Praxis Discussion Series



The World Bank's panel discussion series aimed at opening up debate and exchanging ideas on international development. Recorded in Sydney, Australia featuring three specialists on a different topic every month. Moderated by Olivia Rousset.


  • Microfinance and International Development


    Poor people, particularly those in developing countries, face countless challenges when it comes to accessing financial services. Credit may be available through informal channels that are usually insecure and come at a high cost to borrowers. Microfinancing offers access to loans, insurance, and money transfers to allow people living in poverty the opportunity to run their own businesses and build up their assets in order to better their livelihoods.

  • Women's Role in International Development


    During the past few decades, women’s and girls’ education and health levels have improved in most poor countries. In low-income countries, more than 37 million girls have been enrolled in primary school since 1995, improving girls’ enrollment rates from 80 percent compared to boys in 1995, to 88 percent in 2005. Since 1970, average life expectancy for women increased by 15 to 20 years in developing countries. But progress is lagging on improving equality on women’s economic empowerment, employment, and workplace issues. Features Elizabeth Reid, consultant on humanitarian and development assistance, Gillian Brown from AusAID, Andrew Rowell from CARE Australia, and Robert Dunn from Opportunity International Australia.

  • Food Security and the Global Food Crisis


    Having food security means that all members of a household have continuing access to nutritious and safe food. It’s estimated that 1 billion people worldwide are hungry all the time. Two hundred million, or one third of these malnourished people, live in sub Saharan Africa. In the past three years 200 million more people have been pushed into hunger.

  • HIV and AIDS in the Developing World


    UNAIDS and the World Health Organization estimate that AIDS has killed more than 25 million people since it was first recognised in 1981, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in recorded history. Health statistics show that the poorest regions of the world are also the most affected by HIV. More than 68 percent of people living with the HIV virus live in Sub-Saharan Africa. The 6th Millennium Development Goal is to stop the spread and begin to reverse incidences of HIV by 2015 – as well as to provide universal treatment. Features Rouena Getigan from ChildFund Australia, Bruce Parnell from the Burnet Institute, and Bill Bowtell from the Lowy Institute.

  • Climate Change and International Development


    A quarter of the population of developing countries still live on less than $1.25 a day. One billion people lack clean drinking water, 1.6 billion lack electricity. Yet these are the people who will bear some 75 to 80 percent of the costs of damage caused by the changing climate. Higher temperatures, changes in precipitation patterns, rising sea levels, and more frequent weather-related disasters all pose risks for agriculture, food, and water supplies in the developing world. Features Norman Gillespie from UNICEF Australia, Milina Battaglini from the World Bank, and Martijn Wilder from Baker and McKenzie.

  • Global Poverty in the Aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis


    A meaningful path out of poverty requires a strong economy that produces jobs and good wages; a government that can provide schools, hospitals, roads, and energy; and healthy, well-nourished children who are the future human capital that will fuel economic growth. Though the most acute phase of the global financial crisis has passed, recovery remains fragile and uneven. Continuing high food prices are of particular concern for developing countries, as is limited international financing. The World Bank estimates that 64 million more people are living in extreme poverty this year and 40 million more people went hungry in 2009 due to the combined food, fuel and financial crises. Features James Cox from World Vision Australia, Prof. Ross Buckley from the University of New South Wales, and Mark Thirlwell from the Lowy Institute.

  • Intervening in Conflict Settings


    Building peaceful nation-states which respond to the aspirations of their citizens takes strong leadership, both international and domestic. The international community has an important role to play in assisting countries to avoid, contain and recover from conflict, and the recent past demonstrates how much can be achieved when global and national incentives align, and program implementation is appropriately designed and well-managed. Too often, though, efforts have failed to decisively address the motives and opportunities which help to mobilize violent conflict; to integrate political, security and development approaches; or to align local, national, regional and global actions. As a result, some areas have seen new waves of conflict and violence in recent years and some “post-conflict countries” have not yet managed to make a decisive shift to successful and stable development. Features Terence Wesley-Smith and Tarcisius Kabutaulaka from the University of Hawai’i, and Anne Brown from the University of Quee

  • Maternal and Child Health


    Health-related Millennium Development Goals have proved to be among the most challenging to achieve, especially in terms of reducing child and maternal mortality rates. Most regions of the world are off track. Every year nearly 11 million children die before the age of five and every day 1,000 women die as a result of pregnancy and childbirth. Most of these deaths are from easily preventable causes, and the vast majority occur in developing countries. Over recent years there has been increased collaboration on health, resulting in a growing number of partnerships between the public and private sectors. However, there needs to be continued commitment and investment to ensure that women and children across the world can access their right to health. Features Dr. Nicole Wong Doo from the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Mahboba Rawi OAM, the Founder of Mahboba's Promise and Dr. Nesrin Varol from the University of Sydney.

  • Food and Agriculture


    Since June 2010, rising and volatile food prices have driven 44 million more people into extreme poverty. Three quarters of the world's poor live in rural areas, and most are involved in farming. For this reason, bolstering agriculture in developing countries will be critical in efforts to reduce poverty and hunger, and achieving broader growth. World Bank President Robert Zoellick recently called for the G20 to "put food first", stating that "food accounts for a large and increasingly volatile share of family budgets... When prices of staple foods soar, poor countries and poor people bear the brunt." Features Jon Edwards from Action Aid Australia, 'Alopi Latukefu from AusAID and Bill Pritchard from the University of Sydney.

  • Education in a Changing World


    It's now well established that a quality education can offer a vital leg-up in life....but are we getting it right for those in the developing world? Which skills are most valuable in a changing world? How do we ensure education quality and relevance, for children and adults and those who have missed out? This is a discussion on education and skills, featuring three experts.

  • Oceans and Fisheries


    Oceans are our life blood. They cover 71 percent of the Earth's surface and provide half of our oxygen, much of our food and regulate climate, and are a vital source of income and livelihoods in Pacific Island countries. But our oceans are at risk. They have been hurt by overfishing, pollution and climate change, and 85 per cent of the world's fisheries are now depleted or worse. In February, World Bank President Robert Zoellick called for a huge coordinated global initiative, an SOS to "Save Our Seas". This is a discussion about marine conservation and development - part of the Praxis Discussion Series 2012.

  • Aid Effectiveness


    We're considering a number of pressing questions relating to development effectiveness on the back of the Australian Aid Review, as Australia looks to increase its aid budget to 0.5% of its national income by 2015. Does aid work? Does it reach the poorest people? What are the most effective channels for delivering aid? AND how do we make aid work better? This is part of the Praxis Discussion Series, 2012.

  • Poverty and Livelihoods


    Jobs, or the lack of them, is one of the most pressing issues of our time in both developed and developing countries. In developed economies unemployment is soaring; in developing countries the number of young people is on the rise; a lack of access to good jobs, particularly among youth, has played a role in recent social unrest and protests. What drives job creation? How do we support sustainable livelihoods in rural as well as urban areas? What role do education and migration play in this debate? This is a discussion about jobs, poverty and livelihoods in the developing world. .

  • Gender and Development


    While some gender gaps have closed many remain -- even in rich countries. Nearly four million women are "missing" each year in developing countries; women are more likely to be unpaid for the work they do; women everywhere tend to earn less than men; violence against women remains prevalent and in most countries women participate less in formal politics. The challenges are real, the need to act immense. Steps must be made to address the root causes of gender gaps, eliminate gender disadvantage and limit the reproduction of gender inequality across generations. The challenges and nature of the task ahead are the focus of the discussion. .

  • Law and Justice


    Fair, effective and legitimate justice institutions underpin access to resources and essential services, and are therefore a key focus for development. The question is how, and in what forms, these institutions can and should be supported.

  • Development and the Private Sector


    For men and women throughout the developing world, the chance to run a business or get a good job can offer a way out of poverty. In almost all developing countries, most new jobs are created by the private sector. But, creating the kind of environment to support this opportunity requires wide-ranging efforts, especially in the countries of the Pacific. The question for development is how to build a more inclusive and sustainable private sector while overcoming poverty; how to enhance growth with care for the environment, and create opportunity, particularly for the world’s poor.

  • Development in the Pacific


    There are nine million people scattered across the Pacific region, which spans one third of the globe’s surface but accounts for less than two percent of its land. In development terms it is one of the most diverse regions in the world. However there is a common set of challenges – geographical isolation, underemployment, shortage of infrastructure and high vulnerability to climate change, to name only a few. All of these present considerable constraints for development. But with improvement in a few key areas many Pacific Island States could see improved growth and quality of life for their populations. Features Rob Jauncey from the World Bank, Caleb Jarvis from Pacific Trade and Invest, and Daniel Rowland from the University of Sydney.