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Western Balkans Regular Economic Report, No.22, Fall 2022: Beyond the Crises(Washington, DC, 2022-10) World BankThe economies of the Western Balkans continue to face a turbulent external environment, placing households, firms, and governments under acute stress. Just as the post-COVID recovery of 2021 began to fade and the region returned to a normalized rate of economic growth, the Western Balkan region now faces a new combination of challenges. The war in Ukraine, and the resultant sharp increase and energy prices and slowdown in global growth, is weighing on economic performance in all six economies. Higher energy and food prices have pushed inflation to levels unseen for many years, eroding purchasing power and business confidence. Monetary tightening in advanced economies is pushing up financing costs and weakening external demand. Following a strong rebound in 2021, growth, although still robust, was on a decelerating path in the first half of 2022. In Q1 of 2022, the Western Balkan economies remained resilient overall, supported by sizable policy actions at the EU, euro area, and national levels. First-quarter growth was particularly strong in tourism-based economies and in Serbia. However, growth decelerated in Q2, as countries had to deal with the direct consequences of the war and is projected to continue decelerating in the second half of the year reflecting higher base levels of growth in Q3 and Q4 2021 and the stronger global headwinds.
Social Protection Situational Analysis : North Macedonia(Washington, DC, 2022) World BankNorth Macedonia has strengthened its social protection system through comprehensive reforms in social assistance, social services, and pensions. This note considers, based on existing evidence, the extent to which the social protection system in North Macedonia satisfies four basic principles: adequacy; balance and effectiveness; equity; and sustainability. The situational analysis note is structured as follows: section two reviews the main poverty and labor market outcomes in North Macedonia, comparing it with peers and relevant country groups. Section 3 introduces a framework to consider the performance of the social protection system and then outlines the broad characteristics of social protection in North Macedonia, by program type and expenditure. Section 4 looks at non-contributory cash transfers to support the poor, the vulnerable and persons with disabilities and assesses the recent social assistance reform. Section 5 discusses social services and assesses the changes in social services as a result of the social protection reform as well as the introduction of case management, which aims to help ensure the provision of integrated services to the poor and vulnerable. Section 6 discusses pensions. Section 7 explores employment and active labor market programs (ALMPs). Section 8 considers the recent social protection response to the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and section 9 concludes by offering an assessment of the main areas for reform.
Proactive Transparency: The Future of the Right to Information?( 2010-09-14) Darbishire, HelenThis paper identifies four primary drivers of proactive disclosure throughout history. The first is the need to inform the public about laws and decisions and the public's right to be informed, to know their rights and obligations. The second is the public's demand for the information needed to hold governments accountable both at and between elections. The third is the demand for information in order to participate actively in decision-making. The fourth is the provision to the public of information needed to access government services, which has expanded significantly in the past decade with growth of electronic access to services or 'e-government.' This paper attempts to advance the debate around that question by analyzing the multiple proactive disclosure provisions in national law and international treaties in order to identify the emerging global consensus on the classes of information which should be included in a proactive disclosure regime. The paper examines the practical challenges related to the implementation of proactive disclosure regimes and some of the lessons learned from which principles for making proactive disclosure work in practice can be derived. It concludes by identifying some future challenges and areas where additional research is needed.