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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Cancun, Mexico, December 8, 2010 - Developing countries wanting to use market instruments to scale up their mitigation efforts will soon have access to financial and technical support arising from a n... Show More +ew global partnership launched today. World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick announced the establishment of the Partnership for Market Readiness at an event on the sidelines of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change conference in Cancun. The Partnership received pledges of more than $20 million by Australia (A$10m), the European Commission (€5m) and the United States ($5m) in Cancun today, which builds on an early pledge of $5 million from Norway. In addition, Germany, Japan and the UK announced their intention to support the initiative financially. The Partnership is aiming for a total capitalization of $100 million. It is expected to become operational in early 2011 and will support a range of carbon market readiness initiatives ranging from technical to policy to institutional interventions. “This new Partnership – which brings together developed and developing nations – will help countries get ready to put in place domestic trading schemes and other market-based instruments to meet national mitigation objectives,” Zoellick said. “The fact that developing countries are looking for market-readiness support is testament to the drive for climate action at the national level – these countries are not waiting, they’re getting on with it as part of their development goals.” A number of countries, such as China, Chile, Indonesia, and Mexico are exploring the use of carbon market instruments and emissions trading mechanisms as a way of encouraging investment in alternatives to carbon-emitting technologies. They are looking to build on lessons from the 10 years of experience of the Clean Development Mechanism under the Kyoto Protocol, and adapt them to their local contexts. For example, Chile’s government is exploring the establishment of a domestic emissions trading scheme; India, similarly, is putting in place a trading scheme for renewable energy and energy efficiency certificates. Furthermore, China is joining the Partnership. “China has launched low carbon economy pilots in five cities and eight provinces. China intends to explore feasibility of domestic emissions trading schemes to achieve mitigation,” said Mr. Xie, Vice Chair of the National Development and Reform Commission. “The Partnership for Market Readiness will provide timely support for the initiative." In announcing Australia’s A$10m contribution, Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Greg Combet, said “a broad and well-functioning carbon market will help countries reduce carbon pollution in the fairest, most efficient and cost effective way. Australia looks forward to working with other partners in building capacity to establish and expand carbon markets.”Zoellick was joined at the launch event by Raineri Bernain, Chilean Minister of Energy who presented his country’s national emissions trading initiative. Other participants included ministers and senior representatives from the European Commission, Australia, China, Colombia, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the UK and the US. Show Less -
Washington D.C., November 18, 2010. Today the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) released "The World Bank Group's Response to the Global Economic Crisis"—an appraisal of the significan... Show More +t role the World Bank Group (WBG) has played in addressing the global economic downturn. IEG’s evaluation shows that the organization has sought to achieve three objectives: support the most vulnerable, maintain long-term infrastructure investment, and sustain the potential for private sector-led growth. In doing so, the WBG committed $128.7 billion and disbursed a record $80.6 billion during fiscal years 2009 and 2010—more than any other international financial institution (IFI).Vinod Thomas, Director-General, Evaluation, noted: “The World Bank Group’s response has fitted the nature of the crisis -- which called for a fiscal expansion to compensate for sharply declining trade and private capital flows. The financing from the WBG and other IFIs has helped in the worldwide effort to avert what might have been a harsher global downturn. The ensuing challenges are with emerging fiscal imbalances, higher debt levels and financial sector vulnerabilities—and with ensuring that the increase in spending produces sustainable results.”This IEG study is a real- time assessment of ongoing activities. As such, it evaluates the immediate results and serves as an input to the WBG's continuing efforts to address the effects of the crisis. The evaluation of the development impact of WBG’s response will be taken up at a later stage. There have been notable variations in the nature of the response across the WBG entities. Substantially increased lending by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) was accompanied by moderately higher financing through the International Development Association (IDA). The volume of new operations of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), the private sector arms of the Group, followed the business cycle and focused on a set of targeted interventions. These included IFC’s efforts in trade finance, especially in low-income countries and the introduction of a set of innovative initiatives. MIGA guarantees supported European banks’ cross-border investments in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union. The World Bank (consisting of IBRD and IDA), while responding to the crisis with some delay, has demonstrated preparedness based on its knowledge of poverty impacts, long-term dialogue with country authorities, and ability to expand lending—aspects that need continued and careful attention. Areas that need strengthening include the ability to act quickly in the event of such crises and preparedness to carry out financial sector interventions. IFC’s crisis initiatives responded creatively to capital constraints and had a positive effect especially in low- income countries; yet implementation challenges were underestimated and the Corporation gave priority to protecting its portfolio. MIGA played a supportive, crisis response role with existing clients in Eastern Europe, but there was not a significant uptake elsewhere. Going forward, greater synergies must be realized across the WBG. For the World Bank, this review underscores the value of maintaining an active policy dialogue with countries, emphasizing further its analytical and knowledge work, and having greater versatility in its use of financial instruments for crisis responses. For IFC, there is the need to secure financial headroom and look beyond portfolio protection, with a focus on development effectiveness. Lessons for MIGA concern greater product flexibility and enhanced business development.Increased poverty resulting from the financial crisis will be a major challenge in the foreseeable future. The World Bank estimates that the crisis left an estimated 50 million more people in extreme poverty (below the $1.25 a day poverty line) in 2009, and some 64 million more will fall into that category by the end of 2010. Even with rapid economic recovery, some 71 million people will remain in extreme poverty by 2020 who would have escaped it had the crisis not occurred, coupled with unemployment rates that remain high in several countries.Even in a financial crisis, the WBG needs to support the crucial requisites for long-term results — fiscal and debt sustainability, structural reforms, environmental and social sustainability, and actions to reduce risks related to climate change. Finally, improved coordination among WBG institutions and other development partners during response initiatives will continue to be of paramount importance. ABOUT IEG:The Independent Evaluation Group reports directly to the World Bank Group Boards of Executive Directors. The results of its evaluative findings are discussed by the Boards and its studies are carried out independent of the Management. Show Less -
HONIARA, October 21, 2010- Today, the World Bank Group approved the additional funding of US$3 million for the Solomon Islands Rural Development Program (RDP). This amount is complemented by US$3 mill... Show More +ion from the Bank-managed Food Price Crisis Response Multi-donor Trust Fund. The RDP, also funded by the Solomon Islands Government, AusAID and the European Commission began in 2007 with initial funding totaling US$21.84 million. This Project is implemented by the Ministry of Development Planning and Aid Coordination.The RDP aims to raise the living standards of rural households by improving local level infrastructure, by increasing the capacity of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock to improve agriculture extension services, and by supporting rural business development.The additional World Bank funds will help consolidate promising progress particularly in providing essential rural infrastructure and services to communities, and improving agricultural services at the provincial level.The RDP was initially rolled out in the four provinces of Malaita, Temotu, Western, and Choiseul. This year, the program has expanded to Makira and Isabel and expanded its geographical coverage in Malaita and Western Province. The extra funding will ensure that the project effectively reaches all provinces by 2012.The RDP local infrastructure and service delivery component follows a community driven development approach that relies on community consultation and management. This mechanism also ensures community prioritization of needs, co-financing and execution of the investment. Project selection is based on an inclusive and transparent process at the ward and provincial levels.There are 43 infrastructure projects either completed or nearing completion and an additional 54 in the technical design phase in the first four provinces and community consultations are underway in the other provinces. Infrastructure projects to date include water rehabilitation and catchment systems, clinics, staff houses for nurses and teachers, classrooms, and safety bridges. 187 villages will benefit from this work and survey results suggest an estimated 49,000 beneficiaries.The program has also seen success in the second component which is focused on improving agricultural services. The RDP team has undertaken consultations and activities involving approximately 1,500 farmers in areas as diverse as crop improvement, livestock improvement, and labor.Additionally, 157 officers from the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock have received training from RDP staff to improve their ability to deliver essential services to rural farmers. These trainings have covered issues including para-veterinary training to survey and data analysis instruction.The additional financing will allow the RDP to sustain this progress and expand the program’s scope in the Solomon Islands. Show Less -
Washington DC – 10 May, 2010 – The World Bank has approved a country strategy for Solomon Islands which aims to support the Pacific Island nation to get onto a stable and sustainable growth path for t... Show More +he long term. The strategy represents an important step forward for World Bank Group engagement with Solomon Islands, having the distinction of being the first individual strategy document to be presented to the Bank’s Board for any Pacific Island state. While Solomon Islands, one of the Pacific region’s poorest countries, has emerged from a period of internal conflict (1998 – 2003), it has also been affected by successive global food, fuel and financial crises. In 2009, with the fall in Solomon Island log exports and a major drop in international commodity prices, growth fell to just 1 percent. The 18-month “interim strategy note” was prepared jointly with the World Bank’s private sector arm – the International Finance Corporation – and revolves around three goals: addressing surmountable barriers to growth;enhancing the benefits of global and regional engagement; andsupporting improvements in public administration and management. To support each goal, the strategy outlines a number of key policy actions and projects that it will support, including: telecommunications development, investment in more reliable and sustainable power systems, expanding access to finance, community-driven development and revitalized agriculture extensions services, mining sector oversight, improvements in public financial management, urban youth employment, and simplification of business regulation. The World Bank Group complements its financial support with analytical and advisory work on critical policy questions, drawing on knowledge and experience as a global institution. Solomon Islands has been a member of the World Bank Group since the country’s independence in 1978. A joint World Bank Group and Asian Development Bank office opened in the capital, Honiara, in 2008 – enabling far greater engagement with the Government and other stakeholders in the country’s development. Show Less -
WASHINGTON, 4 May, 2010—The World Bank today approved an additional US$3 million in financing for the Samoa Health Sector Management Program (HSMP) Support Project. The funds will assist the Governmen... Show More +t of Samoa in rebuilding the health sector following last year’s tsunami and increase access to quality health services for Samoans.Samoa’s health sector was hit hard by the tsunami last September with the total recovery bill estimated at US$7.4 million. The additional financing will ensure that access to basic health services is maintained for Samoans during the restoration process. The priority is on enhancing communicable disease control efforts, delivering specialist health services to relocated populations, and disaster risk mitigation measures for the future.“The World Bank and the Government of Samoa are committed to advancing health care services for the people of Samoa and reducing the affects of future natural disasters on the health sector,” says Ferid Belhaj, Country Director for Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea & Pacific Islands at the World Bank. “Outbreaks of dengue, measles, and endemic typhoid over recent years highlight the need for continued support in core public health programs. Health promotion and prevention are at the centre of reform efforts in Samoa.”Maternal and child health is a priority of the HSMP, in line with the Millennium Development Goals. According to the World Health Organization, the under-five mortality rate in Samoa is 28 per 1,000 births compared with Australia which is six per 1,000 births. The project is investing in maternal and child health care services and focusing on health promotion with new mothers.Launched in July 2008, HSMP is currently financed by an International Development Association (IDA) zero-interest loan of US$3 million and grants from the governments of Australia (US$12.6 million) and New Zealand (US$4 million). The additional financing will take IDA’s contribution to US$6 million. The project is building the skills of health care workers and providing staff training on disease management to assist in developing a better quality health sector. The project will also create a Bachelor of Health Science degree at the National University of Samoa to educate the next generation of doctors and nurses in the country. Show Less -
WASHINGTON, April 20, 2010 — The World Bank Group today announced that it has thrown open the doors to its statistical databases and is challenging the global community to use the data to create new a... Show More +pplications and solutions to help poor people in the developing world. Recognizing that transparency and accountability are essential to development, the World Bank Group is now providing free, open, and easy access to its comprehensive set of data on living standards around the globe - some 2,000 indicators, including hundreds that go back 50 years. The data will be available in Arabic, French and Spanish in addition to English. “I believe it’s important to make the data and knowledge of the World Bank available to everyone,” said World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick. “Statistics tell the story of people in developing and emerging countries and can play an important part in helping to overcome poverty. They are now easily accessible on the Web for all users, and can be used to create new apps for development. ” Drawing from numerous data sources and working with statistical partners, the Bank Group has worked intensively to modernize its storehouse of statistics to create data.worldbank.org, a new, user-friendly data access site. In the coming months, the World Bank will also launch an “Apps for Development" competition, challenging the developer community to create tools, applications, and ”mash-ups” using World Bank data with the goal of producing better tools for understanding development. The new open data initiative coincides with the launch of the World Development Indicators (WDI) 2010, the Bank’s popular statistical resource. Apart from giving open access to the WDI, with nearly 1000 indicators, the initiative also opens up the Global Development Finance, Africa Development Indicators, Global Economic Monitor, and indicators from the Doing Business Report. Broader access to the data will allow policy makers, researchers, and civil society to track the impact of policies, develop new solutions, and measure improvements more accurately.Users will be encouraged to provide feedback and to make use of the data through new tools and applications. This knowledge sharing initiative will be followed by the July 2010 launch of the World Bank’s new Access to Information Policy, which will make available an expanded range of reports, documents, and information. Show Less -