Ten Pacific Island countries which are members of the World Bank have a population of about 3.4 million people, scattered across an area equivalent to 15 percent of the globe’s surface, with a development trajectory that will be shaped by their economic geography.
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The Stories of Impact series highlights work involving the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) that has helped to reduce developing countries' vulnerability to natura... Show More +l hazards and build communities' resilience.Stakeholders Engage to Build Belize's Climate ResilienceFacing the risk of climate-related disasters, Belize is working to improve its resilience by transforming the country’s approach to economic and social development with a national plan that cuts across all sectors. Read moreManaging Drought, Sustaining Growth in DjiboutiDjibouti is at particular risk for water shortages and severe flooding, both of which profoundly impact its growing but fragile economic sector. GFDRR is helping the country build resilience. Read moreEnhancing Seismic Preparedness in IstanbulA disaster preparedness program supported by the World Bank Group and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery has helped earthquake-vulnerable Istanbul retrofit or rebuild over 1,000 public buildings. Read moreRapidly Assessing Flood Damage in Uttarakhand, IndiaGFDRR and partners conducted a Joint Rapid Damage Needs Assessment (JRDNA) for the Uttarakhand region soon after the devastating 2013 monsoons, completing a thorough analysis of damage and providing the necessary foundation for recovery efforts to begin. Read moreAssessing Post-Disaster Needs in NigeriaAfter severe flooding in 2012, Nigeria asked GFDRR and other key partners to conduct a comprehensive Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA). Read moreCommunity-Based Disaster Risk Reduction in NigerGFDRR and partners have financed an almost $1 million disaster risk reduction project in Niger to build capacity of local communities for early warning and response. Read moreStrengthening Financial Resilience in the PacificIn response to requests from 15 countries, the World Bank, GFDRR, and other partners formed the Pacific Catastrophe Risk Assessment and Financing Initiative (PCRAFI) in 2007 to help mitigate disaster and climate change risk. Read moreDisaster-Proofing the Transport Sector in VietnamThe government of Vietnam, with support from GFDRR and the World Bank, has made important strides in building the resilience of the transport sector against risk from natural disasters and climate change. Read more Show Less -
May 8, 2014KEY FINDINGSIn the last 20 years, East Asia Pacific saw rising productivity amid a brisk structural transformation, with large movements of people into cities and higher output in agricultu... Show More +re, manufacture and services. Countries that were poor a generation ago successfully integrated into the global value chain, taking advantage of low labor costs.The unprecedented economic development in East Asia Pacific has provided jobs that lifted millions of people out of poverty and has been a triumph of working people. The share of the population working or seeking work in most countries, including women, is higher than other nations with similar income levels.Current employment policies, though relatively stringent on paper but poorly enforced in reality, have failed to benefit most workers, favoring prime-aged men in salaried positions at the expense of women, youth and those with low skills. Empirical evidence shows that rising minimum wages in Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand disproportionately reduce employment opportunities for women and young people.Across the region, more than 30% of people ages 15 to 24 are completely left out—they have neither a job nor receive any education or training. That creates labor market segmentation and exclusion, as well as a higher risk of social unrest and violence. Meanwhile, rising wages for skilled workers, which benefit from the current policies, have led to higher inequality in some countries.The issue has taken on more urgency recently, as the region’s economic growth is moderating and labor costs are rising. With empirical evidence presented in the report, policy makers are urged to enact labor regulations and social protection policies to benefit all workers, including those in the large informal economy.RECOMMENDATIONSThe region’s economic and demographic changes, as well as its relatively short labor history, present an opportunity for countries to adopt a new lower cost social protection model than countries in regions with long, established policies.It is now time to consolidate growth by enacting social policies that protect people, rather than any particular sector, location or profession. When well-designed, those policies should make sure social protection and labor regulations reach the most vulnerable workers in society.Modest, nationally-financed unemployment packages, for example, can help employers avoid costly severance schemes. They can also lower labor taxes and encourage business to become formal. Thailand’s universal health care policy, for example, is a form of social insurance that has already lowered out-of-pocket costs for patients and led to wider use of medical services.Of course, the East Asia Pacific region’s diverse emerging economies—from mostly rural to urbanizing and small, remote islands—defy a one-size-fits-all approach.For the many countries that are still mainly agrarian, policy makers need to focus on boosting agricultural productivity and encouraging non-farm enterprises. For urbanizing economies, governments need to focus on making cities work better by boosting infrastructure and improving services.More importantly, countries need to look beyond the labor market and focus on fundamentals, such as those that ensure price stability, encourage investment and innovation, and support a regulatory framework that enables small and medium-size enterprises, which employ most people in the region. Show Less -