WASHINGTON, March 19, 2020—The world’s wastewater – 80 percent of which is
released into the environment without adequate treatment – is a valuable resource from which clean water, energy, nutrients, and other resources can be recovered, according to a World Bank report released today to mark World Water Day.
The Republic of Korea was one of the first countries to tackle the COVID-19 crisis. Facing a rapid, exponential increase in infections after the first positive case w
as identified on January 20, the country took decisive action to contain the virus. Although the total number of cases is high, daily increases have been declining steadily from a peak of just above 900 in late February to around 100 by the second week of March (Figure 1). Recovered cases now far outnumber new cases, and deaths have been kept just above 100 as of this writing.
Focus on private sector and workers spearheaded by IFC to mitigate financial and economic impact of crisis
WASHINGTON, March 17, 2020 — The World Bank and IFC’s Boards of Directors approved today an increased $14 billion package of fast-track financing to assist companies and countries in their efforts to prevent, detect and respond to the rapid spread of COVID-19. The package will strengthen national systems for public health preparedness, including for disease containment, diagnosis, and treatment, and support the private sector.
Today, women have just three-quarters of the legal rights of men. In 1970, it was less than half. The Women, Business and the Law 2020 report presented results from our recent effort to document how laws have changed since 1970. This exceptional dataset has already facilitated ground-breaking research that shows that a country’s performance on the Women, Business and the Law index is associated with more women in the labor force, a smaller wage gap between men and women, and greater investments in health and education. We hope that sharing the data and reform descriptions on our website will lead to more evidence that will inspire policymakers to change their laws so that more women can contribute to economic growth and development.
Using the theory of chaos, when a butterfly flaps its wings in New Mexico it has the power to cause a hurricane in China. But there’s hardly anything of the butterfly effect’s randomness in the dominos that keep falling after the emergence of COVID-19 (coronavirus). The explanation that is emerging is in fact more familiar: how human beings’ connected actions can result in dramatic consequences.
The World Bank Group last week announced it would make available a package of $12 billion — an unprecedented level of financing to help developing countries and businesses cope with the health and economic impacts caused by COVID-19. Much of that support will naturally be reactive, financing immediate measures designed to strengthen our response to a brand-new threat. But some of the financing will also be preventative — as it should be, if we are to learn our lessons from the past and strengthen our collective hand before the next bug hits.
Not a day passes without us being bombarded by the rapidly evolving medical literature and media on the hitherto unknown COVID-19. Rightfully so, as we now have an outbreak with more than 100,000 cases confirmed globally.
Yet, I cannot help but wonder how the general public is dealing with such an onslaught of information, if I, as a trained physician, epidemiologist and a global public health practitioner, find it too much to take in and digest. How do we expect a lay person to sift through it all, separate the chaff from the grain, avoid fear mongering – No, you do not get COVID-19 if you receive a package from China, or eat in a Chinese restaurant – and stick with the most relevant information and the essentials for behavioral change? This is ultimately what counts the most:, arming people with the right messaging and instructions for compliance with the science-based best practice. With local community transmission in about 20 countries across several regions of the globe, we must ask ourselves could we have done better?
I have recently traveled across the Sahel region from Mali to Burkina Faso to Niger and finally to Mauritania where I addressed the Sahel Alliance General Assembly and the G5 Sahel Leaders’ Summit. During my travels, I met mothers, fathers, engineers, economists, entrepreneurs and community groups. Before arriving in the Sahel, I was at the Munich Security Conference with diplomatic and military leaders.
The World Bank Group is launching a Call for Innovation under the West Africa Coastal Areas Management Program (WACA) to bridge the gap between innovators and port developers/owners to build sustainable and integrated coastal management. The call is part of the WACA Resilience Investment Project (WACA ResIP), a multi-country regional project that aims to support present assets and strengthen the resilience of coastal communities for Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Mauritania, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, and Togo. The project supported them develop multi-sectoral investment planning processes, culminating in WACA Multi Sector Investment Plans (MSIPs).
The challenge is to identify innovative and feasible solutions to fight coastal erosion and flooding issues associated with the ongoing development of large commercial ports and maritime operations in the six countries. In most cases, existing ports were built with limited if no zero planning and considerations of potential exacerbation of coastal erosion. The significant threat is that this shortcoming is also occurring in the
design and construction of new ports. The scope is to identify innovations that allow to avoid, mitigate, and remediate the geomorphological and ecological impacts associated with existing and planned commercial ports in West Africa.