Capacity Building to Deal With Climate Challenges Today and in the Future
Journal of Environment and Development, March 2012
Maria Damon, Gunnar Köhlin, Thomas Sterner, and Martine Visser
Climate change represents a serious threat to the economic growth potential in low income countries. Instead of investing in growth, they may be drawn into strife and conflict. Climate change and the global politics to deal with it, could however also present a number of interesting opportunities for developing countries. Such opportunities may arise in sustainable forestry, new forms of solar, wind or bioenergy and related industries, agriculture or in the programs for abatement and mitigation that are likely to be created. It is an important priority for low-income countries to develop local knowledge and understanding concerning climate change in order to better prepare for both the costs and challenges posed by climate change, as well as to defend their national interests and participate in international negotiations. Creating academic capacity is however a long and painstaking process. We discuss a number of existing initiatives but conclude that more is needed, particularly at the higher level of PhD studies.
Benefit-cost analysis of the Hoang Dinh Sea Dyke Reconstruction Project
Oxfam Great Britain, Vietnam
Final Evaluation: The Rural Infrastructure Development Program
UNDP and UNCDF
Fritzen, Scott, Stanely J.
Donors, local development groups and institutional reform over Vietnam's development decade
in Kerkvliet, B.J., Heng, R.H.K. and Hock, D.K.W. (eds.), Getting organized in Vietnam: Moving in and around the socialist state, Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, pp. 234-270.
International donors have attempted to contribute to, and indeed influence, the overall tenor of socioeconomic and governance-related reforms in Vietnam. They have done so in a number of ways: directly supporting policy research, stablishing forums for debate of developmental issues with government counterparts, funding projects on administrative and judiciary reform and central level capacity building, and providing direct financial and sometimes indirect support for ‘indigenous’ NGOs, primarily development service organizations working as contractors for particular development projects. This paper examines another modality through which donors sought to influence administrative reform over the heady ‘development decade’ of the 1990s – donor support for rural development projects conceived as ‘policy experiments’ (Rondinelli 1983). Though diverse in sectoral focus, these projects commonly attempted to introduce local institutional arrangements promoting greater responsiveness and accountability of local governments to rural communities as a whole, or to particular sub-groups such as smallholder farmers. To do so, local organizations or grassroots groups were typically established as new ways of organizing the rural populace to demand, plan for, access or provide services underpinning rural development and poverty alleviation. “Local development groups” (LDGs) is the name I give to groups comprised of farmers and other end-users of project services (or representatives they choose) that were formed in the process of implementing particular development projects. This paper probes the experience of these development projects and LDGs over approximately the last ten years. It depicts how projects funded by a wide range of donors became an important part of the institutional landscape in many areas of Vietnam, leaving a significant mark on many sectors related to rural development. Five sections follow this introduction. The first examines how changing donor roles interacted with institutional developments to produce an opportunity for projects to influence policy. Section two presents a theoretical framework with which to assess LDGs and the policy experiments in which they were embedded, which section three applies the framework to a sample of 15 donor projects operational over the 1990s in Vietnam. Section four presents more qualitative detail on a few of the higher-impact projects. The final section concludes with implications for donors and the study of local institutional change in Vietnam.
From infrastructure to institutions: Reforming primary health care in Vietnam.
In Social Issues in Vietnam’s Economic Transformation: Vol 2 (ed: Giang Thanh Long), Hanoi: National Political Publishing House, pp. 51-86.
Efficient Funding: Auditing in the Nonprofit Sector
Manufacturing & Service Operations Management. 13(4) 471-488.
N. Privett and F. Erhun
Nonprofit organizations are a critical part of society as well as a growing sector of the economy. For funders there is an increasing and pressing need to ensure that society reaps the most social benefit for their money while also developing the nonprofit sector as a whole. By routinely scrutinizing nonprofit reports in an effort to deduce whether a nonprofit organization is efficient, funders may believe that they are, in fact, giving responsibly. However, we find that these nonprofit reports are unreliable, supporting a myriad of empirical research and revealing that report-based funding methods do not facilitate efficient allocation of funds. In response, we develop audit contracts that put funders in a position to enact change. Auditing, perhaps obviously, supports funders; however, we find that it also benefits the population of nonprofits. Moreover, auditing results in improved efficiency for the nonprofit sector overall. Indeed, our conclusions indicate that nonprofits may want to work with funders to increase the use of auditing, consequently increasing efficiency for the sector overall and impacting society as a whole.
The 2013 Federal Budget's Impact on Communities of Color and Low-Income Families
Women of Color Policy Network
The Obama administration's budget proposal for fiscal year 2013 (FY 2013) strengthens the national economy by investing in schools, communities and safety net programs. The FY 2013 budget also includes a number of important investments in infrastructure that will spur much needed job growth in a time of economic uncertainty for many working and low-income families. It is critical that such investments take into account the persistently high unemployment in communities of color, and target spending to increase the economic security of the communities most impacted by the "Great Recession." Additionally, the budget includes important changes to the tax code that will lay the foundation for a fairer and more equitable economy.
The Greatest Grid: The Master Plan of Manhattan, 1811-2011
Laying out Manhattan's street grid and providing a rationale for the growth of New York was the city's first great civic enterprise, not to mention a brazenly ambitious project and major milestone in the history of city planning. The grid created the physical conditions for business and society to flourish and embodied the drive and discipline for which the city would come to be known. Published to coincide with an exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York celebrating the bicentennial of the Commissioners' 1811 Plan of Manhattan, this volume does more than memorialize such a visionary effort, it serves as an enduring reference full of rare images and information.
The Greatest Grid shares the history of the Commissioners' plan, incorporating archival photos and illustrations, primary documents and testimony, and magnificent maps with essential analysis. The text, written by leading historians of New York City, follows the grid's initial design, implementation, and evolution, and then speaks to its enduring influence. A foldout map, accompanied by explanatory notes, reproduces the Commissioners' original plan, and additional maps and prints chart the city's pre-1811 irregular growth patterns and local precedent for the grid's design. Constituting the first sustained examination of this subject, this text describes the social, political, and intellectual figures who were instrumental in remaking early New York, not in the image of old Europe but as a reflection of other American cities and a distinct New World sensibility. The grid reaffirmed old hierarchies while creating new opportunities for power and advancement, giving rise to the multicultural, highly networked landscape New Yorkers thrive in today.
Risk Management of Cost Consequences in Natural Gas Transmission and Distribution Infrastructures
Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries, Vol. 23
Simonoff, J.S., Restrepo, C.E. & Zimmerman, R.
Health Care in World Cities: New York, London and Paris
Johns Hopkins University Press, April
Gusmano, M.K., Rodwin, V.G. & Weisz, D.
New York. London. Paris. Although these cities have similar sociodemographic characteristics, including income inequalities and ethic diversity, they have vastly different health systems and services. This book compares the three and considers lessons that can be applied to current and future debates about urban health care.
Highlighting the importance of a national policy for city health systems, the authors use well-established indicators and comparable data sources to shed light on urban health policy and practice. Their detailed comparison of the three city health systems and the national policy regimes in which they function provides information about access to health care in the developed world's largest cities.
The authors first review the current literature on comparative analysis of health systems and offer a brief overview of the public health infrastructure in each city. Later chapters illustrate how timely and appropriate disease prevention, primary care, and specialty health care services can help cities control such problems as premature mortality and heart disease.
In providing empirical comparisons of access to care in these three health systems, the authors refute inaccurate claims about health care outside of the United States.
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Infrastructure Disruptions and Recovery Rates in Disasters
ASCE Metropolitan Section Infrastructure Group Technical Seminar "New York City Infrastructure Critical Needs," Polytechnic University, March 24-25, pp. 28-35.
Zimmerman, R., Restrepo, C. & Simonoff, J.S.
Distribution of Federal Anti-Terrorism Funds in the United States: a Comparison of Data-Driven Approaches Based on Electric Power Generation
Terrorism Issues: Threat Assessment, Consequences and Prevention. Edited by F. Columbus. Hauppauge. NY: Nova Science Publishers, Inc.
Greenberg, M. & Zimmerman, R.
Analysis of Electrical Power and Oil and Gas Pipeline Failures
Critical Infrastructure Protection, edited by E.D. Goetz and S. Shenoi. New York, NY: Springer, pp. 381-394.
Simonoff, J.S., Restrepo, C., Zimmerman, R. & Naphtali, Z.
This paper examines the spatial and temporal distribution of failures in three critical infrastructure systems in the United States: the electrical power grid, hazardous liquids (including oil) pipelines, and natural gas pipelines. The analyses are carried out at the state level, though the analytical frameworks are applicable to other geographic areas and infrastructure types. The paper also discusses how understanding the spatial distribution of these failures can be used as an input into risk management policies to improve the performance of these systems, as well as for security and natural hazards mitigation.
Public Opinion toward Legislating for the Future: An Update
Policy Report for New York University's Brademas Center for the Study of Congress,
The past two years have been unsettled at best for Congress. Public approval toward Congress remains low, legislative debates have been contentious, polarization remains high, and Congress has a mixed record in dealing with major long-term issues such as Social Security and Medicare. The State Children's Health Insurance program has been delayed awaiting a compromise that might expand coverage, immigration reform has been waylaid by the intensity of opposition across the party lines, energy reform was diluted by ongoing disputes about how to reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil, and the war in Iraq continues to dictate the pace of major legislative debates.
A Prescription for Getting the MTA on the Right Fiscal Track
The Stamford Review, Fall, pp. 27-24.
Brecher, C. & Mustovic, S.
Typically when an asset is acquired it is assigned a "useful life" representing the amount of time it can be expected to stay in use. Then a fraction of the asset's purchase price, equal to one year of its "useful life," is counted as an annual expenditure called depreciation. The MTA's depreciation schedules are based upon estimated useful lives of 25 to 50 years for buildings, two to 40 years for equipment, and 25 to 100 years for infrastructure. Most subway cars are depreciated over 30 years and buses over 12 years. Setting aside money equal to the value of depreciation, known as "funding depreciation," is a way of ensuring that an organization has adequate capital to replace assets at the end of their useful life. In contrast, failing to fund depreciation enables an organization to meet its cash expenses each year without having a budget that is balanced under generally accepted accounting principles. However, the adverse consequence of this practice is a shortage of capital and a resulting need to borrow in order to replace depreciated assets. This is the path the MTA routinely takes.
Reinventing the Central City as a Place to Live and Work
Housing Policy Debate, Vol. 8, Issue 2.
Moss, M. L.
Public policies for urban development have traditionally emphasized investment in physical infrastructure, the development of large-scale commercial facilities, the construction of new housing, and the renewal of existing neighborhoods. Most efforts to revitalize central cities by building new facilities for visitors have focused on suburban commuters and tourists. At the same time, many housing initiatives in central cities have concentrated on low-income communities because outlying suburban areas have attracted traditional middle-income households.
This article argues that emerging demographic and cultural trends - combined with changes in the structure of business organizations and technological advances - provide new opportunities for cities to retain and attract middle-class households. Using gay and lesbian populations as an example, it focuses on the role that nontraditional households can play in urban redevelopment. In light of the rise of nontraditional households and the growth of self-employment and small businesses, cities should adopt policies that make them attractive places in which to live and work.
Budget 2000 Project (7 volumes)
Citizens Budget Commission, December .
Brecher, C. et al.
The Budget 2000 Project recommends actions that will reduce the cost of government in New York by between $12.8 and $19.7 billion, amounts large enough not only to balance the budgets of the Two New Yorks, shift the local government costs of public assistance and Medicaid to the State, and fund salary increases for workers who assist in the restructuring, but still leave at least $9.3 billion to improve New York's competitiveness by investing in the infrastructure, enhancing services and cutting taxes.
Final Report for the NY Statewide Transportation Master Plan/ Early Outreach Session Reports
Prepared for the NYS Department of Transportation. January .
Meta-analysis in Environmental Epidemiology
Risk Science Institute of the International Life Sciences Institute, Washington, D.C., January .
Zimmerman, R., et al.
Final Report Based on the Workshop on Integrated Research for Civil Infrastructure
New York, NY: New York University, Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, February .
Zimmerman, R., et al.
The nation continues to experience major problems in the performance of its infrastructure in spite of the considerable investment of resources to expand capacity, increase accessibility, and exploit innovative technologies for infrastructure improvement. Some problems can be solved with incremental changes that retain the current specialized and categorical organization of infrastructure endeavors. Others, however, require a broad, sweeping, interdisciplinary perspective. Problems in this latter group may require the interaction of the sciences with engineering to address a materials problem, to identify statistical trends in performance, or to understand the environmental impacts of the design, construction or operation of a facility.