eC2: Optimal Contribution of Natural Gas in the Indonesian Economy

energyDeadline: 03-Jul-2018 at 11:59:59 PM (Eastern Time – Washington D.C.)

The World Bank seeks the services of an internationally recognized consulting firm to conduct a study on the current and potential contribution of gas to the Indonesian economy as a basis for informing policy directions and specific reforms across a range of industrial, power, transportation and household uses. The work will evaluate the gas value chain in each use of gas to identify the direct and indirect economic benefits and co-benefits of gas use (e.g. pollution abatement, lower carbon, security). It will identify barriers to the optimal use of gas and opportunities to overcome these through policy actions and public investments, including inter alia gas price, allocation and fiscal regulations.

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eC2: Scaling Solar Uzbekistan – Technical, Environmental and Social Consultant

Deadline: 02-Jul-2018 at 11:59:59 PM (Eastern Time – Washington D.C.) solar-wind (CC0) Pixabay-Kenueone

IFC has been retained as lead transaction advisor by the Government of Uzbekistan to procure the development, construction and operation and maintenance of 100MW of utility scale solar PV power on a PPP basis under the Scaling Solar Program (the Project). As such, IFC is procuring a technical, environmental and social (E&S) consulting firm (or consortium) to advise on the Project. The assignment will be split in to several phases and is expected to include: Evaluation of a potential site (or sites); review of grid code and development of the PPA technical limits schedule; detailed site studies for selected site, including ground investigations, grid integration studies and E&S scoping in line with IFC Performance Standards; and support to the tender process (e.g. tailoring of technical specs, bid evaluation). Engineering firms should consider partnering with E&S firms to strengthen their E&S offering. Use of local partners for ground investigations and local E&S expertise is also recommended.

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Keeping the promise of inclusive Universal Health Coverage: new data can improve health services for LGBTI people

600-holding-hands-talashow-shutterstock_002.jpgWhen the door closed behind her, Maria’s world seemed to collapse. The mother of a girl and two boys had just learned that her eldest son, the teenager who became the pillar of the family after their father died, was not only in a deep depression and increasingly using alcohol but he was gay. She had noticed him becoming moodier and even heard he received a warning at his job for not showing up, something totally unlike him at all. She felt helpless but knew his depression had to stay hidden from the rest of the family and the neighbors as mental health problems brought with them social stigma. But she was most afraid someone would find out he was gay, causing the family to be ostracized and endangering the future of the other children.

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MDB Climate Finance Hit Record High of US$35.2 billion in 2017

1395245055298An increase of nearly 30 per cent on the previous year, boosting projects that help developing countries cut emissions and address climate risks.

WASHINGTON, June 13, 2018 – Climate financing by the world’s six largest multilateral development banks (MDBs) rose to a seven-year high of $35.2 billion in 2017, up 28 per cent on the previous year.

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Official Statistics in a Post-Truth World

edelman-1Submitted by Haishan Fu On Thu, 06/14/2018

I’ve been thinking about the role of data and digital technology in today’s information landscape. New platforms and technologies have democratized access to much of the world’s knowledge, but they’ve also amplified disinformation that affects public discourse. In this context, the official statistics community plays a critical role in bringing credible, evidence-based information to the public.

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Achieving Financial Inclusion: Fintech, account usage, and innovation

Submitted by H.M. Queen Maxima of The Netherlands on June 14, 2018

For almost a decade, the global community and national governments have made concerted efforts to expand financial inclusion—creating a financial system that works for all and opens the doors to greater stability and equitable progress.

madagascar_0This has been a demanding challenge. At the start of our engagement on financial access back in 2013, we said that having a real target with an end date would keep us focused and give us a benchmark against which we could measure progress.

Last month we learned that we have made strong and consistent progress—a real cause for celebration. According to the Global Findex database, more than half a billion people gained a financial transaction account over the last three years, thanks to a combination of technology, private investment, policy reforms, and support from the global community. Since 2011, the share of adults with formal accounts has risen from 51 percent to 69 percent, and financial access has expanded to include an additional 1.2 billion people.

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eC2: Performance Diagnosis & Preparation of an Action Plan for the Performance Improvement of the Tunisian Electricity and Gas Company (STEG)

Deadline: 30-Jun-2018 at 11:59:59 PM (Eastern Time – Washington D.C.) GAS

To support the improvement of STEGs financial, technical, and commercial performance by (i) undertaking an operational and management diagnosis of the utility; (ii) designing a detailed plan for STEG to carry out necessary investments and reforms to meet the targets of its performance contract; and (iii) determining the current revenue requirement of STEG based on their cost structure and identifying the efficient revenue requirement for the next 10 years based on the improvements proposed in the performance improvement plan above.

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Fossil fuel subsidy reforms: we know why, the question is how

Traffic in BeijingA new book, “Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reforms: A Guide to Economic and Political Complexity (Routledge), explores the complex economics and politics of fossil fuel subsidies, and distils key principles for designing and implementing of effective reforms. Here are some key insights.

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eC2: BASELINE SECONDARY DATA MINING AND ANALYSIS FOR VIETNAM AGRI FINANCE AND GOOD AGRICULTURE PRACTICES

Deadline: 21-Jun-2018 at 11:59:59 PM (Eastern Time – Washington D.C.) agriculture-youth

The objective of the assignment is to collect and analyze secondary quantitative data to establish the baseline situation of coffee and rice farmers based on indicators of the Vietnam Agri project. The consultant will implement the following main tasks: (1) collect data from secondary sources, including but not limited to project documents, client firms data provided by IFC, national data sets from the General Statistics Office of Vietnam, (2)conduct quantitative analysis of baseline values of key impact and outcome indicators of project result frameworks relating to coffee and rice farmers, particularly household income including income/sales revenue from coffee and rice, and income sources; (3) describe household demographic and socio-economic profile, coffee and rice farming and post harvest and storage practices to the extent that relevant data is available; and (4) provide gender disaggregated results to the extent that relevant data is available

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Want to keep girls in school? Teach them to negotiate.

negotiation_2Across low-income countries, fewer than one in every three girls are enrolled in secondary school. Many interventions to improve girls’ access to school provide cash, such as cash transfers in Malawi or Nepal. But what if girls had better skills to advocate for their own interests? In a recent experiment in Zambia, Nava Ashraf, Natalie Bau, Corinne Low, and Kathleen McGinn tested what happens when adolescent girls receive negotiation training. The results are documented in their paper, “Negotiating a Better Future: How Interpersonal Skills Facilitate Inter-Generational Investment.” Over the course of six two-hour after-school sessions, eighth-grade girls engaged in discussion, role-playing, storytelling, and game play to learn four principles of negotiation from college educated Zambian women.

  • Principle 1: Me. The girls learned to understand their own interests, identify their back-up plan, when to walk away during a negotiation (when options don’t meet the girls’ needs), and how to regulate emotion by taking a short break when anger gets in the way of good bargaining.
  • Principle 2: You. The girls learned to ask open-ended questions to understand the interests of the other person and to approach the other person respectfully.
  • Principle 3: Together. The girls were taught to identify common ground with the other person, and to identify if a “no” from the other person came from some external obstacle that the girl and the person could resolve together.
  • Principle 4: Build. The girls learned to find “win-win” agreements.

Here’s an example of how this played out for one of the girls, as she negotiated with her parents for school fees:

“I asked my parents if they could talk with me. I put on my chitenge [traditional material skirt], and knelt before them. I chose to approach with respect and so they asked me to stand and sit in the chair near them and tell them what I wanted to say. I said that I really wanted to be able to go back to school but wasn’t able to because the school fees weren’t paid. They said I knew that the family had no more money so it wasn’t possible. I said I know that mom sells chickens out of the house. I see that some people sell them in the marketplace nearby. If I can sell some chickens in the market over the school holiday, could I use the money for my school fees? They agreed and that is how I got to go back to school.”

You can see how she put the principles together: Me – she identified her interest: go back to school. You – she approached her parents with respect and listened to their concern. Together – she saw that the “no” wasn’t from a lack of desire from her parents but from an external obstacle. Build – she proposed a win-win situation. Not every negotiation is about school fees. One girl recounted using the skills to push back against her boyfriend’s demands for sex. Another wrote about negotiation with her sister to exchange child care for hair styling.

Two months after the negotiation training, the girls who participated (“negotiators”) scored much better on an open-ended test of how to find time to study for an exam when a younger brother needed watching. Over the course of the next couple of years, dropout rates were ten percentage points lower for negotiators, and attendance – for girls enrolled in school – was slightly higher. Although some other outcomes – performance in the top quarter on math and English tests and reported pregnancy rates – remained unchanged, an index of all the effects together improves, even when the enrollment effects are excluded. (When interpreting the lack of a pregnancy effect, keep in mind that reported pregnancies in the compaision group are already very low, just 4 percent.) The negotiation skills kept girls in school. Parents reported that negotiators were more likely to ask for more food and did fewer weekday chores; but they also reported that negotiators were more respectful, less likely to give difficulty in doing the chores they had, and more likely to do chores on Fridays – when schoolwork is less pressing.

For the girls with the highest language ability at baseline, the effects on enrollment and attendance are even stronger, and performance on an English test also rose.

But wait, is it really the negotiation skills? Maybe exposure to these college-educated Zambian mentors in a safe space is what’s actually driving these findings. Or maybe interacting with that mentor simply provided better information about the returns to education, which we know can keep youth in school. To test this, the researchers tried two other interventions: one with the same mentors and the same safe space but no negotiation training, and a second that provided information on the returns to education and on HIV prevention. The information intervention had no impact on any outcomes, and the safe space intervention had a similar – slightly smaller – impact on enrollment to the negotiation program, and lower estimated impacts on every other impact (albeit not statistically significantly different). The safe space intervention also had almost no impact on parent reports about the child’s behavior and chores at home.

But wait (again!), does this harm the other children in the household? The researchers look for impacts on other children in the school and in the household and find little evidence of negative spillovers. It didn’t affect the distribution of chores and if anything, it increased the amount of time parents expected sisters of the negotiators to do their own schoolwork. Parents of negotiators do report a higher likelihood to pay girls’ school fees over those of boys, but they don’t reduce the expected years of education for boys in the household. As the authors put it, “While it may seem surprising that increased educational investment in the treated girl did not negatively affect her siblings, this could be because the increased investment came out of parents’ consumption or because girls used negotiation to arrive at solutions that increased family welfare.”

There’s much more in the paper, including lab-in-the-field games to show how the program affected interactions between parents and children, and machine learning techniques to shape the heterogeneity analysis. But this intervention shows that adolescents can learn valuable socio-emotional skills, working through the education system.

Most directly, it demonstrates that it’s possible to help girls to stay in school by making them more effective advocates for themselves.

For more about the program, you can read this story on NPR’s Goats and Soda blog.