Latin America and the Caribbean

Date of publication
August 2013

The book examines the impacts of medium-
and large-scale mines on local communities, through six case
studies, analyzing both the socioeconomic and cultural
effects, as well as environmental impacts of mining
operations on the communities. From a multidimensional
perspective, studies investigate mining operations costs,
and benefits, with an emphasis on the sustainability of
benefits, and the outcomes of the legal, and consultative
processes, in an aim to identify best practices - from the
stakeholders' perspectives - in the management of
mining development, extraction, and closure phases. It is
relevant to note the two factors that affected increased
globalization of trade markets in recent years: the decline
of the communist trading block, and the increased
environmental control in developed countries, being mineral
activities in developing, and transition countries one of
the most notable. Recommendations suggest that mining
sustainability can only be maintained with public, and
community support for the social, and economic activities of
a region, based on valuable comprehensive environmental
reviews of mine projects, and articulated with local
populations through employment, and services provision. To
this end, training strategies for the formation of
"semi-technicians" or, a broader technical
formation, should prepare a skilled work force, able to make
contributions, and as well, be less dependent on one
specific economic sector. But, concerted efforts on
participatory local development should focus not only on
capacity building, but on strengthening local community
leadership beyond the lifecycle of a mine.

Date of publication
August 2014
Geographical focus

The Caribbean region suffers from a high
degree of economic volatility. A history of repeated
external and domestic shocks has made economic insecurity a
major concern across the region. Of particular concern to
all households, especially the poorest segments of the
population, is the exposure to shocks that are generated by
catastrophic events or natural disasters. The author
develops a conceptual framework for risk management and
shows that the insurance market for catastrophic risk in the
Caribbean region remains a "thin" market
characterized by "high" prices and "low"
transfer of risk. He analyzes the possible market failures
which could explain the lack of development of the
catastrophe insurance market. Finally he outlines a set of
recommendations for public sector interventions.

Date of publication
August 2012
Geographical focus

Reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and
other greenhouse gases that affect climate change is one of
the key challenges facing the international community. The
Bank's Prototype Carbon Fund (PCF) provides a framework
for action, learning, and research to demonstrate how
greenhouse gas emission reduction transactions can
contribute to sustainable development, while lowering the
costs of compliance with the Kyoto Protocol-the 1997
agreement to cut industrialized world emissions of
greenhouse gases. The Latin American and the Caribbean (LAC)
Region has a growing number of successful Prototype Carbon
Fund (PCF) projects that have yielded useful experience for
developing additional projects. This note highlights the
lessons learned in the region, to date. The PCF is a
public-private fund established in 2000 and administered by
the World Bank acting as Trustee. It operates under the
clean development mechanism principles of the Kyoto Protocol
to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The PCF aims to demonstrate the potential of market-based
mechanisms for reducing the cost of mitigating climate
change. It does this by buying Certified Emission Reductions
(CERs) from projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions in
Bank client countries, particularly projects that replace
fossil fuels with renewable energy sources and those that
improve end-use and supply-side efficiency. In return for
their shares in the PCF, developed country governments and
private sector companies receive CERs, which they can use
towards their obligations under the Kyoto Protocol or
domestic regulations.

Date of publication
August 2014
Geographical focus

Latin America missed opportunities for
rapid resource-based growth that similarly endowed
countries-Australia, Canada, Scandinavia-were able to take
advantage of. Fundamental to this poor performance was
deficient technological adoption driven by two factors.
First, deficient national "learning" or
"innovative" capacity, arising from low investment
in human capital and scientific infrastructure, led to weak
ability to innovate or even take advantage of technological
advances abroad. Second, the period of inward-looking
industrialization discouraged innovation and created a
sector whose growth depended on artificial monopoly rents
rather than the quasi-rents arising from technological
adoption, and at the same time undermined resource-intensive
sectors that had the potential for dynamic growth.

Date of publication
August 2012
Geographical focus

The proliferation of urban slums is due
in large part to obsolete regulatory, legal and
institutional frameworks at the local level governing land
use, development standards, land registration and titling.
These regulations are often exclusionary, insisting on
development norms and standards that are outside the realm
of the poor to pay and subdivision procedures are often over
burdensome, leading to informal land subdivision, thus
excluding the possibility to register titles under such
"illegal" conditions. Likewise, well intentioned
federal or national housing policies that focus on the
provision of complete housing packages (as opposed to
products like sites and services, progressive housing or
demand, rather than supply-side subsidies) often have the
unintended effect of filtering-up to higher income groups,
especially when private mortgage market alternatives are not
available to middle and lower-middle class households.
Reforming these structural problems remains one of the
greatest challenges, but progress is being made in countries
like Brazil, Mexico on both the land and housing sides, and
in Venezuela with regard to land and development standards.

Date of publication
August 2013
Geographical focus

This book talks about participation,
from the first to the last page. And that is its strength,
for participation is a road leading to democracy. The true
participation it talks about does not rely on hours of
compulsory labor or imposed levies; there is nothing forced
about it. Rather, it is a process in which men and women
engage their will, their sense of responsibility, their
abilities, their dignity. It is a vital participation,
because it affects much of what makes for a better life in a
poor neighborhood: water supplies, sanitation, electricity,
roads, drainage, public spaces, housing. For some,
participation creates risks, whether of popular protests,
mismanaged conflicts of interests, or mounting expectations
that are difficult to meet. But, in reality ad above all,
participation creates opportunity. In favors civic learning
and people's empowerment. It opens the way to
alternatives. It enhances the quality of projects and the
continuity of development. It enables an escape from rigid
control or populist clientelism into a practice of
strategies of negotiations.

Date of publication
March 2014
Geographical focus

This paper reviews the performance of
railway concessions in Latin America over the period
extending from the initial Argentina concessions in
1991-1993 through 2004. The bulk of the concessioning
processes described herein were supported by the World Bank.
Now over a decade since rail concessioning in Latin America
began, the overall assessment of its results is positive,
particularly for freight railways. Railway traffic volumes
have climbed, with some improvements in surface transport
market share. Although numerous data problems exist,
measures of productive efficiency almost uniformly show
post-concession improvements in cargo transport. Effects on
rail rates and service levels have generally received
positive reviews. Evidence is less extensive for passenger
services, mostly because concessioning was largely limited
to commuter services in Argentina and Brazil and because
such concessions must be evaluated in terms of complex
subsidy and regulated pricing regimes, rather than as
market-based private enterprises. Railway concessions have
not revived uneconomic intercity passenger services, nor has
there been much effort to do so. iii. While concessioning
brought impressive improvements in labor productivity and
other efficiency measures, results have been not quite as
dramatic as they are sometimes portrayed. This is in part
because the initial concessions took place in the volatile
Argentina economy, where a precipitous decline in the rail
sector just prior to concessioning was followed by a
dramatic post-concession revival. Elsewhere the decline in
the rail sector was not as severe as in Argentina, nor was
the recovery so rapid.

Date of publication
July 2013
Geographical focus

This book is organized as follows:
Introduction: Is Geography Destiny? Chapter 1 discuses The
Channels of Influence of Geography: Latin America from an
International Perspective. Chapter 2 discusses The Other
Side of The Mountain: The Influence of Geography Within
Countries. Chapter 3 discusses Policies to Overcome the
Limitations of Geography

Date of publication
June 2012
Geographical focus

The provision of public goods and the amelioration of market failure are the classical justifications for government intervention in the economy. In reality, (1) governments intervene in markets that are not affected by failure, and (2) a large share of the government resources is spent in private goods, not in public goods. In contrast to issue 1, issue 2 has received little attention in the literature, in spite of the potentially large efficiency and equity losses arising from misguided allocations of public expenditures. López empirically documents the size of (2) in the rural sector and investigates its consequences for rural development for 10 Latin American countries over the 1985-2000 period. The econometric evidence suggests that the structure of public expenditures is an important factor of economic development in the rural sector, much greater than that of the level of public expenditures and of other factors on which the development literature has traditionally focused. Expanding total public expenditure in rural areas while maintaining the existing public expenditure composition prevailing in certain countries does little to promote agricultural income and reduce rural poverty. Spending a significant share of government resources in (non-social) subsidies causes less agriculture income, induces an excessive reliance of agriculture on land expansion, and reduces the income of the rural poor.

Date of publication
August 2012

Climate change is a very serious
environmental challenge that affects prospects for
sustainable development. Since the Industrial Revolution,
the mean surface temperature of Earth has increased an
average of one degree Celsius per century mainly due to the
accumulation of greenhouse gases (CHGs) in the atmosphere.
Furthermore, most of this change has occurred in the past 30
to 40 years, and the rate of increase is accelerating. A
change of this magnitude is unprecedented and will result in
significant impacts both at a global scale, and for Latin
America and the Caribbean in particular. This paper includes
the following headings: impacts are unavoidable;
international response; and opportunities to address climate
change and local development.


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