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This Week in World Bank History: October 27 – November 2

November 1, 2002—A presentation of historical events by the World Bank Group Archives, Information Solutions Group (ISG).

Sir William and Lady Iliff (1962 photo)

October 30, 1946—Iran announces a $250 million loan application for "a program of reconstruction and development to be undertaken for the purpose of raising the general standard of living and improving the health and welfare of the people of Iran." The loan application was not approved, and the first loan to Iran was not made until January 1957 (Loan 0160 – Seven Year Development Plan Project).

October 31, 1946—Charles C. Pineo is appointed Director of the Loan Department of the World Bank. This selection completed the appointment of the principal officers of the early Bank. (Mr. Pineo resigned in October 1947, and was succeeded by Mr. A.S.G. Hoar and Mr. Walter Hill.)

October 29, 1950—The first Bank mission to Syria departs from Washington, headed by F. Dorsey Stephens. The mission also spent time in consultation with officials in Iraq. Stephens was later named (1953) as the Bank’s first regional representative in the Middle East, with offices in Beirut, Lebanon.

October 30, 1950—The World Bank announces that three loans totaling $25.4 million were granted to the Kingdom of Thailand for the rehabilitation of the Royal State Railways, the development of the port of Bangkok, and for irrigation, drainage and water communications in the Central Plain. These were the first Bank loans to a country in Southeast Asia.

October 30, 1951—Richard Demuth is appointed Director of the Department of Technical Assistance and Liaison. The Department was responsible for planning, coordinating and giving general direction to the Bank’s technical assistance activities, and for coordinating the Bank’s relationships with other international agencies.

October 31, 1951—The World Bank sends a mission to Finland to review the Finnish economy, to obtain more knowledge of Finland’s investment plans, and to examine the means of their financing to determine whether there is a basis for further Bank lending to the country. The Mission was headed by Alexander Stevenson, accompanied by Neil Paterson.

F. Dorsey Stephens, headed a mission to Syria and Iraq in 1950

October 27, 1952—World Bank sends a mission to Pakistan and Ceylon (Sri Lanka) to explore the feasibility of establishing and sponsoring technical research institutes. The functions of the institutes would be to make field and laboratory studies of the production, processing and utilization of local raw materials with a view to suggesting new products, processes and uses; to develop processes for new industries; build and operate pilot plants; and to design and test cottage-industry equipment. The institutes would also make studies of existing local industries with a view to solving technical problems, improving production techniques, finding by-products, and instituting improved methods of quality control The mission was headed by Richard Demuth, accompanied by Francis Godwin, both of the Department of Technical Assistance and Liaison.

October 29, 1954—John Duncan Miller is appointed as the Bank’s Special Representative in Europe, located in Paris.

October 30, 1961—Harold N. Graves is appointed as Director of Information of the International Finance Corporation., in addition to his identical responsibilities for IBRD.

October 31, 1962—Sir William Iliff, Vice President, resigns from the Bank and IDA. Sir William served as Director of the Loan Department from 1948 to 1951, and then became Assistant to the President until 1956, when he was appointed Vice President of the Bank. From 1952 to 1960 he spearheaded the Bank’s role as mediator in the negotiations between India and Pakistan which led to the signing of the Indus Waters Treaty in September 1960. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in January 1961.

October 27, 1967—World Bank President George Woods, in a context of increasing concern about the future of international cooperation for economic development, first proposes a "grand assize" in which an international group of "stature and experience" would "meet together, study the consequences of twenty years of development assistance, assess the results, clarify the errors and propose the policies which will work better in the future". The Commission on International Development was formed in 1968, headed by Canadian Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson. It’s findings were published as "Partners in Development" in 1969.

Alexander Stevenson, headed a mission to Finland in 1951

October 31, 1968—At the request of the parties concerned, Robert S. McNamara, President of the World Bank, agrees to lend his good offices for a solution of the pending dispute between the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Union Miniere, a Belgian company. Mr. McNamara’s principal objective was "to bring about and facilitate effective contacts between the parties with a view to arriving at a settlement. However, if at any time during those contacts it would seem to Mr. McNamara that suggestions or clarifications from his side would facilitate a solution of the problem, he would feel free to intervene in that sense." World Bank Press Release, October 31, 1968.

October 31, 1969—World Bank Occasional Papers no. 9 is published: Manufacture of Heavy Electrical Equipment in Developing Countries by Ayhan Cilingiroglu.

October 29, 1974—The first meeting of the Bangladesh Aid Group is convened in Paris by the World Bank. At that time, it was the largest aid coordination group chaired by the Bank, with sixteen governments and 4 international aid organizations participating, and ten organizations represented as Observers.

October 30, 1974—President McNamara announces the appointment of Julian Grenfell as Special Representative, United Nations Organizations. Mr. Mahmud A. Burney is appointed Deputy Special Representative.

October 28, 1975—The Design of Rural Development: Lessons from Africa a World Bank Research publication by Uma Lele, is published as the centerpiece in the Bank’s search for ways to counter food shortages and unequal income distribution. The book distilled the results of a World Bank study of African rural development. The projects studied include ones in Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, and Tanzania. (The full text of this report is available in Imagebank.)

Harold N. Graves, Director of Information for IBRD, IDA and IFC

October 28, 1976—IBRD Articles of Agreement are signed by The Comoros, which becomes the 128th member of the World Bank.

November 1, 1981—The Medical Department is established in the Bank, headed by Dr. Andre Lebrun.

October 27, 1982—Warren C. Baum moves from World Bank Vice President for Central Projects Staff to a special assignment in which he is involved in writing and research with the specific intention of making the Bank’s extensive project work available to developing countries. Mr. Baum is then appointed to the position of Senior Vice President, Senior Staff Resources Program. Mr. S. Shahid Husain replaced Mr. Baum as Vice President Central Projects Staff. Mr. Attila Karaosmanoglu replaced Mr. Husain as Vice President East Asia and Pacific Region.

October 27, 1986—The Secretariat for the Special Program for African Agricultural Research (SPAAR) is established to improve the effectiveness of the investments in agricultural research by governments, multilateral and bilateral donors. SPAAR’s main tasks were to coordinate donor activities, collect, assess and disseminate information on promising technologies, and develop national research strategies and regional research programs.

October 31, 1986—Vice President Warren C. Baum retires after 27 years of service to the Bank and the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). Baum served as Associate Director, and then Vice President, Projects. He subsequently served as Vice President Operations Policy. Baum wrote the booklet "The Project Cycle", which became standard reading for Bank orientation classes.

October 31, 1987—World Bank President Barber Conable arrives in Karachi, Pakistan for four days. He met with government officials – including President Zia ul Haq and Premier Junejo – as well as representatives of the financial, banking and business communities. President Conable also made trips to development projects, including the Tarbela multipurpose hydro-power dam, the Scarp Mardan irrigation projects, and urban development projects in Karachi. It was his first trip to Pakistan since becoming World Bank President in 1986.

October 31, 1988—World Bank Vice President Attila Karaosmanoglu addresses the Beijing Women Journalists Association in Beijing. He pledged that the Bank would be an energetic partner in efforts to improve the economic position of women in Asia. President Barber Conable had previously agreed that the Bank would support the United Nations Decade for Women, and Women in Development became a key priority for the Bank’s operations. The Women in Development agenda included: providing support for education and training programs that equip women with skills; pursuing new approaches to the provision of credit to poor women; improving the understanding of how women’s role in development can be strengthened, paying close attention to the non-economic barriers confronting women; increasing funds for health, nutrition and family planning; collecting gender specific data in economic and lending work; and encouraging and assisting governments to incorporate women’s concerns in their national development policies and strategies.

October 29, 1990—An notice is sent to Bank staff announcing that the full text of the Administrative Manual is available electronically through the All-in-1 system.

President George Woods formed the Pearson Commission in 1967

October 30, 1990—World Bank Vice President Edward V. K. Jaycox announces that $7.5 - $8 billion of cofinancing has been pledged at a meeting attended by donors and international aid organizations in support of the Special Program of Assistance (SPA) for the low-income highly-indebted countries of Sub-Saharan Africa. The SPA was formed in December 1987 to provide quick-disbursing aid for the poorest African countries and donors agreed to coordinate their aid in order to make it more effective. In 1990, twenty-one countries were eligible for the quick-disbursing support provided by SPA.

October 28, 1991—The heads of the three agencies managing the Global Environment Facility (GEF) sign an agreement formalizing their working relationship. The Agreement was signed by the World Bank, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). GEF was established in November 1990.

October 31, 1991—The World Bank announces that Vice President Willi Wapenhans will retire from the Bank, after 32 years of service, effective October 1992. "In the interim, he will work on special projects for the president." The "special project" consisted of heading the Task Force on Portfolio Management, subsequently known as the Wapenhans Committee.

October 29, 1992—The World Bank announces that $20 million in grant funds will be made available for famine relief in East Africa. The funds were provided in support of the United Nations 100-Day Action Programme for Accelerated Humanitarian Assistance. The grants financed the distribution of emergency food and provision of desperately needed medical supplies to people in famine-stricken areas of Somalia, and to Somalis who had fled to neighboring Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya. World Bank President Lewis Preston explained that the Bank’s funding was for "non-food assistance", saying that the Bank was neither a peace-keeping nor a relief agency, but that it had an immediate and continuing concern for the population of the area.

October 30, 1996—The World Bank urges its member countries to place rural development at the top of their policy agendas. Vice President Ismail Serageldin stated on the eve of the World Food Summit "The rural world is the key to resolving the global food security problem well into the next millennium. The Bank is refocusing its dialogue with countries, putting board-based rural development in the forefront, increasing support for agricultural research and improved access to credit for the very poor." World Bank News Release, October 30, 1996.

October 31, 1997—The report on the Cost-Effectiveness Review, conducted jointly by Bank staff and the international consulting firm KPMG, is made available on the Bank’s internal Renewal website.

October 19, 1998—The Bank establishes a telephone hotline to provide a central point within the institution for reporting allegations of fraud and corruption. The purpose of the hotline was to report fraudulent or corrupt practices within the Bank Group or in connection with Bank Group-financed contracts. The hotline formed part of the Bank’s strategy to maintain high operational and financial standards in its operations.

October 28, 1998—World Bank and International Labor Organization officials meet in Washington to explore how both organizations could increase and strengthen collaboration. ILO Deputy Director-General Kari Tapiola urged the Bretton Woods institutions and the UN system as a whole to speak with a single voice on global minimum labor standards. He pressed the international organizations to integrate these standards into their policies and programs. Earlier in February, 1998, the Bank published a paper entitled Child labor: Issues and Directions for the World Bank, which argued that the Bank should increase its emphasis on child labor issues in its lending program and policy advice.

Sir Julian Grenfell, appointed Special Representative, United Nations Organizations, 1974

October 28, 1999—Members of the World Bank’s Inspection Panel team return from a three week visit to China to study the proposed China Western Poverty Reduction Project. The Panel conducted interviews in Beijing with Bank officials involved in the design of the project. It met with national and provincial government officials and experts from various institutes involved in the project. Panel members visited villages in the designated move-out and move-in areas , and spoke with numerous individuals, families and groups concerning the project. (The Inspection Panel was formally requested to undertake an investigation to see whether Bank Management had observed its policies on involuntary resettlement, indigenous peoples, and environmental assessment. The Panel ultimately ruled that the Bank had not followed its own regulations. China withdrew its request for Bank financing in July 2000, announcing that it would continue with the project with its own funding.) The Inspection Panel is a three-member body created in 1993 to provide an independent forum to private citizens who believe that they or their interests have been or could be directly harmed by a project financed by the World Bank.

October 28, 1999—The World Bank permanently debars five consulting firms, declaring them permanently ineligible to be awarded Bank-financed contracts. The Bank’s Sanctions Committee found that the five firms had engaged in corrupt practices. All five companies disputed the charges, which were linked to the termination of two World Bank staff members in September 1998.

October 29, 1999— Maureen Moore, ISG Client Relations Manager, sends the following notice to Bank Group staff: "While many of you will want to send holiday greetings to your friends, it is important to realize that the manner in which you send these greetings can and has had effects on the Bank's network. During the holiday season last year, we experienced delays in outbound e-mail and we also received complaints from staff on mission doing Notes replication. Both of these problems were caused by increased holiday greeting messages with heavy use of graphics and in some cases animation. While these types of messages are well intentioned, their implications and costs may not be understood. In addition to the delay in outbound e-mail, staff on mission replicating from hotels pay in both time and money and we also use more disk storage which increases costs. We rely on the good judgment of all staff to use the Bank's electronic network appropriately. Happy holidays!" KIOSK, October 29, 1999.

November 2, 1999—Shengman Zhang, Managing Director of the World Bank, announces that the Bank has hired an outside consultant to review the Bank’s anti-corruption mechanisms. Mr. Richard Thornburgh was asked to undertake a comprehensive review of the fraud and corruption related investigation and sanctioning system.

October 30, 2000—The World Bank Institute, the Nature Conservancy, and TEC de Monterrey announce the creation of a "virtual university" in nonprofit management for Latin American institutions whereby students participate via email, the Internet, and satellite television. Courses on nonprofit administration, communications, marketing, financial sustainability, human resources, and leadership began in February 2001.

Mr. Mahmud Burney, appointed Deputy

October 20, 2001—World Bank President Jim Wolfensohn meets with Ukraine Prime Minister Anatoly Kinakh in Washington to discuss the Bank’s program in Ukraine and the status of economic reforms in the country. Wolfensohn congratulated the government of Ukraine for its completion of a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy for the country.

October 31, 2001—Managing Director Shengman Zhang issues a note to staff with updates on concerns about anthrax. All mail coming into the Bank Group from the U.S Postal Service's Brentwood facility (where the anthrax exposure occurred) was suspended. The Bank’s central mail room as well as the loading dock for incoming material, were inspected by an independent contractor. The Bank also explored technological options to prevent any possible contamination. There was no indication that any Bank staff had been exposed to anthrax.

November 2, 2001—The first Prototype Carbon Fund (PCF) Annual Report is issued. The Report indicated that the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and Joint Implementation (JI) established under the Kyoto Protocol were viable mechanisms to combat global climate change.

Without Records there is no History. Courtesy of ISG’s World Bank Group Archives.




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