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Thursday, March 24, 2011
World Water Day and the Global Response for Green and Clean Energy
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World Bank Press Review
show detailsMar 23 (1 day ago)
This summary is prepared by the External Affairs Department of the World Bank. All material is taken directly from published and copyright wire service stories and newspaper articles. The daily summary and other news can be found on the World Bank’s external website at http://www.worldbank.org/news. For inquiries call (202) 473-7660 or send a written request to the News Bureau.
World Bank Joins US To Support Global Water Management Efforts. “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and World Bank Group President Robert Zoellick signed an agreement March 22 committing the U.S. government and the bank to fighting the effects of poor sanitation and trying to ensure safe drinking water in developing countries.
The memorandum of understanding directs the resources of 17 U.S. agencies and the bank to addressing water scarcity and water quality, managing water resources, and reducing risks from floods, climate change, and drought. Access to water has reached crisis levels across the globe, Clinton said at a public meeting at the World Bank, where she signed the agreement. She told the gathering of water advocates, representatives of the United Nations and South Africa, U.S. officials, and bank employees that the “water crisis” needs to be addressed now. She said it is “a health crisis, its a farmers' crisis, its an economic crisis, it's a climate crisis and increasingly it's turning into a political crisis.”….” [BNA Daily Environment Report]
EFE adds that “…water is essential not only for drinking but also for agriculture, World Bank President Robert Zoellick said, noting the need for NGOs, civil society and governments to be on the same page regarding this issue. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stressed that water is a matter of ‘human and national security’ that can become a source of conflict and instability in the world. ‘It is important that countries draw together to bring more clean water and sanitation to more people’ to avoid a potential crisis, she added….” [EFE]
In related news, The Standard writes that “…the poor are paying ten times more for water that the affluent, the World Bank has stated. Slum dwellers receive water through indirect means, making the commodity more expensive than fuel. ‘While the rich enjoy tapped water in their houses, majority of slum-dwellers rely on water kiosks, vendors and private sources. Apart from paying more, they expose themselves to ailments,’ said Japheth Mbuvi, World Bank water and sanitation specialist….” [The Standard (Kenya)]
World Bank Economist Sees China Becoming World's Largest Economy By 2030. “The World Bank's chief economist said on Wednesday China could maintain an 8 percent GDP growth over the next 20 years, which will make it the world's biggest economy. Chief Economist Justin Lin made the comments at the China Economic Development Forum in Hong Kong….” [Reuters/Factiva]
AFP adds that “…China, which last year overtook Japan as the number-two economy, has already set a growth target of eight percent for 2011, and is aiming for seven percent a year from 2011 to 2015. ‘China may become the largest economy in the world by 2030,’ Lin told the forum, saying China’s economic size may then be twice as large as the US, measured by purchasing power parity….” [Agence France Presse/Factiva]
Xinhua reports that “…meanwhile, Lin also noted that China should face challenges while endeavoring to maintain vigorous growth. He pointed out that China should consider ways to rebalance its economy towards domestic demand, given the inevitable slowdown in the exports and the need to reduce trade surplus. China also needs to reduce its income disparities and rebalance short-term growth and long-term environmental sustainability, he added….” [Xinhua/Factiva]
IMF Plan Sees Role For Fund In Crises. “The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is working on a proposal to become a more significant lender of dollars, euros and other hard currencies during times of crisis. France, which heads the G20 this year, has made the IMF plan a priority. The US Federal Reserve (Fed) also backs the idea, but wants to make sure the IMF sets tough standards for the swap lines and provides them for emerging nations, not advanced economies. The Fed is wary of the amount of new resources the IMF would need to backstop rich nations….” [The Wall Street Journal]
Reuters adds that “…as per the plan, the IMF would provide short term foreign exchange swaps to central banks in developing countries to handle financial shocks that leave those nations short of hard currencies. The move would allow IMF to share the role of a global lender of last resort with the Fed. The plan, if approved, may also require the IMF to find new sources of money….” [Reuters/Factiva]
Singapore Finance Minister To Chair IMF Steering Panel. “Singapore's finance minister has been selected to chair the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) policy steering committee, the IMF said Tuesday. Tharman Shanmugaratnam replaces Youssef Boutros-Ghali, Egypt's former finance minister who resigned in early February, as chairman of the fund's International Monetary and Financial Committee (MFC). The panel is the Fund's primary advisory body to the board of governors…” [Dow Jones/Factiva]
Xinhua adds that “…Tharman has been finance minister since December 2007, having served earlier as the Minister for Education. Before his entry into politics, he held the post of the Managing Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Singapore's central bank and financial regulator. His broad experience, deep knowledge of economic and financial issues and active engagement with global policymakers will be highly valuable to the IMFC, noted the IMF….” [Xinhua/Factiva]
AFP writes that “…Tharman will head the committee for three years, an IMF statement said. The IMFC is comprised of 24 finance ministers or central bank governors from countries that reflect the makeup of the IMF, with the chairman taking a 25th seat. The committee meets twice a year, generally during the spring and autumn meetings of the IMF and World Bank. The IMF's next meeting is scheduled for April 16 in Washington….” [Agence France Presse/Factiva]
Op-Ed: How To Avoid A Global Food Price Crisis. In an opinion piece published in the Financial Times, US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack writes, “Recent news stories have stoked fears about rising global food prices. But today, only a few years after a devastating food crisis, we can avoid the mistakes of 2007 and 2008 and respond to this challenge as a country and a globe.
To do so we must work with other governments to help those most vulnerable to spikes in food prices and put in place the fundamentals to feed a rapidly growing population. In the short term, nations should embrace transparency and the free movement of food supplies. In the long term, worldwide agriculture has a steep hill to climb. We need a concerted effort by the private sector, governments and multilateral institutions to increase transparency and market information, increase agricultural productivity and facilitate trade. G20 leading nations, along with other countries, should support improved data collection and the dissemination of information about physical cash markets and support improved weather monitoring, too.
Countries around the world must also embrace trade, which allows the flow of food from places with surplus to populations in need. Producers across the globe must also continue to embrace existing and emerging technologies to produce more per acre while using less water, fewer pesticides and herbicides and less energy. G20 countries that have yet to make a contribution to the World Bank's global agriculture and food security program could consider making one in 2011 to increase agricultural productivity and the resiliency of low-income countries to rising and volatile food prices.
Global food security is important to the many people around the world who are hungry but also critically important to the sustainable economic growth of these nations, the stability of food prices and the economic prosperity and national security of our own country.” [Financial Times]
Also in This Edition, Briefly Noted…UN aid agencies are warning that Ivory Coast is rapidly becoming a forgotten humanitarian catastrophe. About 500,000 people have fled violence there - but a UN appeal for funds to help them has met with little response. [BBC News]
The British government's Department for International Development (DfID) has announced new plans to create 144,000 jobs in Ghana through its wealth-creation program. [Joy Radio (Ghana)]
US President Barack Obama pledged $200 million on Tuesday to Central America's anti-drug fight. [Reuters/Factiva]
More than 111,000 people in impoverished Laos will need emergency food aid before the next harvest, the UN World Food Program said Wednesday. [Agence France Presse/Factiva]
Oil-producing Azerbaijan should tighten monetary policy to rein in double-digit inflation and curb fiscal spending in order to stop the economy from overheating, the International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday. [Reuters/Factiva]
Egypt's stockmarket has fallen 10 percent within minutes of reopening after being closed for nearly two months. [BBC News]
Food prices in Libya have increased sharply in recent weeks, the UN World Food Program (WFP) said Tuesday. [Xinhua/Factiva]
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday issued a strong call to the international community to recognize urban water crisis as a crisis of governance, weak policies and poor management, rather than of scarcity. [Xinhua/Factiva]