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2005 Annual Meetings

During the 2005 Annual Meetings, the Civil Society Teams at the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and International Finance Corporation (IFC) organized a Civil Society Policy Dialogue Program for civil society representatives which included policy dialogue sessions, access to press conferences and official meetings (schedule of all events open to CSOs during 2005 Annual Meetings, including Policy Dialogues).  There was also a town hall meeting with the heads of the Bank Group, the IMF, and the Development Committee. 

A total of 180 civil society representatives received accreditation to participate in the Annual Meetings.  These included policy advocates from NGOs, faith-based organizations, trade unions, and research centers from some 30 countries, although the majority was from developed countries, particularly the United Kingdom and the United States.  The CSOs were provided with a number of meeting rooms, computer stations, phones, and
copy machines in both the Bank and Fund buildings.  They were also provided access to journalists, press conferences, and several of the official meetings either in person or via webcast.

A series of policy dialogue sessions, 18 in all, were organized for the accredited CSOs during the week of the Meetings.  These dialogues were held between Tuesday, September 20 and Saturday, September 24 and covered nearly all the major issues on the Development Committee agenda and other topics including: PRSP review, IFC safeguards, climate change, aid for trade, conditionality review, infrastructure progress report, and HIPC.AMs2005 story#5
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AMs2005 story#3About half of these sessions were co-organized and/or co-hosted with such CSOs as Bank Information Center, Center of Concern, Eurodad, Environmental Defense, InterAction, Oxfam, Save the Children, World Resources Institute, World Vision).  Numerous Bank managers (Vice Presidents and Directors) and staff served as speakers, panelists, and chairs of these sessions.  CSOs also participated in the Program of Seminars
sessions, which were free of charge for the first time to all CSOs, and included high level panels on Africa, trade, and debt sustainability.

A Civil Society Town Hall meeting with Paul Wolfowitz (President, World Bank), Rodrigo de Rato (Managing Director, IMF), and Trevor Manuel (Head, Bank’s Development Committee), was held on Thursday, September 22 and was open to all accredited CSOs.  [Transcript video photos]  This event, which was webcast live, was chaired by Aruna Rao of Civicus and attracted some 60 CSO representatives.  They brought up a number of issues: Marlin Gold mine project in Guatemala, corruption, reconstruction of Iraq, and Bank governance.
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During his introductory remarks, Wolfowitz said that civil society plays a key role in giving people voice and holding governments accountable. CSOs also play a critical advocacy role, he said, supporting the Bank to push governments to live up to their commitments and promises.  Further, he stated that CSOs can be a critical source of intelligence: “Development is not a science. It is a process that requires a fair amount of trial and error – you need to know what your errors are and it’s hard to know them unless people who have really knowledge on the   AMs2005 story townhall
ground can communicate them to you.”  Mr. Wolfowitz also attended a reception following the townhall during which time he was able to talk to many CSO leaders who attended the Town Hall.

CSOs attending the meetings also produced a series of reports and statements prior or at the time of the meetings.  Some 15 policy papers were disseminated on such issues as debt, PRSP, trade, PSIA, and conditionality.   The area of greatest interest this year, though, was the debt deal reached at the Meetings as evidenced by numerous press releases disseminated by leading CSOs at the conclusion of the Annual Meetings.    
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The active presence of CSOs at the Meetings reflects the growing recognition by the Bank and Fund of the role civil society plays in the policy setting process.  As President Wolfowitz said in his Annual Meetings speech: “civil society organizations contribute to accountability by providing an important bridge between citizens and their governments."AMs2005 story#4

More information:
2005 Annual Meetings Civil Society Policy Dialogues program
Schedule of all events open to CSOs during 2005 Annual Meetings
General information about 2005 Annual Meetings
Offical 2005 Annual Meetings site
2005 Annual Meetings Photo gallery (under construction)

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Last updated: October 2005




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