Despite its status of middle-income country in terms of GDP, Panama still remains a society of sharp contrasts. The robust economic growth of today is a historic opportunity for progress in reducing poverty and inequality.
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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 -
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 -
Next Steps World Bank and GFDRR engagement paved the way for institutional reforms that led to the enactment of a law setting out a strategic framework for the management of disaster risk. Starting in... Show More + 2015, the country will implement this framework through a five-year operational plan. As part of this process, risk analysis will be thoroughly inserted into public investment planning and public expenditure on risk management will be monitored. Furthermore, risk retention and transfer instruments are planned to be developed. Show Less -