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Financial inclusion, financial regulation, and education in Bangladesh

Like in many other countries, inclusive finance for inclusive growth has become a policy issue in Bangladesh following the global financial crisis in 2008. Over the past 10 years, intensity of financial deepening and access to financial services has increased. Both banks and microfinance institutions have contributed to higher intensity. A recent study shows that around 40% of the adult population and 75% of households have access to financial services in Bangladesh. Several factors may have contributed. Proactive regulatory policies and expanded financial literacy are the major determinants. In this paper, regulatory policies have been evaluated and the effect of financial literacy on financial inclusion has been examined empirically. Our analysis suggests that the regulatory agencies in Bangladesh have formulated policies for promoting financial inclusion and creating investment opportunities for micro and small firms in particular. Our empirical evidence, based on household-level data, shows that the intensity of financial literacy in Bangladesh is moderate, and it has a positive impact on inclusive finance. These findings warrant more emphasis on increasing financial literacy for access to finance and informed investment decisions.

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The development economics of landlockedness

The purpose of this study was to analyse the impact of landlockedness on the development prospects of Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs). In particular the study assesses the impact of landlockedness on the overall development performance of LLDCs on a large number of economic, institutional, and social indicators; empirically estimates the development cost of being landlocked using an econometric approach; and based on the findings, proposes recommendations that can provide a more holistic strategy to the development of LLDCs. The distinctive feature of the econometric approach used is that it does not limit landlockedness to affect income (or economic growth) through its effect on trade. The logic underlying the modelling approach is that landlockedness can affect both economic and non-economic dimensions of development and that these development effects can be transmitted through several channels that include international trade and quality of institutions.

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State of the Least Developed Countries 2016

The current report builds on the first and second editions, which considered the issues of productive capacity building as well as extreme poverty eradication in the least developed countries (LDCs) and the post-2015 development agenda. These reports provided analysis relating to the inclusion of LDC issues in the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. This year’s report is dedicated to the implementation of the SDGs in LDCs using synergies with the Istanbul Programme of Action (IPoA). Part 1 of the report assesses progress towards achieving the goals and targets of the IPoA, particularly in the eight priority areas; reviews efforts towards this end; and identifies challenges ahead. The report argues that enhanced, coordinated and targeted support to the LDCs fulfilling ODA commitments but also going beyond, will remain critical to effectively implementing the IPoA. Part 2 of the report assesses the complementarities of the IPoA and the 2030 Agenda. It maps the goals, targets and actions of the IPoA with the SDGs, focusing on means of implementation. Furthermore it looks at how the implementation of the SDGs in LDCs can be fostered, including its mainstreaming and monitoring and followup. The conclusions and policy recommendations cover the findings in both parts of the report. As the report finds significant synergies between the IPoA and the Agenda 2030 it highlights the importance of leadership and political will and effective global partnership.

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The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: achieving the industry-related goals and targets

UNIDO’s vision to address today’s economic, social and environmental challenges is enshrined in the Lima Declaration, which was adopted by UNIDO Member States in December 2013. On this basis, the Organization pursues Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development (ISID) to harness industry’s full potential to contribute to lasting prosperity for all. The mandate is based on the recognition by Member States that poverty eradication “can only be achieved through strong, inclusive, sustainable and resilient economic and industrial growth, and the effective integration of the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development.” The present document summarizes the contribution of UNIDO’s mandate as well as current and planned future activities vis-à-vis the SDGs, with a special focus on SDG-9, which highlights and affirms the critical importance of ISID and its contribution to all 17 goals.

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Leaving no one behind: report on the World Social Situation 2016

Despite unprecedented social progress around the world, many people continue to face social exclusion and limited access to social, economic and political opportunities. This report examines the social, economic and political disadvantages that some groups of the population face, namely youth, older persons, ethnic minorities, indigenous peoples, migrants and persons with disabilities. It also makes policy recommendations to help governments overcome development hurdles and address barriers that limit people’s access to opportunities.

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Investment by TNCs and gender: preliminary assessment and way forward

Through their activities in foreign direct investment (FDI) -- trade, non-equity modalities and business relationships with local suppliers -- transnational corporations (TNCs) have significant gender-specific impacts in developing countries. This report is a preliminary assessment of this impact. It focuses mainly on gender equality, spanning the wage and employment impact of TNCs, and the related potential for women's empowerment. Based on the analysis presented, the report proposes three key policy recommendations for governments.

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Investment guide to the Silk Road

In 2013 the World Bank identified the Silk Road countries as one of the regions that has made the most progress in improving the ease of doing business. A network of investment treaties and double taxation agreements also signals the increasing openness of the region to international investment. This guide provides potential investors with information on the Silk Road to illustrate the various investment opportunities in Central Asia, and familiarize themselves with the region. Chapter I introduces the region and individual economies, and summarizes the extensive history of the Silk Road, from its ancient prosperity to its current revival. Chapter II provides the reader with information about the economic conditions of each country and the region as a whole. Chapter III outlines investment opportunities in selected sectors in the Silk Road countries. The Appendices provide brief overviews of the investment regulatory framework in each of the Silk Road countries.

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The Palestinian economy in East Jerusalem: enduring annexation, isolation and disintegration

International organizations and Israeli and Palestinian non-governmental organizations have published reports and studies in recent years on East Jerusalem focused mainly on political and social conditions. But few have examined its economy, which is generally considered to follow the overall trend of the West Bank economy and is represented statistically as part of it. Be that as it may, East Jerusalem’s economy, like other features of its society, culture and landscape, is also shaped by factors unique to its particular experience in the face of Israeli occupation and settlement. This report aims to explore these hitherto neglected issues within the context of the secretariat’s continuing assessment of the economic development prospects of the occupied Palestinian territory and obstacles to trade and development, and with a view to alleviating the adverse economic and social conditions imposed on the Palestinian people, as called for by the Doha Mandate.

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Who is benefiting from trade liberalization in Angola? A gender perspective

The study seeks to explore the impacts of Angola's integration into the world economy mainly as an oil exporter, and in particular, to analyse whether there is a gender bias in the effects of trade. The findings suggest that the extractive nature of Angola's economy has significantly constrained its diversification potential, and has limited the development of productive activities that could absorb the female workforce and provide women with decent incomes. Moreover, a defining characteristic of the Angolan labour market is the size of the informal sector, which is proportionately one of the largest in the developing world. This sector provides the main occupation for 70 per cent of the female population in the country. This UNCTAD study takes a close look at the role of women in Angola's economy and society as it attempts to answer the following questions: What strategies could be put in place to address the potential exclusionary effects of Angola's trade liberalization? How can women take advantage of the positive spillovers from Angola's extractive economy and ultimately benefit from trade? What kind of sectoral policies can be promoted in order to generate new opportunities for women and have them benefit more from the booming economy?

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Technology in action: good practices in Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) policies for women in South Asia

The publication is focused on policies and initiatives carried out in countries in South Asia that show how Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) can help the condition of women in this region. Focusing the analysis on regional levels allows for the consideration of existing commonalities across countries in different geographical regions in relation to gender equality and the different circumstances across and within countries. This report was elaborated based on a comprehensive analysis of secondary literature on programmes and policies on gender, STI and other sectors conducted in the region by local governments in collaboration with international agencies and other organizations. The experiences presented in this report show that STI policies usually contribute to improving the livelihoods of women and enhancing gender equality through the following mechanisms: introducing and diffusing technological and scientific developments that improve the life of women; creating and strengthening, both directly and indirectly, capacities related to STI; and introducing financial innovations such as microcredit and related skills for entrepreneurs.

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Who is benefiting from trade liberalization in Uruguay? A gender perspective

This report aims to assess the implications of Uruguay’s productive transformation, trade liberalization, and regional trade integration on women, especially in terms of their access to employment. The report encourages the reader to take into account the complexities of the trade and gender link and its numerous, and sometimes hidden, connections with the micro and macro components of economic and development processes. The research also highlights that Uruguay’s legal framework as well as social norms and stereotypes contribute to the role that women play in the labour market and society. The long-term approach of the study, covering three decades of economic and social reforms, provides the basis for anticipating the role that the female workforce may play in Uruguay in the decades ahead.

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Roll Back Malaria: advocacy for resource mobilization (ARM) guide

This guide is to provide malaria stakeholders in endemic countries with an advocacy implementation guide, case studies and tools to assist them with mobilizing resources for malaria control and elimination at the country level. The intended audience for this guide includes a variety of in-country stakeholders from government officials in national malaria control programs to implementing partners focusing on health and malaria who recognize the need for additional resources and more effective use of them to scale up malaria efforts at the national and local level.

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Why is son preference declining in the Republic of Korea?

For years, the Republic of Korea presented the puzzling phenomenon of steeply rising sex ratios at birth despite rapid development, including in women’s education and formal employment. This paper shows that son preference decreased in response to development, but its manifestation continued until the mid-1990s due to improved sex-selection technology. The paper analyses unusually rich survey data, and finds that the impact of development worked largely through triggering normative changes across the whole society — rather than just through changes in individuals as their socio-economic circumstances changed. The findings show that nearly three-quarters of the decline in son preference between 1991 and 2003 is attributable to normative change, and the rest to increases in the proportions of urban and educated people. South Korea is now the first Asian country to reverse the trend in rising sex ratios at birth. The paper discusses the cultural underpinnings of son preference in pre-industrial Korea, and how these were unravelled by industrialization and urbanization, while being buttressed by public policies upholding the patriarchal family system. Finally, the authors hypothesize that child sex ratios in China and India will decline well before they reach South Korean levels of development, since they have vigorous programs to accelerate normative change to reduce son preference.

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Adolescent boys and young men: engaging them as supporters of gender equality and health and understanding their vulnerabilities

Achieving gender equality must, and has, involved efforts to understand the vulnerabilities and risks that adolescent girls and young women face every day – but how much do we know about the realities of adolescent boys and young men? This report takes a deeper look at the daily lives of adolescent boys and young men around the world and at how they can join the movement towards improved health and gender equality. Exploring global research, the report reveals boys’ and young men’s specific risks and realities in relation to health in general, sexual and reproductive health in particular, sexuality, media violence, sexual exploitation and other vulnerabilities. It analyses the implications of these risks and realities not only for boys, but also on the lives of women and girls. Adolescence is a key period where individuals of all gender identities form attitudes, opinions and beliefs – about themselves, about their sexuality and about their place in the world. It is a period when ideas about equality can become ingrained. The study emphasizes that a holistic approach to advancing gender equality and sexual and reproductive health must include both adolescent girls and boys. It highlights the need to engage adolescent boys and young men as allies to achieve gender equality and as supporters of women’s empowerment, as well as the importance of addressing the specific health and social development needs of boys themselves.

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Manufacturing progress? Employment creation in Sri Lanka

This study, written in collaboration with ECDPM, aims to explain the employment progress achieved in Sri Lanka from 1990 to 2010. This period has seen a drastic reduction in unemployment, and improved working conditions, particularly for women, accompanied by structural transformation away from agriculture towards manufacturing and services. The drivers of employment progress in quality, quantity and access are examined in terms of policies affecting demand for and supply of labour. While this employment progress has been achieved under unique and challenging conditions, not least a civil war from 1983 to 2009, the study attempts to draw conclusions for policy-makers in other contexts. In particular it points to the long-term adherence to a hybrid industrial policy agenda comprising outward market orientation and policies to promote investment into export processing zones, attention to education and vocational training, and continuing strong government economic activity in the form of state-owned enterprises and public employment. As for any progress story, employment progress is not necessarily ‘success’ – outward migration and war-related employment have also been key factors. Nonetheless, Sri Lanka is on a trajectory of economic transformation that, with the end of the civil war, offers a strong basis for further employment progress and improved livelihoods.

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Establishing a workable follow-up and review process for the Sustainable Development Goals

The Open Working Group document proposes that governments will set its own national targets. They will be guided by the global level of ambition but taking into account national circumstances. To make the Post-2015 agenda actionable, much more thought needs to be given to the process of target-setting, different actors’ responsibilities, implementation and accountability.

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Mind the gap? A comparison of international and national targets for the SDG agenda

The stretch required for low-income countries (LICs) to achieve SDG targets is generally greater than for middle-income and high-income countries (MICs and HICs). The gaps identified indicate where most work is needed to alter political priorities in order to realise the SDGs. Most hard work will be needed in areas that are highly politically contentious (climate policy) or expensive (secondary education, electricity and sanitation). This has implications for how governments structure a review process and how resources are mobilised for the post-2015 sustainable development agenda. The report also found a great deal of variation in the approach to measuring targets at the national level. A standardised approach would make comparisons easier and hold governments more readily to account.

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One foot on the ground, one foot in the air: Ethiopia’s delivery on an ambitious development agenda

This case study looks at the progress achieved in material well-being, education and employment, where Ethiopia has shown particularly strong performance over the past 10 to 15 years. However this transformation is far from complete and a number of challenges remain, not least the depth and breadth of chronic poverty. A number of key lessons for the Sustainable Development Goals can be drawn from Ethiopia's experience: 1) Centring government policy on a single goal - poverty reduction - and taking a multidimensional approach can encourage ministries to work more comprehensively and consistently; 2) Integrating social sectors into broader economic planning and high rates of pro-poor spending benefit the economy; 3) Long-term planning and a clear division of responsibilities can build the foundation for broader transformation.

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In quest of inclusive progress: exploring intersecting inequalities in human development

For 16 countries with appropriate data, this paper seeks to ascertain to what extent wealth status, urban/rural place of residence and ethnicity – and overlaps between them – explain inequalities in education and health; and how these inequalities have changed over time. The focus is on women’s years of education and on the proportion of children in a household who have died.

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Piecing together the MDG puzzle: domestic policy, government spending and performance

Policy-makers in most of the developing countries surveyed report that the MDGs were influential in setting priorities domestically. Analysis of the education and health sectors suggests these statements are not merely tokenistic as countries reporting high influence saw increases in budget allocations. However while many countries experienced increases in government spending in social sectors over the MDG period, the majority still spend less than the recommended international benchmarks. Significant increases in government allocations will therefore be required to match the ambition of the SDGs. Recommendations for the SDG period include ensuring better data on domestic use of targets, government spending and performance are available to better assess their influence over the next 15 years and ensure the 'leave no one behind' agenda will be fulfilled.

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National MDG implementation: lessons for the SDG era

As we approach the deadline for the expiration of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and the start of the Sustainable Development Goals, at the end of 2015, this paper asks: how did governments respond at the national level to the set of global development goals in the form of the MDGs? Using five case study countries: Indonesia, Turkey, Mexico, Nigeria and Liberia, to reflect a mix of regions, income classifications and MDG performance, the paper draws out common trends and suggests five lessons for the post-2015 era.

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How communications can change social norms around adolescent girls

Poised at the intersection between childhood and adulthood, adolescent girls face unique challenges to the full development and exercise of their capabilities. Child marriage and under-investment in girls’ education are two such challenges that continue to limit girls’ trajectories, fuelled in part by discriminatory social norms that uphold these practices within local settings that are often circumscribed by poverty and lack of opportunity. A multi-year, multi-country study has been exploring the complex ways in which adolescent girls’ capabilities are shaped and/or constrained by gender-discriminatory social norms, attitudes and practices, and under what conditions positive changes may be brought about, particularly around norms and practices related to child marriage and education. Evidence from this report showed that communications programmes could be an effective way of challenging gender-discriminatory attitudes and practices, reaching a variety of stakeholders with both broad pro-gender equality messages and messages on specific discriminatory norms. While no one approach was found to be more effective than others, programmes with more than one communications component and those integrated with activities other than communications were found to achieve a higher proportion of positive outcomes.

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Education Cannot Wait: Proposing a fund for education in emergencies

Built on extensive consultation and dialogue among a range of stakeholders, 'Education Cannot Wait' is an education crisis fund designed to transform the global education sector, including both humanitarian and development responses. Launching at the World Humanitarian Summit in May 2016, the platform aims to deliver a more collaborative, agile and rapid response to education in emergencies in order to fulfill the right to education for children and young people affected by crises. It is about both restoring hope to millions of children and demonstrating that the governments who signed the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal pledge intend to keep their promise. This publication outlines the potential operation of 'Education Cannot Wait'.

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Child poverty, inequality and demography: Why sub-Saharan Africa matters for the Sustainable Development Goals

In this publication we examine the implications of demographic trends in Africa for the changing age profile of world poverty – and for the region's development prospects. Investing in opportunities for Africa’s children could yield major returns for economic growth and human development. Education is critical. Delivering decent quality learning for all is a proven catalyst for development. We also highlight the expansion of reproductive health care, promotion of gender equity, measures to reduce early marriage, and cash transfers targeting child poverty as critical ingredients for change. African governments and the wider international community could be doing far more in these areas. With the right mix of policies in place, Africa could accelerate the pace of demographic transition – and reap a dividend from a rising generation of youth. There are valuable lessons to be drawn from other regions and some countries in Africa itself. But governments need to wake up to the demographic opportunity as a matter of urgency.

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Projecting progress: the SDGs in Latin America and the Caribbean

This paper presents Latin America and the Caribbean’s (LAC) likely progress across the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda, if trends continue on their current trajectories. There are significant disparities across the globe in progress both between and within countries; LAC is no exception. There are a number of disparities across sub-regions and there are disparities within countries – ethnicity, for example, is a crucial factor in determining whether someone is likely to benefit from development gains. During the Millennium Development Goals era considerable gains were made in a number of countries in LAC. However, already strong outcomes in some areas compared with other developing regions will make continued progress towards the new goals difficult.

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