With a population of 355 million and the vast majority of people living in middle-income countries, the MENA region came into the Arab Spring with multiple strengths, including a young and educated population, strong resource base, and economic resilience that helped it weather the 2008/9 global financial crisis.
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WASHINGTON, October 6, 2014 – Remittances by international migrants from developing countries are on course for strong growth this year, while at the same time forced migration due to violence and con... Show More +flict has reached unprecedented levels, says the World Bank’s latest issue of Migration and Development Brief, released today.Officially recorded remittances to developing countries are expected to reach $435 billion this year, an increase of 5 percent over 2013. The growth rate this year is substantially faster than the 3.4 percent growth recorded in 2013, driven largely by remittances to Asia and Latin America.Remittances to developing countries will continue climbing in the medium term, reaching an estimated $454 billion in 2015.Global remittances, including those to high-income countries, are estimated at $582 billion this year, rising to $608 billion next year.Remittances remain an especially important and stable source of private inflows to developing countries, as they bring in large amounts of foreign currency that help sustain the balance of payments. In 2013, remittances were significantly higher than foreign direct investment (FDI) to developing countries (excluding China) and were three times larger than official development assistance."Remittances to developing countries grew this year by 5 percent. Remittance inflows provided stable cover for substantial parts of the import bill for such countries as Egypt, Pakistan, Haiti, Honduras, and Nepal. India and China lead the chart with projected remittance inflows of, respectively, $71 and $64 billion in 2014. In addition, India and the Philippines benefit from having migrants with the most diverse destination spread, thereby creating buffers against regional shocks. Given the growing importance of this sector, the World Bank’s Migration and Development Brief has become an essential tool for global development policy experts,” said Kaushik Basu, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of the World Bank Group.The brief notes that the global average cost of sending remittances continued its downward trend in the third quarter of 2014, falling to 7.9 percent of the value sent, compared to 8.9 percent a year earlier. However, the cost of sending money to Africa remains stubbornly high, exceeding 11 percent.Remittance flows are expected to grow robustly to almost all regions of the developing world, except Europe and Central Asia, where the conflict in Ukraine and associated sanctions are contributing to an economic slowdown in Russia, home to a large number of migrants from the region. The East Asia and Pacific and South Asia regions will continue to attract the largest remittance flows.India, with the world’s largest emigrant stock of 14 million people, will remain in the top spot this year, attracting about $71 billion in remittances. Other large recipients are China ($64 billion), the Philippines ($28 billion), Mexico ($24 billion), Nigeria ($21 billion), Egypt ($18 billion), Pakistan ($17 billion), Bangladesh ($15 billion), Vietnam ($11 billion) and Ukraine ($9 billion).As a share of GDP (2013), the top recipients of remittances were Tajikistan (42 percent), Kyrgyz Republic (32 percent), Nepal (29 percent), Moldova (25 percent), Lesotho and Samoa (24 percent each), Armenia and Haiti (both 21 percent), the Gambia (20 percent) and Liberia (18 percent).In a special analysis on forced migration, the brief notes that forced migration due to conflict is at its highest level since World War II, affecting more than 51 million people. An additional 22 million people have been forced to move due to natural disasters, bringing the total affected by forced migration to at least 73 million, according to the latest available data.“Despite the encouraging outlook for remittance flows, the circumstances of many migrants are troubling. With so many people on the move against their will and many others undertaking desperate and dangerous journeys, it is clear that more effort is needed to make migration safer and cheaper by exploring economically viable policy options,” said Dilip Ratha, Lead Economist, Migration and Remittances, at the World Bank’s Development Prospects Group and Head of the Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development (KNOMAD).Forced migration is typically viewed as a humanitarian issue but affects growth, employment and public spending for both origin and destination countries. The issue needs to be examined also through a development lens, says the brief.Forced migration is a major challenge in several regions. In developing Europe and Central Asia, 1 million people in Ukraine have been displaced, while the high-income countries of Europe are receiving record numbers of asylum seekers. Applications to the entire region rose to over 480,000, an increase of 68 percent from 2009.Pakistan and Iran top the world list of refugee host countries, as millions of people from neighboring Afghanistan remain displaced after more than 35 years of conflict. At the end of 2013, nine out of 10 refugees were being hosted in developing countries.The war in Syria has displaced half the country’s population, with 3 million refugees crossing borders and 6.5 million people displaced internally. Most Syrian refugees have fled to neighboring Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan, joining millions of Iraqi and Palestinian refugees already there. In 2014, Syrians overtook Afghans as the second largest refugee group, outnumbered only by Palestinian refugees.In Sub-Saharan Africa, internal conflict (including renewed instability in South Sudan and Boko Haram activities in Nigeria) together with persistent drought in the Horn of Africa, are resulting in increased forced migration in the region.Regional Remittance TrendsStrong growth in remittances continues to support macroeconomic stability and economic growth in the East Asia and the Pacific (EAP) region. Remittances to the region are projected to increase by 7 percent this year, faster than any other region, to reach $122 billion. China and the Philippines are the region’s largest recipients, in value terms, but the smaller Pacific islands are most dependent on remittances, where they are a significant share of GDP. Remittances to the region are expected to grow by 4.9 percent in 2015 to exceed $127 billion.Weakening economic growth in Russia, the ruble depreciation, and sanctions imposed on Russia by western countries as a result of the conflict in Ukraine, are expected to slow the growth of remittances to the Europe and Central Asia (ECA) region this year to 2.2 percent (from 7.5 percent in 2013), bringing remittance flows to $49 billion in 2014. Russia is the largest source of remittances to countries in the region, and Ukraine is ECA’s largest remittance-recipient country. Dependency on remittances is high in several ECA countries, particularly in Tajikistan, Kyrgyz Republic and Moldova. Remittances to the region are expected to remain broadly unchanged in 2015.Remittance flows to the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region are likely to bounce back this year, following a weak 2013. Recovery in the United States will benefit Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua, which together account for more than half of the remittance flows to the region. In contrast, high unemployment in Spain is negatively impacting remittances to Bolivia, Colombia, Paraguay, and Peru. Intraregional remittances from Chile will continue on an upward trend. Remittances to the region are expected to increase by 5 percent this year, compared to 1 percent last year, to $64 billion, rising to $67 billion in 2015.In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, officially recorded remittances are on course to expand moderately this year, rising by 2.9 percent to reach $51 billion in 2014. Flows remain volatile, especially in the three largest recipient countries – Egypt, Lebanon and Morocco. After the sharp fall in flows to Egypt in 2013, remittances are expected to stabilize in 2014, helped by attractive investment opportunities in the planned expansion of the Suez Canal. The ongoing economic crisis and high unemployment rates in Europe will continue to dampen remittances to Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria. Flows to the region are expected to strengthen in the coming years, growing by 4 percent in 2015 to reach $53 billion.Remittances to the South Asia region are increasing more robustly this year, accelerating from slower growth in 2013. Although flows to India, the region’s largest remittance recipient, will grow modestly by 1.5 percent in 2014, partial year data point to very strong growth in flows to Pakistan (16.6 percent), Sri Lanka (12.1 percent) and Nepal (12.2 percent). The expansion is being led by flows from the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, where skilled and unskilled workers are finding renewed job opportunities. As a result, the growth rate of remittances to the region is expected to more than double this year to 5.5 percent (from 2.7 percent in 2013), boosting volumes to $117 billion in 2014 and rising further to $123 billion in 2015.Growth in remittances to Sub-Saharan Africa is picking up modestly this year. The importance of remittances varies greatly across the region. Remittances as a share of GDP are most significant to Lesotho, the Gambia, Liberia, Senegal and Cabo Verde. Flows as a share of foreign exchange reserves are highest in Sudan, Senegal, Togo, Mali and Cabo Verde. Remittances to the region are expected to reach $33 billion this year and $34 billion in 2015. Show Less -
Bank Group ContributionThe overall WB biodiversity portfolio of 245 projects in the ten years from FY2004 to 2013 included direct biodiversity commitments worth over US$ 1 billion. Of this, 27 percent... Show More + came from GEF funds, while 69 percent came from IBRD/IDA. These projects have taken place in 74 countries in all six of the WBG’s regions. Most projects were in the Africa and in the Latin America and Caribbean regions, which between them accounted for more than two thirds of biodiversity projects. In 2013, new biodiversity commitments amounted to US$ 35 million relatively low compared to previous years, but the current pipeline contains projects worth US$ 269 million.PartnersGlobal and regional partnerships are playing an important role in promoting biodiversity conservation. Some of the key partnerships are as follows:The Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund (CEPF) has brought together the governments of France and Japan together with the MacArthur Foundation, the European Commission and Conservation International, and awarded grants to over 1,600 civil society organizations to reduce threats to 21 critically endangered hotspots.The Global Tiger Initiative launched in 2008 has helped strengthen political ownership by the 13 tiger countries of their endangered tiger populations.The Save our Species (SOS) program seeks to leverage private sector engagement for funding for threatened species and has provided support to 75 species across 34 countries to date.The International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime is a collaborative effort of five inter-governmental organizations to bring coordinated support to national wildlife law enforcement agencies and sub-regional networks. Moving ForwardGoing forward, Bank investments in biodiversity will build on our comparative advantage as an institution that sets the benchmark for public development finance globally. The World Bank’s leadership and coordinating role within the donor community, complemented by access to trust funds and lending resources, can help mainstream biodiversity within national agendas as a critical part of sustainable development.Four areas of emphasis have emerged from our decades of experience investing in biodiversity and ecosystem services:(1) addressing policy failures through the design and application of new tools (e.g. to implement natural capital accounting), financing instruments (especially Development Policy Operations (DPOs), and partnerships (e.g. Wealth Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services or WAVES);(2) strengthening governance and the role of public sector agencies in partnership with the private sector and civil society, focusing in particular on improving systems of governance and institution-building;(3) building resilience through investments in biodiversity and ecosystem services across landscapes in close collaboration with other sectors, particularly through the use of land-use planning, moving beyond sector silos, and mainstreaming the use of green infrastructure to reduce the exposure of physical and social capital to external shocks; and(4) reducing governments’ exposure to volatile boom-and-bust financing by creating, piloting and mainstreaming financial mechanisms that enable long-term investment in nature and create financial flows from biodiversity and ecosystem services.Beneficiaries“Training on navigation is used quite a lot during patrols. We’ve also been able to use training in the arrest of suspects through ambushes and takedowns. We’ve also found training in reconnaissance and first aid to be very helpful as well,” remarked Salak Chairacha, Enforcement Ranger Patrol Team Leader, TLNP. “It’s been a rigorous process but the long-term engagement of SOS over two years has meant we could take the time to build the formal partnerships and relationships we needed. Now we have a strong foundation for the future,” says Mr. Brad Rutherford, Executive Director of the Snow Leopard Trust. The community programmes launched with SOS support are being recognised as a key part of Pakistan’s strategy for meeting its national snow leopard survival objectives as well as the goals set by the Global Snow Leopard Forum. Show Less -
Bank Group ContributionOver the past decade, the Bank (IBRD/IDA) committed funding for US$33 billion, from which IDA’s contribution was US$7.7 billion (23 percent) to support investment in environment... Show More + and natural resource management (ENRM). By far, climate change has been the fastest growing ENRM area where the Bank is supporting client countries. Other areas that have significantly expanded in the last five years are environmental policy and institutions, and water resource management. As for the types of funding provided over the decade, development policy lending accounted for 30 percent and investment lending 70 percent of the Bank’s ENRM portfolio. The trend is in favor of development policy lending that increased to 33% of the ENRM portfolio in the last five years (FY09-13).In addition to funding ENRM projects directly, IDA has leveraged additional funds through the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and other agencies and organizations. Specifically, the GEF provides grants to IDA countries to address global environmental issues while supporting national sustainable development initiatives.PartnersAn important lesson learned is that partners are essential to face the environmental challenge because the agenda is huge and beyond the means of any single institution. Partnerships with multilateral funds such as the GEF and the Climate Investment Funds have focused on global and trans-boundary environmental issues. Close partnerships with civil society organizations have allowed a greater focus on biodiversity and social accountability in particular. Other trust funds have focused on key subsectors, such as the Program on Forests (PROFOR) or the Global Program on Sustainable Fisheries (ProFISH). Partnerships with the United Nations Environment Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have allowed the Bank to broaden its analytical base. Perhaps most important, through the Climate Investment Funds the multilateral development banks are working in collaboration and demonstrating scaled-up climate action. Because the private sector plays a key role in creating jobs and technological development, it can contribute to sustainable development in ways that complement the public sector. Public-private partnerships are likely to continue growing in the near future because they are essential for achieving sustainable development in a fiscally constrained world. Moving Forward As the world becomes increasingly urbanized and the global population expands ever closer to 9 billion, the World Bank’s focus on improving environmental sustainability and building resilience to climate change will remain as strong as ever. Building on progress since the 2012 Environment Strategy, the Bank’s work will continue to focus on: • Climate change by increasing support to countries for low-carbon development efforts, and climate-smart agriculture, improving access of client countries to renewable energy, and incorporating climate-related disaster risk into development planning.• Biodiversity by strengthening client countries’ systems to protect biodiversity and combat illegal wildlife trade and wildlife crime.• Improving environmental decision-making by supporting countries to build institutions and enhance their capacity for environmental management, including efforts to improve generation of environmental and natural resources information so that countries are better equipped to make informed decisions. Through the WAVES partnership, the Bank will continue to support countries to incorporate environmental considerations into their national accounts. • Fighting pollution and improving environmental health by strengthening environmental health valuation analysis, enhancing environmental governance frameworks and policy tools, addressing environmental legacies, and improving nutrient management and control of agricultural run-off.• Oceans by supporting countries to improve management of fisheries, protect critical ocean and coastal habitat and reduce sources of pollution entering waterways and oceans. BeneficiariesIn 2009, the fishery in Ngaparou in Senegal was on the brink of collapse due largely to a combination of over-fishing from artisanal fishing and added pressure of semi-industrial fishing vessels further offshore. Every year, fewer and fewer fishermen were able to support themselves and feed their families.The World Bank has been supporting West African governments since 2009 in their efforts to better manage the region’s rich natural resources through its West Africa Regional Fisheries Program (WARFP). The WARFP has supported Ghana, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Senegal. The program supports a combination of regional cooperation, national reforms and local education and empowerment to help West African countries work together to manage their shared resources.“In the beginning, the main objective was restoration of our fish,” says Issa Sagne, President of the Local Committee of Fishers of Ngaparou (CLP). “Now, the fish are really abundant. We know when people from other villages are fishing illegally in our area when they try to sell very large fish that can only be found here now.” Show Less -
Bank Group ContributionThe World Bank funding for water resources management amounted to about US$8.08 billion across projects approved during fiscal years 2004-2013. In FY11 as well as FY12, Wo... Show More +rld Bank funding for water resources management amounted to US$1.2 billion; in FY13, it amounted to US$ 800 million.PartnersThe Bank collaborates with partners to support innovation in integrated water resources management. Given the broad reach of water resources management needs and initiatives, this type of collaboration has been significant.The World Bank strengthens the quality of its water projects through additional support from Global Partnership Programs.The Bank’s Water Partnership Program (WPP), a multi-donor trust fund, contributes to the Bank’s efforts to reduce poverty by bolstering operational and analytical work through the mainstreaming of pragmatic approaches for water resources management and water supply and sanitation service delivery. Under its first phase (2009-2012), the program helped influence almost US$11.7 billion in Bank financing and secured access to improved water and sanitation services for more than 50 million people. Under the WPP's second phase (2013-2016) more than $40 million will be committed to tackling water challenges by working at the nexus of food, energy and water security, and by supporting paths to climate-resilient, green growth.Significant amounts of water are needed in almost all energy generation processes. Conversely, the water sector needs energy to extract, treat and transport water and both energy and water are used in the production of crops. To support countries’ efforts to address challenges in energy and water management proactively, the World Bank with the support of WPP has embarked in 2013 on a global initiative: Thirsty Energy. The initiative aims to help governments prepare for an uncertain future, and break disciplinary silos that prevent cross-sectoral planning. Thirsty Energy demonstrates the importance of combined energy and water management approaches through demand-based work in several countries, thus providing examples of how evidence-based operational tools in resource management can enhance sustainable development.Next to innovative and often integrated water services solutions, WPP activities take a comprehensive approach to water resources, working at the river basin, delta, or country level to assess and define the best strategies for sustainable management. The program’s Water Expert Team (WET), which mobilizes high-level global expertise to meet complex and urgent demand, also devotes two-thirds of its support to World Bank water resources management programs that focus on improved decision making for disaster risk management and uncertainty under natural water variability and climate change impacts.Established in 2009, the South Asia Water Initiative (SAWI) is a multi-donor partnership between the World Bank and the governments of United Kingdom, Australia and Norway. The overarching objective of SAWI is to: increase regional cooperation in the management of the major Himalayan river systems in South Asia to deliver sustainable, fair and inclusive development and climate resilience. SAWI supports activities related to the management of the Greater Himalayas transboundary water systems in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Nepal, and Pakistan. The key rationale for engagement is to demonstrate and then to help achieve the mutual benefits of cooperation across shared river basins.Cooperation in International Waters in Africa (CIWA) aims to support and assist riparian governments in Africa to work together to address and unlock the constraints on growth and development posed by international waters. Specifically, it focuses on strengthening regional cooperation, water resources management and development, and stakeholder engagement and coordination by enabling greater voice and accountability. The program is supported by Development Partners, including the UK, Denmark and Norway.In March 2011, the World Bank signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the United States government to expand and enhance collaboration in the water sector. The Bank is working in close cooperation with 16 U.S. agencies to support developing countries in managing global water crises, such as the lack of safe drinking water and sanitation, diminishing aquifers, drought, flooding, and climate change impacts.Moving ForwardContinuous Bank leadership and strengthened support will be critical to secure the above achievements and increase the benefits to poverty alleviation and sustainable development. The World Bank is currently developing a new vision for water that strengthens the water practice to deliver on the bold leadership aspirations and meet changing client need. The vision places water at the center of helping people, economies and ecosystems thrive and thus contributing to a world free of poverty. Moving forward the Bank will:Strengthen efforts to address climate variability in Bank-financed projects through improved storage and other adaptation measures, flood control, and emergency response preparednessDevote more resources to explore and strengthen the linkages between water and other sectors such as energy, agriculture and the environment, and support initiatives that aim at improving water allocation mechanisms and institutionsEnsure that water considerations are included in country-sectoral planningImprove efficiency of water supply systemsEnsure that the food security agenda considers irrigation and work with clients to improve water efficiency of existing irrigation schemesStrengthen the use and supply of data for decision making and dialogue between countries, and facilitate the integration of technologies for more reliable informationContinue its strong support to institutional reform and capacity building of relevant organizations, and strengthen global water partnerships for lasting impact BeneficiariesIt is something Arwa Mohamed remembers well. When it rained, the floodwaters in the streets in her Taiz neighborhood in Yemen were so high people were stuck for days “When it would rain and the kids were in school, we were afraid, because the floods would come and cut off the streets, and whoever was home - the mothers - would wait by the windows to see their children coming, and scream out ‘don’t try to cross, it is dangerous.’ The flood once even swept away an old woman and her grandchild.” Finally, says Arwa, “her neighborhood is safe.” The rain waters still come, but now travel underneath her neighborhood, instead of through it, by way of a covered channel. “Now we have these nicely paved streets, and we can cross even during floods, but before, we were completely cut from life when it rained, see what I mean?”Shawki Ahmed Hayel Saeed, Taiz Local Council and businessman “It was not only the improvements of solving the problems of the water flooding that happened in Taiz in the last few years, but it was also for the additional contracts that were implemented in these projects, for paving and asphalting a lot of streets in the city, employing a lot of people, and also helping the local council in training and improving the revenues for the people’s participation in the project in Taiz.”For 28-year old grocer, Amin Jibari, the project has finally brought security to his basement home “ no more, everything now is good, after they built the channel and a protection wall, the floods don’t come here, we are relaxed, no flooding!” Amin says since the construction of a covered channel nearby, he and his family of five are no longer in danger! 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PartnersDisaster risk management was universally endorsed as a development priority through the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) in 2005. This framework is an agreement signed by 168 governments and i... Show More +nternational organizations, including the World Bank Group and the United Nations, to support disaster prevention across the world.As a partnership financing mechanism, GFDRR includes 43 country governments as well as eight international organizations. Recognizing the need for partnership and synergy in the post-disaster context, the World Bank, the United Nations (UN) and the European Commission entered into a Joint Declaration on Post-Crises Assessments and Recovery Planning in 2008 to improve the coordination of support offered to governments affected by disasters.The bank is working closely with UNDP on the development of the Disaster Recovery Framework Guide to guide recovery after major disasters, and with WMO on various hydro meteorological programs around the world.GFDRR has also expanded its global partnerships, including a noticeable growth in the Understanding Risk community of global experts that currently connects more than 2,800 members from 125 countries, including representatives from the public and private sector, multilateral organizations, civil society, academia and scientific and technology communities.Increasingly, partnership is taking on new and innovative forms, including through expert communities and civil society. For example ‘volunteer technical communities’ who apply their skills to some of the most complex aspects of DRM, such as mapping risk and evaluating mitigation options. The Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK), a public-private-people partnership, brings together 150 government, private sector and civil society partners supporting the initiative around the globe.Another example of an innovative partnership is the development of the Indonesia Scenario Assessment for Emergencies, InaSAFE. The initiative was developed in partnership with the Indonesian National Agency for Disaster Management (BNPB), GFDRR and the World Bank, the Australian government .Moving ForwardIn 2015, three international processes will bring disaster and climate resilience to the forefront of the development agenda. They include the new international agreement on climate change; the successor to the Millennium Development Goals (including the Sustainable Development Goals); and the Post-2015 Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.The World Bank will provide timely, cutting-edge DRM knowledge and expertise to partner countries, and will continue to mainstream DRM across all sectors of investment. The World Bank will support countries in the development and use of risk information, further development of country and sector risk profiles, capacity building, and the use of spatial and structural risk analyses to inform investment planning.The World Bank will strive to scale up technical assistance and targeted DRM financing to high-risk developing countries that lack the resources and capacity to invest in long-term risk reduction activities. In addition, the Bank will increase its advisory support for financial exposure profiles, risk financing strategies and sustainable domestic catastrophe risk insurance markets.Looking ahead, climate change and disaster risks will be further considered in IDA countries in particular. The IDA 17 Policy Commitments call for the integration of climate and disaster risk considerations into core World Bank operations by (a) requiring all IDA Country Partnership Frameworks to incorporate climate and disaster risk; (b) screening all new IDA operations for climate and disaster risks; (c) supporting at least 25 additional IDA countries to manage climate and disaster risk as part of development; and (d) strengthen and enhance monitoring to capture disaster risk management and climate change co-benefits in lending and non-lending technical assistance.Beneficiaries“I still remember Cyclone Sidr in 2007,” said Hasina Begum, Headmistress of Paschim Napitkhali Primary School in Barguna, Bangladesh. “There were warnings, but nothing could really prepare us for what happened. Cyclone Sidr hit my hometown, Barguna with ferocious intensity. Powerful gusts of winds and heavy rainfalls frightened the helpless people, many of whom had left their homes and possessions to seek the protection of cyclone-shelters, like my school.” The Paschim Napitkhali Primary School, a non-descript two storied building played a life-saving role in 2007, when Barguna and other coastal regions were hit hard by the storm surge of over 5 meters (16 ft). Initially established by Hasina’s father, the school was later rebuilt and converted into a school and cyclone shelter. During the year, the primary school bustles with children – but during cyclones and other natural disasters, the building doubles up as a shelter. In 2007, this cyclone-shelter alone had helped save more than 800 people.With the effects of climate change likely to increase the frequency and severity of natural disasters, Bangladesh needs to prepare adequately for increased uncertainty. With this in mind, approximately 700 cyclone shelters are in the process of being constructed or upgraded with better designs with support from the World Bank to protect the country’s coastal population. Show Less -