Development Knowledge and Learning

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The Development Knowledge and Learning series is geared toward making specialized World Bank knowledge rapidly available to policy makers and the development community. Studies in the series comprise the knowledge outputs of the Bank's operational work, tend to be focused on narrowly defined topics, and can include works in progress that are disseminated for discussion purposes.





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  • Publication
    A Benchmark for the Performance of State-Owned Water Utilities in the Caribbean
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2020-01-29) Burdescu, Ruxandra; van den Berg, Caroline; Janson, Nils; Alvarado, Oscar
    Improving the management and governance of state-owned enterprises in the water supply and sanitation sector in the Caribbean is critical. State-owned enterprises play a significant role in the economy through their impact on fiscal accounts and service delivery to citizens. This benchmark analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of 14 water utilities, with focus on Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, and St. Lucia. It is a tool for policy makers and practitioners seeking to improve service delivery in the sector, restore or maintain fiscal discipline, and pursue sector goals in a sustainable manner. In the Caribbean region and beyond, building smart and resilient water utilities for the future is a priority. The challenges are complex and multidimensional. Political problems, weak institutions, low capacity, and inefficient practices exacerbate less-than-satisfactory performance. These challenges cannot be met by applying a cookie-cutter approach or by focusing only on standard technical and managerial techniques. Improving corporate governance will increase operational and managerial efficiency. Evidence shows that water supply and sanitation utilities with access to commercial finance are more likely to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. This benchmark finds that many of the analyzed state-owned water utilities are underperforming in terms of coverage, quality of service, operating efficiency, and financial performance. Overcoming these challenges will require long-term measures, with implementation that is likely to be ambitious and challenging. Shorter-term measures targeted at strengthening financial sustainability would involve establishing reliable cash flows that allow utilities to cover their costs. Benchmarking governance in state-owned enterprises varies across the region. Some countries have a strong governance framework with well-developed policies and legal and regulatory frameworks, while others have unclear sector policies and underdeveloped legal and regulatory frameworks. Water supply and sanitation utilities with better-developed governance frameworks usually perform better than those with underdeveloped frameworks.
  • Publication
    Pastoral Development in Ethiopia: Trends and the Way Forward
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2019-06-11) Gebremeskel, Esayas Nigatu; Kassa, Girma K.
    Despite half a century of development efforts, multidimensional deprivation and vulnerability to shocks remain a serious problem in Ethiopia’s pastoral areas. A review of past and ongoing pastoral and agro-pastoral (PAP) development efforts in Ethiopia, analysis of the current socioeconomic situation in relation to PAPs, and an extensive literature review of emerging knowledge on the topic point to the need for future PAP development to focus on resilience, transformation, and sustainability. This study, which was commissioned by the World Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), proposes six strategic pillars: livelihood support for improved pastoral and agro-pastoral production; livelihood diversification and improved agro-pastoral extension; integrated rangeland and water development, and secure access to key resources; transformation and commercialization of the livestock industry; enhanced access and use of basic social and economic services; enhanced social protection and disaster risk management; and institutional and human capacity development. In addition, intervention-planning needs to be sensitive to conflict, should mainstream gender issues and nutrition, and should emphasize women and youth employment, climate change and adaptation, information technology, action-oriented research, and knowledge management and documentation.