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  World Bank Weekly Update - May 19, 2008.
   
 

NEWS

Bank Ready to Help China Earthquake Victims,

Bank President Robert B. Zoellick said the institution was ready to help the victims of China’s earthquake as he expressed his condolences following the disaster that hit the province of Sichuan on May 12, killing about 15,000 people.

Zoellick said the Bank Group would draw on its considerable expertise in catastrophe management and reconstruction. Bank representatives held detailed discussions on possible technical support for the recovery effort with officials of the Chinese government.

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HIV Epidemic Still Africa’s Leading Cause of Premature Death

A Bank report says Sub-Saharan Africa remains the global epicenter of HIV/AIDS. It says that for every infected African starting antiretroviral therapy (ART) for the first time, another four to six become newly infected, even though regional figures show falling prevalence in countries such as Kenya, and parts of Botswana, Côte d’Ivoire, Malawi, and Zimbabwe. The report “The World Bank’s Commitment to HIV/AIDS in Africa:

Our Agenda for Action, 2007–2011,” says that about 22.5 million Africans are HIV positive, and AIDS is the leading cause of premature death, especially among productive young people and women. As a result, some private firms in Southern Africa recruit two workers for every job in anticipation of losing staff to the disease.

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Greenhouse Gas Projects Face Carbon Market Bottlenecks

As climate change concerns rose globally in 2007, a pioneering market-based effort to regulate and reduce greenhouse gases chalked up its best year ever – some US$64 billion in trades.

But this success masked a looming challenge: how to ensure developing countries as well as wealthy ones benefit from the carbon market? Bank experts say developing countries have sought approval for more than 3,000 projects ranging from wind farms to landfill gas capture projects, but the system has been unable to handle this extraordinary response. Some 2,000 projects are still waiting to be accredited, and many are facing a two-year delay, they say.

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Mobile Banking to Transform Microfinance

With the right market conditions, mobile banking could reach large numbers of poor people who are outside the formal financial system, predicts a new report from CGAP, the global microfinance body. A conference on mobile branchless banking in Cairo, Egypt was based on the research and observations of CGAP’s work in technology and microfinance published in the report “The Early Experience with Branchless Banking”. The report finds customers use payments and transfers rather than more complex banking services, such as credit and savings, in part because providers focus their marketing efforts on payments and transfers.

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PUBLICATIONS

Cost of Pollution in China

This book estimates the physical and economic cost of air and water pollution in China as reflected in the burden of mortality and morbidity associated with environmental pollution, pollution-exacerbated water scarcity, wastewater irrigation, fisheries loss, crop loss, and material damage.

Building upon willingness-to-pay surveys for reducing health risks from pollution among households in Shanghai and Chongqing municipalities, the study finds that the health costs of air and water pollution are equivalent to about 4 percent of GDP in China. The book estimates the economic and physical damage at both national and provincial levels, and finds that China's poor are disproportionately affected by the environmental health burden. The study also provides a set of policy interventions to reduce air and water pollution in China.

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FOR A FULL LIST of available publications:

http://publications.worldbank.org/ecommerce/

   
 

EVENTS AND DISCUSSIONS

The International Day for Biological Diversity

May 22 – Global - This year’s theme for the International Day for Biological Diversity (IBD), “Biodiversity and Agriculture,” seeks to highlight the importance of sustainable agriculture not only to preserve biodiversity, but also to ensure that we will be able to feed the world, maintain agricultural livelihoods, and enhance human well being into the 21st century and beyond. Agriculture is a key example of how human activities have profound impacts on the ecosystems of our planet.

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Video Podcast – Human Trafficking

Human Trafficking - is modern day slavery. However it is more insidious than the horrific slave trades of the past, as the victims are usually kept hidden from the rest of the society.
Who are these every day people kept in anonymous captivity? How can we recognize them? Exploitation and Human Trafficking- a radio podcast in living color.

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REGIONAL NEWS AND PROJECTS

> Summary of proposed projects in all regions

> May 16 List of Newly Disclosed Documents

   
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