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Civil Society Engagement eNewsletter - March 2005

This is the March 2005 edition of the World Bank Civil Society Engagement eNewsletter which is a regular electronic newsletter sent to Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) worldwide.  It is produced by the Civil Society Team of the World Bank (WB) in collaboration with other WB units.  This newsletter highlights some of the many policies, programs, and initiatives of the WB which may involve or be of interest to CSOs.

THERE ARE 15 ITEMS IN THIS ISSUE:

1.  Improving World Bank-Civil Society Engagement: World Bank's Board Endorses "Issues and Options" Paper
2. World Bank Presidential Selection Process
3. World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund 2005 Spring Meetings: Initial Details
4. Revisions to World Bank's Disclosure Policy
5. Launch of Pilots on Using Borrower Systems to Address Environmental and Social Safeguard Issues in Bank-Supported Projects
6. Joint World Bank and IMF Review of Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers-Progress in Implementation -- Seeking CSO Contributions
7. World Bank Statement on Secretary General's Report
8. Japan Social Development Fund (JSDF) Grants for Post-Tsunami Recovery Measures
9. World Bank Says Transparency Key to Development in Resource-Rich Countries
10. An Open Letter to Catholic Relief Services and Bank Information Center in Response to the Report “Chad's Oil: Miracle or Mirage for the Poor?”
11. Community Development Carbon Fund Gets Additional Boost in Funding

12.  News from the World Bank's Regional Departments

Africa

  • Statement by the World Bank on the Commission for Africa Report
  • The Great Lakes Initiative on HIV/AIDS (GLIA) Support Project

East Asia and Pacific (EAP)

  • World Bank Appraisal of Lao PDR's Nam Theun 2 Hydro Project Concludes
  • Independent Experts Release Assessment of Lao PDR Hydroelectric project
  • Connecting East Asia: A New Framework for Infrastructure - New Study

Europe and Central Asia (ECA)

  • WB Albania Country Office Kicks off Consultations for New Country Assistance Strategy
  • Winners of Small Grants Program 2005 in Belarus Announced
  • World Bank Announces Funding for Central Asia AIDS Project, Releases New AIDS Study
  • World Bank Endorses CAS Progress Report for Russia

Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC)

  • World Bank Opens Office in Haiti
  • Citizens, Politicians and Providers: The Latin American Experience with Service Delivery Reform

Middle East and North Africa (MENA)

  • World Bank Reaffirms Support For Palestinian Authority

South Asia Region (SAR)

  • World Bank Supports Tsunami Recovery Efforts in the Maldives
  • Pakistan Taunsa Barrage Rehabilitation and Modernization Project
  • World Bank Statement on Nepal
  • India Tsunami Reconstruction Needs Assessment Released

13.  New Publications from the World Bank

  • 2004 Annual Report of Operations Evaluation
  • Measuring Empowerment: Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives
  • Agricultural Growth for the Poor

14. Upcoming and Ongoing Global Events/Discussions

  • The World Bank's Approach to Global Programs: E-Discussion, March 23-April 8
  • OED Conference on the World Bank’s Approach to Global Programs, April 14, 2005, Washington, DC
  • World Bank - Civil Society Global Policy Forum, April 20-22, 2005, Washington, DC
  • The Annual Bank Conference on Development Economics (ABCDE), May 23-24, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

15. Recent Global Events/Discussions

  • Bank and Canadian Students Discuss Development
  • High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness: The Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness
  • Conference on Macroeconomic Policy Challenges in Low Income Countries

1. Improving World Bank-Civil Society Engagement: World Bank's Board Endorses "Issues and Options" Paper - The WB's Board of Directors met on January 25, 2005 to discuss a paper entitled Issues and Options for Improving Engagement Between the World Bank and Civil Society Organizations.  The purpose of this paper, which was prepared by the Bank's Civil Society Team and reviewed by Bank management, is to assess the WB’s recent relations with CSOs and to propose options for promoting more effective civic engagement in WB-supported activities.  Board members were broadly supportive of the paper's analysis of the key lessons and issues that have emerged over the past few years of the WB's experience of engaging CSOs in development operations and in policy dialogue, and also supported the 10-point action plan aimed at improving the WB's engagement with CSOs.  Board members underscored the imortance of Bank-CSO engagement in improving development effectiveness, contributing to poverty reduction and attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).  The final version of the paper includes a matrix which summarizes feedback received from CSOs during a public comment period last year, and indicates how the Bank responded in the revisions.  More information 

2. World Bank Presidential Selection Process - The World Bank's Board received on March 16 a nomination from the United States for Dr. Paul D. Wolfowitz, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense, as the next President of the WB.  Since that date, the Executive Directors (EDs) of the Board, who are charged under the WB's Articles of Agreement with the selection of the WB's President, have been holding consultations with the member countries they represent as well as informal meetings with the nominee as part of the consultative process on this subject.  A group of EDs representing developing countries met with Mr. Wolfowitz on March 21 and issued a statement afterwards.  EDs representing European Union member countries also issued a statement after meeting with the US nominee on March 23.  On March 25, the entire Board of Directors met with Mr. Wolfowitz.  The Board will meet on March 31, 2005 to announce their decision.  Various statements by Executive Directors and related press releases regarding the nominee for the WB President.  To read Mr. Wolfowitz's March 30 statement on his nomination, in which he indicates support for the Bank's engagement with NGOs, please go to: http://www.ustreas.gov/press/releases/js2341.htm.

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3. World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund 2005 Spring Meetings - Each Spring, the joint WB-IMF Development Committee (DC) and the IMF's International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) hold meetings to discuss progress on the work of the WB and Fund. This year the Spring Meetings will take place on April 16-17, in Washington DC.  The DC will discuss the Global Monitoring Report 2005, and progress reports on voice and participation of developing and transition countries, as well as an updated paper on financing options for meeting the MDGs.  The IMFC will talk about the World Economic Outlook (WEO) and situation in the global economy including possible risks, IMF's role in low income countries, IMF strategic review, and progress reports on surveillance/crisis prevention, crisis resolution, and loan conditionality.  The Bank and IMF Civil Society Teams have organized a number of discussions for interested CSOs on Friday, April 15 and Monday and Tuesday, April 18-19, 2005.  Information on these dialogues, and more details will be made available closer to the dates.   Note:  There will be no accreditation requirement to attend these dialogues, however, interested individuals will be asked to RSVP in order to obtain a pass to enter the Bank/IMF buildings and be able to attend the sessions on these days. If you have any questions, or to RSVP for specific sessions, please contact us at: civilsociety@worldbank.org.

4. Revisions to World Bank's Disclosure Policy - On March 8, 2005, the WB Board approved a number of revisions to the Bank’s policy on the disclosure of information, as part of an effort to increasing transparency about Bank activities.  The policy revisions pertain to the following key categories of information/documents: (a) Country Assistance Strategies and CAS Public Information Notices; (b) Board minutes; (c) Operational policy and strategy papers; (d) Information related to IDA Mid-Term Reviews, procurement plans, IMF-Bank Relations Annexes, Country Re-engagement Notes, Project Completion Notes, the Staff Manual, the budget paper, the staff compensation paper, the Trust Funds Annual Report, and annual reports for specific trust fund programs; (e) Documents related to grant programs funded by the Development Grant Facility (DGF); and (f) Board documentation related to project modifications.  The Board also approved a simplified disclosure clearance procedure for documents that are not explicitly listed in the disclosure policy, and a proposal to pilot-test the disclosure of operational policy reviews simultaneously with their distribution to the Board.  All policy changes will become effective April 1, 2005.  To get more details about the additional information for disclosure, go to http://www.worldbank.org/disclosure or  you may contact: disclosure@worldbank.org.

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5. Launch of Pilots on Using Borrower Systems to Address Environmental and Social Safeguard Issues in Bank-Supported Projects - On March 18, 2005, WB Executive Directors approved the launch of a pilot program to explore using a country’s own environmental and social safeguard systems (that is, its national, subnational, or sectoral implementing institutions and applicable laws, regulations, rules and procedures), where they are assessed as being equivalent to the WB’s systems, in WB-supported operations. This approach would facilitate a move away from the traditional model in which safeguard and fiduciary policies are applied to only WB-financed activities (which account for approximately 1 percent of annual development spending by borrowers), toward applying safeguard policies for all government expenditures. Key to this approach will be an increased emphasis by the WB on capacity-building and human resource development for governments to develop quality systems.  The pilots will be reviewed in two years before any decisions are taken about broader application.  More information can be found on the Bank's website at: http://www.worldbank.org/countrysystems/.

6. Joint World Bank and IMF Review of Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers-Progress in Implementation -- Seeking CSO Contributions - 2005 marks the fifth anniversary of the Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) initiative, and the WB and IMF are undertaking an in-depth assessment and review of progress, challenges, and good practices in developing PRS papers.  In particular, the Review will draw lessons for future policy, with a view to enhancing the effectiveness of the PRS as a vehicle for helping countries reach the MDGs.  The 2005 PRS Review will include the views of Bank, IMF, country officials, donors, CSOs, and other stakeholders, and will draw on studies, reviews and analyses already undertaken or planned by external partners.  As we reported in our February Civil Society Engagement e:Newsletter, a Concept Note which explains the parameters of the Review is now publicly available.  CSOs are encouraged to submit studies, reviews and analyses for consideration by May 2005.   For more information on the Review, to access the draft Concept Note and to submit your contributions to the Review, please visit the Bank's website at: http://www.worldbank.org/prspreview.

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7. World Bank Statement on UN Secretary General's Report - The WB welcomes the report of the UN Secretary-General In Larger Freedom: towards development, security and human rights for all and applauds its work to set in context the need for an integrated understanding of development and security.  In a statement issued on March 21, the WB expressed support for the report's findings that without effective development we cannot hope to achieve security around the world. The WB especially welcomes the Report’s call for increased and more effective aid, openness to trade, and improved governance--including respect for the rule of law--all of which the WB has advocated over many years.  The WB echoes the report's call for all countries to meet their promises: for developing countries to achieve effective domestic governance and developed countries to accede fully to promises of aid, including at least initially a doubling of ODA, and debt relief--as reflected in the Monterrey Consensus. The Bank also supports the report's call to build capacity in developing countries, to strengthen national strategies, and to improve the private investment climate and scale up investments in infrastructure for economic growth in developing countries. The WB stands ready to move forward with countries and with the UN as a central multilateral partner, and with all of our other partners, to support broad and accelerated progress toward the MDGs and to do our part to help create a safer, more prosperous, and more equitable world.

8. Japan Social Development Fund (JSDF) Grants for Post-Tsunami Recovery Measures - The Japan Social Development Fund (JSDF) is an untied grant facility established by the Government of Japan (GOJ) and the WB in June 2000. The $95 million fund assists World Bank clients to tackle the poverty and social consequences that resulted from the 1997-1999 global economic and financial crises.  The GOJ has allocated an additional US$20 million to the JSDF for grants to finance support for those affected by the December 2004 tsunami. The grants can be used for recovery measures and improvement of services and facilities for poorer population groups in tsunami-affected countries.  As the JSDF is a tool for local communities and CSOs to actively participate in the development process, CSOs are advised to establish contacts with the country teams directly or through the NGO liaison officers/Civil society specialists in the World Bank field offices.  The JSDF Steering Committee submits proposals to the GOJ three times a year.  Submissions for the next round are due in May 2005.  More information on the JSDF can be found at: http://www.worldbank.org/rmc/jsdf/Post_Tsunami.htm.

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9. World Bank Says Transparency Key to Development in Resource-Rich Countries - Participating in the March 17, 2004 London Conference on the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), the WB President said that good governance and transparency are key to ensuring that resource-rich developing countries benefit from their oil, gas, and mineral wealth.  He welcomed the progress governments, companies, and CSOs have made to date in promoting transparency over payments and revenues in countries where the extractives sector plays a significant economic role.  In 2004, the World Bank Group endorsed the EITI in its follow-up to the review of its own policies in extractive industries (Extractive Industries Review – EIR).  The WB is supporting the EITI in a variety of ways, including with technical assistance, funding, managing a website to share information about EITI and by integrating the EITI approach into WB country programs.  To learn more about EITI, please visit: http://www.eitransparency.org/.

10. An Open Letter to Catholic Relief Services and Bank Information Center in Response to the Report “Chad's Oil: Miracle or Mirage for the Poor?” - The WB welcomes the report prepared by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and the Bank Information Center (BIC) and appreciates the fact that the authors join the WB in pushing for the best possible results for Chad. The WB notes that the Chad Cameroon Pipeline Project is built around a series of safeguards designed to make sure that oil revenues help finance badly needed development and poverty-reduction programs. Crucial to the success of the project is a steady flow of information and an active accountability at all levels, involving CSOs in the country and around the world.  The WB underlines that the CRS/BIC report touches on important issues surrounding the revenue management program.  The response tries to address some of the concerns expressed in the CRS/BIC report, in particular the question of how are Chad's oil revenues being used and whether the oversight process is working.

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11. Community Development Carbon Fund Gets Additional Boost in Funding - On March 1, the WB Community Development Carbon Fund (CDCF) announced that 25 public/private participants closed the first round of financial commitments at $128 million—far beyond the original $100 million projected target.  The beneficiaries will be the poorest countries, which until now have been by-passed by the emerging carbon emissions trading market.  The CDCF, a public/private partnership, will provide financing for reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) through small-scale projects in poor countries, and poor communities in developing countries. CDCF’s emphasis is on renewable energy, energy efficiency and generation of energy from decomposing wastes, with the aim of making significant and measurable community development benefits.  To learn more about the CDCF, please visit: http://www.carbonfinance.org.

12.  News from the World Bank's Regional Departments

Africa

  • Statement by the World Bank on the Commission for Africa Report - The WB President on March 11 welcomed the release of the Commission for Africa Report with a Statement endorsing the Report and expressing his hope that the global community will work to advance its principal recommendations.  He noted that the WB Group stands ready to scale up its assistance to Africa, and to work with countries to help them help themselves in attacking the obstacles to greater growth and poverty reduction.  The WB Vice-President for the Africa Region added that the WB has doubled its commitments to African development over the last 4 years and is prepared to accelerate its efforts in support of African-led strategies for peace, growth and poverty reduction.
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  • The Great Lakes Initiative on HIV/AIDS (GLIA) Support Project - The WB on March 15 approved a US$20 million grant to step up the fight against HIV/AIDS in the six countries of the Great Lakes region— Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda—which are home to more than six million people living with HIV/AIDS, and more than three million children orphaned or made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS.  The project will finance prevention, care, and treatment, programs for large numbers of refugees, migrant and transport workers, highly infected groups, and others which move between the five Great Lakes countries, with a strong emphasis on coordinating a regional, cross-border response to combating the disease.

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East Asia and Pacific (EAP)

  • World Bank Appraisal of Lao PDR's Nam Theun 2 Hydro Project Concludes - Following completion of project appraisal and the subsequent negotiation of the required legal agreements for the proposed Nam Theun 2 Hydroelectric Project (including the Nam Theun 2 Social and Environmental Project) in Lao PDR, the WB submitted the project documents for the IDA operations and the MIGA operations for review by the Board of Executive Directors of the International Development Association (IDA) and the Board of Directors of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), respectively.  In preparing the project documents for the Boards’ review, WB staff undertook a final systematic review of the project preparation work by the Government of Lao PDR and the project developers, the Nam Theun 2 Power Company (NTPC), to ensure that Nam Theun 2 meets the criteria laid out in its ‘Decision Framework’. This Framework states that the project must be embedded in a development framework aimed at poverty reduction and environmental conservation; must be technically, financially, managerially and economically sound and adhere to the WB’s environmental and social safeguard policies; and must have greater understanding and wider support within the international donor community and civil society.  More information
  • Independent Experts Release Assessment of Lao PDR Hydroelectric Project - To provide independent assessments on the Nam Theun 2 project throughout the project preparation and due diligence cycle, the services of international experts in dams, environment, and social protection have been engaged. The WB has engaged the International Advisory Group (IAG) and the government of Lao PDR has engaged the Environment and Social Panel of Experts (POE). Their reports and assessments are shared between the Government and the WB, and with members of the public.  The IAG has released its fifth report.
  • Connecting East Asia: A New Framework for Infrastructure: New Study - The report is the first joint study by ADB, JBIC, and the WB. It notes that companies investing in infrastructure, both inside and outside of the region, say they are keen to invest where government policies and regulations are predictable. The study is based on extensive regional consultations with government officials, private investors, NGOs, academics and development partners.  In addition, in-depth interviews with officials from 48 companies from both inside and outside of the region were conducted to gauge the level of interest in infrastructure investment and to identify what criteria companies use when deciding where to invest.  Among the constraints to investment, the companies cited the lack of enforcement of contracts, inconsistencies in regulations and in the courts, and corruption.

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Europe and Central Asia (ECA)

  • WB Albania Country Office Kicks off Consultations for New Country Assistance Strategy - The WB Albania team recently started the consultation process for the new Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) for fiscal years 2006-2009. The process is designed by a CAS consultation Note, based on best experiences in Albania and Bank-wide. The two first meetings were held with the newly established CAS inter-ministerial committee and a group of Albanian Parliamentarians.   A website and CAS electronic forum also have been established for public feedback. For more information about the consultation process, please visit the Albania country website http://www.worldbank.org.al.
  • Winners of Small Grants Program 2005 in Belarus Announced - Six projects were recently announced winners of the Small Grants Program 2005 for Belarus.  This year the SmGP in Belarus focused on initiatives supporting territories affected by the long-term consequences of the Chernobyl disaster; and new approaches to improve living conditions among rural people living in the most affected districts. The World Bank's partner in implementation of the SmGP this year was CORE Program (Cooperation for Rehabilitation) which coordinates international donor support (methodological, technical and financial) to territories affected by the Chernobyl disaster. For more information on the CORE Program, please visit http://www.core-chernobyl.org/eng/. For more information on the Small Grants Program, please visit the news and events section on the Belarus country website http://www.worldbank.org.by.
  • World Bank Announces Funding for Central Asia AIDS Project, Releases New AIDS Study - The WB’s Board of Executive Directors on March 15 approved a US$25 million grant for a Central Asia AIDS Control Project.  The project aims to minimize the human and economic impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in four Central Asian countries – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.  Infection rates rose dramatically in Central Asia over the past four years, with officially reported cases jumping from about 500 in 2000 to over 12,000 in 2004.  The Central Asia AIDS Control project has three main goals: reduce the growth rate of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Central Asia in the period 2005-10; establish a Regional AIDS Fund to finance HIV/AIDS prevention and control activities in the Region beyond the end of the project; and contribute to better regional cooperation in Central Asia.  To learn more about this project, and to read the AIDS study, please go to: http://www.worldbank.org/eca/aids.
  • World Bank Endorses CAS Progress Report for Russia - On March 17 the WB's Board of Executive Directors endorsed the Progress Report on the WB's Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) for the Russian Federation covering the period 2003-2006.  The Progress Report presents a record of achievements in all three CAS areas--improving the business environment and enhancing competition, strengthening public sector management, and mitigating social and environmental risks.  In response to Russia’s strong fiscal position and the importance of private sector-led growth, there has been an appropriate shift in investment from IBRD to IFC and MIGA.  At present, Russia is the second largest country exposure in IFC’s global portfolio after Brazil.  Similarly, MIGA has expanded its activities and Russia is currently its fourth largest exposure on a net basis.  The Progress Report extends the CAS timeframe by one fiscal year to allow completion of the activities initiated under the current CAS and the piloting of new partnership relations and provides the foundation for a transition to a Country Partnership Strategy.  The new Country Partnership Strategy will be prepared in the spring of 2006.  To learn more about the WB's work in Russia, please visit: http://www.worldbank.org/ru.

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Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC)

  • World Bank Opens Office in Haiti - The WB Vice President for the Latin America and Caribbean Region, Pamela Cox, traveled to Haiti in early March to meet with Government officials and open a new WB office in Port au Prince.  On Monday, March 7, she inaugurated the new Bank office with government officials, donors and CSOs, sealing the WB’s re-engagement in the country. WB had reduced its presence in Haiti in 2001 and maintained a liaison office until now.  The WB’s Transitional Support Strategy for Haiti is built on two pillars: one is to help the government deliver hope to the population through quick wins—in the provision of basic services and job creation; and the second is to restore credibility in public institutions by helping the government launch reforms that promote sound economic governance and institutional development.  To learn more about WB's re-engagement program in Haiti, please visit: http://www.worldbank.org/ht.
  • Citizens, Politicians and Providers: The Latin American Experience with Service Delivery Reform - Public service coverage and development indicators in Latin America have improved over the past two decades, but politicians and service providers need to be held more accountable vis-à-vis citizens in order to reduce the persistent inequality of access to these services and their inefficiency, says the new WB study.  The report argues that many citizens receive basic services of poor quality and that too many poor people receive no services at all, in spite of the important reforms undertaken by countries in the region: growing democratization, reform of the State, increased contracting out to private and nongovernment service providers, decentralization, and rising civil society participation.

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Middle East and North Africa (MENA)

  • World Bank Reaffirms Support For Palestinian Authority - The WB on March 1 reaffirmed its commitment to support the reform efforts of the Palestinian Authority and will continue to help raise short-term emergency budgetary support as well as medium-term development assistance.  At a meeting of the international community held in London, the WB said it will also work with investors to help stimulate private sector re-engagement in the Palestinian economy.  At the request of the international community, the WB is developing a set of indicators to assess progress towards the re-emergence of an environment conducive to Palestinian growth, with a focus on the policies that each party – Palestinians, Israelis and the international community – needs to pursue. These indicators will be reviewed quarterly. The first report is due at the end of March 2005. Once significant progress has been made, a donor pledging conference will be organized, hopefully in the middle of 2005.  Please visit: http://www.worldbank.org/ps.

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South Asia Region (SAR)

  • World Bank Supports Tsunami Recovery Efforts in the Maldives - The WB on March 17 announced the approval of a total of US$14 million to the Maldives to assist the country rebuild in the aftermath of the tragic tsunami that devastated the nation in December of last year. The Maldives Post-Tsunami Emergency Relief and Reconstruction Project will assist the government in its efforts to provide social services, restore lost livelihoods, and continue to build capacity to implement the reconstruction and rehabilitation program.  Total financing needs for the Maldives’s recovery and reconstruction are estimated to be approximately US$304 million, according to the preliminary tsunami disaster needs assessment released last month by the WB in partnership with the Asian Development Bank and the United Nations. A financing plan is currently under preparation by the Ministry of Finance and Treasury, which will identify the sectors and activities in which reconstruction financing is needed and funding sources available.  For more information on WB's work in Maldives, please visit: http://www.worldbank.org/mv.
  • Pakistan Taunsa Barrage Rehabilitation and Modernization Project - The WB approved on March 15 a US$123 million loan to the Government of Pakistan on Tuesday to rehabilitate the Taunsa Barrage, on the River Indus, which provides irrigation for two million acres and drinking water in the rural areas of southern Punjab benefiting several million farmers.  The project will ensure irrigation of the cultivated lands in the area of the Muzaffargarh and Dera Ghazi Khan canals, and through the Taunsa-Panjnad Link Canal that supplements the water supply to Panjnad Headworks canals. In addition to rehabilitating and strengthening the Taunsa Barrage and associated structures, this project will renovate and modernize gates, hoists and operating and control facilities; improve operation and maintenance capability; and rehabilitate design studies for other barrages in Punjab.  To learn more about this, and other WB programs in Pakistan, please go to: http://www.worldbank.org/pk.
  • World Bank Statement on Nepal - The WB has been monitoring events in Nepal closely and on March 8 advised the institution's Board of Executive Directors here that more time would be needed to make a "ground-level assessment" of whether the current governance environment would allow for the continuing implementation of ongoing projects.  The WB will watch for the next 1-2 months whether the new government demonstrates -- through action -- commitment to the country's development vision as expressed in the Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) and the associated reform agenda.  The WB will also watch whether the government is able to implement the strategy, in order to make decisions on the WB's future engagement in the country.  To learn more about WB's work in Nepal, please visit: http://www.worldbank.org/np.
  • India Tsunami Reconstruction Needs Assessment Released - Overall rehabilitation and reconstruction needs in the four mainland tsunami-affected states and territories of India are to the tune of US$1.2 billion, according to a Damage and Needs Assessment Report prepared jointly by the WB, Asian Development Bank, and United Nations at the request of the Government of India.  A joint assessment team of the three multilateral agencies visited affected areas in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, and Pondicherry from February 1 to 15, 2005, after the government requested support to rebuild infrastructure, rehabilitate livelihoods, and develop disaster prevention and management systems for the future in the four affected mainland territories. The team met with affected persons, local-, district-, and state-level government officials; CSOs; and private sector representatives.  A draft summary report was submitted to the Government of India on February 18, 2005. The government has agreed with the findings. The final report was released on March 14.  Following this needs assessment, the WB, ADB, and UN are in discussion with the government to determine the nature of support from each agency and implementation arrangements for the reconstruction program.  To review the document, please go to: http://www.worldbank.org.in/.

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13.  New Publications from the World Bank

  • 2004 Annual Report of Operations Evaluation - This year's Annual Report on Operations Evaluation assesses how results-oriented the WB's monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems are, and the extent to which they contribute to managing for results of the organization.  International experience shows that organizations typically focus more attention on the technical and procedural aspects of M&E systems than on changing organizational cultures and incentives. The WB has improved the results orientation of a number of its product guidelines, and begun to collect better information for decision-making especially at the country program level.  But the WB has not yet given adequate attention to creating an organizational culture that values lesson learning and an incentive framework that promotes managing for results, says the report.  Please visit the OED website: http://www.worldbank.org/oed/ to access the Report.
  • Measuring Empowerment: Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives - Building on the award-winning World Bank publication: Empowerment and Poverty Reduction Sourcebook, this volume outlines a conceptual framework that can be used to monitor and evaluate programs centered on empowerment approaches. It presents the perspectives of 27 distinguished researchers and practitioners in economics, political science, sociology, psychology, anthropology, and demography, all of whom are grappling in different ways with the challenge of measuring empowerment. The authors draw from their research and experiences at different levels, from households to communities to nations, in various regions of the world.  The publication can be ordered at: http://publications.worldbank.org/ecommerce/catalog/product?item_id=3839257.
  • Agricultural Growth for the Poor - The majority of the world's poor depend directly or indirectly on agriculture. Despite the strong linkages between broad-based agricultural growth and poverty reduction, international support to agriculture sharply declined from the late 1980s.  The need to raise agriculture's prominence in the development agenda has never been greater. This book seeks to articulate the WB's Rural Strategy on agriculture to the wider development community.  It provides decision makers with the rationale for supporting agriculture by presenting the lessons learned on the policies, institutions, and priority investments that can sustain pro-poor agricultural growth.  You can order the publication at: http://publications.worldbank.org/ecommerce/catalog/product?item_id=4502082.

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14. Upcoming and Ongoing Global Events/Discussions

  • The World Bank's Approach to Global Programs: E-Discussion, March 23-April 8 - In January 2005 the WB’s Operations Evaluation Department (OED), the independent evaluation office within the WB, released its second phase report on the effectiveness of the WB’s participation in Global Programs.  The report, Addressing the Challenges of Globalization, builds on three previous OED reports on the WB's involvement in global programs and on case studies of 25 other global programs. The report draws on extensive consultations internally and with partners.  This e-discussion intends to gather thoughts on the future role of Global Programs as part of the international development agenda.  It seeks feedback on the evaluation's findings, recommendations, and the assessment methodology.  The e-discussion will be held over three weeks, beginning March 23, 2005.  Comments received will feed into the April 14, 2005 OED Conference on the World Bank's Approach to Global Programs.  To learn more about the Report and join the discussion, please go to: http://www.dgroups.org/groups/worldbank/GPPP/.
  • OED Conference on the World Bank’s Approach to Global Programs, April 14, 2005, Washington, DC - The Operations Evaluation Department (OED) of the WB will host a Conference on the WB’s Approach to Global Programs on April 14, 2005, to share cross-cutting lessons about the design, implementation, and evaluation of global programs.  Based on the recent evaluation of global programs undertaken by the WB, the Conference will provide a forum to discuss the WB's current and future role in global program partnerships.  Global programs, a mix of Global Public Goods programs and multi-country programs, are an important and growing line of business for the WB.  It manages by far the largest stock of trust funds among international organizations -- 64 percent of which (excluding HIPC and IFC) supported global and regional programs in 2004.  OED reviewed 26 programs that were representative of the 70 Bank-supported global programs in FY02.  This OED evaluation report, The World Bank's Approach to Global Programs: Addressing Challenges of Globalization, will be used to lead off the discussion with noted experts providing their external perspectives on these issues. Divided into two plenary sessions, the first will broadly address the theme of the World Bank’s Approach to the Growing Role of Global Programs The second session will focus on the World Bank’s approach to global programs in the health sector.  To learn more about the conference, please visit: http://www.worldbank.org/oed/conference/global_programs/.
  • UPDATE: World Bank - Civil Society Global Policy Forum, April 20-22, 2005, Washington, DC - The Forum is being organized by an informal planning group made up of WB staff and CSO representatives, is designed as a broad, multi-stakeholder event with representatives from civil society, governments, parliaments, donor agencies, and the private sector.  The first day of the Forum will focus on sharing experience and lessons learned from CSOs participating in the development of Poverty Reduction Strategies (PRSs), and the discussion will inform the 2005 PRS Review by the Bank and Fund. The second day of the Forum will focus on recent experiences and future directions for World Bank - civil society engagement.  Please visit the Forum website at: http://www.worldbank.org/civilsociety/CSForum2005 to read the Forum concept note and to see the most recent draft agenda.  A summary report will be posted on this website after the Forum has been completed.
  • The Annual Bank Conference on Development Economics (ABCDE), May 23-24, Amsterdam, the Netherlands - The ABCDE is a unique platform designed to expand the flow of ideas between thinkers, practitioners and policy-makers within the field of international development.  Over the past few years, the conference has been closely linked to the international agenda, offering a platform of exchange and contributing ideas on the G8 Summit, the European Union Presidency and other global events.  Throughout the years, the ABCDE has brought together researchers, students, CSO representatives and prominent leaders from all over the world, among them: the Prime Ministers of France, Belgium and Norway, the President of the EU Commission, Ministers, EU Commissioners, Nobel Prize laureates for economics, outstanding business leaders and representatives of civil society.  The ABCDE 2005 is co-organized by the WB, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Development Cooperation and the Ministry of Finance of The Netherlands. More information

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15. Recent Global Events/Discussions

  • Bank and Canadian Students Discuss Development - Over 120 Canadian graduate students met on March 5-6 with development experts to discuss issues on the international development agenda at a two-day seminar in Waterloo, Canada, sponsored by the Centre for International Governance Innovation and the WB.  The seminar looked at how various actors in development carry out operations, the difficulties of aid coordination, the impact of trade on development; lessons learned by practitioners; and how multilateral development policies are formulated. Representatives from the WB, Canadian CSOs, academia and the Canadian Department of Finance participated. The students heard development practitioners debate the merits of designing social and economic policies to achieve growth and reduce poverty, and how trade-offs are made among many options.
  • High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness: The Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness - By signing the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, over one hundred countries from the wealthiest to the poorest, as well as development institutions, including the WB, have committed to a practical blueprint to provide aid in more streamlined ways that better meet the needs of developing countries.  They also agreed to improve accountability by monitoring the blueprint's implementation.  The Declaration has some 50 commitments to improve aid quality, which will be monitored by twelve indicators. Participants also agreed to preliminary quantitative targets for five of them. They will finalize targets by the time of the United Nations’ five-year review of the Millennium Declaration in September 2005.  More information about the outcomes of the High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness held in Paris on February 28 - March 2, 2005.
  • Conference on Macroeconomic Policy Challenges in Low Income Countries - The WB joined forces with the International Monetary Fund, the Governments of the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, and the Global Development Network to organize a conference on macroeconomic issues in low income countries on February 15-16 in Washington D.C. The conference shed light on new perspectives and insights of academics based in low income countries on the effectiveness and scope for improvement of macroeconomic policies in their economies.  As part of the conference, there was also a symposium entitled "Whither Development Economics?", at which five leading scholars elaborated their perspectives: Abhijit Bannerjee (MIT), Tim Besley (LSE), Simon Johnson (IMF/MIT), Dani Rodrik (Harvard), and John Williamson (Instititute for International Economics).  The conference agenda and papers are available at: http://www.worldbank.org/macro_policy_challenges.
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