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Addressing Gender Inequalities in Countries Affected by Fragility, Conflict and Violence: An Evaluation of WBG Support (Approach Paper)

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The WBG recognizes that achieving gender equality is particularly challenging in those settings, but it is critical to make progress in peace building and resilience to crisis. Addressing gender gaps is a priority in FCV-affected countries because fragility and conflict disproportionally affect women and girls and exacerbate gender inequalities. The World Bank Group recognizes that effective Show MoreThe WBG recognizes that achieving gender equality is particularly challenging in those settings, but it is critical to make progress in peace building and resilience to crisis. Addressing gender gaps is a priority in FCV-affected countries because fragility and conflict disproportionally affect women and girls and exacerbate gender inequalities. The World Bank Group recognizes that effective responses to gender inequalities in FCV-affected countries need to be context-specific, country-owned, systemic, and sustainable. The goal of this formative evaluation is to provide lessons on what worked well, less well, and why, regarding the World Bank Group’s support to FCV-affected countries to achieve transformational change towards gender equality in two areas: women’s and girls’ economic empowerment and gender-based violence.

Gambia, The - Integrated Fin. Mg't. Infor. System

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Population aging is no longer just a rich country phenomenon. Thanks to dramatic improvements in nutrition, sanitation, health, education, and—more generally—economic well-being, longevity has increased everywhere in the world, while fertility has decreased in most countries. This increasingly global demographic shift, unfolding in the developing world at a striking pace, brings a range of new Show MorePopulation aging is no longer just a rich country phenomenon. Thanks to dramatic improvements in nutrition, sanitation, health, education, and—more generally—economic well-being, longevity has increased everywhere in the world, while fertility has decreased in most countries. This increasingly global demographic shift, unfolding in the developing world at a striking pace, brings a range of new policy challenges, including critical implications for economic growth, inter- and intragenerational equity, and the inclusiveness of the development process. IEG’s recent report, World Bank Support to Aging Countries, offers the first assessment of World Bank efforts to help developing countries think through the challenges associated with population aging, and adapting policies and institutions to prevent and address those challenges.   Demographic Transition Stage World Map Population aging can put downward pressure on long-term economic growth through reductions in employment and labor productivity, higher dependency, and lower savings and investments. However, these negative impacts do not materialize if longevity is achieved by adding healthy years, which allows individuals to stay productive and independent for longer, and if the economy uses opportunities to produce higher savings and investments during the first demographic dividend (see box). The Demographic Transition The 2015/2016 Global Monitoring report classifies countries into four stages of demographic transition: pre-dividend countries (where fertility is greater than 4 births per woman); early-dividend countries (where fertility is lower than 4 births per woman, but there is an increasing working-age population); late-dividend countries (with a shrinking working-age population but where fertility fell only recently); and post-dividend countries (with a shrinking working-age population and where fertility fell below the replacement level, or 2.1 births per woman, three decades earlier). The latter two stages characterize aging countries. The first demographic dividend is the accelerated economic growth that may result from a decline in a country’s birth and death rates and the subsequent change in the age structure of the population.   The report found that the World Bank’s understanding of aging has improved over time, from a narrow focus on the sustainability of pension systems to a much broader perspective that explores the interconnections among different sectors of the economy and calls for coordinated policy responses. Yet there is still not enough attention paid to the profound distributional issues that population aging can cause. These include gender gaps, intergenerational disparities, and various types of inequalities: spatial, rural versus urban, and socioeconomic. A focus on gender is especially important, as there are multiple sources of gender inequalities in relation to aging. These are a result of gender differences in life expectancy, employment patterns, accumulation of pension entitlements, and care responsibilities. The evaluation found good examples of World Bank’s analytical work providing a solid and substantial empirical base and directly influencing the policy discussion. Country aging reports have been in some cases instrumental in stimulating the need to act to address the many challenges of population aging and have generated concrete responses by governments. The Country Aging Report for Uruguay, for instance, generated a new sense of local urgency and led to a country development strategy strongly centered on aging. In other cases, high-quality diagnostic work has helped countries to develop approaches to tackle specific issues, such as long-term care. Analytical work for China supported the design and implementation of the country aged-care system, with a strong emphasis on home- and community-based care, while promoting an efficient market for provision of care services. While the evaluation identified good examples of analytical work, for the World Bank to better help its client countries address their aging challenges, it needs to focus more on preparedness and improve its cross-sectoral thinking. Focusing on preparedness means promoting healthier behaviors for a healthy longevity, supporting productivity throughout the working life, and introducing incentives to save for retirement. It also means promoting financial awareness, age-friendly environments such as smart cities, or changing negative attitudes toward older people. Thinking cross-sectorally means recognizing the linkages across issues and the broader impacts that sectoral interventions can have, some of them unintended. For example, elderly care interventions can deepen the occupational segregation of women in mostly informal and low-paid long-term care jobs; pension reforms that aim at making a system more financially sustainable tend to penalize women, who have more irregular working patterns, earn lower wages, and contribute less to a pension system. The speed of demographic change requires new approaches to development that recognize the importance of supporting a healthier and more productive population to reduce the potential negative impact of population aging on future growth and prosperity. For the World Bank, this means articulating a clearer and more coordinated position with respect to population aging that will facilitate dialogue with client countries and improve the Bank’s capacity to provide support. Pictured above: Old and young holding hands. Photo credit: Shutterstock/Africa Studio

World Bank Support to Aging Countries

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shutterstock/ Ja Crispy
This evaluation is the first at the Independent Evaluation Group to assess the World Bank’s contribution to diagnosing client countries’ demographic issues related to population aging. This evaluation is the first at the Independent Evaluation Group to assess the World Bank’s contribution to diagnosing client countries’ demographic issues related to population aging.

Brazil: Rio State Fiscal Efficiency for Quality of Public Service Delivery Development Policy Loan (DPL III) (PPAR)

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This is a Project Performance Assessment Report (PPAR) by the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) of the World Bank Group for the Fiscal Efficiency for Quality of Public Service Delivery Development Policy Loan (DPL) III (P126465) to the state of Rio de Janeiro for $300 million. The program covered three policy areas: (i) tax administration, (ii) public financial management, and (iii) education Show MoreThis is a Project Performance Assessment Report (PPAR) by the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) of the World Bank Group for the Fiscal Efficiency for Quality of Public Service Delivery Development Policy Loan (DPL) III (P126465) to the state of Rio de Janeiro for $300 million. The program covered three policy areas: (i) tax administration, (ii) public financial management, and (iii) education and health. It achieved some of its objectives and targets in the short term (in fiscal years 2013–14), but these achievements were not sustained. Ratings for the Rio State Development Policy Loan III are as follows: Outcome was unsatisfactory, and Bank performance was moderately unsatisfactory. The assessment offers the following lessons: (i) Subnational programs supporting institutional reform in areas such as tax administration, public financial management, education, and health require a long-term strategic vision and sufficient time for implementation. (ii) It was difficult to achieve fiscal sustainability in Rio state by reforming only a few technical aspects of tax administration without accounting for important issues, such as pensions, dependence on unstable oil revenues, weak institutions, and chronic corruption. (iii) An assessment of the Rio state’s fiscal situation, its implementation capacity, and medium-term perspectives could have improved the program’s design since the state was in dire financial situation and lacked the bandwidth to properly prepare and execute the 12 loans it was simultaneously negotiating with multiple lenders.

The COVID pandemic and global hunger

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Social Distancing in the Market, April 22, 2020, KENYA.  Photo: World Bank / Sambrian Mbaabu
Lessons from past crises to improve food security. Lessons from past crises to improve food security.

Covid-19 has exposed the fragilities of aging countries

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Elderly women are talking and maintaining a safe distance. Thailand. Photo credit: Shutterstock/CGN089
An IEG report focuses on much needed areas of attention.An IEG report focuses on much needed areas of attention.

Jamaica: Rural Economic Development Initiative (PPAR)

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The national poverty rate in Jamaica declined over the two decades prior to appraisal, but rural poverty remained stubbornly high. The Government of Jamaica recognized that if the country was to achieve its goal of “Developed World” status, as indicated in the Government’s Vision 2030 plan, economic development in rural areas needed to keep pace with that experienced in urban areas. In 2008, the Show MoreThe national poverty rate in Jamaica declined over the two decades prior to appraisal, but rural poverty remained stubbornly high. The Government of Jamaica recognized that if the country was to achieve its goal of “Developed World” status, as indicated in the Government’s Vision 2030 plan, economic development in rural areas needed to keep pace with that experienced in urban areas. In 2008, the Government requested World Bank support for a project that would promote rural economic development and income generation by improving access to markets for small-holder farmers and by encouraging rural tourism development. Unusual among the Bank’s productive alliance projects, the present project sought to combine both agriculture and tourism, reflecting the unique circumstances of Jamaica’s rural landscape and the potential for agriculture to engage more with the tourism sector, a major contributor to foreign currency receipts. The Bank also determined that the rural agriculture and tourism sectors offered the most significant potential for rural growth and development. The resulting Bank project, the Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI), was designed to stimulate rural economic growth and increase rural incomes. Ratings for the Rural Economic Development Initiative are as follows: Outcome was satisfactory, Overall efficacy was substantial, Bank performance was moderately satisfactory, and Quality of monitoring and evaluation was negligible. This assessment offers the following issues: (i) For complex productive alliance projects involving the selection of multiple rural subprojects and the introduction of new private-sector market concepts to rural communities, substantial investment to ensure project implementation readiness during project preparation can contribute to a faster and more effective project start. (ii) For productive alliance projects introducing modern technologies and new business management practices into rural populations, ensuring adequate skills and capacity in the implementing agencies will enhance the achievement of results. (iii) Technical assistance supporting private sector market approaches can be critical for linking rural agricultural and tourism operations to new and evolving markets.

Argentina: Basic Protection Project (PPAR)

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The Basic Protection Project was prepared in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, in the context of increased pressure to expand coverage and accessibility of Argentina’s social protection policies. The social protection system had historically been linked to the formal labor market through contributory schemes (pension benefits, unemployment insurance, family allowances, health and Show MoreThe Basic Protection Project was prepared in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, in the context of increased pressure to expand coverage and accessibility of Argentina’s social protection policies. The social protection system had historically been linked to the formal labor market through contributory schemes (pension benefits, unemployment insurance, family allowances, health and housing insurance coverage). Noncontributory programs—for children, the unemployed, and informal workers—were limited. The project aimed at strengthening and expanding Argentina’s social protection system by supporting expansion of coverage and improving the design of two income transfer programs for the unemployed and families with children. Ratings for this project are as follows: Outcome was moderately satisfactory, Risk to development outcome was low or negligible, Bank performance was satisfactory, and Borrower performance was moderately satisfactory. This assessment offers the following lessons: (i) The choice of indicators is critical for incentives to be effective, especially when a short implementation time is expected; but the definition of some of the DLIs and the information used to determine their targets were not discussed in detail at appraisal. (ii) This PPAR had to clarify the understanding of “effectiveness,” as it was not made explicit in project documents. (iii) Institutional strengthening of the MTESS statistics area was an important additional aspect of the World Bank’s support, given the peculiar context in which this project was implemented.

Niger: Community Action Program and Community-Based Integrated Ecosystem Management Project Phase I and II (PPAR)

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The World Bank has played a key role in helping Niger to further its rural decentralization aims. The World Bank has supported the implementation of the rural code throughout its history. It approved the Natural Resource Management Project (1995–2003) to help Niger jump-start the code implementation and followed it with the Community Action Program (2004–20), a three-phase adjustable program loan Show MoreThe World Bank has played a key role in helping Niger to further its rural decentralization aims. The World Bank has supported the implementation of the rural code throughout its history. It approved the Natural Resource Management Project (1995–2003) to help Niger jump-start the code implementation and followed it with the Community Action Program (2004–20), a three-phase adjustable program loan designed to empower local governments and communities to progressively achieve their collective local development aims in a participatory and sustainable way. This Project Performance Assessment Report assesses the first and second phases of the Community Action Program (CAP-1 and CAP-2). Ratings for the First Phase of the Community Action Program are as follows: Outcome was moderately satisfactory, Overall efficacy was substantial, Bank performance was satisfactory, Borrower performance was satisfactory, and Quality of monitoring and evaluation was modest. Ratings for the Second Phase of the Community Action Program are as follows: Outcome was moderately satisfactory, Overall efficacy was substantial, Bank performance was moderately satisfactory, Borrower performance was satisfactory, and Quality of monitoring and evaluation was substantial. Lessons from both projects include: (i) Land and resource restoration projects should support—and make evident how they are supporting—existing customary flexible tenure arrangements to ensure distributional benefits among resource users and to mitigate conflict risks. (ii) The success of natural resource restoration depends on the extent to which private or communal resource users are compensated over reasonable, short-term time frames for abstaining from using those resources until the long-term public benefits of resource restoration are achieved. (iii) Projects that support land and resource restoration can ensure that women benefit by addressing participation barriers linked to social and cultural norms. (iv) Socioeconomic and anthropological analyses, conducted before project elaboration, can support the gender aspects of production and marketing better.

Brazil: National Biodiversity Mainstreaming and Institutional Consolidation Project and Sustainable Cerrado Initiative (PPAR)

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Brazil is the most biodiverse country in the world, holding an estimated one-fifth of all known flora and fauna species. It also contains a wide range of climate types in seven major biomes, including the vast Amazon and now largely depleted Atlantic rainforests, the Cerrado savanna (which covering 2 million square kilometers is second in size only to Amazônia), the semiarid Caatinga, the world’s Show MoreBrazil is the most biodiverse country in the world, holding an estimated one-fifth of all known flora and fauna species. It also contains a wide range of climate types in seven major biomes, including the vast Amazon and now largely depleted Atlantic rainforests, the Cerrado savanna (which covering 2 million square kilometers is second in size only to Amazônia), the semiarid Caatinga, the world’s largest Pantanal wetlands, and an extensive coastline. The National Biodiversity Mainstreaming and Institutional Consolidation Project (PROBIO 2) was funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF). Its project development objectives were (i) to promote mainstreaming of biodiversity at the national level in key public and private sector planning strategies and practices, and (ii) to consolidate and strengthen institutional capacity to produce and disseminate relevant biodiversity information. The project development objectives of the Sustainable Cerrado Initiative (GEF Cerrado) were to enhance biodiversity conservation in, and improve environmental and natural resource management of, the Cerrado in Brazil’s territory through appropriate policies and practices. Ratings from the National Biodiversity Mainstreaming and Institutional Consolidation Project are as follows: Outcome was satisfactory, Overall efficacy was satisfactory, Bank performance was moderately satisfactory, and Quality of monitoring and evaluation was modest. Ratings for the Sustainable Cerrado Initiative are as follows: Outcome was moderately unsatisfactory, Overall efficacy was modest, Bank performance was moderately unsatisfactory, and Quality of monitoring and evaluation was modest. Lessons from the project include: (i) A critical element for the success of projects that seek to promote the mainstreaming of biodiversity across sectors, both public and private, is strong ownership and active participation across the project’s life by the institutions involved. (ii) A firm up-front understanding of the underlying political, economic, and territorial contexts of the geographic area in which a project is seeking to establish new or expand existing protected areas is essential to properly gauge the possibilities of achieving such an objective. (iii) Experience in Brazil (and elsewhere) has shown that government commitment to project objectives and design can shift significantly over time due to changes in administrations, both at the federal and state government levels. (iv) Learning from environment projects that use concessional financing, both successful and unsuccessful, can have policy implications that extend beyond the original project’s intentions.