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Lawrence MacDonald on Think Tanks and Public Policy Development

Lawrence MacDonald, vice president for communications and policy outreach at the Center for Global Development (CGD), discusses influence in policy developme…

Based at UQ’s renowned St Lucia campus, the School of Tourism is one of Australia’s largest dedicated providers of teaching and research programs in tourism….

Q&A: IMF: How are Technical Assistance, Surveillance & the PSI different?

Question by superseiyan: IMF: How are Technical Assistance, Surveillance & the PSI different?
What is the difference in the above three? (PSI = Policy Support Instrument). If a country is receiving technical assistance AND surveillance, and it is also participating in the PSI, isn’t that redundant? Seems like two of the three should be done away with all together.

Best answer:

Answer by senekon
If a country is receiving technical assistance AND surveillance, and it is also participating in the PSI, it may appear redundant. In actuality, there are essential differences. PSI dioes not involve surviellance, does not involve lending by IMF and does not involve technical assistance for human resource and institutional capabilty for economic policy formulation and implementaion. The PSI program is purely on the spot expert advice in planning policies – macro-economic, fiscal and exchange rate policies.
The IMF, established to promote international monetary cooperation, exchange stability, and orderly exchange arrangements; to foster economic growth and high levels of employment; and to provide temporary financial assistance to countries to help ease balance of payments adjustment, has developmed its operations— surveillance, financial assistance, and technical assistance, to meet the changing needs of its member countries in an evolving world economy. The three basic operations are different. Surveillance is essentially monitoring economic performance, review of problems and prospects of member nations is more of economic research and policy recommendations.IMF To promote global economic stability through multilateral cooperation, the IMF has been given the mandate of overseeing the international monetary system and monitoring the economic and financial policies of its 185 member countries. IMF surveillance provides an expert assessment of economic and financial developments, both globally and in individual countries. It and advises on risks to stability and growth and if policy adjustments are warranted. In this way, the IMF helps the international monetary system serve its essential purpose of providing a framework that facilitates the exchange of goods, services, and capital among countries and sustains sound economic growth. In today’s globalized economy, where the economic and financial policies of one country may spill over to affect many other countries, international cooperation on a global scale to monitor and influence economic developments is essential. With its nearly universal membership of 185 countries, IMF surveillance provides the mechanism for this cooperation. Effective surveillance contributes to a stable international monetary system that sustains sound economic growth through the following mutually-reinforcing processes: multilateral surveillance, or oversight of the world economy; and bilateral surveillance which comprises appraisal of and advice on the policies of each individual member country to promote external and domestic stability (including growth); analysis of cross country spillovers; and sharing of the aggregate experience of 185 members.
A core responsibility of the IMF is to provide loans to countries experiencing balance of payments problems. This financial assistance enables countries to rebuild their international reserves; stabilize their currencies; continue paying for imports; and restore conditions for strong economic growth. Unlike development banks, the IMF does not lend for specific projects.
A member country may request IMF financial assistance if it has a balance of payments need—that is, if it cannot find sufficient financing on affordable terms to meet its net international payments. An IMF loan eases the adjustment policies and reforms that a country must make to correct its balance of payments problem and restore conditions for strong economic growth.
IMF technical assistance supports the development of the productive resources of member countries by helping them to effectively manage their economic policy and financial affairs. The IMF helps these countries to strengthen their capacity in both human and institutional resources, and to design appropriate macroeconomic, financial, and structural policies. Technical assistance is one of the benefits of IMF membership. It is generally provided free of charge to any requesting member country, within IMF resource constraints. About 90 percent of IMF technical assistance goes to low and lower-middle income countries. Post-conflict countries are also major beneficiaries. Apart from the immediate benefit to recipient countries, by helping individual countries reduce weaknesses and vulnerabilities, technical assistance also contributes to a more robust and stable global economy. Further, technical assistance provided to emerging and industrialized economies in select cutting-edge areas helps provide traction to IMF policy advice, and keeps the institution up-to-date on innovations and risks to the international economy. Technical assistance contributes to the effectiveness of the IMF’s surveillance and lending programs, and is an important complement to these other core IMF functions. Specialized technical assistance from the IMF helps build capacity in countries for effective policymaking, including in support of surveillance or lending operations. Conversely, surveillance and lending work results in policy and other experiences that further inform and strengthen the IMF’s technical assistance program according to international best practices. In view of these linkages, achieving greater integration between technical assistance, surveillance, and lending operations is a key priority for the IMF.
PSI is a special program that may not involve lending/ financial assistance at all..It is of course in the nature of Technical assistance, but the latter is more concerned with human and institutional capacity building assistance by IMF experts. The sine qua non of the Policy Support Instrument is that a country does not have to borrow from the IMF in order to receive many of the benefits that the IMF—the board, the management, the staff—gives to a country as part of a regular IMF program. These benefits include providing expert on-the-ground advice on monetary, fiscal, banking, and exchange rate issues, setting realistic benchmarks and timelines for achieving results, and validating the policy through IMF Board approval of the program and benchmark reviews. Simply put, the Policy Support Instrument is an IMF program without the borrowing, and for that reason it is sometimes called a “non-borrowing program.” Unlike the broad technical assistance programs that involve capacity building in better economy management and policy making, the emphasis in PSI programs is on providing on the spot expert advice and review support. There are many advantages of the new non-borrowing program:
• For a heavily indebted poor country seeking an IMF program, the main advantage of a Policy Support Instrument is that the poor country’s debt does not need to increase in order to get the benefits of the program. Indeed, a series of requests for this type of program from the finance ministers of heavily indebted poor countries was what first put this idea on the reform agenda, and there appears to be a pent up demand for the program from such countries.
• A greater degree of country ownership of the macroeconomic policy program is another advantage of the Policy Support Instrument. Without IMF money on the table, it will be clearer that the country has developed its program on its own without the appearance of being under the pressure of the International Monetary Fund. In many countries and in many circumstances this demonstrated ownership of the policy can be politically very useful.
• For countries that are not heavily indebted and do not need IMF loans, the Policy Support Instrument can provide a signal to the international financial markets that their macro policy is strong.
• Because it is easier to develop a borrowing program if a country already has a non-borrowing program, the Policy Support Instrument will also be a way for a country to move gradually off IMF support after a crisis and a series of IMF loans, and to be better prepared for a crisis if that is a concern.
• Another advantage is that, with the Policy Support Instrument available, there is no reason for the IMF management and shareholders to get into a position where they really have no choice but to make loans when in reality the loans are not needed for balance of payments purposes. In the past this situation has occurred, for example, where donors to a country need the IMF program to validate the fiscal and monetary policies of the country, but where the country does not have a balance of payment problems in the usual sense. Without the Policy Support Instrument, IMF loans were being made to countries and then being rolled over because they were the only way to provide the important seal of approval to donors and/or the multilateral development banks. In other words the existence of the Policy Support Instrument will make it easier for IMF management and shareholders to follow in practice the key principle that IMF loan support be given when there is a clear balance of payments need.
• A very important advantage is that the Policy Support Instrument will enable the IMF to assist more poor countries in core IMF areas of expertise, including those that do not have the need for IMF borrowing.
• The Policy Support Instrument will make it easier to follow the principle of the division of labor between the IMF and World Bank in which longer term development loans and grants come in from the World Bank, and shorter term balance of payments loan come from the IMF.
Concerns about Non-Borrowing Programs
As originally proposed and as it is now being implemented, the Policy Support Instrument is voluntary. That it is voluntary avoids disadvantages that some had worried about in such a program. If indeed there is an actual need for borrowing for a balance of payments crisis, then a conventional IMF program can be used.

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Vietnam: Higher Education Development Policy Program

Jeffrey Waite, Lead Education Specialist highlights the issues of higher education in Vietnam and how WB is helping the country in this sector.
Video Rating: 3 / 5

Is Mandarin really going to be the most useful language in internation business? What about Japan?

Question by Jake: Is Mandarin really going to be the most useful language in internation business? What about Japan?
I hope to go into international business. I would like to at least learn another language. I wonder which language could help me the most.

Best answer:

Answer by Adam B
The Chinese written language is a mess. It’s excessively hard to learn even for Chinese people, never mind non-Chinese. Unless Chinese ditches character writing, I don’t see Chinese displacing English as the language of international business any time soon.

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What were Pierre Trudeaus most important ideas and how did he change peoples world views in his time?

Question by hotgt9011: What were Pierre Trudeaus most important ideas and how did he change peoples world views in his time?
This is for a school project and i need to know he was like an important canadian, what he did, his ideas, and just how he changed the world views in his time.

Best answer:

Answer by kennyj
Trudeau, love him or hate him, is easily one of the most important historical Canadian figures of the second half of the twentieth century. P.E.T. was a true liberal. He believed that government had an important role in the lives of citizens, and oversaw the growth of a broad social safety net to help the underprivileged and disadvantaged. He believed that rule of law, as defined in a written constitution, was crucial in the development of democracy and a nation – state. He was a true pioneer in the Canadian version of multiculturalism and supported Lester Pearson’s initiatives and later his own. Bilingualism was very much his baby though he did not conceive it himself.

I am not sure what you mean “how he changed the world views”. If I read that correctly I think you mean either how did he change the international community’s view of Canada, or perhaps how did he change Canadians’ view of the world. I will go with the former. Canada’s presence in the world certainly changed during his time. He met nearly all of the most important world leaders of the day and clearly took orders from no one. Trudeau’s critics were many as were his admirers. His great intelligence and aloofness was often mistaken for arrogance, but in reality he did not believe himself to be better than any on else. He just tired of those who refused to believe that he was taking Canada in the right direction. One thing for sure where he was spot on was in his assessment of what the future (now current) migration and relocation of people. He foresaw the world as a community with various ethnic and language groups being citizens of the same country. In Canada, it would no longer be a English – French country with a few smaller ethnic groups dispersed across the land. P.E.T. was correct. We, and most western nations, would become conglomerates of people whose roots would be in England, Scotland, Ireland, France, China, Vietnam, Italy, Guatemala, Mexico, Cambodia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, Greece, Egypt, Chad, Russia and on and on we go. Modern Canada’s cultural and ethnic makeup is a direct result of Trudeau’s personal philosophy of the world and his government’s policies.

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Red Comet Unveils Social Studies Core High School Course on ?Economics? that is Aligned to Idaho State Standards.

Red Comet Unveils Social Studies Core High School Course on ‘Economics’ that is Aligned to Idaho State Standards.

Prosser, WA (PRWEB) March 06, 2013

Red Comet’s online high school course on ‘Economics’ that is aligned to Idaho State Standards evaluates how people in the United States have addressed issues involved with the distribution of resources and sustainability in the past and present. Students investigate how the comparative advantage has affected United States imports and exports in the past and present. The course provides an understanding that nations have competing philosophies about how best to produce, distribute, and consume goods, services, and resources.

Students analyze the basic principles of economics, including how these principles affect United States contemporary domestic and international issues. Students study the role of the U.S. government in regulating a market economy in the past and present. One of the goals of this course is to assess the role of the U.S. government in regulating a market economy and scrutinize the incentives for economic choices in the U.S. The student develops an appreciation for how government economic policies affect their day-to-day livelihood.

Red Comet offers a complete online program that is both rigorous and engaging. Red Comet is approved by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) in Washington State as a “Multi-District Online Course Provider” and as a “Multi-District Online School Program Provider”. Red Comet’s online program excels not only in the breadth of its offering but also has received the best ratings for student satisfaction in Washington State. Red Comet’s online learning is engaging and presents even the most challenging topics in a way that students can understand. Students taking Red Comet’s online high school classes are challenged using a variety of learning techniques which makes learning interesting while keeping them motivated to complete their courses within the allotted schedule.

Students throughout the country use Red Comet’s high school classes that include all core subjects – Language Arts, Science, Mathematics and Social Studies, as well as numerous high school electives. A variety of students use Red Comet’s online learning program – students in need of credit recovery, students attending public high schools who cannot attend all of their high school classes, students attending private schools who are looking for electives or Advanced Placement classes, home school high school students who need help in specific subject areas, athletes, students with part-time jobs etc.

For Immediate Release

Contact Information:

Dr. Jay Srinivasan

Managing Director,

Red Comet


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What do we mean by the “uninsured?”

In the healthcare reform debates, one commonly cited statistic was “there are 47 million uninsured Americans.” Economics professor Antony Davies examines this number, and asserts that based on the evidence, the actual number of uninsured Americans was far smaller. Prof. Davies makes the data available on his website: www.antolin-davies.com Watch more videos: lrnlbty.co
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Five Michigan Land Banks Select STR?s ePropertyPlus as Their Property Portfolio Management Solution

Five Michigan Land Banks Select STR’s ePropertyPlus as Their Property Portfolio Management Solution

Fairfax, VA (PRWEB) February 26, 2013

Historically, there has been an unmet need in the land banking sector for a comprehensive single source property management solution. STR’s ePropertyPlus went live at the Kalamazoo County Land Bank on October 1st, 2012 and now five key Michigan Land Banks have enrolled in the cloud-hosted ePropertyPlus offering.

“100 days into ePropertyPlus, we are very happy with our decision and have seen increased reporting efficiency and improved ability to manage and track our property.” Kelly Clarke, Executive Director Kalamazoo County Land Bank Authority

Vacant and blighted properties are at an epidemic level nationally, and land banks need a software solution that will allow staff to spend more time on their mission of turning non-performing properties into productive assets and less on cumbersome processes. In almost every case, users have been maintaining property data in individual spreadsheets, paper file folders and internally developed database systems such as Access, resulting in data that is inconsistent and difficult to report on. Service requests and property interest applications have been paper-based. Public trust is a major concern for land banks, and not having the ability to quickly and accurately answer questions at either the individual property or overall inventory level puts that trust at risk.

STR worked with the Center for Community Progress and conducted a joint market assessment with land bank participants that validated their need and desire for a comprehensive single-source property portfolio solution. STR then worked side by side with Community Progress and land bank staff from Genesee County, Kalamazoo County, and Grand Traverse County to develop a property portfolio management solution specifically to support land bank processes. ePropertyPlus was designed for land banks by land banks.

Over the last year, ePropertyPlus has moved from a white board concept to market reality. This innovative cloud-hosted solution provides end-to-end parcel inventory management from pre-acquisition planning through final disposition, including unlimited inventory search functionality, extensive mapping capabilities, online contractor management, flexible program configuration, and provides a public view for searching for properties and online submission of applications for properties. The biggest benefits include increased transparency and accountability, improved customer service, and accurate and timely reporting. STR is about to deploy ePropertyPlus Release 3.0, which provides additional flexibility with the ability to add custom fields and increased public site functionality.

STR’s experience is not only relevant, it is tightly aligned with the current and future mission of land banks. “Helping land banks and redevelopment authorities manage their inventory and disposition processes is a natural fit for STR, as we have been working in the State of Louisiana on Hurricane Katrina and Rita disaster recovery for the last six years, including developing a custom property management solution for the Louisiana Land Trust to manage the 10,000 homes the State acquired through their homeowner assistance program,” said Scott Meyer, President of STR.

About the Center for Community Progress

The Center for Community Progress is one of the nation’s foremost voices on land reuse and neighborhood revitalization. Through policy development, technical assistance, research and advocacy, Community Progress has provided support to government and activists across the country as they address the challenges of vacant properties and blight. http://www.communityprogress.net

About STR

With more than two decades of experience, Fairfax, VA-based STR provides commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) and custom solutions, professional services, and management consulting to customers in both the private and government sectors. STR developed ePropertyPlus so that Cities, Counties, and land banks could address the vacant and abandoned properties that are at unprecedented crisis levels nationally. ePropertyPlus provides a single-source repository of all data and attachments for every property in your inventory. To learn more about STR and ePropertyPlus visit http://www.epropertyplus.com

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ORENCO Hydropower Expands Team in Business Development, Project Engineering and Financial Analysis, and Regulatory Support

ORENCO Hydropower Expands Team in Business Development, Project Engineering and Financial Analysis, and Regulatory Support

Palo Alto, California (PRWEB) February 22, 2013

ORENCO Hydropower has announced four new additions to its team in the areas of business development, project engineering and financial analysis, and regulatory support. The company’s expansion follows a year of strong business gains in 2012, which saw contract awards for the Lewiston Powerplant Replacement for Trinity Public Utilities District, Weaverville, California, and the Whitman Lake Hydroelectric Project for Ketchikan Public Utilities, Alaska. In addition, Konohiki Hydro Power, LLC (a subsidiary of ORENCO Hydropower and Kauai-based renewable energy developer Pacific Light & Power, Inc.) received a Small Conduit Hydroelectric Exemption from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for the Pu‘u Lua Reservoir Hydropower Project on Kauai, Hawaii.

Commenting on the new members of the ORENCO Hydropower team, Vice Chairman Mark Matousek said: “We are very pleased to welcome these talented professionals to our team. We are confident their diverse skills, experience and expertise will give added depth to our company and carry us forward with even greater momentum and results.”

Here are the new members of the ORENCO Hydropower team:

JOHN EASTWOOD is focused on new business development efforts for ORENCO Hydropower equipment sales. Mr. Eastwood is the Executive Chairman of SunLink Corporation, which he founded in 2004 to commercialize the proprietary SunLink modular mounting system developed by his prior company, Eastwood Energy. Over the course of his career, he has accumulated 50 years of alternative energy experience as the founder of over seven start-ups in hydro, wind, high-speed fly wheels and solar, focused on product development, sales and all aspects of project financing. Among these companies, his roles have included founder of Eastwood Energy, a company initially focused on wind and hydroelectric technologies that turned its core mission to solar in 2002; co-founder and non-executive Chairman of Solar Power Partners (SPP), a firm focused on project financing for solar projects using power purchase agreements (PPAs) (now part of NRG Solar); co-founder and, over the course of his tenure, CEO, COO, and Special Advisor to the President of energy storage technology company Trinity Flywheel Power (which later became AFS Trinity Power Corporation); co-founder and Chairman of Peak Power Corporation, developing modular pumped storage facilities with capacities of approximately 100 MW; President of John Eastwood Associates, Inc., developing and managing small hydro projects; and co-founder and President of Bering Electric Company, successfully introducing Russian hydroelectric generating equipment to the U.S. market.

JAMES HOLEMAN provides the company with regulatory support. He has more than 36 years of experience in management of hydroelectric relicensing projects under various licensing processes; planning; wildlife biology; and public involvement programs and facilitation. He has been a key management and supervisory member of multidisciplinary teams focused on preparing pre-relicensing strategic plans, Pre-Application Documents (PADs), Initial Consultation Documents (ICDs), and License Applications. He has organized and participated in consultations with interested parties (including local, state, and federal agencies, Native American tribes, non-governmental organizations, and the public); planned and conducted public meetings; and successfully engaged stakeholders in relicensing proceedings. His responsibilities also have included managing multi-year contracts with multiple consultants supporting staff in study plan development, implementation, document preparation, and agency consultation. In addition, he was involved in the preparation of applications for new license, which included managing project authorizations up to $ 19 million. He has responded to post-filing comments and inquiries from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), agencies, and stakeholders, and developed implementation plans for the new license conditions. More recently, he managed or participated in the preparation of seven National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documents for FERC. He has managed or is currently managing the preparation of California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) documents under the direction of the California Water Resources Control Board for water quality certification of hydroelectric projects.

MIKE BOISMENU pursues business development on the East Coast. Mr. Boismenu has 43 years of experience in the power industry. He spent 31 years with Niagara Mohawk where he supported the design and engineering of the Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station, the upgrade of the bulk power system, the upgrading and modernization of the hydro fleet, the engineering of a variety of air quality control systems and the installation of distributed control systems for the company’s fossil fleet. In the Engineering Department, his responsibilities included detailed design, engineering, project management, engineering supervision and multi-disciplined department management. With Niagara Mohawk’s transition to deregulation, Mr. Boismenu became Plant Manager of a large coal fired power plant; under his leadership the plant’s overall performance improved while its operating cost were significantly reduced. In 1999, after the majority of the Niagara Mohawk fossil fleet was purchased by NRG Energy, he led the successful transition of the former Niagara Mohawk workforce to the new unregulated generating industry under NRG. As Plant Manager of the Dunkirk Generating Station, performance continued to improve and was continually recognized as one of NRG’s best performing assets. Prior to his retirement from NRG in 2003, Mike led the Mid-Atlantic and New York Regions as Regional Director, where he was responsible for the safety, performance and cost controls for assets within each region. Since then, he has continued to support the power industry as an independent consultant, utilizing his past experience to support a variety of operational and organizational assessments.

JAKE CORNELIUS provides project engineering and financial analysis. He graduated from Stanford University in 2006 with a degree in mechanical engineering, and received a master’s degree in Engineering for Sustainable Development from Cambridge University. Coursework in these programs centered on core engineering topics, but also included financial analysis, energy policy and business strategy. Mr. Cornelius’ interest in hydropower goes well beyond professional to personal: he is a world-class rowing champion with national and international results to his name, and is now coaching part-time at Stanford. In summer 2012, he participated in the Olympic Games in London, England, where he competed as a member of the United States rowing team and finished fourth. While training full-time for the Olympic Games over several years, Mr. Cornelius established Milestone Academic Counseling, a successful educational services business; worked for New Jersey Solar Consulting as a lead solar energy analyst; and was a sustainability consultant at Princeton University.



ORENCO Hydropower, Inc. develops small hydropower generation assets at existing dams and waterways that are low-cost and low-impact. The company assembles and manages a portfolio of hydro projects; and provides engineering, equipment procurement and financing for ongoing projects. Products and services include end-to end development of 1 MW to 50 MW hydropower projects; resale and integration of reliable Chinese turbines and generators to other hydro developers – at significant cost advantages; and partnering with small hydro developers to provide project financing and support.

Founded in 2010, ORENCO Hydropower brings together experts in hydro asset design and development, power markets, licensing and business strategy. In addition, key venture partners provide project financing. Based in Palo Alto, California, ORENCO Hydropower builds upon the expertise, experience and international business relationships of ORENCO, Inc., begun in 1979.

For more information, please contact ORENCO Hydropower by telephone at 650-475-4403, by email at info(at)orencohydro(dot)com or online at http://www.orencohydro.com


For more information, contact:

JILL TURNER, Rodin & Shelley Associates Public Relations

Phone/Fax: 415-346-7300     Email: jillturnerpr(at)gmail(dot)com


MARK MATOUSEK, Vice Chairman, ORENCO Hydropower

Phone: 650-475-4403     Email: mmatousek(at)orencohydro(dot)com



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