East Asia and Pacific remains the world’s growth engine despite a challenging external environment, with developing economies growing by 7.2% in 2013. The proportion of people living in poverty in the region has steadily declined—less than 10% of the population lives on $1.25 a day—but much more needs to be done as there are still close to half a billion people living on $2 a day.
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Reports in both the national and international media and anecdotal evidence indicate that the prevalence of crime and violence is high in Papua New Guinea (PNG). It has become an important obstacle to... Show More + long-term development. At the request of the Government of PNG, the World Bank conducted a study to better understand the social and economic costs of crime and violence to households, business, government and civil society, and to inform policy directions in managing these issues.The resulting Research and Dialogue Series on The Socio-Economic Costs of Crime and Violence in Papua New Guinea is made up of five policy notes.Key findings:Levels of crime and violence in PNG are high, and have remained consistently so over more than a decade. The homicide rate – considered the most reliable indicator of overall crime – was 10.4 per 100,000 habitants in 2010. The rate varies widely across regions, with an estimated rate of 66 per 100,000 in Lae and 33 in National Capital District, amongst the highest in the world. Robbery and assault are the most commonly reported crimes. Family and sexual violence is also highly prevalent, and affects both females and males.Violent crime, such as robberies and assaults, appears to be increasing as a proportion of overall crime, and that crime is on the rise in known “hotspots” such as Lae and the National Capital District (NCD). In Lae, crime appears to have increased for 11 of 12 categories of crime reported in 2010 (compared with 2005 and 2008 data). The use of firearms has also been increasing since 2008.Crime and violence are driven in part by recent social and economic changes, which have created disputes that are less amenable to management by traditional means. In particular, violence in PNG can be understood, at least partly, as a result of the inability of both traditional and formal institutions to manage the stresses that have come with rapid economic growth, increasing migration, and other factors.Crime constrains investment and growth, and the costs ripple throughout society. Eighty-one percent of businesses reported that their decisions for further investment or expansion of their operations were affected by the law and order situation in the country. Sixty-seven percent of firms identified crime as a constraint; this is more than four times the regional average for firms in East Asia and the Pacific (16 percent) and higher than all of the regional averages reported in the World Bank’s Business Enterprise Survey.Businesses incur high costs for security, much of which goes toward private security forces. Eighty-four percent of companies said they pay for security. This is over 30% higher than the average for the East Asia and Pacific region. Private security represents a significant and growing expense: more than two-thirds of businesses employ private security staff, and spend an average of 5 percent of their annual costs on this, compared to an average of 3.2 percent for firms in East Asia overall.Business owners and employees stressed that while the economic costs of crime and violence are important, it is the indirect, longer-term social impacts of crime and violence that effectively limit them from operating to their full potential. High levels of crime and violence create fear that constrains mobility of staff and clients, erodes trust, and reinforces stigma toward certain groups perceived to be dangerous, especially youth. Domestic violence, in particular, intrudes into the workplace.Recommendations:Strengthen data collection, analysis, monitoring and evaluation to support evidence-based policy-makingAddress the structural drivers of conflictDirect interventions to address ‘stressors’ in crime and violenceAssess and strengthen the effectiveness of formal law and order institutionsStrengthen coordination and strategic partnerships at the national, provincial and local level Show Less -
Vientiane, August 14, 2014 – The Government of Lao PDR and the World Bank Group today signed two agreements for the new World Bank Group financing of more than USD40 million.The new support for the Sm... Show More +all and Medium Enterprise Access to Finance Project includes a USD10 million grant and a USD10 million credit from the International Development Association, and at least USD4 million from the International Finance Corporation in risk sharing funds. The project will provide long term credit to small firms and help them to grow and create more jobs.“The ceremony today reaffirms the commitment and cooperation between the Government of Lao PDR and the World Bank in supporting Government priorities as outlined in our National Socio-Economic Development Plan. SMEs, hydropower and mining sectors form an important part of the Lao economy. The two projects will contribute to the socioeconomic development and environmental sustainability of Lao PDR”, said H.E. Mme. Thipphakone Chanthavongsa, Vice Minister of Finance of the Lao PDR.The Government of Lao PDR and the World Bank Group also signed an agreement to continue technical assistance to Lao PDR in managing its hydropower and mining resources. This support comes in the form of USD17.8 million Additional Financing to the Technical Assistance for Capacity Building in the Hydropower and Mining Sectors Project.“Financing for small firms is vital for the Lao economy. It will help create more jobs, increase family incomes and reduce poverty. Equally important will be the sustainable use of Lao PDR’s wealth of hydropower and mining resources. The World Bank Group is pleased to offer its strong support for these two projects and looks forward to continuing our close partnership with Lao PDR”, said Mr. Ulrich Zachau, Country Director of the World Bank for Southeast Asia. Show Less -
Jakarta, 14 August 2014 – A government program to promote safer cooking practices aims to prevent 165,000 premature deaths every year, says a new World Bank report.The report, entitled Indonesia: Towa... Show More +rd Universal Access to Clean Cooking, summarizes key findings and recommendations from Phase I of the Indonesia Clean Stove Initiative (CSI). Supported by the World Bank and undertaken by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, this multi-phase program hopes to introduce, in stages, affordable, biomass-fueled cookstoves to the 24.5 million families – or 40 percent of households across Indonesia – who still use traditional biomass, mostly firewood, for cooking.Unaware of the harmful effects of household air pollution, users of firewood stoves expose themselves daily to toxic smoke, increasing risks for asthma, lung tuberculosis, and acute respiratory infections, particularly amongst children. Each year, Indonesia suffers an estimated 165,000 premature deaths because of household air pollution. Most of the deaths occur in poor households.“Millions of families need clean cooking solutions, and many of them don’t even know that they face a problem,” said Rida Mulyana, Director General of New, Renewable Energy and Energy Conversion, at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources. “We have to raise public awareness about the importance of using better biomass-fueled cookstoves, and also make the stoves available and more affordable for the people so that families can buy them and improve their health,” Mulyana added.This initiative will complement the Government’s efforts to replace kerosene with LPG as the country’s main household cooking fuel. However, many rural communities still use firewood, because the LPG conversion program has limited impact and firewood is more accessible and affordable.Women and young children are those who suffer most from the lack of clean stoves, as they spend most of their days in their kitchens. According to the report,almost half of the 24 million families who still use firewood live on the densely populated island of Java. “We support the government’s efforts to ensure that all Indonesians have access to clean cooking solutions by the year 2030. Better health for millions of Indonesians will reduce their health-care costs and their risks of falling into poverty,” said Rodrigo A. Chaves, World Bank Country Director for Indonesia. The CSI survey shows that, in many rural and more remote areas, there are no existing markets for biomass cookstoves – and that market development is a key challenge. Most families make their own stoves from mud, cement or stone that are energy-inefficient and produce much toxic smoke. Stove producers also know little about cleaner or more efficient stove models.The Clean Stove Initiative recommends using a Results-Based Financing (RBF) approach to promote clean stoves. This innovative incentive scheme is expected to develop a sustainable clean stove market. The scheme includes three key building blocks: defined clean stoves, results-based incentives, and a monitoring and verification (M&V) system. In May 2014, two Grant Agreements were signed between the World Bank and the Government of Indonesia, and between the World Bank and PT Bank Rakyat Indonesia Tbk (BRI), in order to support the implementation of the Phase II of the Initiative until December 2015. The $300,000 grant to Government will be utilized by the Directorate of Bioenergy to establish a system on how to define clean stoves as the foundation for market development, and to design and prepare a national clean biomass cookstoves program. Meanwhile, the $190,000 grant to BRI will provide incentives to partially finance the purchase of clean biomass cookstoves by consumers/end users in the pilot area. The pilot program will focus on Central Java and Yogyakarta area.Complementary technical assistance for the pilot program is also received from French Agency for Development (AFD), with a 250,000 euros grant through its implementing agency Groupe Energies Renouvelables, Environnement et Solidarités (GERES). “The Government will use the results from the pilot program to scale up the program across Indonesia,” said Rida Mulyana.“We estimate that delivering 10 million clean biomass cookstoves by the year 2020 could transform the Indonesia biomass cookstoves market toward achieving universal access to clean cooking by 2030. This would significantly improve the health of rural population, particularly mothers and children across Indonesia,” said World Bank Senior Energy Economist Yabei Zhang.The Initiative also launched the Indonesia Clean Cook Stove Alliance, a multi-stakeholder network for market players and supporters of clean cookstoves in Indonesia. Show Less -