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The World Region

Migration and Remittance Trends 2009: A better-than-expected outcome so far, but significant risks ahead

Dilip Ratha's picture

With Sanket and Ani

We have just released Migration and Development Brief 11 (see accompanying presentation) reporting latest data on remittance flows. Newly available data show that officially recorded remittance flows to developing countries reached $338 billion in 2008, higher than our previous estimate of $328 billion. Based on monthly and quarterly data released by some central banks and in line with the World Bank’s global economic outlook we estimate that remittance flows to developing countries will fall to $317 billion in 2009. This 6.1 percent decline is smaller than our earlier expectation of a 7.3 percent fall.

By now it is clear that existing migrants are not returning even though the job market has been weak in many destination countries; instead they are staying on longer and trying to send money home by cutting living costs. New migration flows are lower due to the economic crisis, but they are still positive. We maintain our expectation of a recovery in migration and remittance flows in 2010 and 2011, but the recovery is likely to be shallow.

Climate Change Debate Heads Toward Resolution

Edith Wilson's picture

Pre-Copenhagen meeting in Barcelona earlier this yearThe ninth annual Development Marketplace Global Competition takes place in the midst of international debate and negotiation about how to mitigate the causes and adapt to the impacts of climate change.   The event is an integral part of the efforts on climate change within the World Bank Group and complements the Pilot Program on Climate Resilience, part of the Climate Investment Funds operated by the multilateral development banks.

A comprehensive, enforceable agreement on controlling global warming that doesn’t penalize developing nations is the goal of world leaders at the United Nations Climate Change Conference to be held in Copenhagen on Dec. 7-18, 2009. Leading up to Copenhagen was the two-year Bali Action Plan agreed to in December 2007.

Adaptation and Mitigation – The Difference

Tom Grubisich's picture

There are two ways to respond to climate change – adaptation and mitigation.  The responses are not an either/or.  Both are necessary.  Adaptation, as early as the short term, can cushion people and places against the impacts of extreme weather, including drought, heat waves, flooding, and rising sea levels.  Mitigation, over time, can slow down manmade global warming, which has been identified by many scientific studies as a major cause of extreme weather.

Adaptation to Climate Tied to Development

Rasmus Heltberg's picture

How should adaptation to climate change be designed and funded? In the run-Storm pattern from satelliteup to the December 2009 Copenhagen climate negotiations there’s an international push to create new funding mechanisms for climate adaptation in developing countries. Given the complexity of climate change and limited experience in funding adaptation, we in the World Bank’s Social Development department decided to launch a study of the lessons from the DM2009 proposals. The proposals constitute a large and interesting database of proposed adaptation interventions. By studying the proposals as a group, we hope to gain insight into the global supply of adaptation innovations and project ideas, especially at the community level.

Our study considers how adaptation is conceptualized by suppliers of global adaptation interventions, what innovations for climate adaptation are proposed, and what kind of partnerships are put forward. We hope to contribute to policy discussions on how donors in the future can provide funding for community-based adaptation to climate change.

One of the discussions circulating among practitioners is how to orient funding for adaptation: Should development funds be considered separate from adaptation or are the two intertwined?    

Warm Welcome From Bank and DM2009 Sponsors

Edith Wilson's picture

The banner that's been unfurled across the facade of the World Bank's Main Complex in Washington, D.C., where DM2009 will be held Nov. 10-13, tells the story.  Are you registered?

From Kathy Sierra, Vice President of the World Bank’s Sustainable Development Network, and Sanjay Pradhan, Vice President of the World Bank Institute, comes this welcome to DM2009 finalists:

Development Marketplace 2009 couldn't have a more timely or significanSanjay Pradhant theme: “100 Ideas to Save the Planet and its people from the effects of a changing climate.” 

 

Managing risks from climate change will require not only one hundred but thousands of ideas from communities all over the world. Identifying the best of those ideas and reducing the time it takes to incubate, develop, and take them to scale will mean the difference between life and death to those people who live in the most vulnerable areas.

"This Will Solve All Our Problems!"

Antonio Lambino's picture

I was recently in an informal discussion with development colleagues regarding the governance of extractive industries in a fragile state, which shall remain unnamed for various reasons.  One of them had been working in development for more than three decades and in country X for five years.  In terms of governance, he didn't think any of the usual solutions to the widespread and deeply embedded culture of rampant corruption and excessive rent-seeking would work in the country.  Things are just that bad.  He intimated that the only thing he could think of was to build the capacity of the country’s fractious civil society so that they could become credible interlocutors to government actors, and demand accountability from their elected and appointed leaders.  It was quite distressing when he said, “I don’t know what else to do.”

If You Won't Quit, We'll Make You

Antonio Lambino's picture

Yesterday, I attended a session of the World Bank Institute’s Flagship Course on Health, attended by health specialists from various countries.  An expert panel shared experiences of using communication and persuasion toward bringing about pro health outcomes.  Several success stories were shared on applying behavior change communication in areas such as hygiene and sanitation, nutrition and education, and immunization in Africa and Asia.  Complementary to this focus on individual and social change was a presentation by Patricia Sosa, Esq. on experiences of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.   The organization advocates for policy change in various countries and the core of their strategy is changing the rules of the game to reduce tobacco use.

Don’t Throw the Baby with the Bathwater!

Zahid Hussain's picture

Paul Krugman’s September 6 article in the New York Times (How Did Economists Get It So Wrong?) is a humbling warning to the economics profession against the pitfalls of intellectual complacence. It challenges the profession to re-examine the validity of its existing knowledge particularly in relation to globalization and the workings of local and global financial markets.

Granted that economists have to face up to the unpalatable fact that our theoretical apparatus falls far short both as descriptions of how economies function and as prescriptions of how they can be made to function better. The crisis has exposed the limits of economic knowledge. According to Krugman: “The vision that emerge as the profession rethinks its foundations may not be all that clear; it certainly won’t be neat; but one can hope that it will have the virtue of being at least partly right.”

In this process of reappraising existing economic knowledge, there is a real risk of going overboard and wrong the right knowledge. Using the global economic crisis as an excuse, there are emerging tendencies to reject tested economic wisdoms in areas such as the role of foreign capital and trade policy in economic development.

One school of thought that is attempting to rise from the ashes is known as (old) Structural Economics.


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