and rhythm in the way we did things. We think we can do something similar for poverty,” he said.

Asked if he would set a date this time, he said he was sorely tempted, but would not yet. “We don’t know what they will be yet, but [there will be] goals, and counting. We need to keep up and say where we are making successes and why, and when are we going to be held to account next for the level of poverty. If we can build that kind of pace and rhythm into the movement, we think we can make a lot more progress,” he said in his office at the Bank in Washington.

Kim was seen by many as a surprise choice for president. During the election, critics argued there should be an economist at the helm. Some said that, as a doctor, he would focus too much on health.

But Kim, who co-founded Partners In Health, which pioneered sustainable, high-quality healthcare for poor people, first in Haiti and later in Africa, said his three years at the WHO have been the only ones of his career that were solely devoted to health.

“It’s always been about poverty, so for me, making the switch to being here at the Bank is really not that much of a stretch. I’ve been doing this all my life and we’re in a bit of the spotlight because of the stuff we did in healthcare but it was really always about poverty,” he said.

Partners in Health offered HIV and tuberculosis treatment to poor people in Haiti for the first time. “We were trying to make a point. And the point we were trying to make was that just because people are poor shouldn’t mean that they shouldn’t have access to high quality healthcare. It was always based in social justice, it was always based in the notion that people had a right to live a dignified life. The good news is that this place – the Bank – is just full of people like that.”

Kim, who has spent his first weeks talking to Bank staff with expertise in a huge range of areas, strongly believes in the integration of all aspects of development, and says the staff do too. He cites a new hospital Partners built in Rwanda, which led to the building of a road to get there and then the expansion of mobile phone networks in the area. “In a very real sense, we’ve always believed that investing in health means investing in the wellbeing and development of that entire community,” he said.

Speaking to the International Aids Conference in Washington this week – the first World Bank president to do so – Kim told activists and scientists that the end of Aids no longer looked as far-fetched as the 3 by 5 plan had appeared in 2003. Science has delivered tools, such as drugs that not only treat but prevent infection.

But the cost of drugs for life for 15 million or more people is not sustainable, he says. Donors are unlikely to foot the bill. Hard-hit developing countries have to be helped to grow so they can pay for the drugs and healthcare systems they need.

Kim would like the highly active HIV community to broaden its focus. “We’ve had Aids exceptionalism for a long time and Aids exceptionalism has been incredibly important. It has been so productive for all of us,” he said. “But I think that as we go beyond the emergency response and think about the long-term sustainable response, conversations such as how do we spur growth in the private sector have to be part of the discussion.”

Every country wants economic growth, he says, and people want jobs. “If I care about poverty, I have to care a lot about investments in the private sector. The private sector creates the vast majority of jobs in the world and social protection only goes so far,” he said.

Nevertheless, he is a big proponent of social protection policies. “I’ve always been engaged in social protection programmes. But now it is really a signature of the World Bank. We’re very good at helping people look at their public expenditures and we say to them things like, fuel subsidies really aren’t very helpful to the poor – what you really need is to remove fuel subsidies and focus on things like conditional cash transfer plans. The Bank is great at that.”

New to him are climate change and sustainability, he says. “We are watching things happen with one degree changes in ocean temperature that we thought wouldn’t happen until there were two or three degree changes in ocean temperature. These are facts. These are things that have actually happened … I think we now have plenty of evidence that should push us into thinking that this is disturbing data and should spur us to think ever more seriously about clean energy and how can we move our focus more towards clean energy.”

But poor countries are saying they need more energy and we must respect that, he says. “It’s hard to say to them we still do it but you can’t … I think our role is to say the science suggests strongly to us that we should help you looking for clean energy solutions.”

Latin America and the Caribbean: Inclusive Green Growth Can Help Sustain Recent Economic and Social Gains (World Bank)

 

Press Release No:2012/492/LAC
  • Ahead of Rio+20, World Bank report underlines region’s innovative successes and urges to transform them into widespread practices.
  • Latin America’s vast natural resources at risk if inclusive green growth policies are not sustained.
  • Challenges include: 80% of region’s population live in cities; LAC has fastest motorization rate.

WASHINGTON, May 31, 2012 – Latin America and the Caribbean’s natural resources, vastly credited with current growth, could be significantly depleted in less than a generation (15 to 20 years) if the region does not fully embrace inclusive green policies that can guarantee sustainable growth, says a new World Bank report released at the Woodrow Wilson Center today, ahead of the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.

In many respects, Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) could turn out to be a victim of its own economic success. The region’s bonanza of recent years (an average of 4 percent growth and more than 70 million people lifted from poverty) has led to explosive urbanization, which makes a green future more difficult. For instance, the region has the most people living in urban areas in the developing world–over 80 percent of its population–and holds the world’s fastest growing motorization rates at 4.5 percent per year, the study argues.

Examples of how LAC is embracing the inclusive green growth agenda

A Compact and Efficient Urban Footprint:  Densification subsidies to attract people to the city center and revitalize stagnant urban economies are now being utilized in many cities  such as Mexico City, Lima, and Rio de Janeiro.

Expansion of Basic Urban Services:  Between 2001 and 2008, an additional 63 million people in LAC were covered by solid waste services, increasing the coverage rate for collection from 81 to 93 percent.

Bus Rapid Transit Systems:  As the region undergoes rapid growth in automobile ownership it has also led the developing world in the implementation of alternative mass transit systems, in key cities such as  Bogota, Lima, and Mexico City.

Expansion of Low Carbon Electricity Generation:  Electricity generation more than doubled between 1990 and 2009, growing at over 4 percent per year.  The share of natural gas in the region increased from 10 percent in 1990 to 21 percent in 2009.  With oil and diesel declining in importance, power generation growth in LAC has thus had a lower carbon footprint than in other regions.

Extending successes with sustainable agriculture:  The most important pillar of a strategy to reduce the environmental footprint of the region’s agriculture has been the preservation of existing forest cover and the encouragement of reforestation with native species where feasible. Latin America has led the way in using direct payments for forest conservation, with national programs in place in several countries and Brazilian states.

 

But the region has also served as a global laboratory for some of the most innovative green practices, the report underlines.   It boasts, for example, the lowest carbon energy matrix of the developing world (6 percent of global GHG emissions in the power sector), and multiple cutting edge instruments such as the first catastrophic risk insurance facility to enhance resilience against natural disasters. It has also adopted payment schemes for preserving the environment, which have, for instance, helped turn Costa Rica into a global environmental icon and a paradise for eco-tourism, after being the worst deforester in the region back in the mid 1990s.

“LAC countries are confronted today with decisions that will define their future for years to come,” said Ede Ijjász-Vásquez, World Bank’s Sustainable Development Director for Latin America and the Caribbean“The region has the opportunity to choose a path that can lead to robust growth without locking it into unsustainable patterns that in the long run can prove to be more expensive, less efficient, and less resilient.”

Some of these choices will define the future of the region for decades to come in key areas such as infrastructure, energy and urban services, which are drivers of economic growth and define the quality of life for most of the people in the region who live in cities. For example, demand for electricity in LAC will almost double in the next two decades. While the region currently has the cleanest energy mix in the world, the electricity sector’s carbon intensity has been rising due to the increasing share of fossil fuels (including natural gas), a trend that is expected to continue. To address this, the region will have to rely more on other cleaner sources of energy—such as hydro and wind.

The sustainability of the region’s growth will also depend on its commitment to use    its unique natural assets in a sustainable way. The very advantages that the region’s natural endowment provides – rich water resources, fertile land, and unparalleled biodiversity—are under threat from the spread of inefficient land use and deforestation.  

The report also points out that the region has a real chance to become a leader in adopting a more efficient and climate-smart agricultural practices that do not come at a cost to the environment and are better prepared for new climate patterns. It will also mean moving towards more efficient and greener forms of transportation of goods, such as railways and waterways, which are currently greatly underused, as well as increasing the number of rural communities that are connected.

Ijjász-Vásquez also pointed out that green growth is not inherently inclusive. “For green policies and investments to endure over time, it will be essential that they benefit all of the region’s people, with a focus on the poor,” he added.

There is no single blue print for inclusive green growth in LAC.  However, many of the answers to the challenge of how to grow in sustainable and inclusive ways lie within the region’s own experiences.  Policies and targeted investments can boost economic growth as well as help realize the aspirations of the growing middle class for a better quality of life, create opportunities for the poorest and most vulnerable segments of society, and protect LAC’s environmental assets.