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This Week in World Bank History: July 7 – 13

July 12, 2002  A presentation of historical events by the World Bank Group Archives, Information Solutions Group (ISG).

July 12, 1946  Chester A. McLain is appointed General Counsel of the Bank. McLain was recruited by the Bank's first President, Eugene Meyer, after having served in the US Treasury, as a professor at Harvard Law School, and in private practice. He left the Bank on August 31, 1949 to join the staff of former Bank President John J. McCloy, who was then the US High Commissioner for Germany. World Bank Vice President Robert Garner, in the Administrative Circular announcing McLain's resignation, wrote, "Mr. McLain was eminently qualified to serve as General Counsel during the formative years of the Bank's operations and his absence will be deeply felt by all those with whom he was associated . . . The Bank wishes to record its appreciation for the distinguished service rendered by Mr. McLain during the past three years."

July 1948  World Bank staff take vacations: "Loan Department: Mrs. Barbara Ann Taylor has left for a 10 day vacation to Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada. She will visit with her parents and young daughter. Gladys Singleton is vacationing at Mt. Airy, North Carolina. Miss Jean Galiffa recently returned from her home in Donora, Pa. where she attended the weddings of two of her brothers. Treasurer's Department: Francis Poore fishing in Lake Erie; Bob Cavanaugh in Pennsylvania mountains, accounting for nothing; Edith Kesterton with her family at their cottage on the lake, near Regina, Canada; Ben Prins forgetting his cares in the Adirondacks. Rene Brion also has a new car, a Studebaker, which he picked up while on a fast tour of the middle west.

Administration Department: Miss Mary Mercier acted as maid of honor at the wedding of her brother on July 3rd. Immediately after the wedding Miss Mercier flew to Canada where she will spend a two weeks vacation, returning by automobile with the newly married couple. Legal Department: Lenore Knudsen is wearing that "broiled lobster" look from a fresh sunburn acquired at Rehobeth Beach over the holiday. Executive Directors: Dorothy Stewart entertained Audrey Smith and Jeanne Wells at her hunting lodge in Taunton Lakes, New Jersey. We hear that the group spent an enjoyable weekend swimming and surfing at Long Beach Island, huckleberrying and driving around the interesting countryside. One of the features of the holiday was a seafood party at the "Antlers", a spot where the fishing boats congregate and bring in tuna. They were caught in a bad storm on the way back, but all agreed that the holiday weekend was extremely pleasant and exciting." International Bank Notes, July 15, 1948.

July 7, 1950  First funding for Turkey: Loan 0027 - Grain Storage Project. The project financed the construction of 29 steel sheds for grain storage. Additional inland silos and port silos were also constructed.

July 11, 1950  IBRD Articles of Agreement are signed by Pakistan, which becomes the 48th member of the Bank.

July 12, 1954  IBRD Articles of Agreement are signed by Burma, which becomes the 57th member of the Bank.

July 1, 1959  The Bank announces that for the second successive fiscal year, lending has exceeded $700 million (fiscal year 1959 as well as fiscal year 1958).

July 10, 1963  IBRD Articles of Agreement are signed by Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Brazzaville) (Republic of Congo), and Dahomey (Benin), which become the 86th, 87th, 88th, 89th, and 90th member of the Bank, respectively.

July 7, 1964  The first issue of Finance and Development is published jointly by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund under the title The Fund and Bank Review: Finance and Development. The editor is Mr. J. D. Scott. "The purpose of The Fund and Bank Review: Finance and Development is to explain for a wide audience the business of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank and its two affiliated institutions. This business is carried on by specialists: on the one hand, the staffs of the institutions, and on the other ministers, officials, and the central bank managers in member countries. Between these specialists there already are ample means of communication. We know, however, that many other people are interested in our work . . . [This publication]is offered as a journal of information and discussion for the general reader." (The Fund and Bank Review: Finance and Development, Vol. 1, No. 1.) The Bank-Fund partnership publishing Finance and Development lasted until the June 1998 issue, when the Fund assumed full responsibility for its publication.

July 7, 1964  Nigeria Loan 0383 -- Niger Dam Project, Kainji, equivalent to $82 million, is signed. The loan assisted in financing the construction of the Niger Dam at Kainji, about 260 airline miles north of Lagos and about 65 miles upstream from the town of Jebba. The project consisted of a dam and a power station with an initial capacity of 320 14Wdl; a system of locks and canals to accommodate river transportation; and a transmission system which was connected with facilities of the Electricity Corporation of Nigeria (ECN), thus forming a national grid.

July 9, 1964  William F. Howell, Director of Administration, dies of a heart attack. Mr. Howell was among the first Bank employees. He joined in August 1946 as Personnel Manager. He became successively Assistant Director and Director of Administration of the Bank in 1948 and 1952, respectively, and of IFC when the latter was established in 1956. In announcing the death of Mr. Howell to the staff, World Bank President George Woods wrote, "He played a key role in building the staff and in developing the personnel and administrative practices of the Bank and IFC. His warmth, generosity and sense of fair play made him a much-loved figure among us; his professional and personal qualities made him outstanding among international civil servants. His death is a keen personal loss to the staffs of the Bank and IFC, and to his colleagues in the profession of public administration."

From retirement former World Bank President Eugene Black cabled the Bank, "The World Bank has lost a man that will never be forgotten in its history. Bill Howell made a very great contribution to the success and prestige of the Bank. He always performed his duties efficiently and pleasantly. But most importantly he was loved by every man and woman in the Bank. I am sure all members of the staff will always be grateful for his thoughtfulness and many kindnesses." When Bank Vice President Sir Geoffrey Wilson, acting as Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors, announced Mr. Howell's death at the beginning of the Board meeting he said, "I think that Bill was the most loved person in the Bank . . . The Bank has lost one of its most loyal and devoted servants, and all of us here feel that we have lost a close personal friend."

The Board of Executive Directors, in their meeting of July 9, 1964, adopted Resolution No. 64-26: RESOLVED: That the Executive Directors of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, on the occasion of the death of Mr. William F. Howell, Director, of Administration of the Bank, whose devoted service from its earliest days contributed greatly to the success of the Bank, record their profound sorrow and extend their deepest sympathy to Mrs. Howell and the other members of his family.

July 9, 1969  Bank  President McNamara announces that the Board has approved a number of measures to help solve "the commodity problem." Included are diversification of production, strengthening the competitiveness of products, financing, administrative assistance, commodity diversification funds, improving market access, and supplementary financing.

July 7, 1977 – The World Bank announces the approval of Loan 1476    – Reconstruction Aid General Project to Lebanon to help in post-civil war reconstruction efforts. In coordination with other external sources, the loan helped finance the rehabilitation of the port of Beirut; the rehabilitation of the telecommunication system; and the most urgent rehabilitation needs in the water, sewerage and sanitation. In addition, studies were conducted in the areas of urban reconstruction and regional development (low-cost housing in Beirut, industrial estates and rural development in deprived regions of Lebanon and the creation of a country-wide mass transit system).

July 12, 1979  IFC Articles of Agreement are signed by Fiji, which becomes the 110th member of IFC.

July 7, 1982  IBRD Articles of Agreement are signed by Hungary, which becomes the 143rd member of the Bank.

July 9, 1987  The first meeting of the Consultative Group for Mozambique is held in Paris, attended by representatives from 14 governments and 10 international aid organizations.

July 10, 1987  Further Questions and Answers on Implementing the Bank Reorganization are issued to all staff. This was another in the series of issuances explaining the 1987 Reorganization.

July 8, 1988  Mr. Yoshio Terasawa is appointed the first Executive Vice President of MIGA.

July 10, 1988  Bank President Conable addresses the Oslo Conference on Sustainable Development, announcing the World Bank's policy on hazardous waste disposal. Ocean dumping should be prohibited, he said, and transportation severely restricted. The Bank will not finance any shipments of hazardous waste or any projects that involve the disposal of hazardous waste from another country.

July 9, 1992  Ikira Iida becomes Executive Vice President of MIGA.

July 10, 1992  IBRD Articles of Agreement are signed by Belarus, which becomes the 162nd member of the Bank.

July 13, 1992 – IFC Articles of Agreement are signed by Comoros, which becomes the 147th member of IFC.

July 9, 1993  Executive Directors approve the recommendations of the report Portfolio Management: Next Steps – A Program of Actions. In fiscal year 1992, the Task Force on Portfolio Management was formed, charged with examining the quality of the World Bank's project portfolio and making recommendations on what might be needed to reverse the decline in the proportion of successful projects over the past decade. The report of the Committee ("The Wapenhans Report"), issued in November 1992, found that although more than three-quarters of Bank projects demonstrated good performance during implementation, there had been a decline in the performance of the portfolio.

According to the report, the decline was due to internal and external factors: worsening external and country environments contributed prominently to the performance decline, but certain aspects of Bank practice also contributed to portfolio-management problems. The task force's fundamental conclusion was that the institution needed to modify some of its key institutional values. Early in fiscal 1994, the executive directors endorsed a detailed plan of action designed to increase the Bank's effectiveness. The Bank introduced a country-by-country approach into the management of its lending operations.

To complement the changes it made in its own policies and practices, the Bank began collaborating with the authorities in borrowing countr4ies to review the performance of the portfolio in each country and resolve systemic problems. The various initiatives set in motion to improve portfolio performance represented an important shift in the Bank's business practices -- from what was perceived to be an excessive preoccupation with lending targets and volumes to a greater concern with the development results in the field of Bank-supported operations. World Bank Annual Report 1994, p. 73

July 11, 1994  First funding for Georgia: Credit 2641 – Institution Building Project. The project strengthened public institutions in three functional areas: (a) financial sector, (b) economic management, and (c) privatization and enterprise reform.

July 7, 1995  Mozambique becomes the 118th member of ICSID.

July 10, 1995 – The Bank's Personnel function is reorganized and is renamed the Human Resources Department. Personnel had previously consisted of two separate departments -- Personnel Management and Personnel Services and Compensation. These two departments were abolished, and functional clusters were established to replace them. The clusters included: staffing, compensation and benefits, HR Service Center, Learning and Leadership Center, Human Resources Services, Ethics, and Management Succession Planning. Personnel teams continued their function as liaison between the Human Resources Department and individual staff members.

July 11, 1996  MIGA Articles of Agreement are signed by Guatemala, which becomes the 136th member of MIGA.

July 7, 1997  Human Resources Vice President Dorothy Hamachi Berry issues a statement outlining the goals of the Human Resources Reform program being instituted in the Bank.

July 7, 1997  The HRKiosk is launched in the Bank, allowing all staff members to access significant parts of their own personnel files.

July 9, 1998  Motomichi Ikawa is appointed Executive Vice President of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA).

July 13, 1998   The World Bank and the Russian Government reach an agreement on a far-reaching structural reform program based on transparency and accountability, private sector promotion, good governance, and sound financial intermediation. The Bank was in the midst of negotiations for a Third Structural Adjustment loan to Russia, for US $1.5 billion.

July 12, 1999  The Health Services Department releases a new report on World Bank Staff Health. The report concluded that Bank staff were, in general, healthy compared to other working populations, taking little sick leave, having low disability rates and lower than average rates for chronic, disabling, or life-threatening illnesses. Three areas of concern included: Stress (the most important health issue for Bank staff); breast cancer rates and mammography utilization; and travel health and travel preparations.

July 7, 2000 – Ukraine becomes the 132nd member of ICSID.

July 7, 2000 – China announces that it was withdrawing its loan application from the Bank, and would use its own resources to implement the Qinghai Component of the China Western Poverty Reduction Project. The controversial $40 million Qinghai component of a wider $160 million Western Poverty Reduction project called for the relocation of 57,000 people into historically Tibetan lands in what is now China's Qinghai province. Backers of the project said it would help impoverished people escape barren lands and would raise living standards. Opponents claimed it would push a destructive tide of Chinese migration into the region and suffocate the Tibetan way of life there. The Bank had approved the loan in 1999, but financing was delayed until the Bank's Inspection Panel investigated objections to the project from pro-Tibetan groups.

The panel's report concluded that the Bank had violated seven of 10 internal regulations. In response, World Bank President James Wolfensohn proposed delaying the project by at least a year to allow for deeper environmental review, and promised to spend $2.5 million over the next 15 months to address the concerns of the internal inspection panel. China decried the "politicization" of the lending process, and the Executive Director for China, Zhu Xian stated "It is unacceptable to my authorities that other Bank shareholders would insist on imposing additional conditions on management's recommendations-namely coming back to the board for approval again for a project that was already approved last year -- China will therefore turn to its own resources to implement the Qinghai component of the project. We regret that because of political opposition from some shareholders, the World Bank has lost a good opportunity to assist some of the poorest people in China." China blamed the US for blocking the negotiations.

July 7, 2000  Ian Johnson, World Bank Vice President for Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development, is appointed Chairman of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). Johnson replaced Ismail Serageldin, who led the CGIAR from 1994 until 2000.

July 8, 2000  At the XIIIth International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa, the World Bank pledges US$500 million to assist with AIDS prevention and cure in African countries. The fund would be made available to any African country which sets up a national AIDS program. "This program will set aside $500 million from the Bank's soft-loan window, International Development Association (IDA), to fund HIV/AIDS programs," said Callisto Madavo, Vice-President of the World Bank's Africa Region. The Multisectoral AIDS Program, developed in collaboration with the UNAIDS international partnership against HIV/AIDS in Africa, is designed to help countries implement nationwide HIV/AIDS programs.

A large share of resources will flow directly to communities to support their own local responses. Funding will be made available for all activities authorized by national plans. However, said Madavo, "Money alone is not the answer." AIDS, he explained, "is, above all, an issue of commitment. The sobering reality is that AIDS is not a health problem, but a serious development issue. Only where governments show leadership can international support be effective. We are beginning to see an upsurge of such leadership." Bank's World Today, July 10, 2000.

July 10, 2000  The World Bank Group approves a comprehensive debt reduction package for Honduras under the enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative. The debt relief package would save Honduras more than US$900 million in debt service over the coming years, and equaled US$556 million in net present value (NPV) terms.

July 11, 2000  Burkina Faso satisfies the requirements to reach its completion point under the original Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative, and is thereby eligible to begin receiving around $400 million in debt service relief. Burkina Faso had also qualified for additional assistance under the enhanced framework (adopted in September 1999) amounting to $300 million in debt service relief over time.

July 12, 2000 – The World Bank's Board of Executive Directors establishes a Working Group to Review the Process for Selection of the President. The Group will review the Bank's experience with the nomination, selection, and appointment of the President, and will make recommendations on possible improvements to the process. The report of the Working Group was to be presented at the 2000 Annual Meetings.

July 13, 2000 – As part of the Bank-sponsored Bali Urban Infrastructure Project, an international symposium on "Conserving Cultural Heritage for Sustainable Social, Economic and Tourism Development: Learning from Bali Cultural Heritage Conservation and International Experiences" is held in Bali. The Bali Cultural Heritage Conservation Project establishes an umbrella program for developing conservation skills, resources and networks as well as strengthening existing cultural institutions and legislative protection.

July 9, 2001  World Bank President James Wolfensohn addresses an audience in St. Petersburg, Russia, calling on governments to recognize the linkage between the rule of law and development. "An effective legal and judicial system is not a luxury, but a key component of a well-functioning state and an essential ingredient in long-term development," said Wolfensohn. "Only with progress [in the areas of powerlessness, vulnerability and lack of opportunity] will poverty reduction be possible. Only with poverty reduction will peace be possible . . .The most pernicious and destructive issue of all is the issue of corruption. No system of government, no system of justice, no respect for the rule of law will be effective if corruption is tolerated . . . Its existence must be proclaimed, exorcised, and monitored. There must be transparency, there must be accountability, there must be continuing review from the press and from the public." World Bank press release, July 9, 2001.

July 11, 2001  The World Bank announces that the Annual Meetings will be held at the Headquarters buildings for the first time in its history. The step was taken in view of the threatened disruptions by anti-globalization protests, and the desire to minimize disturbance to the residential area surrounding the hotels where the meetings were normally held. (Ultimately, the Annual Meetings were then postponed due to the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.)

July 12, 2001 – World Bank Chief Economist Nicholas Stern addresses the London School of Economics, calling for a change in the global trade architecture as a means of furthering development and reducing poverty.

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




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