Peter Buckland. Reshaping the Future: Education and Postconflict Reconstruction. (Shorter Notices-2004-1)

Publication Year : 2004

Peter Buckland. Reshaping the Future: Education and Postconflict Reconstruction. Washington, D.C.: The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/The World Bank, 2004. xx + 93 pages. Paperback. Price not given. This book is based on the main findings of the World Bank study on education and post-conflict reconstruction. The major focus and attention is placed on the key role of education in the reconstruction of societies after conflict and on preventing the recurrence of violent conflicts. It underscores the importance of early investment in education as a prerequisite for successful post-conflict reconstruction. The author states that every education system has the potential to exacerbate or mitigate the conditions that contribute to violent conflict. Therefore, each community or country needs to ensure that its citizens have access to suitable education before, during, and after conflict. Unfortunately, whether the education systems are contributing to the conflict or not, they are invariably debilitated by conflict. Resultantly, it leaves them weakened, damaged, and under-resourced at a time when all stakeholders including communities, governments, and international agencies require desperately that they play their role in simultaneously rebuilding and transforming themselves and the society they serve. The dual mandate of reforms and reconstruction offer both opportunities and challenges for societies attempting a recovery after conflicts.

Martha Alter Chen, Joann Vanek, and Marilyn Carr. Mainstreaming Informal Employment and Gender in Poverty Reduction. London: Commonwealth Secretariat. 2004. xxiii + 248 pages. Paperback. £ 12.99. The authors of this volume discuss relate employment generation in the context of poverty reduction strategies including the Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) and the Millennium Development Goals of various countries. The discussion is based on the historical debate on the informal economy and competing theoretical perspectives on the relationship of globalisation, growth, and poverty. Chen and his team argue that hopes for poverty reduction mainly hinge on the creation of more employment opportunities, accompanied by human rights, protection, and voice. Interestingly, most governments—and to some extent the global community—have not adequately recognised the matter as such. These elements are not included amongst the eight Medium-term Development Goals of the United Nations. Moreover, employment is neither a target nor an indicator under the first major goal of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger. The authors emphasise that the identification of root causes and solutions of the specific constraints and opportunities facing the poor, especially women, in the informal economy (where the majority of them are concentrated) are the key strategy to poverty reduction. The book draws on empirical evidence of the global research policy network known as “Women in Informal Employment: Globalising and Organising” (WIEGO), as well as the knowledge and experience of the grassroots organisations in the network. The data and examples pertain mainly to the Commonwealth countries. The need for data on the informal economy which may be used for the formulation of appropriate policies for poverty reduction is quite evident. This handbook will be quite useful for policy-makers and other stakeholders interested in employment issues, especially the gender dimension of informal employment.

David de Ferranti, Guillermo E. Perry, William Foster, Daniel Lederman, and Alberto Valdes. Beyond the City: The Rural Contribution to Development. Washington, D.C.: The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/The World Bank, 2005. xiv + 245 pages. Paperback. Price not given. In Latin American and Caribbean (LA&C) history, rural societies have been at the center of the prosperity and social change. This World Bank study of these regions evaluates the effects of the rural economy on growth, poverty, and the environment, both in the rural as well as in the national and regional economy. The book is organised in two parts. The first part, “The Rural Contribution to Development: Analytical Issues”, has three chapters which discuss the LA&C rural sector, both from a sectoral (activity-based) and a territorial (population-based) perspective. It provides estimates of the contribution of the LA&C agricultural growth to national economic growth, poverty reduction, macroeconomic volatility, environmental degradation, and welfare. It also discusses potential effects of territorial (“regional”) development policies. The second part of the book comprises five chapters and relates to policy issues. It deals with crucial determinants of agricultural productivity and growth: trade, research and extension, land policy, infrastructure, and rural finance. The complementary policies related to environmental services and rural tourism, as well as income support schemes for the poor and for small farmers in “sensitive” sectors during trade liberalisation, have been evaluated in the study. Moreover, the book discusses different approaches to territorial development policies, summarises the LA&C experiences with such policies, and extracts some general lessons for the future. The authors bring together new theoretical insights and empirical evidence of the relationship between rural and national development. It demonstrates that the significance of the rural sector has been underestimated, and also helps to identify appropriate public policies that can enhance the sector’s contribution to overall national development.

Salman M. A. Salman and Siobhán Mclnerney-Lankford. The Human Right to Water: Legal and Policy Dimensions. Washington, D.C.: The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/The World Bank, 2004. xiii + 180 pages. Paperback. Price not given. Salman and Mclnerney-Lankford trace the evolution of the right to water back to the developments of the early 1970s through a number of international legal instruments. They pay particular attention to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (ICUDHR), Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), as well as to the Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The last two parts, the third and the fourth, of the study are devoted to the section on General Coveralls (No. 15), which recognises the human right to water, an incipient right emerging in international law.

Stephen J. DeCanio. Economic Models of Climate Change: A Critique. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003. xiii + 203 pages. Hardbound. Price not given. DeCanio indicates that the unmitigated climate change will be a public disaster of the highest magnitude. People will die of killer heat waves, expansion of tropical diseases, increased frequency and severity of floods, droughts, tropical storms, adverse effects on agriculture in some regions, and perhaps even from social disruption and conflict engendered by the climate change. These changes will tend to impact disproportionately on the poorest segments of the world’s population. The author mentions the serious debate about climate policy and economists’ estimation of the cost of policies to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions. Models used to derive those estimates are based on assumptions that have largely gone untested. He highlights these assumptions and draws appropriate conclusions and implications for policy. DeCanio has brought forward a number of considerations. The conventional approach to measuring climatic changes embodies structural features that rule out alternative market outcomes and possibilities for profitable energy efficiency improvement in industry. The author argues that that model’s characterisation of decision-making by individuals and firms is incomplete, and in many cases inconsistent with the empirical evidence. In addition, the pattern of distribution of ‘climate rights’ is crucial in determining the economic consequences of different ethical approaches to the problem of ‘inter-generationalisation’ of the equity issue. With these considerations at the forefront, the author questions about how domestic and international policy solutions might be found. The last chapter, “Principles for the Future”, recapitulates the main results from the previous chapters. The author concludes that a much more active approach to climate protection is required and also provides a guideline for economists for developing modest climatic models.