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Civil Society Engagement eNewsletter - December 2005

MAIN STORIES:

*  NEWS FROM THE WORLD BANK'S REGIONAL DEPARTMENTS
*  NEW PUBLICATIONS FROM THE WORLD BANK
*  UPCOMING AND ONGOING GLOBAL EVENTS/DISCUSSIONS
*  RECENT GLOBAL EVENTS/DISCUSSIONS


1. The World Bank at the WTO Ministerial Meeting in Hong Kong - The WB Vice President of the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network, Danny Leipziger leads WB's delegation to the Doha world trade talks in Hong Kong bearing a clear message that despite reduced expectations for the Ministerial Meeting, the Doha Development Round remains vital to sharing the benefits of globalization more equitably and lifting millions of people from poverty. He stressed that "the Doha round was a development round and the interests of developing nations must be front and center of the negotiations" and that "to be credible as a multilateral round of negotiations, the Doha round of talks must allow developing nations to feel they can materially benefit from globalization." WB President Paul Wolfowitz has said that the stakes for the poor and for the world economy are too big to allow the Doha Round to fail and poses "an opportunity to rewrite the rules of an unfair trading system that holds back the potential of the poorest people". WB research has shown that reducing agricultural protection is vital as two thirds of the gains from full merchandise trade liberalization would be in agriculture, and WB argues for real cuts in trade distorting agricultural subsidies. On the issue of aid for trade, WB expects firm commitments by richer countries to the enhanced Integrated Framework (IF), which provides trade-related assistance to least developed countries. WB hopes to get further indications from donors for support to the IF as well as to ensure that whatever openings there are in trade negotiations, countries have the help they need to take advantage of those. More

2. World Bank Board Reviews Implementation Of the Management Response To the Extractive Industries Review - On December 8, 2005 the WBG Board reviewed the "Implementation of the Management Response To the Extractive Industries Review" report. The the Extractive Industries Review (EIR) – was launched in 2000. The WBG's Board consideration in August 2004 of its Management Response to the EIR was the culmination of the review process. The report concludes that since October 2004 there has been progress in implementing the specific proposals in the Management Response and in deepening WBG's understanding of the approach to sustainable development in extractive industries. It acknowledges that there remain challenges for the Bank in the sector, and recognizes that some of the issues involved in the EIR sector, such as governance risks, assessing broad community support, ensuring communities benefit in the long run, and measuring the development impacts of projects effectively, are complex in practice. In the latest report the WBG acknowledges that there remain challenges for the sector, and that the institution will continue to learn and develop its approach to the sector as it goes. More

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3. World Bank Statement on Chad - The WB Group President, in his December 8 statement, expressed serious concerns about a proposal from the Government of Chad to significantly alter the Petroleum Revenue Management Law. This law was a deciding factor in the WB Group's original support for the Chad-Cameroon Oil Pipeline. The government of Chad argues that the proposed changes are needed to boost revenue to its budget at a time of fiscal crisis. However in WB's view, the modifications alone will fail to provide a lasting solution to the recurring financial problems that Chad faces but would instead undermine the objectives of socioeconomic development, poverty reduction, accountability and transparency that guided WB and international support for the Chad-Cameroon Pipeline project. The WB has proposed to the Chadian Government other measures to strengthen safeguards in the management of the country's public finances, while preserving the integrity of the oil revenue management system for the benefit of all Chadians. The WB Group is expecting to hear the Government's response to its proposals. More

4. One Year After the Tsunami: World Bank Assistance in Recovery - The world community is approaching the first anniversary of the sad events of December 26th 2004, when the tsunami hit parts of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, the Maldives, Somalia and Tanzania. The WB has been involved in the damage and needs assessment process as well as in the reconstruction efforts during these 12 months. Following the tsunami, WB announced an immediate grant of US$25 million for Indonesia. As the generous outpouring of international support reached substantial portions, the Bank brought together 15 donors under a US$525 million Multi-donor Fund for Aceh and Nias (MDF), which was constituted in February, 2005. To help India, WB has so far committed US$528.5 million. The commitment to support programs in Sri Lanka reached US$150 million. Please visit a section of the external WB website that provides a range of stories, fact sheets on the size and scope of WB assistance, including specific activities, and other information on the reconstruction efforts in the affected countries. More

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5. New World Bank Global HIV/AIDS Program of Action - To mark World AIDS Day on December 1, 2005, the WB launched a new action plan to fight the epidemic. The "Global HIV/AIDS Program of Action" describes the actions the Bank will take over the coming three years to work with client countries and other partners to more effectively prevent new infections and treat and care for people infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. This global strategy complements regional strategies and the scope extends to lending, analysis, technical assistance and policy dialogue at country, regional and global levels. A key focus of the new action plan is to help countries develop better national strategies to combat the epidemic and prevent simply adopting a "one size fits all" approach. It aims to strengthen program monitoring and evaluation systems at the country levels and share knowledge and information on what works in other countries. WB will remain one of the major financiers of AIDS activities globally and use its flexibility to fund countries and activities that others can't or won't finance, in line with the "Three Ones" approach that calls for one national HIV/AIDS authority, one national strategic plan and one monitoring and evaluation system within developing and middle-income countries to combat HIV/AIDS. More

6. World Bank/Climate Change: New Carbon Finance Strategy Increases Opportunities for Developing Countries - The WB's Board of Executive Directors endorsed on December 6, 2005, a Carbon Finance Strategy that will give an edge to developing countries to participate in the growing carbon market and oversee the creation of an Umbrella Carbon Facility that will permit the purchase of carbon emission reductions on a larger scale. The WB administers 8 carbon funds, including the Community Development Carbon Fund and the BioCarbon Fund. The new facility would ensure that a portion of the capital now accumulating in the OECD countries meet emission reduction obligations flows to developing countries and the kinds of projects that could benefit include the capping of industrial gases such as HFC-23 in China, one of the most powerful greenhouse gases, coal mine methane recovery and use, etc. From a minor experimental facility, carbon finance has grown to be an emerging line of World Bank assistance to developing countries. More

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7. Governments Commit to Action on Forest Law Enforcement and Governance - On November 25, 2005, forty-three governments committed to take action to address issues of illegal logging and associated illegal trade and corruption via the endorsement of the St. Petersburg Declaration on Forest Law Enforcement and Governance in Europe and North Asia. The St. Petersburg Declaration is the result of a Ministerial Conference on Forest Law Enforcement and Governance on November 22-25 with almost 300 participants representing governments, the private sector, civil society and international organizations including WB. The Conference was initiated by the Russian Federation in May 2004 to promote forest law enforcement and governance in the region to be facilitated by WB and support from government donor agencies. Governments will have the opportunity to demonstrate their progress towards the goals in 5 years when a second ministerial meeting will take place with support from donor governments and WB. More

8. World Bank President Announces Executive Search - WB President Paul Wolfowitz announced on November 29, 2005 the creation of an executive search committee to find candidates to join the Bank's senior management team, taking on many of the responsibilities held by departing Managing Director Shengman Zhang. Zhang leaves the Bank Group on December 31 and Wolfowitz announced that Graeme Wheeler will fill the role of acting managing director until the search committee's work is completed. As Treasurer over the past four years, Wheeler has managed the Bank Group's complex borrowing program of nearly $20 billion in multiple currencies and over $60 billion in assets, including the staff pension fund. Prior to joining the Bank in 1997, Wheeler had extensive experience as Treasurer of the New Zealand Debt Management Office and Deputy Secretary to the New Zealand Treasury. More

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NEWS FROM THE WORLD BANK'S REGIONAL DEPARTMENTS

Africa

Southern Sudan Receives Assistance for Recovery - International assistance for the recovery of war-torn Southern Sudan got underway with the $20 million Rapid Impact Emergency project signed on November 24 from the Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) for Southern Sudan and $7.25 million from the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS), with WB designated as the administrator of the trust fund established as part of Sudan's Comprehensive Peace Agreement. The grant agreement requires that the funds be used to acquire pharmaceuticals for health centers, textbooks for primary schools and equipment for GoSS offices in the regional and state capitals. Over $500 million has been pledged by countries at a donor conference in Oslo in April to two Multi-Donor Trust Funds administered by WB to consolidate the peace agreement ending the conflict. A Sudan Consortium of representatives from the Sudanese governments, donor agencies and CSOs, is also established to review the overall program of humanitarian, economic, social and institutional developments and will meet in February 9-11, 2006. More

Donors Pledge $800 Million to Fast-Track Poverty Reduction in Sierra Leone - Thirty of Sierra Leone's development partners expressed confidence in the government's plans for poverty reduction with further promises of $800 million in aid for 2005-2007, following two days of talks in London on November 29 and 30 co-chaired by the Government of Sierra Leone, the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the UN and WB. The three main themes of discussion included food security, employment (particularly youth employment) and governance. Development partners agreed on plans to improve the effectiveness of aid programs through greater donor coordination and more focus on the government's own poverty reduction strategy, in reaffirming their commitment to Sierra Leone. More

Southern African Countries Combine Efforts to Fight HIV/AIDS - The World Bank facilitated a meeting in Johannesburg on October 13th and 14th of Southern African Customs Union countries, namely Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland, severely affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic to work together to combat the socioeconomic impact of AIDS and its challenge to development. The meeting provided a forum for discussion on the progress of the respective national programs, experiences and lessons learned and brought about better understanding of the most urgent problems facing individual countries and common problems for the region. The representatives explored regional mechanisms for coordination and networking among the national AIDS coordinating bodies and with development partners, including exchange of information through electronic communication spearheaded by Swaziland's national coordinating agency (NERCHA). More targeted thematic meetings were called for and the World Bank and other development partners represented at the meeting were called on to support and help sustain good initiatives such as the Regional Development Marketplace small grants competition held by the Pretoria regional World Bank office in 2004 on HIV/AIDS. More

East Asia and Pacific (EAP)

The World Bank's "On Foot" Campaign to Raise HIV/AIDS Awareness - WB marked the World AIDS Day on December 1, 2005 with the "On Foot" Campaign in central Bangkok as WB staff and youths from local universities rallied for public awareness. Thailand has been recognized as one of the few countries to have successfully address HIV/AIDS but with the changing social situation, the number of people becoming infected is likely to rise particularly with high risk groups. The WB, in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health, has just completed a study on Expanding Access to Anti-retroviral Treatment in Thailand to assess budgetary implications of different policy scenarios under the universal care scheme and provide a policy framework for future scale-up of the services. The WB has also been studying how to stimulate demand for voluntary counseling and testing, and ART enrollment, with financial support from the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM). More

World Bank Welcomes Government of Mongolia's Commitment to Global Transparency Initiative - The WB welcomed the Government of Mongolia's announcement that it would implement the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) strongly supported by the Government of the United Kingdom, WB and IMF, numerous mining and oil companies, investors and CSOs. The announcement came at a jointly hosted conference on the transparency initiative with more than a hundred representatives from government, international and local companies, parliament, CSOs and the international community attending. More than 20 countries are implementing the provisions of the initiative in clearly stating what the extractive industry companies are paying to governments and what governments are receiving from those companies, as well as generating greater public debate on the use of these revenues through greater transparency of payments and revenues. More

The Pace Picks Up in Indonesia After the Tsunami - More than 25 000 houses are expected to be completed by the end of this year in Aceh for survivors of last year's tsunami. A combination of factors slowed the reconstruction process down; one of which was funds pledged by donors often meant the money was unapproved until the middle of the year due to parliamentary processes, while another factor was the government processes within Indonesia with their parliament not approving the reconstruction budget for 2005 until June. The need for housing continues as transitional housing has been the missing link, with the NGOs and the UN previously concerned that temporary housing might divert their efforts to build permanent housing. An aggressive effort is underway now to build new temporary housing with the coming of the rainy season. The WB and other organizations have been involved in training programs to prepare the people for reconstruction and have also helped to finance land titling with extensive community consultation. More

Timor-Leste's Youth Groups Want to be Part of Development - With close to 60 percent of the population being youths, a new Secretariat for Youth and Sport has been set up in Timor Leste as part of the Ministry of Education and had begun work on the youth Leadership for Economic Development program, supported by the Post Conflict Fund of WB. The Program seeks input from youth across the country in the development of a National Youth Policy and to include the voices of youth in the national dialogue of development. The most pressing problem of spiraling youth urban unemployment at about 43% in 2001 is attempted to be solved via training at Business Development Centers as well as vocational or professional schools for training in the fisheries and agricultural sectors as run by the Ministry of Development's Small Enterprises Program and supported by WB administered Trust Fund for Timor-Leste. The WB has also supported organizational development workshops for 26 youth council leaders from all 13 districts during May and July of this year, with plans to develop outreach, a business model and financial planning by these youth leaders. More

Europe and Central Asia (ECA)

World Bank Assistance to Turkey to Reach US $6.6 Billion Between 2003-2007 - WB made public a Progress Report that takes stock of the implementation of the medium-term Country Assistance Strategy for Turkey and sets out a one-year extension of the program with an increase in the overall size of WB lending to $6.6 billion for the four year period. The Progress Report notes significant positive developments during the past 2 years and concludes that in the areas of macroeconomic management and improvement in the business climate, Turkey has over-performed the expected outcomes, with stronger and steadier economic growth, faster reduction of inflation and improvements in public creditworthiness indicators. There has also been progress in human development such as in the reduction of poverty, girls' enrollment in secondary education and child mortality but the Progress Report also points out that implementation of some difficult structural reforms such as state bank privatization and social security reform has taken longer than planned. More

Europe's Roma Community Meets in Bucharest - Roma leaders, international organizations including WB, the UNDP and the Open Society Institute, as well as senior representatives of the eight countries that established the Decade of Roma Inclusion in February 2005 (namely Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, FYR Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro and the Slovak Republic), met on November 17 to assess progress achieved on the situation of Roma communities in Central and South Eastern Europe. This is the first international effort designed to improve the lives of Roma, one of the largest, poorest and fastest-growing minorities in Europe, and include them in the societies in which they live. WB has promised technical assistance and advisory services and is helping to establish a trust fund from which the countries can draw for technical assistance and monitoring activities. There was strong Roma representation at the meeting with young Roma leaders conducting a session and Roma activists and media participating in a media workshop. More

World Bank and HIV/AIDS in Europe and Central Asia - The ECA Region is experiencing one of the world's fastest-growing HIV/AIDS epidemics, with a 25 percent increase in the number of infected persons and the majority of people living with HIV/AIDS in the Russian Federation and Ukraine where the combination of injecting drug use and sex work is fuelling the epidemic. Tuberculosis (TB) is epidemic in the region as well, with HIV-positive people being particularly vulnerable. WB lending in ECA to tackle HIV/AIDS and TB includes the projects in Ukraine, Russian Federation, Moldova, Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan), Albania and Turkey. The way ahead now involves tailoring assistance to suit country needs, improving coordination, scaling up current projects to include prevention programs that target high risk individuals and their partners. WB will continue efforts to raise political and economic commitment for HIV/AIDS and TB control through regional and country specific initiatives, prevent HIV and TB infections, ensure sustainable treatment and good quality care and facilitate large-scale implementation through partnerships with governments, UNAIDS, the private sector and CSOs. More

Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC)

Managing For Results: Civil Society Monitoring in the Dominican Republic - An article presenting a pioneering model of monitoring and evaluation through evolvement of CSOs in WB's Social Crisis Response Adjustment Loan, is presented in the October issue of "En Breve", a regular series of notes highlighting recent lessons emerging from the operational and analytical program of WB's LAC region. Through the inclusion of participatory monitoring and evaluation by CSOs as a requisite of the program, the loan contributed to the effectiveness of social services for the poor through increased transparency and compliance. A positive result of the program was further expanded collaboration between the government and CSOs in the country, which was extended beyond the loan. More

El Salvador: GEF Grant Supports Environment - WB's Board of Directors approved on November 29, 2005, a $5 million grant from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to conserve El Salvador's globally significant biodiversity which has been severely threatened with growing population pressures' encroachment into protected areas. The Protected Areas Consolidation and Administration Project will strengthen the national natural protected areas system by consolidating the existing strategy with the participation of all relevant stakeholders, consolidate and manage two pilot protected areas by developing, testing and finalizing a methodology and support project coordination, planning and monitoring and evaluation. More

Middle East and North Africa (MENA)

New World Bank's Regional MENA HIV/AIDS Strategy - On November 29, 2005, the WB launched a regional strategy to help countries in the MENA Region prevent a major surge in the HIV/AIDS infections and deal with HIV/AIDS more effectively in the region, called "Preventing HIV/AIDS in the Middle East and North: A Window of Opportunity to Act". The strategy points out that the region has all the core factors which make it vulnerable to an HIV/AIDS epidemic, which include inadequate surveillance systems, a large youth population and unemployment, significant migration, inadequate knowledge of preventive measures, widespread stigma and fear, insufficient security and conflicts, cultural and social values and insufficient access to information in many countries. The key aims of the strategy include engaging political leaders, policy makers and key stakeholders to raise awareness and give greater priority to HIV/AIDS programs within the national development agenda, help countries upgrade their surveillance systems and strengthen research and evaluation of epidemiological, economic and behavioral aspects of HIV/AIDS, support the development of national HIV/AIDS strategy and programs with priority focused on prevention and expansion of access to information and finally, to support capacity building and knowledge sharing for comprehensive management of HIV/AIDS programs. More

Grant for Expanded Research and Training Center in Tunisia - The WB signed an $800,000 grant agreement with the Tunisia-based Center of Arab Women for Training and Research (CAWTAR) on December 2, 2005, based on its success in developing a gender research and training network for the Arab region. The grant aims at supporting sustainable and diversified capacity in the Arab and Farsi speaking countries to carry out gender related policy research and training for the Sustainable Advancement of Gender Equality in the Middle East and North Africa Region Initiative (SAGE/MENA Initiative). It will also provide "seed money" and incentives via research institutes and think tanks to broaden the gender research and policy advice for gender mainstreaming purposes. More

World Bank Approves First IDA Credit for Iraq - The WB's Board of Executive Directors approved on November 29, 2005, the first loan to Iraq in over thirty years of $100 million for the Third Emergency Education Project (TEEP) under the framework of WB Group's Second Interim Strategy Note to scale up activities in sectors where operations financed by the Iraq Trust Fund are showing results. The TEEP will help the government alleviate school overcrowding with the construction and furnishing of about 82 new primary and secondary schools in 15 governorates to benefit about 57, 000 students, as well as introduce new design standards for schools, help Iraqi authorities formulate and introduce a national program for school construction and maintenance and finance a comprehensive reform program for Iraq?s educational system once considered to be among the best in the Middle East. More

South Asia Region (SAR)

World Bank's Office in Dhaka Requests Applications from Civil Society Organizations for the Small Grants Program 2006 - The WB Office in Dhaka, Bangladesh, invites CSOs to submit their applications for the Small Grants Program 2006. The Program supports registered nonprofit CSOs in their activities that promote dialogue and dissemination of information and enhancing partnerships with key players in support of the development process. Organizations registered with the NGO Affairs Bureau are eligible. This year's program will support activities on Voice of the Youth in the Development Process. Proposals can be submitted in either Bangla or English and the grant amount will be in the range of $2000 - $5000 and the applicant must indicate a matching amount for completing activity within one year. The deadline for submission of applications is January 31, 2006 and awards will be announced by May 15, 2006. More

HIV/AIDS in South Asia: Country Data Sheets - For World AIDS Day, WB's has compiled the HIV/AIDS data for each country in he region, which totaled more than 6 million people infected. The WB has supported efforts to fight HIV/AIDS in South Asia since 1992 and has committed $380 million to support national programs in the areas of surveillance, monitoring and evaluation, targeted interventions for vulnerable populations, blood safety, efforts aimed at reducing stigma among the general population and strengthening public and private institutions for a multi-sector response. The two-pronged approach undertaken included establishing effective prevention programs for high risk groups such as sex workers, injection drug users, etc. and addressing underlying socioeconomic factors such as poverty, stigma and trafficking of women. More

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NEW PUBLICATIONS FROM THE WORLD BANK

"Poverty and the WTO: Impacts of the Doha Development Agenda" - A new WB research study says that an "ambitious" agreement in the WTO's Doha Development Round of trade talks would reduce poverty but some countries would make immediate gains while others would need help to achieve the projected long-term poverty reduction. Of 10 countries analyzed, those countries with agricultural export potential to the markets that liberalize the most, are identified as obvious winners from trade reform, both in the short and long term. Doha reforms would have the greatest impact on world market prices and trade volumes for farm and food products, followed by textiles and clothing - key industries in any strategy to reduce poverty. In the short term, some countries are vulnerable to shocks following agricultural trade reform and the greatest impact on poverty would be by raising world market prices and trade volumes for farm and food products but reforms could induce even greater poverty reduction if the Doha Round were to include deeper liberalization by developing countries themselves. Governments need to improve infrastructure and reform domestic marketing institutions to ensure that higher world prices are transmitted to rural areas and they would also need to educate rural populations better to enhance labor mobility between farm and nonfarm jobs and help farmers benefit from new export opportunities. More

"Trade, Doha and Development: A Window Into the Issues" - The publication features essays on the key issues that make trade agreements work for development and provides short, analyses of the main elements of the Doha Development Agenda, regional trade negotiations and the "aid for trade" debate. It talks about how good agreements can do much to promote development and poverty reduction but good outcomes are not always automatic and lays out what is needed for developing countries to gain from a Doha package on agriculture, services and manufactures, with the conclusion that additional development assistance in the form of aid for trade is necessary. The book outlines the latest WB's estimates of income gains from trade liberalization, further analysis on the three pillars of agricultural trade, formula in the manufactures discussions, services and trade facilitation as well as selected aspects of regional trade agreements including intellectual property rights in US free trade agreements and the development aspects of the EU's Economic Partnerships Agreements. More

Global Economic Prospects (GEP) 2006 - The GEP says that international migration can generate substantial welfare gains for migrants and their families, as well as their origin and destination countries. It suggests that reducing remittance costs would encourage the use of formal remittance channels than will regulation of so-called informal services. This year's report, "The Economic Implications of Remittances and Migration" also forecasts that economic growth in developing countries will slow to 5.9 percent this year and to 5.7 percent in 2006, down from 6.8 percent in 2004, with developing countries continuing to grow at historically very high rates, more than twice as fast as high-income economies. High oil prices, capacity constraints and gradually rising interest rates are the key factors that have been dampening the global expansion. The negative terms of trade impact of high oil prices is estimated at around 3 percent of income in oil-importing low-income countries which may be forced to cut essential non-oil imports if steps are not taken to assist the most vulnerable of countries. More

Safeguards and Anti-dumping in Latin American Trade Liberalization - This new WB publication documents the political economy surrounding the implementation of safeguards and anti-dumping laws in seven Latin American countries and explores the larger political context of how anti-dumping and safeguards are necessary to certain sectors for more liberalized trade policies. The publication also examines skilled public policy management and provides details on institutions created, the implementation of the laws and subsequent activity. More

Energy Report: Renewables and Energy Efficiency Up by 120 Percent - The WB Group "Progress Report on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Annual Report", released on November 30, 2005, shows the progress made by its commitment to increase support for new renewable energy and energy efficiency by an average of 20 percent per year from 2005 to 2009, with financial support rising from $339 million in the year before to $748 million in fiscal year 2005. Total commitments since 1990 have now exceeded $9 billion. The report provides an overview of support for renewable energy and energy efficiency by the six regional energy units of WB, International Finance Corporation, Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, Carbon Finance operations, Energy Sector Management Assistance Program and the Asia Alternative and Sustainable Energy Program. Each dollar of WB Group financing for projects in these sectors leveraged an average of nearly 5 dollars from private investors, governments and others, according to the report. The report also looks at the project portfolio, technical assistance, analytic and advisory activities and highlights the principal approaches that the WB Group takes to support the expansion of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, as well as discusses efforts to build global partnerships, disseminate knowledge, strengthen in-house staff capacity and look at the lessons learned. More

Climate Change Threatens Wealth Creation in Developing Countries - A new WB publication, "Where is the Wealth of Nations: Measuring Capital for the 21st Century", shows that current indicators used to guide development decisions such as GDP, ignore depletion of resources and damage to the environment. It offers new estimates of total wealth factoring in the economic value of natural resources, produced capital, the value of human skills and capabilities, showing that many of the poorest countries in the world are not on a path of sustainable growth. The study, launched at the UN Climate Change Conference in Montreal, reports that the most important asset of most developing countries - land resources - is at risk from climate change. The publication offers a ranking of 120 countries according to total wealth with Switzerland heading the list of the top-ten performers, the other 9 being European countries, the United States and Japan, while Sub-Saharan Africa dominates the bottom-10 list, with Ethiopia having the lowest level of total wealth. More

infoDev and Alcatel Issue Joint Report on "Addressing the Communication Needs of the Poor" - infoDev, a partnership of major public donor agencies including WB, and Alcatel, a worldwide leader in telecommunications solutions, are publishing a report to highlight opportunities for achieving core development objectives, by bridging the gap between demand and supply of ICT services to meet the information and communication needs of rural and underserved communities in Sub-Saharan Africa. This report is a joint contribution to the second phase of the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) which was held in Tunis from November 16 to 18, 2005. The report discusses the use of a combination of innovative technologies and creative business and financing models to create information and communication services that address the needs of the world's poorest communities. Five case studies of creative and entrepreneurial small businesses focused on healthcare, mobile banking and market price information services that have found ways to meet the strong demand for affordable added value information and communication services are also included. More

Good Intentions Are Not Enough: Too Few Health Reach Poor People, But Better Results Are Possible - A new WB report, "Reaching the Poor: What Works, What Doesn't and Why?", warns both developing countries and the international development community that health, nutrition and population programs often fail to reach those poor people that need them the most, contrary to what health policy makers intend and often assume is happening. The study says that programs designed to reach poor people often end up instead helping the better-off. The study offers governments key policy steps to make sure that disadvantaged groups get the crucial healthcare services they urgently need, drawing on experience from African, Asian and Latin American countries. The report gives the example that in almost all of the more than 20 countries surveyed, the richest 20% of the population received more, or as much, of the government's subsidized maternal and child healthcare services as the poorest 20% and a follow-up action plan has been agreed to identify and encourage those strategies that give disadvantaged groups the health, nutrition and population services that they need for healthy, productive lives based on the findings of the report. More

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UPCOMING AND ONGOING GLOBAL EVENTS/DISCUSSIONS

World Bank Interactions With CSOs at The Sixth WTO Ministerial Conference - WB will interact with civil society in Hong Kong through a series of activities. It will be participating in a Fair Trade Fair and Symposium being organized by the fair trade movement during the Ministerial. This will include distributing materials during the Fair and speaking on several panels during the Symposium. The Bank will also host a policy luncheon with CSOs on December 15 to be hosted by the head of the delegation, Vice President Danny Leipziger. This session will involve a panel composed of several speakers from the Bank and civil society to exchange views on key trade issues and unfolding negotiations at the Ministerial. Members of the Bank's Trade Team are also expected to attend and speak at numerous civil society events being planned. If interested in participating in these Bank - civil society events please contact John Garrison from the Bank's Civil Society Team via: jgarrison@worldbank.orgMore

RECENT GLOBAL EVENTS/DISCUSSIONS

Regional Conference on Microfinance in South Asia - From December 5 to 7, 2005, WB and the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) organized a regional conference on microfinance in South Asia to highlight and promote ideas and initiatives for strong national sustainable microfinance sectors, improve the policy and regulatory environment and build stronger regional linkages between stakeholders in South Asia. The conference marked the culmination of the United Nations' International Year of Microfinance. It brought together practitioners and microfinance experts from around the world, especially from the South Asia region, and include representatives from commercial banks, government, regulators and other stakeholders. Despite South Asia's pioneering experiments in microfinance, more than three quarters of poor families in the region still do not have access to reliable, organized financial services and microfinance seeks to fill this gap. A five-point agenda was debated to meet the challenge of scaling up microfinance services via improving governance, internal transparency, introduce low-cost ways of doing business and professionalize management, increase the range of financial products to meet the needs of poor borrowers and to consider the use of microfinance in post-disaster situations, etc. More

World AIDS Day Events at the World Bank - During the week of World AIDS Day events, WB organized a session to take stock of WB's contributions to the fight against HIV/AIDS to date and to figure out the way forward. Panelists included Vice Presidents from the different regions and questions explored included whether WB is doing enough and if WB's comparative advantage has been utilized in other non-health sectors to mobilize and mainstream HIV/AIDS. Another discussion was organized on the role of health systems in addressing HIV/AIDS and their constraints from various experiences of the Global Fund and other programs. Other aspects of discussion included means to scale up coverage of HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment services. The Bank and the IMF also co-organized a panel discussion on whether economics can help fight HIV/AIDS, which explored the questions of the economic impact of AIDS on households, firms, the macroeconomy, as well as on the costs and consequences of AIDS interventions. More

World Bank-Civil Society Video Conference Discussion on Trade, November 30, 2005 - In advance of the WTO Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong WB organized a Video Conference with CSOs from the North and South on advancing poverty reduction through the Doha Development Agenda. The meeting involved over 50 CSO actors from Nigeria, Uganda, Zambia, India Moldova, Belgium and the USA, drawn from a wide range of sectors including NGOs, trade unions, academia think tanks and youth groups. WB was represented by its trade team led by Director, Mr. Uri Dadush, and its country office teams from the above mentioned countries. The aims of the discussion were two fold: to exchange views on the Bank’s updated approach to the Doha Development Agenda and the Hong Kong Ministerial; and to discuss CSO concerns and suggestions on the advancement of poverty reduction through the Doha Agenda. An issue of concern common to the Bank and many CSOs was on the damaging impact of subsidies from the developed countries on the economies of developing countries. More

Global Issues Seminar Series session, "Global Economy: International Trade", November 30, 2005 - The eighth seminar in the series was organized by the WB External Affairs department with the participation of students from the University of Amsterdam (The Netherlands), the American University of Beirut (Lebanon), University of Ghana (Ghana), University of Essex (United Kingdom), University of the Sorbonne (France), and University of Sussex (United Kingdom) via videoconferencing. Graduate students from universities in the Washington DC area also attended the session. The lecture discussed the impact of international trade on development and the reasons why the Bank advocates removing trade barriers. The speakers noted that while there are many examples of economic reform leading to a boom, there are no examples of unreformed economies that did so. Students asked about Bank collaboration with trade organizations, comparative advantage, and the cost of globalization. This session on the pertinent issue of international trade is available on-line at link below, as are previous sessions of the Global Issues Seminar Series. More

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The Newsletter 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. We welcome your comments and feedback to make this newsletter as useful as possible. You can subscribe to the Newsletter using a new registration page: http://www.worldbank.org/civilsocietyengagementnewsletter/. Please share your comments on the Newsletter with us: civilsociety@worldbank.org.  All past issues of the Newsletter can be found on the WB site on Civil Society Engagement at: http://www.worldbank.org/civilsociety.




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