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Parliamentarians

Engaging elected representatives and parliaments in the organization’s programs and policies are important objectives of the World Bank.  Parliaments worldwide increasingly address global development challenges ranging from poverty reduction to international trade, HIV/AIDS and global warming. Parliamentarians are agents of change - championing social and economic reforms, speaking out on HIV/AIDS, and tackling corruption. They represent their constituents’ needs and views and can contribute to designing and overseeing implementation of World Bank financed projects.

In countries such as Canada, which provide development assistance, parliamentarians can be advocates for development. They debate and approve foreign aid budgets, shape and review development policies, and promote coherence across policy areas.

In a progressively borderless world, parliamentarians exercising their oversight role are increasingly paying attention to matters handled by multilateral organizations. The World Bank is the world’s single largest external financier of development programs as well as an important source of knowledge and advice on how to tackle global issues such as international trade, poverty, HIV/AIDS, and climate change. The World Bank interacts with parliamentarians on many levels.

Parliamentary Network on the World Bank

The Bank supported the creation of the  Parliamentary Network on the World Bank (PNoWB), now an independent NGO, and has developed joint programs with the PNoWB such as field visits, an Annual Conference, working groups on HIV/AIDS and Trade, and regional groups. During the last Annual Conference in Helsinki in October 2005, the World Bank's new President and Senior staff had the opportunity to meet with several hundred parliamentarians. (Click here for the feature story of this year's conference)

Canadian Members of Parliament have been members of the PNoWB since its inception in 1999. In 2004, Winnipeg MP Pat Martin joined the PNoWB and is a member of its working group on HIV/AIDS. Former Canadian Prime Minister, the Honorable Joe Clark was involved with the PNoWB and joined other members on a field trip to Yemen in March 2004.  Canadian MPs, Mr. John Williams and Mr. Roy Cullen are members.

Canadian Members of Parliament seeking information on the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank and how to participate in its work are invited to contact the PNoWB Secretariat.
 
Parliamentary Organizations

In addition to the PNoWB, the Bank engages with other established parliamentary organizations as partners for development. Some have a regional focus, others a thematic concentration. One key objective is to connect these groups with the relevant parts of the Bank, for example linking the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association with the Africa Vice-Presidency. 

Canadian MP Dr. Bernard Patry, currently Vice-President of the Assemblée parlementaire de la francophonie, joined other heads or parliamentary organizations in October 2004 for briefings on pressing development issues during the World Bank and International Monetary Fund Annual Meetings in Washington.

The World Bank Institute (WBI), often in partnership with parliamentary organizations such as the Commonwealth Parliamentary Organization (CPA) and the Canada-based Global Organization for Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC), has trained over 4000 MPs through their capacity building courses.

The World Bank Institute's programs are aimed at strengthening parliaments' capacity to represent their electorates effectively, to manage their oversight responsibilities, and to formulate and adopt legislation. The Ottawa-based Parliamentary Centre, a not-for-profit body associated with by the Canadian Parliament, has been a key partner and close collaborator with WBI in this area. In addition, the Parliamentary Centre serves as the interim secretariat for GOPAC.

Through its ongoing Laurentian Seminars program, which is funded by both WBI and CIDA, the Parliamentary Centre has convened parliamentarians from all regions of the world to discuss parliament's role in global policy issues such as corruption and poverty. The primary output of these seminars has been the publication of several handbooks designed to be accessible, practical reference tools for parliamentarians, parliamentary staff, members of civil society organizations and others interested in strengthening the role of parliament in the policy process. The handbooks include the following: A Parliamentarian's Handbook on Poverty Reduction and the PRSP and Parliamentary Accountability and Good Governance. The third edition of Controlling Corruption: A Parliamentarian's Handbook is due out shortly.

Parliamentarians interested parliamentary strengthening programs of the World Bank Institute, Canada-specific guidance could be sought from Parliamentary Centre Executive Director Robert Miller, or from Rick Stapenhurst at WBI in Washington.

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Further Information
Parliamentarians
PNoWB website