The Merits of a Focus on Children in Extreme PovertyChildren are the world’s future. This phrase is often uttered, yet across the globe it is rarely enforced. Children in extreme poverty are affected differently than adults. Between inadequate nutrition, exposure to stress and a lack of early stimulation and learning, the disadvantages of growing up in poverty last a lifetime.

Consequences such as stunted development, low levels of skills needed for life and work, limited future productivity as adults and the generational cycle of poverty inhibit change in children living in poverty. These consequences are especially heinous because they debilitate the global human capital needed to grow and sustain economic prosperity.

Report Details Extent of Children in Extreme Poverty

Based on data from 89 countries representing 84 percent of the developing world’s population, UNICEF and The World Bank Group estimated that 385 million children were living in extremely poor households in 2013. Children are more than twice as likely to be living in households in extreme poverty. Roughly 19 percent of children in extreme poverty are estimated to be living on less than $1.90 a day, compared to an estimated 9 percent of adults.

The World Bank Group and UNICEF researchers conducted a comprehensive range of tests to check if changing these assumptions would affect their results. They tested their findings against realistic large and small economies of scale, as well as a range of realistic ratios comparing children’s consumption to adults’. In all cases, children still emerged with higher poverty rates across developing countries.

The World Bank Group is a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world as the world’s largest funder of education, the largest external financier of the fight against HIV/AIDS and the largest international financier of biodiversity projects, water supply and sanitation projects.

UNICEF promotes the rights and well-being of every child. With work in 190 countries and territories, UNICEF translates that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children to the benefit of all children in extreme poverty.

Recommendations for Governments to Help Children in Extreme Poverty

Together, UNICEF and The World Bank Group have established partnerships with governments across the globe to address child poverty and to promote a range of cross-sector investments in the early years of life. Their goal is to end extreme poverty by 2030. This vision is central to the work of the World Bank Group and UNICEF. The two organizations are calling on governments to focus on four main areas to combat extreme poverty:

  • Ensure that the number of children in extreme poverty is routinely measured and addressed at the national level as countries work towards both ending extreme poverty by 2030 and improving the well-being of their poorest citizens.
  • Make deliberate policy decisions that ensure a country’s economic growth benefits all of its citizens, including making sure children are fully considered in poverty reduction plans.
  • Strengthen child-sensitive social protection systems, including cash transfer programs that give direct payments to families to help lift children out of poverty and protect them from its impacts.
  • Prioritize investments in education, health, nutrition, clean water, sanitation and infrastructure that benefit the poorest children and prevent people from falling back into poverty after setbacks like droughts, disease or economic instability.

Addressing these multidimensional aspects of children in extreme poverty is crucial. In the face of a global economic slowdown, ending extreme child poverty by 2030 will not be easy. However, change is possible.

– Richard Zarrilli

Photo: Flickr

Investments in Infrastructure by the World BankAiming to alleviate global poverty, the World Bank has provided the financial backing for the construction and reconstruction of vital infrastructures, such as roads, dams and electrical grids, to war-torn and developing countries since 1944. In the fiscal year 2017, the World Bank granted $59 billion for projects in developing countries.

There are currently over 2,600 active projects worldwide ranging from financial risk management to roads and railways. Investments in infrastructure by the World Bank toward developing countries start in the billions of U.S. dollars. Here are the top five most expensive pledges for active projects in developing countries.

Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor—II (India)

Active investments in infrastructure by the World Bank in India include the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor. It is an expansion effort that increases the reach and efficiency of freight cargo transportation in India’s northern and eastern regions, from Ludhiana to Dankuni.

The Eastern Freight Corridor, a project originally approved in October 2011, is a series of three projects that aim to double Indian Railways’ carrying capacity. In April 2014, the World Bank approved a $1.1 billion pledge, with a total cost of $1.65 billion, for the second tier of the project. This phase is set to build a 393-km, double-track, electrified, freight-only railway with a 25-ton axle-load at 100km/h. This sector will span between Kanpur and Mughal Sarai.

Uttar Pradesh, the most populous Indian state, stands to benefit from increased access to employment, health and education for its citizens by the de-cluttering of roadways. Once completed in December 2019, the full stretch of railway will be 1,839 km and is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 55 percent.

IN Swachh Bharat Mission Support Operation (India)

In 2015, the World Bank agreed to fund $1.5 billion of a $2.2 billion sanitation project, the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) Support Operation. The project focuses on the construction and promotion of using toilets in rural areas in India, in which 67 percent of Indians live.

The project is a part of a universal sanitation initiative that seeks to end the practice of open defecation by 2019. Ten percent of deaths in India are associated with poor sanitation. India also misses out on six percent of possible GDP due to insufficient sanitation. Further investments in infrastructure by the World Bank will provide $25 million to aid state training programs to encourage usage of toilets in rural areas.

PMGSY Rural Roads Project (India)

The Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) Rural Roads Project was established in 2010 when India’s National Rural Roads Development Agency and the World Bank agreed to a $1.5 billion deal. The project provides all-weather roads, servicing the states Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Meghalaya, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.

The World Bank’s investment fully funds the PMGSY program for five years and covers civil works expenditures and furnishes a technical assistance program to assist agencies running it. PMGSY Rural completed work in April 2018 on a 7,000 km rural road, which is the longest road assembly in a year since PMGSY began in 2000.

This is the second of multiple investments in infrastructure by the World Bank as a part of the PMGSY project, the first being a $400 million loan in 2004. It connected 9,900 km of rural roads in Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. The greater PMGSY project aims for 375,000 km of roads, linking 178,000 habitations and refurbishing 372,000 km of existing rural roads.

South-West Roads: Western Europe-Western China International Transit Corridor (Carec 1b & 6b) (Kazakhstan)

Investments in infrastructure by the World Bank in Kazakhstan look to improve road management and traffic safety. The South-West Roads Project was approved in 2009 when the World Bank agreed to fund $2.125 billion of the $2.50 billion total cost. The project includes constructing a 1,500-km road connecting China and Western Europe from the Aktobe and Kyzylorda district border to South Kazakhstan.

Road construction provides a local economic boost. The World Bank’s end of the deal employs 30,000 to 35,000 people. The cost of workers, subcontractors and materials boasts $1.6 million in spending power. Four thousand South Kazakhstan workers receive $600 a month, compared to the latest estimates that show the average Kazakhstan citizen earns $525 a month.

Eskom Investment Support Project (South Africa)

The largest, active investment in infrastructure by the World Bank is $3.75 billion, funding the Eskom Investment Support Project. Approved in April 2010, the total $10.75 billion project provides support for Eskom to enhance its energy supply and security.

Much of the funding was allocated for completion of the Medupi Power Station, the fourth-largest coal-fueled power plant. Stirring controversy, the plant is expected to add an annual 25 million metric tons of carbon emissions. Eskom is already reported to contribute to a 40 percent share of South Africa’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Eskom is South Africa’s state-owned primary electricity producer and Africa’s largest facility in electricity production. There is concern about Eskom as a monopoly producer of electricity and, accordingly, a call for more contributors in South Africa’s energy market. The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa is currently pursuing a legal interdict from the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria in an effort to prevent Eskom from signing 27 renewable energy contracts.

As the World Bank continues to strive for its main objectives–decreasing the percentage of people living on less than $1.90 a day and spurring income growth for the bottom 40 percent–these projects, with such immense lending, are promising for the future of some of the world’s most economically vulnerable populations.

– Thomas Benjamin

Photo: Flickr

BUILD Act Introduced to House Committee on Foreign AffairsOn February 27, Congressman Ted Yoho (R-FL) led a bipartisan effort that brought H.R. 5105, otherwise known as the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development (BUILD) Act, to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Modernizing U.S. Foreign Aid

The goal of this bill is to make foreign aid programs more efficient through consolidation. The BUILD Act specifically targets development finance programs, or foreign aid programs that assist other countries financially. The bill will consolidate all these foreign aid programs into one corporation that will be called the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (IDFC).

“By streamlining our current system, we will not only spark economic growth in developing countries; we will improve America’s global competitiveness,” Rep. Yoho said in a press release.

Economic Assistance

These development finance programs are a vital part of foreign aid, because they help to make a country economically stronger. Once a country’s economy is healthy, the country will no longer depend upon the U.S. for foreign aid.

The text of the BUILD Act states that the goal of the IDFC will be to primarily assist countries with low and lower-middle income level economies, as outlined by the World Bank, as opposed to providing assistance to upper-middle income economy countries.

Furthermore, the bill states that the IDFC will work primarily with the private sector in order to boost the economy of the country in need. The private sector is the part of the economy that is not controlled directly by the government, or in other words, the part of the economy that is managed by the citizens.

The IDFC will work to encourage the use of a country’s private capital to facilitate sustainable economic growth and promote poverty reduction. To achieve this goal, assistance will be provided to individuals and collectives that are part of the private sector, so that they can avoid market gaps and inefficiencies.

In addition, the IDFC will not just provide financial assistance to developing countries; it will also ensure that the civic institutions in these countries are fortified and that there is a healthy level of competition in the economy. The IDFC will also foster public transparency.

Long-Term Goals of the BUILD Act

The consolidation of the various development finance programs into one corporation will help the U.S. to more efficiently achieve its foreign aid goals.

The ultimate goal of the BUILD Act is for developing countries to eventually graduate from their need for assistance. The act will help to achieve this by making it easier for U.S. foreign aid to bolster the economies of developing countries so that over time they will depend less on traditional forms of foreign assistance.

“Taking countries from aid to trade is the end goal. We want to help countries become robust trading partners with the United States,” Congressman Yoho said in the press release.

The BUILD Act will benefit not only developing countries in need of assistance, but will also have positive effects for the U.S. in terms of business and national security.

– Jennifer Jones

Photo: Flickr

history of the world bankThe history of the World Bank begins in 1944. Founded as an international financial institution, the World Bank’s official goal is poverty reduction. The World Bank was established to finance projects that strengthen economic sectors for developing countries.

The function of the World Bank is providing low-interest loans, interest-free credit and grants pave the way for improved education, healthcare and infrastructure for countries emerging from poverty and conflict.

The Changing History of the World Bank

The World Bank officially began in 1946 when the first loan was given to France under strict limitations. One such requirement had France remove government members associated with Communism. With $250 million loaned to France, the World Bank began its credibility as a lender.

Initially, the World Bank aimed to assist European countries devastated by World War II. However, concerned voices of leaders from around the world helped shift the World Banks’s role as a support system for the world.

The history of the World Bank shows that the focus soon shifted to major infrastructure projects. Loans provided to developing countries went towards resources, training and developmental necessities to ensure financial sustainability.

In the 1970s the World Bank’s priorities shifted once again to focus on the elimination poverty. The World Bank focused on people driven projects regarding agricultural development, education of health and sanitation as well as rural and urban development.

As of December 2017, the World Bank is shifting once again. Jim Yong Kim, President of World Bank, announced that the World Bank will no longer invest in oil and gas projects. Instead, it will focus on the One Planet climate summit in Paris. Kim believes environmental policies and energy access will improve countries in terms of sustainability.

The history of the World Bank continues to shift as the needs of the world changes in order to meet the needs of communities.

– Jennifer Serrato

Photo: Flickr

Jim Yong KimWorld Bank President Jim Yong Kim said at the start of his term in July 2012 that he wants to eradicate poverty by the year 2030. Jim Yong Kim is the 12th president of the World Bank Group, nominated by Barack Obama in 2012, and unanimously reappointed in September 2016 to an additional five-year term to head the global financial and technical assistance program. Kim established these twin goals to inspire the work he accomplished throughout his term: alleviating poverty by 2030 and increasing shared prosperity.

In a speech delivered at Stanford Graduate School of Business in 2015, Kim proposed that efforts be refocused on improving health in developing nations. If we want to end poverty and stimulate the global economy, redirecting efforts to improve healthcare systems is the best way to accomplish these goals. Kim wants to capitalize on the World Health Organization’s goal of reducing the number of stunted children in the world by 40 percent by 2025. Kim proposes to completely rid the world of cognitive impairments brought on by malnourishment and understimulation by 2030 as well.

The secretary is well on his way to achieving the goals he put in place at the start of his term. In a press conference held in October 2017, Kim revealed that over 800 million people have escaped the grip of poverty as a result of China’s poverty reduction efforts. The World Bank’s involvement with China will continue in the form of improving its healthcare system, promoting access to social services in rural regions and supporting China’s focus on increasing domestic consumption. Similarly, multicomponent efforts have reduced the world’s population who live on less than $1.90 a day from 1.86 billion to 767 million people. This means that nearly 1.1 billion people have been lifted out of extreme poverty since 1990.

In addition to these accomplishments, the World Bank also reached its target goal of disbursing $518 million to support countries affected by the Ebola outbreak in 2016. World Bank President Jim Yong Kim’s career has been dedicated to global health, education and ameliorating the conditions of the world’s poor. With these goals in motion, the year 2030 should be a beautiful one.

Sloan Bousselaire

Photo: Flickr

Georgia's Poverty RateGeorgia is located between Europe and Asia and has become a crucial junction for trade flows across the two regions. Since the country’s political independence from the Soviet Union, the government has made a considerable effort to increase funding to social sectors and improve the transparency of public expenditure. While the country has made significant strides in recent years regarding human development, Georgia’s poverty rate continues to impede further development.

In 2015, about 20.1 percent of the population of Georgia was recorded as living below the poverty line by the Asian Development Bank. While the country has also experienced significant economic growth over the beginning of the 21st century, it has failed to translate it into equal wealth. Income disparities exist in pockets across the nation. As the country continues to urbanize, large differences between rural and urban areas continue to exist.

Those living in rural Georgia earn much of their income through the agriculture sector. Only 27 percent of rural dwellers earn their income through salaried work and 28 percent of rural incomes come from social payments. As the country’s agriculture production has become stagnant in recent years, much of the poverty today can be attributed to the agricultural sector which tends to account for around 45 percent of rural household income.

Georgia’s poverty rate also tends to be impacted by household sizes. Households with children have higher chances of falling into poverty than those without children. In rural areas of Georgia, around half of the children live in poverty, which is significantly greater than in urban areas.

In Georgia, one in every five children lives in poverty and one out of six live at the minimum subsistence level, according to UNICEF. These children that live in poverty also experience less educational opportunities than their peers living in wealthier families. The UNICEF representative of Georgia, Laila Omar Gad, professes that “We need to invest more in reaching the most vulnerable children, or pay the price in slower growth, greater inequality, and less stability”.

While large pockets of poverty remain, Georgia’s poverty rate has decreased by 14.4 percent in only four years, between 2010 and 2014. This result is partially due to the increase in the employment rate of those living in poverty from 50.7 percent to 56.6 percent over the same period.

Improving living conditions through economic activity has proven to reduce poverty in the country and should continue to be a tool to improve the living conditions for the people of Georgia. The World Bank Group has noted that the fiscal policies, inclusive economic opportunity creation and the deeper analysis of the rural economy all have driven the poverty reduction in Georgia.

To continue on the path toward development, Georgia must continue to engage in poverty alleviating policies while also working to ensure equal opportunities for all.

Tess Hinteregger

Photo: Flickr

National Agricultural Higher Education Project
On August 3, 2017, the World Bank approved an $82.5 million credit to go toward the National Agricultural Higher Education Project for India, which will aid in developing more comprehensive programs in institutions of higher agricultural learning.

When India gained independence in 1947, there were 17 agricultural colleges focused solely on providing agricultural training. Agricultural research was conducted separately by the State Departments of Agriculture and Community Development and often was not communicated effectively enough to the agricultural colleges for that research be put into practice.

From 1953 to 1960, the number of agricultural colleges in India nearly doubled despite a widespread lack of financial support. Educational standards fell because the colleges couldn’t all sustain themselves, and agricultural progress continued to slow. This breakdown caused India’s University Education Commission to reexamine the structure of India’s institutions of higher agricultural learning and, after consultation with representatives from American universities, the Commission established the Agricultural University (AU). This type of university transformed higher agricultural education by combining training and research within one institution and is the type of university the National Agricultural Higher Education Project will aim to support.

The current problem in Indian agricultural education that the program will target is that AUs need to attract more high-achieving students in order for the Indian agriculture industry to continue to grow. One component of the project will provide more grants to AUs and funding for new centers for the study of advanced agricultural science and technology, another will address leadership within AUs and a third will develop a system for project implementation and ensure that grants and other types of funding are supervised effectively.

The National Agricultural Higher Education Project is essential because the agriculture industry is one of the biggest contributors to India’s GDP, and more than 58 percent of rural households make their living in the agricultural sector. Even more pressing, 15 percent of India’s population is undernourished, and one in three children has stunted growth. A robust agriculture industry is needed not just for profit but, for many, basic survival.

Importantly, India’s institutions of higher agricultural learning programs have consistently improved over time, and the National Agricultural Higher Education Project will likely aid in streamlining agricultural training and research efforts even further.

Caroline Meyers

Photo: Flickr


Senegal, the westernmost country in Africa, has a population of about 15 million people. Nearly half of the Senegalese population – 46.7 percent, to be exact – are living in poverty. The following 10 facts should help explain and give context to the Senegal poverty rate.

  1. The Senegal poverty rate is determined in terms of consumption. Estimates of consumption per household are divided by the number of adults in the household; this number excludes children, who are assumed to consume less than adults. From here, a minimum acceptable standard of consumption is calculated and individuals below this level of consumption are considered poor or living under the poverty line.
  2. Geographic disparities in poverty exist between rural areas and Dakar, the capital city and largest city in Senegal. In rural areas, 66 percent of residents are considered poor compared to 23 percent of residents in Dakar. Additionally, the general poverty line in Dakar is almost two times higher than it is in rural areas.
  3. As of 2011, about 38 percent of Senegal’s population was living on $1.90 or less a day.
  4. Senegal’s gross national income as of 2016 was $950.
  5. Senegal’s economy relies on industries such as mining, construction, agriculture, fishing and tourism, but also heavily relies on foreign aid and remittances. Nearly 75 percent of the population works in the agricultural sector, which is regularly threatened by inclement weather such as drought and other climate changes.
  6. Senegal has a poor economy and, as a result, many Senegalese people emigrate to other countries. An economic crisis in 1970 ignited migration, which accelerated even more by 1990. Many migrants left for Libya and Mauritania, searching for opportunities in their thriving oil industries. Others left for more developed countries such as France, Italy and Spain for other economic opportunities.
  7. Senegal’s GDP rose at an average rate of 4.5 percent from 1995 to 2005. After 2005, however, while the rest of Africa enjoyed economic growth, Senegal’s economy started to decline. From 2005 to 2011, Senegal’s economy rose at an average rate of 3.3 percent. Decline in economic growth, especially during 2005 to 2011, can be attributed to drought, floods, rising fuel prices and the global financial crisis.
  8. The World Bank reported that Senegal’s GDP growth is too low for significant poverty reduction.
  9. The fertility rate in Senegal is almost 4.5 children per woman. Young people comprise a large portion – 60 percent – of the Senegalese population. Additionally, Senegal has an illiteracy rate of 40 percent and a high unemployment rate of 12.7 percent, both of which provide dim outlooks for Senegalese youth. According to the Hunger Project, 22 percent of children ages five to 14 are working and not attending school.
  10. Unlike many countries facing extreme poverty, Senegal has one of the most stable governments in Africa and is considered a model for democracy in Africa. Since its independence from France in 1960, Senegal has elected four presidents and has witnessed three peaceful political transitions.

Despite the fact that the Senegal poverty rate is high, many projects have been implemented to reduce the poverty rate. President Macky Sall unveiled the Emerging Senegal Plan (ESP), which strives to prioritize economic reforms and growth. The International Monetary Fund has been providing assistance for the ESP from 2015 to 2017.

In an attempt to take a fresh look at poverty, Senegal’s national statistics office distributed the second Senegal Poverty Monitoring Survey. The World Bank, the Canadian government and the World Food Programme provided financial support. The survey, however, has room for error because it is heavily dependent on the time of year that residents fill it out, as consumption levels vary based on the harvest.

Microfinance has become a key role in reducing poverty in very poor countries, such as Senegal. This program has allowed poor individuals who are excluded from traditional banking to obtain micro loans. The Hunger Project introduced the Microfinance Program (MFP) in Senegal, which strives to incorporate female farmers and entrepreneurs in order to give them a larger voice in the community. Three of the MFPs in Senegal have been approved by the government to operate as Rural Banks. MFPs provide credit and savings programs and have allowed many farmers to move beyond exclusively subsistence farming.

Economic growth will be the key component in reducing poverty in Senegal. These projects involving the Senegalese government and other various organizations will spark this economic growth, which should in turn help to reduce the Senegal poverty rate.

Christiana Lano

Photo: Flickr

Ukraine Poverty Rate
In recent years, Ukraine has been a focal point in the news for its contentious relationship with Russia. The Ukraine poverty rate has seen spikes, especially since the breakup of the Soviet Union.

According to an article from the World Bank, in 2016, Ukraine’s economy grew by approximately 2.3 percent. This growth was viewed as minimal, especially in comparison to the past two years where Ukraine collectively saw a 16 percent increase. However, areas including fixed investment and agriculture harvest exhibited strong growth.

Satu Kahkonen, country director for Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine at the World Bank stated in the article that economic recovery for Ukraine is feasible.

“The economy is recovering modestly, but accelerating reforms can help to boost growth in the medium term, address macroeconomic vulnerabilities, and improve the wellbeing of the population,” Kahkonen said in the article. “Reforming the pension system, land markets and health care are now critical given the growing headwinds from the conflict in the east of Ukraine.”

For 2017, officials predict that Ukraine’s economy will experience a mere two percent growth. The World Bank has sought to help this country through investment. They have collectively contributed over $10 billion towards 70 different projects and programs.

In addition, the people of Ukraine have historically faced fairly severe poverty. Between 1992 and 1994, hyperinflation caused approximately 80 percent of Ukrainians to find themselves living in poverty. Additionally, about 25 percent of Ukrainians faced unemployment. The Ukraine poverty rate has only worsened in the years following.

According to the World Bank, the poverty headcount ratio at national poverty (the percentage of the country’s population living below the national poverty line) was approximately 6.4 as of 2015.

The Ukraine poverty rate is projected to improve in the coming years, regardless of recent declines in the country’s economy.

Leah Potter

Photo: Flickr

Climate Change and Water Scarcity
It seems nearly impossible to understate the global importance of water. In the age of climate change, water scarcity is rising at levels predicted to impede sustainable development and slow progress against poverty for years ahead. However, better preparing for climate change and water scarcity can redirect water to a source of development.

As a result of interconnected issues pertaining to climate change, the world is expected to experience a 66 percent decrease in water availability by 2050. Ultimately, climate change negatively impacts every facet of the water cycle as it creates drought, uncertain weather patterns, increased natural disasters and other phenomena. Climate change is predicted to send new areas into drought and exacerbate already vulnerable areas. The greatest losses in water availability are likely for the Middle East, East Asia and much of Africa.

Climate change’s impact on water availability impedes food production, as seventy percent of global water use is devoted to agriculture. Without enough water to meet the rising demand for food, expected to be 60 percent higher than today by 2030, this spikes food prices and worsens food scarcity. For Sub Saharan Africa, food prices are expected to rise by 77 percent by 2080 as a result of climate change, compared to a worldwide average increase of 17 percent.

Water scarcity caused by climate change also wreaks havoc on economies, especially ones that are still developing. This is largely due to the fact that water is vital to sustaining development for health, incomes, properties and agriculture. These factors have the potential to generate economic downturn. Many regions that were already water-insecure face a six percent decline in GDP by 2050 as a result of climate change and water scarcity.

Ultimately, these interconnected issues can bring about conflict between nations over resources and water allocation. Water scarcity also spurs increased waves of migration to water-abundant locations. Most conflicts are expected in places with large social inequities, especially in the developing world.

Despite the fact that all people require water security, climate change and water scarcity especially impact low-income populations. Not only are developing nations most at risk of climate change, but insufficient resources make it difficult to cope with climate stressors. Poor water availability also exacerbates improper sanitation and safety in drinking water. This disproportionately threatens health and equality for marginalized populations.

But what can be done to impede the impact of climate change on water availability? The World Bank explains that ensuring water is used most efficiently is crucial to fighting water shortages, especially in dominant sectors such as agriculture. Meaningful changes are possible by drastically investing in climate-smart equipment and infrastructure around the world. These changes work to sustainably end pollution cycles while conserving resources.

Maybe most impactfully, changes in governmental policies are crucial; these can act as insurance plans against worsening climate stressors. World Bank President Jim Yong Kim explains that “countries can enact policies now that will help them manage water sustainably for the years ahead.”

Ultimately, making use of the world of available tools redirects water back to a potential for prosperity.  Richard Damania, an economist for the World Bank, explains that “by allocating even 25 percent of water to more highly-valued uses, losses decline dramatically and for some regions may even vanish.” Instead of seeing negative growth from lessened water, some economies can predict a six percent increase in GDP if they sustainably develop water usage.

Water is a tool for lifting people out poverty and lessening the global impacts of climate change if the world makes sufficient use of proper tools. And although the drastic progress against water scarcity still needed today may be costly, the World Bank epitomizes that when it comes to water, “the costs of inaction are far higher.”

Cleo Krejci

Photo: Flickr