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From transport to health, food to construction and textiles, plastics are among the most abundant materials in our economy. Globally, the plastic industry is valued at USD 600 billion and provides employment to millions of people worldwide. But plastic pollution has become a crisis of monumental proportions, with 8 million tons ending up in oceans annually. Around the world, different regions face unique challenges ranging from community awareness to waste and recycling capacity, to weak stakeholder engagement.

There are serious constraints to guaranteeing adequate housing in the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region. The housing shortage problem is a result of (i) historically insufficient stock of available houses for the population - i.e. quantitative housing deficit; (ii) new demand (e.g. household formation); and (iii) inadequate condition of existing units, in terms of space, construction materials and access to public services – i.e. qualitative housing deficit.

Countries must license medical professionals to ensure health safety and service quality. Vietnam’s Ministry of Health (MOH) was tasked with developing a medical registration and licensing system for Vietnam that would meet Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) standards. Faced with a legally mandated deadline, the ministry asked the World Bank for assistance. The World Bank’s South-South Facility funded a knowledge exchange to help the Vietnamese officials learn to design, implement, and manage a medical registration and licensing system that would meet ASEAN standards.

The Internet has become an integral part of the delivery of quality education nearly worldwide, except in countries such as Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal that lack easy, cost-effective Internet access. Wanting to address this academic isolation and improve higher education, these four countries approached the World Bank for help. In response, the World Bank organized a South-South Knowledge Exchange with Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam to share information on how to establish and manage National Research and Education Networks (NRENs).

The Government of Myanmar recognized the need to reform public financial management as part of a broader effort to restore fair and accountable governance, build the country’s economy, and promote national reconciliation after decades of military rule. To modernize and improve budgetary transparency, the Ministry of Finance and Revenue arranged an exchange with Thailand to learn from its experience—including from failed reforms.


Indonesia faced deficiencies in trade and logistics that increased the costs of transporting goods and threatened its competitiveness.  The Government, with support of the World Bank, sought to develop and implement a strategy to improve logistics. In 2009, Indonesian officials participated in a Bank-supported study tour to Thailand, which had implemented a five-year logistics strategy and was a strong performer on the World Bank’s Global Logistics Index.

The Government of Thailand recognized the need to modify its existing energy policy to become more energy efficient, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote economic development, and establish environmental leadership in the Mekong region. The exchange with India facilitated policy change regarding developing private sector confidence in sustainable energy development.


To speed the transition from subsistence to commercial agriculture, Ethiopia recognized that it needed to reform its land administration. However, the country’s mechanisms for enforcing property rights, lowering transaction costs, and encouraging investment in land were weak. To build institutional capacity, Ethiopia requested World Bank help through analytical work and knowledge exchange facilitation.