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How to Help Least Developed Countries in Climate Crisis

Tom Grubisich's picture
Prior to about 2005, for many tourists their Jamaican vacation was ruined at the last minute, by the hot and overcrowded conditions inside Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport. Fast forward 10 years, and waiting for a flight at Sangster is an altogether more pleasant experience. The air conditioning actually works, and the whole environment is infinitely less stress-inducing than before.
 
A new waiting area at Montego Bay's
Sangster International Airport.
Photo: Milton Correa/flickr

What’s the difference? The private sector.

In 2003, the Government of Jamaica finally succeeded in doing what it had been trying to do for a decade: privatize Montego Bay Airport. A private sector consortium, led by Vancouver International Airport, quickly invested millions of dollars in expanding the terminal building, doubling the airport’s capacity and opening dozens of new retail spaces. Since then, the consortium has invested more than US$200 million on expansions and improvements to the airport, all of which has been entirely off the government’s balance sheet.

Jamaica has gone on to implement several more public-private partnerships (PPPs), with mixed results. The second phase of its ambitious highway construction program — the Mount Rosser Bypass — was recently opened, cutting a swath through miles of virgin territory. However, early indications are that traffic levels are not living up to expectations, probably due to the Bypass’ steep eight percent gradient, which is beyond the means of most Jamaican trucks and buses.

In the energy sector, Jamaica is completing three PPPs with a total of 115 megawatts of renewable energy (RE) capacity, putting the country on track to meet its RE target of 12.5 percent of generating capacity by the end of 2015. Lastly, the government is currently completing formalities for the sale of Kingston Container Terminal (KCT) to a consortium of CMA/CGM and China Merchant Marine, a transaction that is expected to result in a US$600 million capital expenditure program by the port’s new owners.

'I Explained It to My Daughter, and She Understood'

Tom Grubisich's picture
From the wheel to the steam engine, from the car to ‘New Horizons’ — an inter-planetary space probe capable of transmitting high-resolution images of Pluto and its moons — from the abacus to exascale super-computers, we have come a long way in our tryst with technology. Innovations are driving rapid changes in technology today and we are living in a world of perpetual technological change.
 
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

In 1965, Gordon Moore — co-founder of Intel Corporation — hypothesized that the number of transistors on an integrated circuit will double every 18 to 24 months. This came to be known as Moore’s Law, the ramifications of which are hard to ignore in almost any aspect of our everyday lives. Information has become more accessible to people at lower costs. Today’s work force is globalized and there are few domains that are still untouched by technology.
 
Yet the very ubiquitous and rapidly evolving nature of information and communication technologies (ICTs) gives rise to fears of displacing more workers and potentially widening the economic gap between the rich and poor. Technological evolution and artificial intelligence are fast redefining the conventional structure of our society.

Climate Threats Hit Low-Income Countries Hardest

Tom Grubisich's picture

Photo: Parched earthThe Copenhagen Accord commits developed countries to collectively “provide new and additional resources, including forestry and investments through international institutions, approaching US$ 30 billion for the period 2010 – 2012”. This fast-start finance is critical to building trust among countries in the global climate regime and to lay the groundwork for the post-2012 climate finance architecture. In the six months  since the December 2009 Copenhagen Climate Conference, a number of developed countries have publicly announced their individual pledges to help meet this target. The World Resources Institute (WRI) tracks and monitors these so-called fast-start pledges.

According to our research, pledges put forward so far total US$ 31.32 billion. However, many questions remain regarding the nature of the pledged funds. Some of the funds have yet to go through national budget appropriations processes.

Pledges of Adaptation Collaboration Need a Close Watch

Tom Grubisich's picture
Most public-private partnership (PPP) transactions you hear about are large, multi-million dollar infrastructure deals with serious global players competing in international tenders.

But PPPs don't have to be big to be successful. In Malyn, a town of nearly 30,000 in Ukraine, a biofuel PPP helped the city administration heat three schools last winter by refitting a municipal boiler house, allowing it to substitute expensive, unreliable imported natural gas with locally-produced biofuel made from locally-produced pellets made from wood or straw.

DM2009 Finalists and Other NGOs Must Tell Their Story

Tom Grubisich's picture

 
When we think of urban expansion in the 21st century, we often think of ‘sprawl’, a term that calls to mind low-density, car-oriented suburban growth, perhaps made up of single-family homes. Past studies have suggested that historically, cities around the world are becoming less dense as they grow, which has prompted worries about the environmental impacts of excess land consumption and automobile dependency. A widely cited rule of thumb is that as the population of a city doubles, its built area triples. But our new study on urban expansion in East Asia has yielded some surprising findings that are making us rethink this assumption of declining urban densities everywhere.

Will There Be a Battle Over Climate Change Funds in Developing World?

Tom Grubisich's picture

I received a question this week from Kristen Himelein, a bank colleague who is working on an impact evaluation that will use propensity score matching.

What's Next for Non-Winning DM Finalists? An Answer From One

Mohammad Abu Musa's picture

مجتمع البيانات المفتوحة زاخر بالمصلحين المبدعين

توجد تطبيقات "تستند إلى البيانات "المفتوحة" تساعد على متابعة التشريعات الحكومية في الولايات المتحدة، وأدوات تساعد على حساب رسوم سيارات الأجرة في بوجوتا بكولومبيا، وتطبيقات ترصد كيف يجري إنفاق أموال دافعي الضرائب في المملكة المتحدة، وحالة الصرف الصحي في المدارس في نيبال، والكثير غيرها.

ومن الواضح أن المبتكرين موجودون وأن عقولهم تزخر بأفكار رائعة بشأن كيفية مساعدة المواطنين الآخرين من خلال الاستفادة من البيانات العامة. والسؤال هو كيف يمكن لمزيد من هذه المشروعات أن تحتذي بأمثلة على غرار تطبيق GovTrack والانتقال من الهواية إلى نماذج أعمال ناجحة ومستدامة؟ وقد توجد مواهب فنية، ولكن ماذا عن مهارات العمل الحر؟ وكم عدد خبراء البيانات "الذين يتمتعون بالشجاعة لإنشاء مشروع أعمال."؟
 

Economics of Climate Adaptation: An Expert Examination

Tom Grubisich's picture
Photo: flickr/cmh2315fl
By any measure, the United States is a laggard in terms of public-private partnership (PPP) projects. Between 1985 and 2011, there were 377 transportation PPP infrastructure projects funded in the U.S. Those projects comprised just nine percent of the total nominal costs of infrastructure PPPs around the world. Europe leads the infrastructure PPP market, concentrating more than 45 percent of the nominal value of all PPPs.

There appear to be several discrete, but related, reasons why the U.S. has been slow to pursue PPPs in comparison with European and Asian countries:
  • In some cases, there is a lack of consensus, institutional capacity, and expertise to properly promote the benefits and costs of PPP deals. In Pittsburgh, for example, an arrangement to lease the city’s parking operations to a private entity collapsed when the city council voted against the transaction.
  • Deals are getting more complex, politically heated, and cumbersome as some stretch across jurisdictions and even international borders, as is the case with the New International Trade Crossing intended to connect Detroit to Windsor, Ontario.
  • With state and municipal finances under strain, the public sector is trying to transfer greater responsibility to the private sector, including in the arena of project financing.
In this regard, the U.S. Government Accountability Office recently noted that while the U.S. has done much to promote the benefits of PPPs, it needs to do more to assist states and metro areas in thinking through potential costs and trade-offs, as well as assessing national interests.

What are Key Areas for Regional Cooperation in South Asia?

Ejaz Ghani's picture

2009 Annual ReportWe started distribution of the World Bank Annual Report 2009 this morning at the Annual Meetings in Istanbul. The free publication, outlining the Bank's activities in fiscal year 2008, is available for journalists, government officials, civil society organizations, academic and public libraries — and anyone else interested in learning more about the Bank and what it does.

The report summarizes the Bank Group’s commitments and approved projects during the recently completed fiscal year, and also includes a CD with complete financial information and a slideshow summarizing the regional, sectoral, and thematical categorization of funding.

I had a chance to work with the team that was preparing the Annual Report this year. Our goal was to put together a colorful and easy-to-read summary of the Bank’s development activities for everyone who is interested. Photos from the project sites and personal stories about recent Bank Group projects from all around the world are featured in this year’s report. All six of the Bank’s regions are presented with a regional snapshot as well as the summaries of funding operations taking place.

This year, the Annual Report 2009 website has been enhanced in terms of design, online content, and interactivity. The site includes interesting videos about recent projects taking place in the field. The PDF version of the Annual Report is downloadable in 8 different languages from the website. You can also view the whole ‘Year in Review’ with our interactive widget.

A Graphic View of the Wide Split in Copenhagen

Tom Grubisich's picture

Thoughts on urban growth from Kiel to Nairobi

I’m writing at the end of a long, dusty mission, after numerous plane, train and car journeys. In fact, 1/7th of my time has been spent on being transported from one city to the next; this gave me plenty of time to marvel at the diversity in city structures.

The first stop was Kiel, Germany, where I spent a few hurried days with academics, government officials, private companies and journalists, discussing solutions for pressing problems in trade and clusters and their impact on poverty and inequality. A city of around 280,000 residents, Kiel is small, about as dense as Dublin, and well-linked with the rest of Germany and Europe. It is one of multiple core-municipalities that form a system of cities around Hamburg along with Lübeck, Bremen etc. The train from the airport was relatively painless, and travel within Kiel (to shop for fresh bread and herring) consisted mostly of short walks.


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