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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On World Water Day we invite you to discover the most important challenges that a region like Latin America faces, through cartoons drawn for the World Bank Group by artists from around the world.&nbs... Show More +p;1. For water services to work properly is essential to undertake regular maintenance just like you would with a computer or a car.The amount of water lost before reaching households – due, for example, to broken pipes - is estimated to be around 15% in developed countries, while in developing countries it can reach up to 50%.Learn more: Improvements in Water and Sewage Systems to Reach More than 200 Thousand Residents in Northern Lima 2. Due to global warming, glaciers, one of the most important sources of fresh water, are melting.In widely covered of glaciers, like the White Range in Peru or the Real Range in Bolivia, the total area has shrunk by about a third compared to the surface area during the Little Ice Age.Learn more: With Data and Technology, Ecuador is Seeking Solutions to Glacier Retreat 3. Lack of water causes more deaths than earthquakes and hurricanes combined.Since late 2013, the largest city in South America, Sao Paulo -a city of 11 million inhabitants - has suffered the most severe drought in 80 years.Learn more: A shower: an unattainable dream for 36 million Latin Americans 4. Sources of water contaminated with fecal matterIn Latin America, three quarters of the region’s wastewater is discharged into rivers and other water sources. This not only creates a severe public health problem, but also damages - sometimes irreparably - the environment.Learn more: Significant advances in the recovery of the Matanza-Riachuelo River Basin 5. World Water Day is also a tribute to womenIn communities like Rio Grande in Brazil, access to water allows women to devote more time to their farms and themselves, leading to an increased family income of up to 30%.Learn more: In northeastern Brazil, investments in water ease the burden on women Show Less -
Potential actionsAlthough the winds are favorable with respect to women’s labor market participation in Latin America, more actions should be taken to reduce the wage gap and favor women’s school... Show More +-work transition:Improvements in transport, increased access to childcare and flexible work schedules can contribute to increasing women’s available time. In Argentina, free public childcare services increased women’s labor market participation by 7% in 2011.Increase access to assets, land and credit. For example, by increasing access to formal credit markets (beyond microcredit) and to financial training. Support vulnerable families. Especially poor households headed by single women.Promote women’s empowerment through training programs and support to the labor-market transition and the creation of women’s employment networks.Additionally, the specialist believes it is crucial to work with the private sector to reduce the wage and employment gap given that this sector employs nearly 90% of workers around the world. Show Less -
The die is cast. If we do not act now, rising temperatures will endanger crops, freshwater reserves, energy security and even our health. We talked to World Bank environmental specialist Daniel Mira-S... Show More +alama about the challenges we are facing and the measures we can take to mitigate global warming.Question: What is the purpose of the Turn Down the Heat report series?Response: This innovative report series has been well received because it seats the scientific community and the development community at the same table. It brings together the latest knowledge on climate science and impacts with consequences for development. The first report warned us that if we do not act immediately, the future impact of climate change could minimize all progress made in human development in recent years. The other two reports closely examine climate change impacts and their development implications by region.Q: What is the added value of the third report?R: This third report uses the latest scientific knowledge – including the 5th Assessment Report of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – as well as articles and results that were published after the Intergovernmental Panel’s cut-off date. This knowledge is applied to the analysis of the main climate change challenges for the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, the Mideast and North Africa and parts of Europe and Central Asia.Q: What are the main challenges for Latin America and the Caribbean, particularly for the Andean countries? What are the risks?R: The report divides the continent into five regions. Central America and the Caribbean, where the main challenges are related to the increased frequency of natural disasters, especially hurricanes, storms, tidal waves and landslides. Arid areas of Mexico and northeastern Brazil, where the drought is advancing, with major heat waves and challenges for the population. The Southern Cone, the great breadbasket of Latin America, where climate change threatens agriculture and may lead to reduced food production, which could affect the entire region. The Amazon region, where there is a major risk for degradation of ecosystems and tree cover loss, with the consequent loss of ecosystem services, which may also potentially destabilize the entire region given the Amazon jungle’s key role in climate regulation. In the Andean countries, climate change will exert more pressure on local water resources, with changes in the seasonality of rainy periods, extreme precipitation and flooding, droughts and the potential intensification of El Niño phenomenon. Glacier retreat is a major issue in that region, which will create challenges for water management.Q: What do rising sea levels mean for cities and important coastal areas such as Lima, Guayaquil and Manta?R: The impact is clearly worrying. Current predictions point to the increased intensity of storms. Rising sea levels combined with increased storm activity, intense precipitation and tidal waves can produce major flooding, threatening the sustainability of coastal cities, their services and critical infrastructure located along the coast.Q: What is happening with the glaciers?R: In the case of tropical Andean glaciers, the evidence is quite solid and the trend is clear: glaciers are retreating at an accelerated rate, which has even given many of them an expiration date. Evidence indicates that all glaciers below 5,000 meters above sea level will be drastically reduced or disappear by 2030 or 2040, depending on local factors. A general, unequivocal retreat of the tropical glaciers has been observed for decades. The impact of the retreat and possible disappearance of tropical glaciers could be obvious at distinct levels, with the loss of water regulation capacity of the basins and threats to hydroelectric power generation, agricultural and livestock production, clean water supplies and degradation of ecosystems, tourism and others.Q: What about the paramos?R: Paramos are critical highland ecosystems capable of absorbing and releasing water at different times during the rainy and dry seasons, for which reason they serve as regulators of the water basin. Many paramo ecosystems are associated with glaciers, and therefore will be affected by glacier retreat. Changes in precipitation and temperature parameters, as well as the expansion of human activity, can also affect these ecosystems. Cities such as Quito or Bogota depend on nearby paramos for part of their potable water.Q: How can we prepare ourselves? Is mitigation possible?R: Climate change is a complex phenomenon with a variety of implications at all levels, which is why it must be attacked from several fronts. From a mitigation perspective, the focus should be on improving fuel efficiency and reducing the intensity of emissions of the energy, transport, manufacturing and household sectors, to name only a few. In Latin America and the Caribbean, we have some good models, such as that of Ecuador, which has made great strides in using energy from hydroelectric sources. In terms of adaptation, the expected impacts are well known. Latin America and the Caribbean is possibly the most advanced region in terms of specific initiatives using an integrated management approach, improved regulatory and policy frameworks, institutional strengthening and direct investments in infrastructure, programs and projects.Q: What is the result of the work done so far with respect to the retreat of Andean glaciers? What are the next steps?R: The project Adaptation to the Impacts of the Rapid Retreat of Tropical Andean Glaciers, which was successfully completed last year, focused on generating knowledge on glacier dynamics, improved monitoring and specific adaptation activities. In Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, highland monitoring stations were established to provide information for decision-making of the environmental ministries of the countries and other key institutions. Additionally, the program successfully implemented pilot adaptation initiatives to learn about the costs, results and benefits of adaptation in order to design larger-scale projects. The initiatives were related to water distribution efficiency, protection and sustainable management of key ecosystems, improved irrigation, adaptive management of agriculture and others. Currently, another Andean adaptation project is being designed, which focuses on a critical sector by country. Each country will select a sector or sub-sector to evaluate the impact of climate change on that sector, to design policy guidelines for adapting to those impacts, and to make specific investments in selected areas. For example, Ecuador will focus on the management of basins critical for uses such as hydroelectric power. Bolivia will implement activities to improve drainage and reduce flooding. Peru will work in small- and medium-scale agriculture whereas Colombia will concentrate on highland agriculture. This project of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) is in the final preparation phase. Show Less -
Protecting a non-renewable resourceJust 2.5% of the world’s water can be used. This water is found in rivers, lakes and snow peaks, among other locations. As demand for water increases, cities are for... Show More +ced to depend on sources located further away. These sources are also more expensive to exploit.Agriculture uses approximately 70% of the world’s consumable water. If the global population reaches nine billion by 2050, we will need an even larger share of the supply to meet demand for food.Learning to reuse water, especially in the agricultural sector, is key for responding to the crisis. Unfortunately, up to 90% of untreated wastewater in developing countries flows directly into rivers, lakes and coastal waters. According to World Bank experts, in Latin America, three-fourths of fecal or wastewater returns to the rivers and other water sources, creating a serious health and environmental problem.Water treatment plants such as the Taboada Plant in Lima have become an important part of the solution. Instead of being dumped in the ocean, solid wastes could be reused for fuel, fertilizer and construction materials.Other alternatives demonstrate what else can be done. In Lima, Peru, the host of the 2015 World Bank Annual Meetings, a billboard produces water from the humidity in the air, which can reach 98%. Another project is focusing on improving the city’s outdated water pipes to prevent leaks.Finally, a project in Peru is being implemented to take advantage of Andean Mountain water, which is found in some 7,240 kilometers of snow-covered peaks (the country has 71% of the world’s glaciers). These play a vital role in supplying water to the region but are threatened by melting caused by global warming. Show Less -
New analysis highlights need for better coordination and a focus on behavioral barriers alongside effective social and economic policies.LIMA, Peru, March 9, 2015 – One out of every five Latin America... Show More +ns or around 130 million people have never known anything but poverty, subsisting on less than US$4-a-day throughout their lives. These are the region´s chronically poor, who have remained so despite unprecedented inroads against poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean since the turn of the century.Their situation is becoming more precarious as the economic boom that significantly contributed to reduce poverty dwindles. Regional GDP growth has slowed, from about six percent in 2010 to an estimated 0.8 percent in 2014. This contraction will likely take away one of the biggest drivers behind the strong reduction in poverty: an improved job market.A new World Bank report, Left Behind, Chronic Poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean, takes a closer look at the region’s entrenched poor, who and where they are, and how policies and thinking will need to change in order to more effectively assist them.“Poverty exists and persists due to constraints within and without the households, everything from lack of appropriate skills and motivation to the lack of basic services such as clean water,” said Jorge Familiar, World Bank Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean. “In other words, supporting individuals is necessary but not sufficient. An enabling context that provides appropriate services is also crucial. Therefore, social policies and regional development need to go hand in hand.”But who are the chronic poor? The answer to that question traditionally has been hard to come by due to the lack of data tracking the poor over time. The World Bank report, however, applies a new methodology to shed light on those who have remained poor in Latin America.Among the report’s key findings:· There are significant variations among countries. Uruguay, Argentina and Chile have the lowest rates of chronic poverty, with rates around 10 percent. On the other extreme, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Guatemala have rates of chronic poverty significantly higher than the regional average of 21 percent, ranging from 37 percent in Nicaragua to 50 percent in Guatemala.· There are significant variations within countries. Within a single country, some regions show incidence rates up to eight times higher than the lowest. In Brazil, for instance, Santa Catarina has a chronic poverty rate of about five percent, while Ceará is nearly 40 percent.· The issue is rural and urban. Despite the much higher percentage rates of chronic poverty in rural areas, such poverty is as much an urban as a rural issue. In fact, considering absolute numbers, urban areas in many countries, including Chile, Brazil, Mexico, Colombia and the Dominican Republic, had more chronic poor between 2004 and 2012 than rural areas.“In addition to focusing on access to basic services and good jobs, policies must also take into account the very real social and aspirational barriers facing the chronically poor in Latin America,” said Ana Revenga, Senior Director for Poverty at the World Bank Group. “If this remains unaddressed, it will be far too easy for the most vulnerable to fall through the cracks of social safety nets, no matter how well-targeted these programs are.”In Peru, for instance, patients with tuberculosis, who live largely in Lima’s slums, were 43 percent more likely to abandon treatment before being cured if they were depressed at the time of diagnosis.To better assist these patients, a program that provides free treatment also offered clinical psychologists to help treat depression and special support to help identify income-generating opportunities for patients. Other social intermediation programs, such as Chile Solidario, or Red Unidos in Colombia, employ social workers to actively match beneficiaries with social programs that address family-specific needs.Moving forward, policymakers in Latin America would be justified to rethink the approach of poverty reduction programs, using this new analysis to better understand who the chronically poor are and where they reside. It will be crucial to improve coordination between different social and economic programs, and to tackle the mental and emotional toll that poverty takes on the poor and their ability to improve their lives. Only then will it be possible to forge a clearer path out of poverty for the 130 million chronically poor in Latin America. Show Less -