Policy Notes

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  • Publication
    Empowering Bangladesh’s Youth through Adolescent Health: Policy Brief
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2024-04-23) World Bank
    Adolescence is a dynamic period of biological development and social change, and also a period when adolescent girls are at risk of school dropout, early marriage, pregnancy, and gender-based violence. Adolescents have the highest unmet need for family planning in Bangladesh, and married adolescents have a significantly lower contraceptive prevalence rate than other age groups, leading to a high adolescent fertility rate. The Government of Bangladesh developed a national strategy for adolescent health 2017-2030 and a costed action plan to improve adolescent health, including sexual and reproductive health. The Strategy addresses overall health needs of adolescents, including menstrual hygiene management, prevention of violence and mental health. The Government of Bangladesh is currently implementing the 4th Health, Population and Nutrition Sector Program which includes support for a school-based adolescent health and nutrition program. Furthermore, programme implementers often work in silos and focus on single platforms, i.e. at the health facility, school, or community levels. Presently adolescents receive sexual and reproductive health information and services largely from private sector providers with variable quality.
  • Publication
    Reforms for a Brighter Future: Time to Decide - Policy Notes : Fundamental Policy Shifts for Pakistan’s Sustainable Economic Development
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2024-04-03) World Bank
    Pakistan is at a critical decision point. While there have been recent important examples of reform progress, economic policies over past years and decades have had overall negative impacts on sustainability, productivity, and investment. As Pakistan has fallen behind its peers, progress with poverty reduction has ceased. Human development outcomes remain dire, while the benefits of growth have accrued disproportionately to a narrow elite. Amid continued rapid population growth and a youth bulge, a growing number of young Pakistanis are frustrated by the lack of opportunities, with prospects for young women especially bleak. Pakistan is among the countries most impacted by climate change, and recent events, including the 2022 floods, have highlighted the urgent need for investment in climate resilience. The economy is now, again, sustained by a short-term International Monetary Fund (IMF) program, inflation is at record highs, the rupee has depreciated sharply, while foreign exchange reserves remain at uncomfortably low levels. Recent policy measures (including the restoration of exchange rate flexibility, subsidy reforms, and movements towards fiscal constraint) have supported economic stabilization, but the underpinning drivers of Pakistan’s economic fragility remain to be addressed. This note presents critical policy shifts required to move beyond the current low equilibrium towards sustainable and inclusive economic development and poverty reduction. This note summarizes the accompanying series of policy notes. It: (i) outlines Pakistan’s current development challenge; (ii) identifies the critical constraints to faster development progress; (iii) describes the major policy shifts that will be required to address current constraints; and (iv) presents broad principles to guide implementation of required reforms.
  • Publication
    Digitalization of Government Services for a Better Business Environment in China: A Case Study on the Reform Experience of Zhejiang Province
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2024-03-29) Wei, Wenting
    The Chinese government has a long-standing commitment to business environment and digital government reforms. China’s online government-to-business (G2B) services have enhanced public service efficiency, accessibility, and transparency, creating a more favorable business environment. This note features a case study of the all-in-one online government service platform developed in Zhejiang Province, a subnational leader in promoting e-government and business environment reforms. Following general national guidelines, Zhejiang has been a leader in exploring innovations to promote digital government development and business environment reforms. Its reforms both demonstrate the effectiveness of a proactive approach to leveraging digital technologies for administrative efficiency and an improved user experience and highlight the positive impacts on the business environment.
  • Publication
    Clean and Climate Resilient Transport: Identifying Policy Priorities for Indonesia
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2024-03-12) Gupta, Nupur; Chesheva, Elena; Diaz, Thomas Herrero
    At five percent of energy emissions, transport is one of the major contributors to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Indonesia. The rapid growth in vehicle fleet-personal passenger vehicles in particular is driving road transport emissions. Indonesian cities are suffering from severe congestion, air quality issues, and increasing numbers of road accidents and fatalities. Private transport dependence is increasing in Indonesian cities. The growth in Indonesia’s urban population has led to a growth in urban area boundaries, suboptimal spatial patterns, and increased travel distances. The availability and quality of public transport is highly deficient and largely left to fragmented unorganized players with old and poorly maintained minivans (angkot). Electric vehicle mobility has been identified as a major prospective area of development for Indonesia. The market response has been timid so far and, despite the government electrification plans, the EV market uptake as a fraction of total vehicle sales is small Large gains in both economic development and climate mitigation benefits are possible through a more structured approach towards urban mobility.
  • Publication
    Adaptive Social Protection, Human Capital, and Climate Change: Identifying Policy Priorities for Indonesia
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2024-03-12) Williams, Asha; Hadiwidjaja, Gracia; Ali, Rabia; Setiawan, Imam
    Climate change, and its associated impacts, threatens to reverse decades of global progress in improving people’s health, human capital accumulation, and poverty reduction. At the same time, individuals and households with more human capital and are better positioned to withstand climate change impacts. Several studies have established a correlation between higher human capital with faster disaster preparedness and recovery. These challenges are particularly pressing for Indonesia, where the poor are disproportionately affected by climate shocks. The disproportionate impact of climate change on poor households, and those vulnerable to poverty, signals the importance of social protection as a critical interlocutor to help address the pressing threat of climate change and climate shocks. This background paper outlines the important relationship between human capital development and climate change adaptation; and the needs and opportunities for improving the adaptiveness of Indonesia’s social protection system.
  • Publication
    Trading in Green: Policy Notes on Climate Change and Trade in Indonesia
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2024-03-07) Montfaucon, Angella; Lakatos, Csilla; Agnimaruto, Bayu
    Although Indonesia’s economy has diversified over the past decades, natural resource extraction remains a key sector for both the domestic economy as well as international trade. Indonesia’s ability to diversify away from primary products, reduce carbon emissions, adapt to climate change, and transition to a low-carbon economy is strongly interlinked with trade and trade policy. To position itself to benefit from the global transition to a non-carbon economy, Indonesia needs to adapt to new sources of international demand, adjust its existing productive capabilities, and cultivate new green industries. This note analyzes the carbon content of Indonesia’s trade flows.
  • Publication
    Better Internet for All Filipinos: Reforms Promoting Competition and Increasing Investment for Broadband Infrastructure - A Policy Note
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2024-01-22) World Bank
    Equitable access to broadband services is imperative to narrow the digital divide and for more people to benefit from digitalization. Compared to other ASEAN countries, the Philippines’ internet connectivity lags in affordability, speed, and access, creating an uneven landscape for digital participation. Limited internet access curbs digital potential for citizens and businesses, with peri-urban connectivity being critical to future growth. The country’s poor broadband infrastructure is rooted in outdated policy frameworks that stifle investment in rural areas and foster a market with weak competition, both of which hinder broadband expansion. Binding constraints underlying the Philippines’ poor broadband infrastructure are inter-related, requiring a comprehensive package of reforms to yield desired entry, investment, and sector performance outcomes. The open access in data transmission (OADT) bill is a promising, viable start, among several proposals in Congress. Policymakers can build on immediate reforms through the open access bill as an entry point to broader and medium- to longer-term digital connectivity agenda. The cost of inaction - loss of growth opportunity, people remaining unequipped for future jobs, and widening of the digital divide - is too high for the Philippines.
  • Publication
    How to Protect, Build, and Use Human Capital to Address Climate Change
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2023-12-14) World Bank
    To respond to climate change effectively, human capital needs to be at the heart of policy responses. This policy note demonstrates the impacts of climate change across the lifecycle and provides a framework of policy and program interventions to protect, build, and use human capital to minimize climate change impacts and create opportunities for more sustainable and inclusive development on a livable planet. By demonstrating the scope of impacts of climate change on people and people’s potential to contribute to climate action, the note also makes a case for prioritizing human capital investments as part of countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and other climate strategies.
  • Publication
    What Can Financing Schemes and Payment Systems Do to Improve Pandemic Response?
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2023-12-06) Lee, Tae-Jin; Moon, Juhyeon
    The budget allocation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic indicates an increase in both health and non-health sectors, together with policy prioritization to mitigate socioeconomic damage globally. In contrast with responses to previous economic crises, many governments instead expanded their budget, resulting in increased support for the health care sector. However, a significant portion of the budget was allocated to economic stimulus and industrial investment. Accordingly, the budget allocated to prevention and response to infectious diseases in the health care sector was relatively small, or it was spent from ear-marked resources such as social health insurance. However, health crises such as the pandemic required an essential workforce and additional services to protect population health and expedite the socioeconomic recovery. In this sense, strengthening the sustainability and resilience of the health care system was a way toward national security and economic growth. Governments would need to allocate additional budgets to the health sector in response to health crisis, and mobilize earmarked funds collected from social insurance contributions. The latter enables the provision of essential health services with or without governments’ financial support. A mixed payment system could boost surge capacity in the health care system and provide incentives for medical providers.
  • Publication
    Older People’s Health and Long-Term Care During COVID-19: Impacts and Policy Responses
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2023-12-06) Kim, Hongsoo
    This policy note examines the major impacts of COVID-19 on various aspects of older peoples’ lives and health and long-term care (LTC) systems. It also provides a close review and analysis of public health measures and their impact in seven countries: Japan, Germany, Republic of Korea (Korea), Thailand, Vietnam, the United Kingdom (UK, specifically England), and the United States (US). Globally, older people have been one of the most affected groups during the pandemic. An adequate response to the impact was neglected or delayed in many countries, hence there is a critical need for systems to be more prepared. To better protect the increasing population of older people with complex health and care needs under the current prolonged pandemic, as well as during future ones, countries with limited resources should continue to strengthen their extant community-based care systems and foster the engagement of families and civil society in elder care. These countries also need to establish formal LTC systems and increase financial and workforce capacities of their systems. Care innovations through digitalization can provide useful tools to improve system efficiency and coverage, but better evidence and further policy efforts are necessary for effective use of these tools in the development of inclusive and integrated health and care systems resilient to future pandemics. Quality, timely, comparable data is crucial to support policy making and evaluation of aged-care systems promoting the health and well-being of later life for all.