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Sri Lanka and World Bank Sign $100 Million to Modernize the Education System

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Sri Lanka and the World Bank today signed a $100 million credit to support Sri Lanka’s efforts to strengthen and modernize its education system. Photo: World Bank

Sri Lanka signed a $100 million credit agreement with the World Bank to support Sri Lanka’s efforts to strengthen and modernize its education system.

The General Education Modernization Project (GEM) will modernize and diversify the curriculum of general education in keeping with the transformation taking place in Sri Lanka’s society and economy. Greater emphasis will be on strategic subjects that are key for economic development such as english and mathematics. The project will help broaden choices at the GCE A-level grades so that students have the flexibility in selecting subjects from among the arts, management, science, technology, and vocational streams. Learning material for English language and mathematics will be developed digitally and the focus will be on children from schools located in more disadvantaged regions.

Dr. Idah Pswarayi-Riddihough, World Bank Country Director for Sri Lanka and the Maldives and Dr. R.H.S.Samaratunga, Secretary, Ministry of Finance signed the project on behalf of the World Bank and the Government of Sri Lanka respectively.

“Sri Lanka has made impressive progress in expanding access to education. However, to reach the status of an Upper Middle-Income Country, it needs to further improve the overall learning outcomes. Sri Lanka’s education policy makers recognize that a high-quality general education system will enable students to meet the demands of 21st century jobs,” said Pswarayi-Riddihough.“We are happy to partner with the government to ensure that all children have the opportunity to gain foundational skills, especially in mathematics and english, needed to participate in Sri Lanka’s economic growth.”

The project will benefit school students both at the primary (grades 1-5) and at the secondary (grades 6-13) levels. Technical Education and Vocational Training Institutes, academic and managerial staff of the schools will also benefit from this project.

The World Bank has been a longstanding partner of Sri Lanka in the education sector. The Transforming School Education System Project (TSEP)supported by the World Bank, has helped the country increase the survival rate of students from grades 1–11 (ages 6–16) to over 87 percent; introduced a regular cycle of national assessments of learning outcomes, and started School Based Management (SBM) to support the administration of schools in all zones. In addition, TSEP helped in strengthening the capacity of the decentralized tiers of education administration.

“GEM will support the government to modernize the primary and secondary education system in line with international standards established in middle-income and high-income education systems.” said Harsha Aturupane, Lead Economist and World Bank’s Task Team Leader for the project.“Successful implementation of the overall general education reform program and the key priorities supported by GEM should lead to improved learning outcomes and higher socio-emotional skills among students.”  

The General Education Modernization Project, approved today, will build on the experience and lessons learned from TSEP and strengthen the World Bank’s support to the general education sector.

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Environment

China will aim to plant and conserve 70 billion trees by 2030

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Xie Zhenhua, China’s Special Envoy for Climate Change announced the country’s active response to the World Economic Forum’s 1t.org initiative, the platform supporting the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. The World Economic Forum and China Green Foundation will actively echo and support the contribution to be implemented in China. This initiative will encourage society-wide stakeholders, including enterprises, individuals, and local governments at all levels to commit with actions to plant, conserve, restore and manage 70 billion trees in China by 2030.

1t.org was launched at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting two years ago to support the growing momentum around nature-based solutions by mobilizing the private sector, facilitating regional multi-stakeholder partnerships, and supporting innovation and ecopreneurship on the ground.

During his speech at the Forum’s 2022 Annual Meeting in Davos, Xie Zhenhua said: ‘China’s forest cover and forest stock volume have been growing in the last 30 years, and China accounts for more than 25% of the world’s new green areas. China responds actively to contribute to the 1t.org initiative from the World Economic Forum, and I am announcing here that China aims to plant and conserve 70 billion trees within 10 years to green our planet, combat climate change, and increase forest carbon sinks.’

In support of this bold contribution, Chairman Klaus Schwab of the World Economic Forum said:

‘We appreciate China’s effort in supporting the 1t.org initiative of the World Economic Forum and relevant UN initiatives, we highly appreciate China’s practices upholding relative international commitment such as the Paris Agreement and Biodiversity target through Nature-Based Solutions.’

China’s Bold Action

In the past decade, China has regrown more than 70 million hectares of forest cover. The country has benefited greatly from solutions in biodiversity conservation, sustainable usage and climate governance, resulting in wetland and forest restoration that also combats desertification.

China’s 14th “Five Year Plan” has a stated target of increasing forest coverage to 24.1% by 2025, and forest stock volume up to 19 billion cubic meters. Science-based greening efforts and inter-ministerial cooperation have provided the key vehicle for forest ecosystem restoration.

China’s contribution will encourage the 1t.org initiative to collaborate more closely in the local context to fulfill this contribution and will stimulate collective community actions at large scales and empower Chinese organizations and individuals to make contributions. China’s active response to 1t.org displays the nation’s capacity and strong commitment to safeguard the Paris Agreement and post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

How Trees Can Play Their Part

China’s land restoration and afforestation projects provide fundamental support to the country’s poverty reduction targets of elevating 20 million people out of poverty, with the lives of 3 million people already improved through increased household income. Healthy and resilient forests are also part of people’s expectations for better living qualities according to China’s strategy. During the period of China’s13th Five year plan, the Chinese forest tourism industry grew substantially with an annual average of 1.5 billion tourists visiting national forests.

Mobilize Society-wide Action, Plant Future Trees of Hopes

China’s active response to the 1t.org initiative encourages all stakeholders to promote solutions and activities to meet climate and nature targets. These include emission reduction policies for committed companies and individuals; guiding local governments to promote climate adaptation activities such as afforestation and ecological restoration, engaging scientific organizations, think-tanks, and civil societies to promote accountable and credible tools and evaluation frameworks; creating digital environments and crowd funding opportunities for innovation solutions; and adding afforestation and carbon storage incentives.

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Tech News

Global CEOs Commit to Collective Action on Cyber Resilience

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For the first time, leading oil and gas stakeholders are calling for industry to come together to stop harmful cyberattacks.

The action is in response to major security breaches in the past two years that have highlighted the vulnerability of critical infrastructure. At the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2022, 18 companies have come together to take a Cyber Resilience Pledge, in recognition of the fact that much more collective preparedness is needed.

The pledge aims to mobilize global commitment towards strengthening cyber resilience across industry ecosystems. Organizations endorsing the pledge commit to collaborating and taking collective action on cyber resilience. Launched with the support of organizations engaged in the World Economic Forum’s Cyber Resilience in Oil and Gas initiative, the pledge seeks to empower organizations to take concrete steps to enhance cyber resilience across their industry.

The organizations that have taken the pledge are: Aker ASA, Aker BP, Aramco, Check Point Software Technologies, Claroty, Cognite, Dragos, Ecopetrol, Eni, EnQuest, Galp, Global Resilience Federation, Maire Tecnimont, Occidental Petroleum, OT-ISAC, Petronas, Repsol and Suncor.

“First endorsed by key CEOs in the oil and gas value chain, the Cyber Resilience Pledge is a landmark step as it signals recognition of the complexities of building a cyber-resilient industry ecosystem and a commitment towards collective action to achieve it,” said Alexander Klimburg, Head, Centre for Cybersecurity, World Economic Forum. “The World Economic Forum Centre for Cybersecurity is proud to have led this effort in conjunction with our partners. We look forward to scaling the pledge to other industries in the future.”

The pledge promotes a shift towards a resilience-by-design culture, ecosystem-wide, cyber-resilience plans and greater collaboration between players.

“As the world deepens its digital footprint, cyber threats are becoming more sophisticated,” said Amin H. Nasser, CEO of Saudi Aramco. “But one company, working alone, is effectively like locking the front gate while leaving the back door wide open.” Companies must work together if they want to truly protect the critical energy infrastructure that billions of people around the world depend on.

Cyberattacks on the Colonial Pipeline in the United States in May 2021 and on European oil facilities in February 2022 forced the facilities to operate at limited capacity, causing huge economy and society-wide disruptions.

Common, industry-wide, cyber-resilience practices are essential, said Robert M. Lee, CEO and Co-Founder of Dragos. “As our world becomes more digitally connected it is imperative, especially for our industrial and operational technology, to ensure our infrastructure’s secure and safe operation.”

“The oil and gas industry is going through a digital revolution that has been a catalyst to the energy transition and sustainability. Cyber resilience is key in this revolution, as staying ahead of vulnerabilities is fundamental to our business. The pledge is a step further by developing a collective effort to embed cyber-resilience and a cyber-risk aware culture across the energy industry,” said Felipe Bayón, CEO of Ecopetrol.

“The pledge advances Galp’s commitment to joint action on managing cyber risks and protecting cybersecurity of critical energy infrastructure, by creating awareness and a unified stance on cyber resilience in the global energy sector,” said Andy Brown, CEO of Galp.

“Petronas upholds the safety of its people, assets and the environment as our utmost priority, including reinforcing better cyber security and safety practices. Petronas is committed to and fully supports the World Economic Forum’s Cyber Resilience Pledge and its principles in safeguarding our ability to deliver energy responsibly and securely,” said Tengku Muhammad Taufik, CEO of Petronas. “In this respect, we believe that addressing the risks and enhancing cyber resilience is critical as the oil and gas industry embraces greater digitalization to capture valuable opportunities in this digital era.”

The Forum will continue to promote the pledge across multiple industry ecosystems with the objective of facilitating the implementation of the cyber resilience principles.

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Finance

New Initiative to Strengthen Cross-Border Investment in the Digital Economy

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A pioneering effort to facilitate cross-border investment in the digital economy was launched this week at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2022.

The new initiative on digital foreign direct investment, the Digital FDI initiative, will implement projects in several countries to help grow Digital FDI, as the reforms to attract such investment must take place at a country level. The first digital FDI project will take place in Nigeria.

Over the past few years, the Forum has worked to find the right partners to guide the work, develop principles published in the white paper launched in 2020 and share the potential for cooperation at the G20 and other platforms of corporation.

Attracting Digital FDI requires creating digital-friendly investment climates through targeted and country-specific policies, regulations and measures. These investments involve new business models, often based on data and technology, and platform economies, as well as using non-traditional assets. The Digital FDI initiative will aim to identify and implement enabling reforms through public-private projects in emerging markets and developing countries.

“Global FDI is rebounding, following the COVID-19 pandemic, and investment in the digital economy could not come at a better time. These country projects will help grow FDI into the digital economy, which is key for long-term growth, competitiveness and sustainable development”, said Børge Brende, President, World Economic Forum.

The Digital FDI initiative will be delivered as a joint effort between the World Economic Forum and the Digital Cooperation Organization (DCO), a new international organization that seeks to enable digital prosperity for all.

“As the first and only global multilateral focused on enabling digital prosperity for all, the DCO is partnering with the Forum on a Digital Foreign Direct Investment initiative to help countries develop digital FDI-friendly investment climates. We invite digital innovators with a commitment to economic development and inclusion to join us,” said Deemah Al Yahya, Secretary-General, DCO.

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