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Are married women really the only ones who need family planning?

LisbethVogensenBy: Lisbeth Vogensen*

One common indicator used in many family planning and sexual and reproductive health research documents is that of unmet need for contraception/family planning (see Figure 1). In most cases, this unmet need indicator is followed by this description: percentage of women aged 15 to 49 who are married or in a union (1). Running into this indicator not only makes the feminist inside me stand up in protest, it also lets me know that the information presented on unmet need is incomplete. This unmet need data that only includes women who are married (2) is then generalized to be representative of the entire country/region/world.

Figure 1: Percentage of women with an unmet need for family planning (any method) among those aged 15 to 49 who are married or in a union: most recent data available

mapa_unmetneeds

Source: World Contraceptive Patterns 2013 (United Nations, 2013), available from www.unpopulation.org.

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Deforestation reduced – mission accomplished or too good to be true?

Lykke Andersen

By: Lykke E. Andersen*

During the last decade, Bolivia had one of the highest per capita deforestation rates in the World (1). Apart from this being decidedly unkind to Mother Earth and exacerbating problems of wild fires, droughts and flooding in Bolivia, this also caused Bolivians to be among the biggest contributors to CO2 emissions in the World (approximately 11 t/CO2/person/year – more than almost all European countries and more than twice the global average) (2).

This was obviously a major problem in Bolivia, and at INESAD we have been working for several years on promoting policies to reduce deforestation. Thus, we should be thrilled by the recent news from ABT showing that Bolivia has reduced deforestation by 64% since 2010 (see Figure 1).

Info-niveles-disminucion_LRZIMA20140723_0021_11

Figure 1: ABT reports sharp reductions in deforestation in Bolivia between 2010 and 2013.
Source: La Razon, 23 July 2014 (http://www.la-razon.com/sociedad/ABT-Bolivia-redujo-deforestacion-bosques-anos_0_2093790639.html#.U9I6T0RWunI.facebook).

But it almost seems too good to be true. I suspect that everybody working in this area are asking themselves: Can this really be true?

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Sachsy development

SanneBlauwBy: Sanne Blauw*

The logic is irresistible: if we send enough money to developing countries, poverty will be put to an end once and for all. We have got to help, it’s our responsibility. In the book The Idealist, Nina Munk portrays the charismatic Jeffrey Sachs and his Millennium Villages in Africa. How good intentions can have destructive consequences.

Already at a young age Jeffrey Sachs (1954) stood out: he received high grades in school, won math competitions, and displayed leadership qualities. He was already a successful economist when the Bolivian president Victor Paz invited him to help Bolivia in the mid-eighties. The country was poor and the economy was in chaos. Inflation reached 25,000%. Sachs wrote a plan for economic recovery. The strict fiscal and monetary policies caused hundreds of thousands of people to lose their job or pension. But the “shock therapy” helped: inflation fell to 15%. As it turned out: the economy is controllable, as long as you are willing to make concessions.

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Ambassador Internships at INESAD

Ambassador Internships at INESADINESAD is pleased to launch the Ambassador Internship program, which is financed by the Royal Danish Embassy in Bolivia. These are highly competitive paid internships for young, aspiring development professionals and researchers who wish to gain hands-on development research experience at INESAD in Bolivia. Interns will collaborate on on-going research projects at INESAD, or develop their own related Ph.D. research within INESAD’s priority areas.

The duration of these internships is between 3 and 12 months. Applicants can come from any country in the World, but fluency in both Spanish and English is a minimum requirement.

Applications are accepted throughout the year, but should respond to the current openings listed on this page: http://inesad.edu.bo/developmentroast/contact-us/internships/.

 

Please forward this announcement to outstanding students who might be interested in becoming an Ambassador Intern at INESAD!

 

Climate finance: Looking for synergies instead of additionality

Lykke Andersen

By: Lykke E. Andersen*

In an attempt to deal with the threat of climate change, many development banks and development institutions have established considerable budgets in support of climate change mitigation and adaptation projects in addition to their usual development projects. For example, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is aiming for 25% of their lending portfolio to be destined to climate change and sustainable development projects by 2015.

There is a concern, however, that these climate change projects may not be truly additional, compared to the business-as-usual scenario, but may just represent a renaming of already existing projects (compare panels (i) and (ii) of Figure 1), or worse, that the climate change projects are actually diverting funds away from development projects to the detriment of the poor (panel (iii)).

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Earth Hour – why I have decided not to participate

Lykke Andersen

By: Lykke E. Andersen*

You have got to be impressed by anybody who can rally several hundred million people around a cause.  WWF has managed to do that several years in a row by getting people to turn off the lights for one hour every year to highlight the impacts of our energy use on the global climate.

However, there are two important reasons why I have decided not to join this global event.

First, I think electricity is the World’s best poverty-reducing invention ever, and if we wanted to turn it off for an hour, it should be to think very hard about how to bring this crucial invention to the 1.3 billion people who still don’t have it and thus suffer from darkness, low productivity and extreme poverty.

Second, and a lot less obvious, is the fact that symbolic do-good-events like this tend to be counter-productive because they make people feel like they have acquired a license to indulge in self-interested and unethical behaviors (Mazar and Zhong, 2010).

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We live in a dangerous world and not only rural, indigenous, old women are vulnerable

Lykke Andersen

By: Lykke E. Andersen*

Even the most affluent and powerful people in the World are exposed to the risk of adverse shocks and stresses: Christopher Reeve (Superman) became a quadriplegic after a riding accident; Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years; Mel Gibson had to pay more than $400 million in his divorce settlement; Steve Jobs got fired from his own company; and Donald trump has declared bankruptcy four times.

We are all at risk of adversity, or even calamity, and the list of threats is endless: Natural disasters, illness, accidents, unemployment, price fluctuations, conflict, vandalism, fire, robbery, pest attacks, technological change, pollution, climate change, etc. Most of these threats are almost entirely outside our control and it is important that we build up resilience against them so that we will be able to overcome the challenges that we are bound to encounter.

Some people and households are more resilient than others, however. They bounce back even after severe adversity. Nelson Mandela, for example, became one of the most famous and respected presidents in the World and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize after spending 27 years in prison; Christopher Reeve claimed that the accident, which left him paralyzed from the neck down, helped him appreciate life more and considered himself a very lucky man less paralyzed than many able-bodied men; and Donald Trump evidently rebuilt his fortune between bankruptcies.

While resilience is an integral part of the human psychology, it would be useful if we could measure and compare resilience in a more general way. This is what a new research paper and Policy Brief from INESAD proposes.

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CALL FOR PAPERS for the 6th Bolivian Conference on Development Economics (BCDE 2014)

Call_tinyWe are delighted to announce that the 6th Bolivian Conference on Development Economics will be held at the Campus of Universidad Privada Boliviana (UPB) in Cochabamba, Bolivia, on August 28th and 29th, 2014. This conference is jointly organized by the Institute for Advanced Development Studies (INESAD), the Society of Bolivian Economists (SEBOL), Universidad Privada Boliviana (UPB), and the Bolivian Academy of Economic Sciences (ABCE).

The conference will bring together local and international scholars for the exchange of ideas and discussion of recent results within theoretical and applied economics, and other disciplines related to development. We seek high quality academic work that enriches and challenges our knowledge. We particularly encourage female researchers and young Bolivian researchers to submit papers.

As highlights of the 2014 conference we will have two keynote lectures to be delivered by Hans Rosling (Gapminder Foundation) and Tyler Cowen (George Mason University), as well as Enrique García Rodríguez (CAF Development Bank of Latin America) as invited guest speaker. The conference will be organized to foster interaction and exchange of ideas among the participants in a comfortable atmosphere.

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Why is it important to cooperate with Middle Income Countries?

Cecilia JuambeltzBy Cecilia Juambeltz*

In the field of international cooperation, particularly in development cooperation, much is said of High, Middle and Low Income Countries. This characterization may only seem as a way of ordering these countries. But in practice it has important consequences, as it defines the type of aid these countries receive. Donor countries base on these categories to define their aid strategies.

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Three organizations that are redefining environmental education

Valerie GiesenClimate change, ozone layer, biodiversity, carbon footprint, glacial melt – these have become the buzz phrases of a generation. To some these problems seem far away, while others give up in light of their complexity and magnitude. But clearly we should not leave it to the ‘big boys’ of environmental politics to tackle the problems faced around the world. Active and informed engagement with environmental challenges will be necessary to find satisfactory solutions. Today, Development Roast brings you three initiatives from three countries offering environmental education and tools for engagement at the policy, academic, and grassroots levels.

Costa Rican Earth University is revolutionizing agricultural education

The Costa Rica-based Earth University offers students a holistic degree in Agricultural Sciences and Resource Management that teaches them about every stage of agricultural and forestry production: from crop management and harvesting to processing and waste management. Unlike many other agriculture degrees, Earth courses do not teach the components of the ecological system, such as biology, physics, and chemistry, separately. Instead, Earth’s holistic approach confronts its students with the complexity of ecological systems and the role people play in them from the beginning. Students also learn about the ins and outs of agricultural business by planning and running an agricultural enterprise with their classmates over the course of three years with a special emphasis on the ecological and social costs of agricultural business. On campus, the university practices what it preaches: In 2011, it opened its first ‘green’ dorm with energy-efficient lighting, solar water heaters, and a rainwater collection system for toilets and outdoor sinks. Read the rest of this entry »

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