World Bank and Salzburg Global LGBT Forum Call for Inclusion and Equality for Families and Their LGBTI Children

“Family is what virtually all of us care about first and foremost. In our families, we love, we support, we depend on each other. Straight couples and families do, LGBTI couples and families do,” said Zachau. “But, in Thailand, and in so many countries around the world, too many LGBTI people still face the lack of support, even in their own family. They face discrimination and they face exclusion sometimes.”

World Bank research comparing the life experiences of 2,302 LGBTI people and those of 1,200 non-LGBTI people in Thailand, found widespread exclusion and discrimination among LGBTI individuals.

“We found exclusion and discrimination at school, at work, when going to the bank, when getting credit – in many aspects in life. That exclusion is a big problem for the people who are concerned; for the gay, lesbian, bi, trans people,” Zachau explained. “And it’s a problem for society, because society loses the contributions of LGBTI people. And when LGBTI people face such challenges where do they turn? They turn to their families and their friends first and foremost.”

The video message from the World Bank’s IDAHOT celebration in Thailand for the 5th meeting of the Salzburg Global LGBT* Forum united both behind IDAHOT’s message of family inclusion and reflects ongoing conversation between Cortez and Mueller on a closer cooperation on strengthening LGBT* equality through education and economic inclusion.   

The World Bank’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) team has a long-standing relationship with the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum.  In addition to Cortez, who attended in both 2015 and 2016, several other members have participated in the Forum, including social development researchers Dominik Koehler (2017), Phil Crehan (2015), and Marko Karadzic (2013). Kristalina Georgieva, CEO of the World Bank, also shares a deep relationship with Salzburg Global Seminar, crediting her participation in 1990 with changing her career trajectory, from a researcher in Bulgaria going on to work with the World Bank and previous to that with the European Commission, where she was Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Air and Crisis Response.

To celebrate these growing closer connections, and in the spirit of IDAHOT, LGBT* Forum participants shared the message of “Family is Love” with the World Bank, in support of its efforts to support greater inclusion of LGBT* people around the world.

*LGBT: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender. The Salzburg Global LGBT Forum uses this term as it is currently widely used in human rights conversations on sexual orientation and gender identity in many parts of the world, but we would not wish it to be read as exclusive of other cultural concepts, contemporary or historical, to express sexuality and gender, intersex and gender-nonconforming identities.

A version of this article appeared on the Salzburg Global Seminar.

Vietnam – Central Highlands Connectivity Improvement Project

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Vietnam – Forest Sector Modernization and Coastal Resilience Enhancement Project

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Việt Nam được hỗ trợ tiếp cận thị trường và bảo vệ rừng phòng hộ ven biển

Khoản tài trợ 300 triệu USD mới phê duyệt sẽ giúp cải thiện kết nối giao thông với Tây Nguyên và mang lại nhiều việc làm hơn cho các tỉnh ven biển

Oa-sing-tơn, ngày 22/6/2017 – Ngân hàng Thế giới mới phê duyệt một khoản tài trợ 300 triệu USD giúp Việt Nam tăng cường kết nối giao thông ở những vùng nông thôn và bảo vệ rừng tại 8 tỉnh ven biển.

Hai dự án mới sẽ nhận khoản tài trợ này gồm Dự án Tăng cường Kết nối Giao thông khu vực Tây nguyênDự án Hiện đại hoá ngành Lâm nghiệp và Tăng cường tính chống chịu vùng ven biển.

“Đầu tư vào các dự án bền vững môi trường chính là đầu tư vào tương lai của Việt Nam. Ngân hàng Thế giới hoàn toàn ủng hộ Việt Nam trong những nỗ lực tăng cường năng lực ứng phó biến đổi khí hậu và phục vụ nhu cầu của người dân và doanh nghiệp,” ông Ousmane Dione, Giám đốc Quốc gia Ngân hàng Thế giới tại Việt Nam phát biểu. “Những dự án này chính là ví dụ sinh động nhất về việc triển khai thực hiện Khung Đối tác Quốc gia mới của Ngân hàng Thế giới nhằm giúp Việt Nam tăng cường phát triển bền vững và nâng cao kinh tế trong dài hạn.”

Một nửa số vốn sẽ dành cho dự án tăng cường kết nối giao thông nhằm cải tạo 142 km đường  quốc lộ 19, nâng cao an toàn giao thông và khả năng ứng phó thiên tai.  Khi dự án được hoàn thành người dân tại hai tỉnh Bình Định và Gia Lai sẽ dễ dàng tiếp cận thị trường hơn, giảm được thời gian đi lại và tăng mức độ an toàn giao thông. Sau khi được cải tạo, đường quốc lộ này  dự kiến sẽ đủ năng lực phục vụ 6.200 xe cơ giới hạng nhẹ mỗi ngày.

Khoản 150 triệu USD còn lại sẽ giúp quản lý rừng ven biển tại các tỉnh Quảng Trị, Thanh Hoá, Nghệ An, Hà Tĩnh, Quảng Bình, Thừa Thiên Huế, Quảng Ninh và Hải Phòng. Công tác phục hồi và bảo vệ rừng sẽ tạo việc làm mới cho người dân tại hơn 900 cộng đồng thuộc 257 xã thuộc 8 tỉnh trong địa bàn dự án. Ngoài ra dự án cũng tạo thêm cơ hội phát triển du lịch sinh thái và nuôi trồng thuỷ sản.

Vốn dành cho hai dự án này được vay từ Hiệp hội Phát triển Quốc tế, là nguồn vốn dành cho các nước thu nhập thấp của Ngân hàng Thế giới.

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Vietnam to Benefit from Better Access to Markets and Protection of Coastal Forests

$300 million new financing aims to improve connectivity in Central Highlands and create more jobs in coastal provinces

Washington, June 22, 2017 – Vietnam will benefit from $300 million in new financing that will support its efforts to improve transport connectivity in the countryside and to protect forests along eight coastal provinces.

The two projects to receive financing, approved today by the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors, are the Central Highlands Connectivity Improvement Project and the Forest Sector Modernization and Coastal Resilience Enhancement Project.

“Investing in environmentally-sustainable projects is investing in the future of Vietnam. The World Bank fully supports Vietnam’s efforts to strengthen its resilience to climate change and to serve the needs of communities and businesses,” said Ousmane Dione, the World Bank Country Director for Vietnam. “These projects are vivid examples of our new Country Partnership Framework in action, a framework that strengthens Vietnam’s sustainability and economic development in the long term.”

Half of the funding will be channeled to the connectivity improvement project, which aims to upgrade 142 kilometers of National Highway 19, and strengthen safety and resilience to natural disasters. Communities in the Binh Dinh and Gia Lai provinces will benefit from easier access to markets, reduced travel time, and better road safety. The upgraded highway is expected to serve up to 6,200 light motor vehicles per day.

The remaining $150 million will support the management of coastal forests in Quang Tri, Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Thua Thien Hue, Quang Ninh and Hai Phong provinces. More than 900 communities spread across 257 communes in the eight provinces will benefit from the jobs created from the rehabilitation of degraded forests, the protection of existing forests, and ensuing opportunities for eco-tourism and aquaculture.

Financing for the two projects is supported by the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for low income countries.

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Renewable Energy a Step Closer for Solomon Islands as World Bank Group Approves Support to Tina River Hydro

WASHINGTON D.C., June 20, 2017 – Reliable renewable energy is a step closer for Solomon Islands, a country facing some of the world’s highest per capita energy costs, following the World Bank Group’s commitment to the Tina River Hydro renewable energy project.

The Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank today approved US$33.6 million in funding for the Tina River Hydropower project in the Solomon Islands, which aims to reduce the cost of electricity and end the country’s near-total reliance on diesel fuel for power.

Electricity costs in the Solomon Islands are among the highest in the world, placing huge strains on all facets of life in Solomon Islands; health, education, business and livelihoods. The Tina River Hydropower Project aims to reduce spending on expensive diesel power while also paving the way for the country to exceed its 2025 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target.

“The World Bank support to Tina River Hydro is an important milestone for Solomon Islands as we move towards a green energy future,” said the Hon. Manasseh Sogavare, Prime Minister of Solomon Islands. “We are grateful to the World Bank for its strong commitment to reduce electricity costs for Solomon Islands, and for its dedication in supporting the preparation of this complex nation-building project.”

The renewable energy project, one of the largest projects ever planned for the Solomon Islands, will bring expertise in infrastructure development and operations to the country – and pave the way for further investment and new jobs.

“Energy costs for Solomon Islanders have been too high for too long, burdening lives daily:  children cannot study at night, businesses are forced to close early, and basic services continue to suffer,” said Michel Kerf, the World Bank Country Director for Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea & the Pacific Islands“This project will contribute to reducing energy costs and help to improve the lives of Solomon Islands families and their communities.”

Under the financing arrangement, the World Bank Group is providing a US$23.4 million credit and a US$10.2 million grant through the International Development Association, the World Bank’s fund for the world’s most in-need countries.

The World Bank joins other partners in supporting the Tina River Hydro Project, including the International Renewable Energy Agency/Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (IRENA/ADFD) facility, the Green Climate Fund, and the Government of Australia. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank Group’s private sector arm, has also provided support throughout the development and negotiation process.

Other development partners, including the Asian Development Bank and the Economic Development Cooperation Fund of Korea, have indicated their potential support. Total funding support for the project is expected to be concluded in September 2017.

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Solomon Islands – Tina River Hydropower Development Project

IDA Credit: US$ 23.4 million equivalent

Terms: Maturity =40 years, Grace = 10 years

IDA Grant: US$ 10.3 million equivalent

Project ID: P161319

Project Description: The objective of the project is to increase the share of renewable energy through hydropower in Solomon Islands.

Marilene B. Montemayor
+1 (202) 473-4709

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Indonesia – Coral Reef Rehabilitation and Management Program- Coral Triangle Initiative (COREMAP-CTI) – Restructuring

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China: Workshop Held to Promote Urban Intelligent Transport and Jobs-Housing Balance

More than 150 participants came together for a workshop in Urumqi in April to discuss urban intelligent transport systems (ITS) and jobs-housing balance. Participants came from transport research institutes and project management offices of World Bank-financed projects across China.

The workshop was jointly organized by the World Bank, China Transport News, and project management office of the Global Environment Facility (GEF)-supported Large-City Congestion and Carbon Reduction Project. ITS are systems that apply information and communication technology (ICT), such as traffic signal control systems, speed cameras, and parking guidance, to make safer and ‘smarter’ use of transport networks. Jobs-housing balance refers to the distribution of employment opportunities and workforce across a geographic area.

Improving urban mobility is an emerging priority for transport planners and public policymakers. Uneven distribution of homes and workplaces and long commutes lead to growing dependence on cars, traffic congestion, loss of productivity, and deteriorating air quality. ITS systems have been developed to better manage personal travel and traffic and improve mobility. The workshop served as a platform for sharing good practices, challenges, and opportunities.

“We can only manage what we can measure. With the information captured by ITS technology, we can make better and more integrated decisions. China’s ITS and traffic management capabilities have improved substantially. World Bank-funded projects have adopted some of the state-of-the-art ITS technology,” said Georges Bianco Darido, Lead Transport Specialist at the World Bank.

He highlighted the trends and lessons from ITS implementation, including a systems engineering approach with special emphasis on needs assessments involving stakeholders such as traffic police, transport bureau, transport operators, and residents.

Wang Xiaojing, Chief Scientist of the National Center for ITS Engineering & Technology, introduced the concept of Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS), which integrates various forms of transport services into a single mobility service accessible on demand. He also discussed new trends in ITS development in China, including autonomous vehicles, ITS for multimodal transport, low-emission smart cars, and information-sharing platforms. Wang emphasized the important role ITS will play in the development of a sustainable and organic transport network for cities during the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020).

In addition, speakers from the University of Hong Kong, Beijing Jiaotong University, and Beijing Traffic Development and Research Institute discussed rail-based transit oriented development (RTOD) as a potential solution to the jobs-housing imbalance as the creation of walkable communities centered around the rail system reduces the need for cars.   

Key lessons learned from the workshop include:

  • Privacy is one of the major concerns when using ITS. To safeguard the public’s privacy and safety, laws and regulations should be developed to govern the use of personal information in the context of transport data.
  • An effective ITS framework requires top-level design, data integration and good coordination among relevant government authorities.
  • More should be done to promote gender equality in ITS. The equal interests and needs of both men and women should be taken into account in the gender action plan and gender equality assessment of ITS operation.
  • The jobs-housing balance can be achieved at the planning level through mixed land use, integrated planning of housing supply and employment centers, providing affordable housing near low-paying jobs, and improving major transport corridors.

The workshop was part of the World Bank’s TransFORM activities on Urban Transport. TransFORM is a knowledge platform jointly developed by the World Bank and Ministry of Transport to share China’s experience and know-how gained from 30 years of developing a large national transport network.

Myanmar Enhances Resilience to Natural Disasters With World Bank Support

Millions to benefit from efforts to mitigate the impact of flooding and earthquakes

WASHINGTON, 15 June, 2017— A new project in Myanmar aims to strengthen the country’s capacity to respond to disaster risks.  Disasters cost the country over US$184 million annually and disproportionally hurt the poor.

The Myanmar Southeast Asia Disaster Risk Management Project, approved today by the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors, will contribute US$116 million in financing towards efforts to reduce the impact of flooding, improve the resilience of selected public facilities against earthquakes in Yangon, and enhance the union government’s capacity to finance disaster response to emergencies across the country.

“As Yangon is rapidly developing, the growing urban population has placed the city’s infrastructure under strain,” said Yangon Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein. “Yangon faces high flood risk and is located in an earthquake-prone area. The project investments in the city’s drainage system, public facilities, and critical infrastructure will help achieve our aim of delivering high quality public infrastructure and services in the city.”

The project is co-funded with a grant of US$1 million from the Southeast Asia Disaster Risk Insurance Facility (SEADRIF), a multi-donor trust fund.  It will help the Ministry of Planning and Finance to develop disaster risk financing instruments, mainstream resilience into public investment planning, reduce the financial costs of future disasters, and improve the capacity to manage and finance the response to possible future disasters.

“Disaster risk management is critical to reducing poverty. When food prices peak due to disasters, and assets are lost, the poor and vulnerable feel the most pressure,” said Abdoulaye Seck, the World Bank Country Manager for Myanmar. “The World Bank looks forward to supporting Myanmar’s efforts in reducing human, economic and financial losses caused by natural disasters, in order for the country to protect its development gains.”

The project is part of Southeast Asia’s regional program on disaster risk management financed by the World Bank, which includes a series of projects in Cambodia, Myanmar, and Lao People’s Democratic Republic. Currently, Myanmar is implementing the Myanmar Flood and Landslide Emergency Recovery Project, which supports the resilient recovery of communities impacted by the devastating floods of 2015.

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