Harnessing the power of data so no child is left behind

Data plays a crucial role in the 2030 agenda set out by the Sustainable Development grid_titleGoals (SDGs). It helps us to focus policies and make better decisions. It is needed to set targets, measure progress towards those targets and to hold governments accountable to their commitments under the SDGs.

Data is also essential for governments to fulfill their pledge to leave no one behind in the SDGs; that the goals should be met for all segments of society and that those furthest behind should be reached first. Despite significant progress over the last few years, we are still far away from being able to systematically identify those at risk of being left behind or to monitor their progress towards the 2030 commitments.

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High-Performance Health-Financing for Universal Health Coverage: Driving Sustainable, Inclusive Growth in the 21st Century

Just over a decade out from the SDG deadline of 2030, many developing countries are notUHC_v6 on track to meet Universal Health Coverage (UHC) targets to ensure access to quality, affordable health services to all. People in developing countries pay over half a trillion dollars annually out-of-pocket for health services, which is pushing about 100 million people into extreme poverty each year. The evidence is strong that progress towards UHC would spur not just better health but also inclusive and sustainable economic growth, yet this report estimates that in 2030 there will be a UHC financing gap of $176 billion in the 54 poorest countries.  This  threatens decades-long progress on health, endangers countries’ long-term economic prospects, and makes them more vulnerable to pandemic risks. This report, launched to inform the first-ever G20 Finance and Health Ministers session in Osaka, Japan in June 2019, lays out an action agenda for countries and development partners to bridge the UHC financing gap, and makes a strong case for a focus on innovation in health financing over the next decade.

Download Full report and Executive summary 

Why measuring poverty impacts is more difficult than simply using score cards

Ending poverty is not only one of the twin goals of the World Bank, but also one of the mombasa_image.jpgSustainable Development Goals. To design and optimize projects for poverty reduction, we need to measure their impact on poverty. This is quite difficult because changes in the poverty rate might take some time, and it is usually hard to attribute the impact to a particular project, especially without conducting a randomized controlled trial (RCT). But even if we manage to overcome these challenges, we need to measure poverty before the start of the project – as a baseline and to understand whether the project adequately targets the poor – and at the end of the project to assess its impact. And that is also not easy.

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Sneak Peek: a new observatory for water and sanitation in Latin America and the Caribbean

Three years into the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) era, the Latin America and imagen_060-webCaribbean (LAC) region is “on track to achieve universal access by 2030,” according to the 2018 UN SDG6 Synthesis Report 2018 on Water and Sanitation.

However, important challenges remain to reach SDG6 in LAC. Safe water and sanitation coverage levels are currently below the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) targets of achieving improved coverage levels. The statistical (coverage) or administrative information that LAC countries currently access fails to capture the new attributes of the SDGs, especially relating to the quality of services, wastewater treatment, and the adoption of hygiene practices, including hand washing. Moreover, the institutional arrangements along with diminishing sector investments cannot be adequately programmed with the type of information currently available.

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From Evolution to Revolution: 10 Years of Green Bonds

Issued in November 2008, the World Bank’s first green bond created the blueprint for green bondssustainable investing in the capital markets. Today, the green bond model is being applied to bonds that are raising financing for all 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

The phone call to the World Bank Treasury came out of the blue: a group of Swedish pension funds wanted to invest in projects that help the climate, but they did not know how to find these projects. But they knew where to turn and called on the World Bank to help. Less than a year later, the World Bank issued the first green bond—and with it, created a new way to connect financing from investors to climate projects.

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Global solidarity to finance the Sustainable Development Goals

Achieving sustainable development depends on incremental investments in six priority sdg-atlas-2018-cover-400pxtransformations: building human capacities (health, education, new job skills); decarbonising energy; promoting sustainable agriculture and biodiversity; building smarter cities; implementing the circular economy; and harnessing the digital revolution. As such, sustainable development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in particular pose a financing challenge. There are three distinct financing conundrums to solve: financing complex infrastructure, financing public services and amenities, and shifting investments from unsustainable to sustainable technologies. I discuss these in turn.

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Introducing the online guide to the World Development Indicators: A new way to discover data on development

The World Development Indicators (WDI) is the World Bank’s premier compilation of international statistics on global development. Drawing from officially recognized sources and including national, regional, and global estimates, the WDI provides access to almost 1,600 indicators for 217 economies, with some time series extending back more than 50 years. The database helps users—analysts, policymakers, academics, and all those curious about the state of the world—to find information related to all aspects of development, both current and historical.

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Identification as a centerpiece for development: What can other countries learn from Peru?

Peru has placed so much emphasis on the importance of identification that it has createdjuan_me7a9806.jpg a museum dedicated to it. The “Museum of Identification” in Lima demonstrates to visitors the significance of identity in the country’s narrative. In fact, the Incas, centuries before the Europeans arrived, kept track of the population by using “quipus”, an accounting tool based on strings, with each node denoting a village or community.

Peru has continued to prioritize identification, and the uniqueness of each person—long before the Sustainable Development Goals made “legal identity for all and free birth registrations” a global priority (SDG 16.9).

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When (and when not) to use PPPs

highway-2211588_1280In the context of strained public finances and limited borrowing capacity for developing countries, there is growing debate on the roles of public and private actors to deliver the trillions of dollars of infrastructure necessary to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). On one hand, high-profile public-private partnership (PPP) project failures have cast doubt about the viability of the model. On the other hand, while public authorities are ultimately responsible for the delivery of public services, deficient infrastructure services in some countries have raised concerns about the ability of the public sector to deliver on its own.

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The 2018 Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals: an all-new visual guide to data and development

sdg-atlas-2018-cover-400px“The World Bank is one of the world’s largest producers of development data and research. But our responsibility does not stop with making these global public goods available; we need to make them understandable to a general audience.

When both the public and policy makers share an evidence-based view of the world, real advances in social and economic development, such as achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), become possible.” – Shanta Devarajan

We’re pleased to release the 2018 Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals. With over 180 maps and charts, the new publication shows the progress societies are making towards the 17 SDGs.

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