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Sustainable Communities

What are we learning about the impacts of public works programs on employment and violence? Early findings from ongoing evaluations in fragile states

Eric Mvukiyehe's picture

Amid the recent rise of populism and protectionism, the labor market implications of trade have increasingly moved to the center of political and economic debates. Autor et al (2013), in an influential paper, find that U.S. regions that are more exposed to import-competing manufacturing industries witnessed larger declines in manufacturing employment and wages. 

Even duller disasters? How earlier finance can save lives in emergencies

Nicola Ranger's picture
© International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/The World Bank 2016
© World Bank


Putting in place the funding, systems, and plans before a disaster strikes can help dull the impact of disasters by enabling earlier, faster and more effective response and recovery.

But can we go further, making disasters even ‘duller’ by also releasing finance before a disaster strikes? 

UN Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, Mark Lowcock, recently set out a compelling vision for how the humanitarian system can be improved. He argued that “disasters are predictable… we need to move from today’s approach where we watch disaster and tragedy build, gradually decide to respond, and then mobilise money and organisations to help, to an anticipatory approach, where we plan in advance for the next crises, putting the response plans and money for them before they arrive, and releasing the money and mobilising the response agencies as soon as they are needed…”

Bringing together the next generation of digital innovators in Pakistan: Meet Zaki Mahomed

Priya Chopra's picture

The Digital Youth Summit (DYS) is a technology focused conference that takes place annually in Peshawar, Pakistan. In the lead up to the summit, we bring to you the first of our Speaker Spotlights featuring Zaki Mahomed. The upcoming DYS is on April 27-28, 2018. Register now here.  



Zaki Mahomed (ZM) is founder & CEO at Pursuit, a new startup based in San Francisco. Pursuit helps people build the lives of their dreams through easy access to skilled immigration programs. Having lived in Karachi, Singapore, Toronto and San Francisco before turning 30 has given him a global perspective on the art and science of building great companies.

Tell me a little about what you are working on now?  How did you get started?

ZM: I recently founded and am the CEO of Pursuit. We help highly skilled immigrants access global job opportunities with companies that will sponsor their work visas. We want to live in a world where borders are not barriers to opportunities and employers can seamlessly hire perfect candidates from anywhere in the world.

I started Pursuit because I’ve lived and worked in 5 cities over my career. One of the most satisfying experiences of my career has been hiring immigrants who took a risk on my ideas and companies and moved their entire lives to join us. While fraught with risk, I’ve rarely regretted giving an opportunity to an immigrant and always gotten a committed and loyal worker in return. We want to make it easy for other businesses to be able to provide such opportunities to the type of talent they desperately need!

Specifically, through Pursuit, qualified skilled workers can apply for their immigrant visas and upon approval, get matched with vetted employers looking for their skills. Currently we work with Software Engineers and Developers and we primarily operate in Canada, which is our first market.

What do you think is the future for youth in the tech industry?

Removing the stigma of mental illness in India

Varalakshmi Vemuru's picture
A report on the economic burden of mental illness argues that depression and anxiety disorders cost the world nearly $1 trillion annually. Conversely, every dollar invested in mental health contributes $4 to the economy. Photo credit: TNMHP

April 7 marked the 70th anniversary of World Health Day. This was an opportunity for the global community to redouble its efforts to ensure that all people can improve their health, including their mental health.
 
When his father died, Gopi, a carpenter in rural Tamil Nadu, India was overwhelmed by an enormous mental and financial burden.

Gopi became depressed, left his job, and isolated himself.

As his condition worsened, Gopi’s two younger sisters dropped out from high school to take on farming jobs to support the family.

However, thanks to medicine, counseling, and livelihood support from the Mental Health Program (TNMHP), Gopi eventually rehabilitated himself and got back to carpentry a year later.

With time, he even took out a Rs. 20,000 loan to start his own carpentry business.

Gopi’s experience—and many others’—illustrate how mental health is integral to well-being.

The World Bank recognizes mental health as a key challenge to sustainable development.

A report on the economic burden of mental illness argues that depression and anxiety disorders cost the world nearly $1 trillion annually. Conversely, every dollar invested in mental health contributes $4 to the economy.

Accordingly, the World Bank-supported the Mental Health Program in the state of Tamil Nadu, India that incorporates best practices in mental health from around the world.

The project is an important instrument in addressing the magnitude of India’s mental health challenges, and provides a successful model for the implementation of the national mental health policy and improve mental health infrastructure and care in Indian states.

By closely involving the community, the project reduced stigma and prejudice attached to mental illness and empowered vulnerable people with mental disabilities to gain respect in their communities.  

People with mental disabilities are diagnosed and treated and provided livelihood support through vocational training, self-help groups, job cards, and identity cards to access social benefits.

Determining Risk and Resilience to Violent Conflict

Eric Min's picture



Studies on conflict prediction and prevention often investigate places that experience civil war and try to determine why they occurred, with the idea that knowing the answer can inform policymaking efforts. This approach has two weaknesses. First, it provides an incomplete understanding of conflict, as there are no comparisons between these observed cases and a set of systematically chosen and similar peers. Second, it does not answer the question of whether the international community can identify risk factors in time to do anything about them.

Top 7 disruptive technologies for cities

Abhas Jha's picture

يمكننا جميعا الحديث عن ملء الأجهزة الإلكترونية والكهربائية مساحة أكبر وأكبر في منازلنا ومكاتبنا. ومع قصر عمر هذه الأجهزة كالهواتف الذكية والراوتر والشاشات وأجهزة الكمبيوتر، يرتفع المخزون من الأجهزة المكسورة أو شبه المستخدمة أو التي أصبحت عتيقة.

وبالتالي تحولت هذه الأجهزة الغالية "المطلوبة" إلى جبال من النفايات الإلكترونية.

وتقدر جامعة الأمم المتحدة في دراسة حديثة (e) أن العالم أنتج حوالي 46 مليون طن من النفايات الإلكترونية عام 2014. ورغم أن هذه الأجهزة جزء أساسي من حياتنا اليومية الحديثة، فإن أثرها على المجتمع يمكن أن يكون شديدا إذا لم تخضع لمعايير سليمة لإدارة النفايات.

فلو لم تخضع هذه النفايات الإلكترونية، مثلا، للرعاية اللازمة، فإن من يتعاملون معها – وفي العالم النامي فإن هؤلاء هم من النساء والأطفال – سيتعرضون لمواد سامة.

ففي أفريقيا وآسيا توجد أمثلة عديدة على مكبات ضخمة للنفايات الإلكترونية لكن لم يوثق أحد رسميا من أين وكيف تصلها هذه النفايات. وفي البلدان المتقدمة، قد يتم التعامل مع جبال من النفايات الإلكترونية غير الموثقة أو معالجتها بمعايير متدنية.

ومن الواضح أن البيئة تتأثر سلبا أيضا.

Transitional Justice, the Rule of Law, and Conflict Recurrence

Leigh A. Payne's picture
In five years from now, your trip across the ocean could look very different from today. While you will probably not notice it, the aircraft you board will boast green technologies from wing tips to landing gear. It will fly on the most direct and fuel-efficient route, use more biofuels, and the airline will purchase carbon credits to compensate for the carbon emissions generated by your trip. In fact, starting in 2021, countries are pledging that growth from the aviation sector will be carbon neutral, capped at 2020 emission levels.
 
Greenhouse gas emissions from the aviation sector currently represent 2% of worldwide emissions – making aviation the world’s seventh largest emitter - a number anticipated to rise exponentially in the coming decades as more and more people choose to fly to their destinations. Today, an aircraft with 300 passengers traveling from Paris to New York emits approximately 100 tons of carbon dioxide, or as much as emissions from 22 cars in a year. And because the emissions happen higher up in the atmosphere, the impact on global warming is greater than emissions on the ground.
 
Earlier this month, 191 countries belonging to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) adopted an agreement to stop future emissions from rising above 2020 levels. This is the latest measure by the industry aimed at curbing emissions, a step in the right direction given that air traffic is expected to double by 2030.

Living fragility – It is not a choice!

Raneen Hasuna's picture



It was around this time a year ago, when I gave away the keys of my newly renovated apartment back to its owner. After having lived in the U.S. for more than 12 years, I had decided to return home, to Jerusalem. I packed my belongings in a rush, afraid that the more I stay, the more time I would have to think about it and never leave.  

7 ideas on how knowledge can help us achieve universal access to safely-managed drinking water and sanitation

Guy Hutton's picture
Photo: EMBARQ Brasil/Flickr

Também disponível em português.

While bus services are often planned and coordinated by public authorities, many cities delegate day-to-day operations to private companies under a concession contract. Local government agencies usually set fares and routes; private operators, on the other hand, are responsible for hiring drivers, running services, maintaining the bus fleet, etc. Within this general framework, the specific terms and scope of the contract vary widely depending on the local context.

Bus concessions are multimillion-dollar contracts that directly affect the lives of countless passengers every day. When done right, they can foster vigorous competition between bidders, improve services, lower costs, and generate a consistent cash flow. However, too often the concessions do not deliver on their promise and there is a perception across much of Latin America that authorities have been unable to manage these processes to maximize public benefits.

As several Latin American cities are getting ready to renew their bus concessions—including major urban centers like Bogotá, Santiago de Chile, and São Paulo—now is a good time to look back on what has worked, what has not, and think about ways to improve these arrangements going forward.

Roma inclusion: leveraging opportunities for social change

Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez's picture


Frank Pegan is the CEO of Catholic Super, an Australian superannuation fund currently managing AU$5.21 billion. He spoke ahead of the UN Climate Leadership Summit about the value of carbon pricing for investors.


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