The first South American country to join the OECD, Chile is one to the fastest growing Latin American economies. But despite making considerable progress in reducing poverty, inequality is still a massive challenge needing to be faced.
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The partnership recently awarded $3 million grants each to Brazil, Ukraine, and Vietnam to implement national plans to lower emissions and move toward low-carbon growth paths. Brazil will use the gran... Show More +t to carry out analytical work on a carbon tax and the Ukraine will use the funds to build a monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) system for a future emissions trading scheme. Representatives from Vietnam presented their proposal at the meeting for a national sector-wide program that will reduce emissions and earn carbon credits, a program that might be scaled up in the future. They plan to use the funds to help develop necessary infrastructure, including setting an emissions baseline and creating an MRV system."This significantly contributes to the implementation of important climate change policies in our country, especially greenhouse gas emission reductions,” said Truong Duc Tri, deputy director general of the Department of Climate Change at the Vietnam Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. “Through the implementation of credited mitigation actions in the steel and solid waste sectors, this project helps our government take important steps to analyze economic policies that shift carbon use and create opportunities for investors to develop sector-wise actions that support growth models to develop a low-carbon economy.” Chile takes an active lead in South AmericaDuring the PMR Partnership Assembly meeting this week, Chilean Minister of Energy Máximo Pacheco discussed the progress in PMR countries. He said it was motivating to know that a growing number of middle-income countries are exploring the use of carbon pricing instruments.Chile itself is showing the way with plans to become the first country in South America to implement a carbon tax. On September 29, Chile approved a law which goes into effect in January 2017 and that will tax CO2 emissions from boilers and turbines with an installed capacity of 50MW thermal, as well as diesel passenger vehicles and local pollutants. Chile’s energy sources have traditionally been fossil fuel-based and, as the minister pointed out, greenhouse gas emissions doubled between 1990 and 2010. Electricity generation, transportation, and mining were the main sources. However, Chile is committed to reducing emissions by 20 percent by 2020 and, as part of their national energy agenda, has pledged that 45 percent of power generation installed between now and 2025 will come from renewable energy sources.“The energy agenda is our roadmap for the next few decades and certainly will be part of a conversation on the strategic vision that we have as a country on the issue of climate change,” said Minister Pacheco. “We want to prioritize energy efficiency as a clean, safe and economical way to fulfil the demand for energy, thus breaking with the dominant paradigm for so many decades. We are convinced that it is possible to uncouple economic growth from growing energy consumption, as other countries have done.”Other countries are also moving forward.South Africa’s carbon tax on emissions is scheduled to go into effect in 2016, and by 2020 it aims to reduce its emissions below business-as-usual by 34 percent. The PMR is expected to approve a $5 million grant to South Africa at the next PMR assembly meeting in March 2015 to help implement the carbon tax, in particular focusing on how to use the tax revenue, how best to address competitiveness concerns, and how to implement the MRV system which is fundamental to verifying the emission reductions.China has launched cap-and trade pilots in seven cities and provinces, which are together already trading 13.5 million tons of CO2 at a total value of RMB 512 million Yuan (approximately US$84 million) and are being used to inform a nationwide emissions trading system to launch as early as 2016. The PMR is supporting this preparation and design phase with an $8 million grant. As explained by Shu Wang of the Climate Change Department at NDRC at the conference, China is already working on a national registry and monitoring system.Climate action is an economic issueClimate change is about much more than environmental impact. The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report makes clear that it is affecting countries’ economic growth, development, energy security, and their trade and competitiveness today, said Vikram Widge, head of climate finance and carbon finance at the World Bank Group.“Putting a price on carbon needs both political leadership and a sound technical basis – which is what the PMR provides support for – to ensure the design of stable and predictable policies that will re-direct investment flows to low carbon resilient development,” he said. Show Less -
Violence is an epidemic and there are forms of treating –and possibly eradicating—it, in the same way other endemic diseases are treated or have been treated.That may sound revolutionary, but the chal... Show More +lenge is to propose solutions to the problem of violence in Latin America, the region with the highest rate of per capita homicides in the world: more than 10 homicides for every 100,000 inhabitants, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).Andrés Villaveces is an epidemiologist. Along with other World Bank experts, he is participating in a conference that has brought more than 450 delegates from Latin America and other locations together in Guatemala to attempt to launch a continental effort to help protect victims and perpetrators of this epidemic: young people.Question. We have 9% of the global population but 30% of all homicides. Are we facing an epidemic of violence in Latin America?Response. Yes. According to the WHO’s definition, in the case of violence, a rate of over 10% is an epidemic. Most Latin American countries have far higher rates. So, yes, it is an epidemic.Q. Currently, the epidemic in the headlines is Ebola in Africa. We have seen that there are very clear protocols in place to fight that type of epidemic. Are there also protocols for the epidemic of violence?R. Without a doubt. The strategies for studying violence, for understanding it, as well as the methods for evaluating it and explaining what works and what does not, are very similar to those used to understand other epidemics. Clearly, the interventions are different, but there are a variety of potential responses. Actions can be implemented at the individual, household, school, community or municipal, sub-national or national levels. They all complement one another.Q. Who is responsible for implementing those actions?R. At the national level, we can talk about the adoption of a law that restricts the carrying of weapons or access to firearms, for example. In Latin America, we have examples where restriction has reduced homicide rates. The same thing occurs with alcohol. Restricting alcohol is even more effective in reducing homicides: in some cities, a two-hour reduction in access to alcohol led to 25% fewer homicides. At the institutional level, there are responses we can develop in terms of the production, dissemination and collection of information that is more reliable, that clearly shows how violence is distributed and what populations it affects.We can work on creating more pro-social environments within the family, preventing domestic violence and child abuse, for example. We have school activities where we can create a more productive, creative environment. Then we have strategies and interventions that we can implement at multiple levels and which can also give us benefits at multiple levels. These are all complementary and desirable, especially in environments vulnerable to violence.Q. What about repression? Is it also part of those actions?R. Control activities are necessary and important, but they are not the only ones and they are not the best solution. Prevention really is the best strategy from an economic and social standpoint. All violent actions produce a series of consequences that create a cascade effect that socially and economically harms the individual and his family. Clearly, prevention offers many more long-term benefits than do repressive and control activities by themselves. Undoubtedly, police control activities and improved justice systems in terms of efficiency and response capacity are essential and complementary, but prevention is key.Q. Why the focus on young people?R. Young people commit more violent acts and are also the main victims of violence. Particularly men. That is a significant reason; it is the population most affected by violence, not just in Latin America, but around the world. So they should be our focus. Moreover, when we work with young people, we have more opportunities to correct and prevent the problem over the long term than when we work with adults who have already learned violent behaviors. The earlier we intervene in the youth population, the better long-term effects we will achieve. A third element is that young people are in a better position to earn income for their families. If they are the people most affected by violence because they become permanently disabled or die, families are going to face severe economic difficulties, leading to a cycle of poverty. We want to prevent this from happening. While this of course must be accompanied by increased access to employment and education, curtailing that cascade of violence gives young people the opportunity to do something more productive for their societies. Show Less -
It will conduct research at regional and global level beginning in the first quarter of next year.Areas of study will focus on business environment (Doing Business), agriculture, gender and business s... Show More +urveys.The Chilean experience will be shared around the world.Santiago, November 3rd, 2014 – Chile’s Finance Ministry, represented by its head, Alberto Arenas, and the World Bank Group (WBG), represented by its Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean, Jorge Familiar, signed here today a cooperation agreement to establish in Chile the first Research and Development Center of this multilateral organization in Latin America, and the second outside Washington, DC. The other center is located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.The Global Economic Development Indicator Center is a pioneer initiative, which will start operating in the first quarter of 2015.“This is very good news for Chile, it reaffirms that the international community recognizes the value of its institutional stability and its capacity to design and implement public policies,” said Arenas. He added that “the signing of this agreement is a milestone in the strengthening of joint activities with the World Bank. We are confident that we will continue to develop this joint project for the benefit of Chile as well as other members of this corporation.The Center, with a regional and global focus, will carry out an ambitious research program, anchored in the World Bank’s databases.“Chile is the WBG’s ideal partner for this initiative, as it has shown a tangible commitment with sharing its experience and knowledge of economic development. It will now be able to contribute more actively to the development of other member countries of the WBG,” said Familiar.The main studies and areas of work to be performed by the Research Center include:Doing Business: The study’s regional management and data collection at Latin American country level, including Chile, will be performed from Santiago. This is an objective measurement of the guidelines regulating business activity and ease of doing business in 189 economies around the world.Chile’s Sub-National Doing Business: This study will conduct an in-depth analysis of the business environment in each region of Chile. The study is conducted at the request of interested parties and this is the first time it will be performed for Chile. It has already been conducted in countries such as Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Italy and Indonesia. Women, Business and the Law: A report analyzing the barriers faced by women when undertaking entrepreneurial and business activities. In the case of Chile, the Santiago Study Center will analyze differences between the formal regulatory framework and its enforcement in practice, identifying existing gaps.Comparative Global Agricultural Business Environment Evaluation: this is a new World Bank study that seeks to apply the Doing Business methodology to specific sectors. It is expected that the Santiago Research Center will be able to actively contribute to the definition of this new study, as well as to apply it to maximize Chile’s agricultural sector.Enterprise Surveys: It will collect data for this company survey, the most complete of its type in the world, including data from more than 130,000 companies in 135 countries.Once the Memorandum of Understanding is signed, work will continue in the final months of this year on the preparation and approval of the remaining documents needed to establish the Chilean Center, such as the Establishment Agreement and the Additional Agreement to Support Center Operations. The program has already identified the following central themes: Soil, Finance, Seeds, Fertilizers, Transportation, Market, Agricultural Contracts, Rural Electricity, Information and Communication Technologies, Agricultural Mechanization, Livestock, Sustainability and the Environment, Gender Issues, Access to Water Resources. Show Less -