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Civil Society Engagement eNewsletter - January 2006

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.  World Bank President Meets Virtually with Civil Society on Four Continents - On January 18, World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz held a videoconference with CSOs from Colombia, Germany, Mali, Pakistan, Poland, and Zambia.  It was the first time he has participated in such a multi-country virtual dialogue with CSOs.  In his opening remarks, President Wolfowitz reaffirmed his commitment to the Bank's engagement with civil society, as well as the importance of civil society in the development process.  He stressed that, in his view, CSOs provide a major contribution in the area of giving voice to marginalized populations as well as in holding governments and international institutions like the WB accountable.  He also expressed interest in finding possible ways to increase the Bank's support for CSOs.  He responded to comments and questions from the participating CSOs on a number of topics, including debt relief, extractive industries, trade,  education, HIV/AIDS, the role of women, support for persons with disabilities and countries in conflict.  Transcript and video file

2.  World Bank President Meets with CSOs on His First Visit to Brazil - President Wolfowitz visited Brazil on December 15-20, 2005 for the first time as WB president.  During the trip he held a lunch discussion with key local stakeholders along the Tapajos River, and a meeting in Brasilia with representatives of some of Brazil's most influential CSOs, to discuss their views on the role of the Bank in Brazil.   He met with communities in the state of Ceara in Brazil's northeast, the poorest region in the country, where the Bank has been supporting several community-driven development initiatives.  He also visited the Amazon area, where he toured various projects seeking a balance between environmental conservation and economic development.  In his meeting with President Lula, he praised Brazil's economy and social progress, stressed that the WB will continue to support middle-income countries such as Brazil, and commended Brazil's strong leadership role on the international trade agenda in pressing for increased agricultural liberalization in the developed world.  Among the WB projects he visited were the Bolsa Familia Project, which currently covers over 8 million families and aims to provide universal coverage for the poorest people in Brazil (some 11.2 million families) by 2006.   More

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3.  Global Efforts to Fight Avian Flu Receive a Boost At Beijing Donors Meeting - Donors pledged US$1.9 billion to fight avian influenza and prepare for a possible human influenza pandemic at the International Pledging Conference on Avian and Human Pandemic Influenza held in Beijing, China on January 17-18.  The conference was sponsored by the Government of China, the European Commission and WB, in coordination with other UN agencies such as the WHO, FAO, and OIE (World Organization for Animal Health), and a number of international CSOs were also invited to participate.  WB President Wolfowitz announced that the Bank would be providing a US$500 million Global Adaptable Program Loan for countries to prepare and carry out a national program to control bird flu, a flexible funding mechanism which will allow the donors pledging money in Beijing to combine their grant funding with WB-supported operations to reduce the overall cost.  The Kyrgyz Republic is expected to be the first country to obtain financing under the new program.  The WB also launched a report on the need for at least US$1.2 to $1.4 billion for developing and middle-income countries to combat avian flu in animals and deal with the threat of a human flu pandemic, with the largest expected costs to be in the East Asia and Pacific region, followed by Europe and Central Asia and then Africa. The WB estimates show that a financing gap is still facing countries around the world in dealing with the potential threat of an avian flu pandemic.  For more information please go to the WB websie on Avian Flu.

4.  World Bank Comments on the Outcome of the Hong Kong Trade Ministerial Meeting - In a final press release issued after the Hong Kong Ministerial Meeting, the WB's Vice President for Poverty Reduction and Economic Management, Danny Leipziger, said that developing countries are being short-changed by the global trading system, and that there has been "too much talk about development and too little action." He stressed that the major trading economies of the developed world are keeping the big issues off the table and that "in the three days the meetings have taken so far, the rich countries have transferred more than $2 billion to their farmers in various forms of support, while in the same period, the 300 million poorest people in Africa have earned less than $1 billion between them." He emphasized the need to create opportunities for the poor via trade to generate new jobs and income, which is currently denied by the developed world for greater equity and stability, and concluded that the developed world has disappointed at the WTO talks in Hong Kong.  More

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5.  Senior Appointments at the World Bank - Suzanne Rich Folsom has been named as the new Director for the WB's Department of Institutional Integrity (INT). Rich Folsom has been acting director of INT since October 2005.  The appointment was effective January 17, 2006.  Kevin Kellems was appointed to the position of Director of Strategy in the External Affairs, Communications, and United Nations Affairs Vice Presidency.  In addition to this appointment, he will continue to serve in the Office of the President as the President's Senior Advisor.  His appointment was effective January 10, 2006.  Stefan Koeberle, who was previously managing the country economics unit in the Operations Policy and Country Services Vice Presidency, was appointed to the position of Director, Operations Support Unit in the Latin America and the Caribbean Region.  His appointment was effective January 16, 2006.  Hartwig Schafer, who currently erves as WB's country director for Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe, was named to the position of Director of Operations in the Africa Region.  He will take up this new assignment on February 1, 2006.   Laura Tuck was appointed to the position of Sector Director, Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development Unit (ESSD) in the Latin America and the Caribbean Region (LCR).  She is currently Sector Director, ESSD in the Europe and Central Asia Vice Presidency, and her new appointment is effective February 15, 2006. 

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NEWS FROM THE WORLD BANK'S REGIONAL DEPARTMENTS

Africa

World Bank Suspends Disbursements to Chad - In response to the passage of amendments to the country's Petroleum Revenue Management Law by the Chadian National Assembly, on January 6 WB President Paul Wolfowitz announced that the Bank would withhold new loans and grants to the Government of Chad and suspend disbursement of International Development Association (IDA) funds allocated to the country, to the amount of US $124 million.  In the Bank's view, the changes in the law violate Chad's agreement with the WB in the context of the Chad-Cameroon Pipeline.  Mr. Wolfowitz saiad that  the WB has "a responsibility to ensure that money generated from this oil project is used to meet the needs of the poor people in Chad.  Regrettably instead of engaging in dialogue, they have proceeded to alter fundamentally the law which was the basis for our original agreement."   The changes to the law would expand the priority sectors to benefit from oil revenues beyond anti-poverty programs, and also would eliminate the Future Generations Fund, which was set up to ensure benefits to the population once oil reserves are exhausted. The WB has indicated that it remains open to further dialogue with the Government of Chad on the best ways to address its current financial crisis while protecting the integrity of the poverty reduction programs.  For more background on the Bank's decision and on the Chad-Cameroon pipeline please go to: http://www.worldbank.org/chad.

Niger: World Bank Approves US$35 Million to Improve Health Outcomes and Fight Malaria - On January 5, the WB's Board of Directors approved an International Development Association (IDA) credit of US$35 million for the Institutional Strengthening and Health Sector Support Project, which will boost government efforts to carry out the National Health Development Plan (NHDP) designed to increase people's access to, and use of, good quality health services.  Also, it is intended to reinforce the decentralization of health services to local communities, promote greater community participation, improves management and strengthen institutional capacities within the Ministry of Health. The project marks the third installment of WB's Booster Program for Malaria Control in Africa, launched on Africa Malaria Day in April 2005. The project will support malaria control within the context of the broader health sector development plan, and includes financing of US$10 million to rapidly increase bednet use and other preventive measures, as well as to improve access to effective treatment.  More

World Bank and Japan Release $2 Million to Support Post-Tsunami Recovery Efforts in Somalia - The WB will support long-term post-tsunami recovery efforts in Somalia through two grants from the Japan Social Development Fund (JSDF) for a total of US $2 million. The grants will support the affected fishing communities along the coastal area with the necessary production means to enable them to restore their livelihoods through CARE International, and provide for continued health response outreach activities to tsunami-affected areas for tsunami-related diseases to prevent and provide an early response to epidemics in the affected areas through the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC)/Somali Red Crescent Society. More

Uganda: Joint Assistance Strategy and World Bank Approval of US$135 Million for Fifth Poverty Reduction Support Operation - On January 17, the WB Board of Directors discussed the Uganda Joint Assistance Strategy (UJAS) and approved an International Development Association (IDA) grant of US$112.5 million and a credit of US$22.5 million to finance the fifth Poverty Reduction Support Operation (PRSC 5). The Uganda Joint Assistance Strategy provides the basis for the partners' support for the implementation of the government's new Poverty Eradication Plan for the period 2005/06 - 2008/09 and was collaboratively prepared by the African Development Bank, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, DFID and the WB Group. The Executive Directors commended UJAS for putting into practice the principles of the Rome and Paris Declaration on aid effectiveness and a number of Directors recommended that UJAS serve as a model for better coordination among development partners in support of the Government's goals.  More

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East Asia and the Pacific

World Bank Statement on the Detention of Human Rights Activists in Cambodia - The WB Country Director for Cambodia issued a statement on January 9 in response to the arrests of prominent human rights activists in Cambodia.  He expressed concern that the continuing detentions of leading figures from the political opposition, trade unions, the media and NGOs would send a worrying message to the Cambodian people, potential investors and Cambodia’s development partners about Cambodia’s commitment to openness, transparency and sustainable development as laid out in its own development strategy. He emphasized that the prospects of improvement for more open and accountable systems of governance are a key consideration underlying WB’s programs of assistance in Cambodia.  More

Radio Training Program for Women Aims to Build Participation of Timorese Women in Public Dialogue - About 10 women journalists from community radio stations around Timor-Leste started a 16-week training program on January 9, 2006 in a bid to enhance women's participation in media around the country and provide women in rural areas access to information. This training program is funded by the WB-administered Norwegian Dutch Trust Fund for Mainstreaming Gender (GENFUND) and is implemented by the Timor Leste Media Development Center under the guidance of Internews. The project fits into the governance pillar of Timor-Leste's Country Assistance Strategy and responds timely to the issues at last year's Second National East Timorese Women's Congress on increasing women's participation in economic development, improving access to health services, ensuring equal access and participation in politics and justice and improving women's community access to information.  More

Public Information Sharing Events on World Bank Activities in Cambodia - At least 150 participants representing provincial authorities, and CSOs and youth based at the provincial level, attended two separate information-sharing events in the northwest provinces – Battambang and Banteay Meanchay – organized by the WB Cambodia Country  office.  The presentations were wide-ranging. They included the WB's new country assistance strategy, but also covered rural development, road building, water and sanitation, energy, procurement, education and health, and social accountability and citizen empowerment.  In evaluating the events, their participants found the conversations very important and useful.  More

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Europe and Central Asia

Albania: World Bank Launches New Country Assistance Strategy - The WB's Board of Executive Directors discussed a new Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) for Albania on January 10. The CAS covers the period 2006-2009 and envisages a lending program of up to US$86 million from IDA and US$110 million from IBRD.  It was prepared in partnership with the Government and has benefited from collaboration with other development partners, as well as from wide consultations from Parliamentarians, main political parties, private sector and CSOs. Priorities of the new CAS include assisting the government foster economic growth through support to private sector development and thus creating more jobs and improving public service delivery, particularly in the social sectors, with governance mainstreamed in all programs and projects.  More

Tajikistan Poverty Map - New research funded by the WB and DFID in the form of the new "Socio-Economic Atlas of Tajikistan" is showing the geographical distribution of poverty and other indicators of socio-economic welfare. It is the result of a year-long collaboration between the University of Southampton and the State Statistical Committee of the Republic of Tajikistan. The project arose out of a need to gain a better understanding among Government agencies and civil society about the spatial distribution of poverty across the country and is the first time that such complex statistical methodology has been applied in Central Asia. The development of the poverty atlas is just one of many activities that WB is supporting as part of its on-going Program on Poverty Dialogue with the Government of Tajikistan, which include poverty analysis and public expenditures tracking, technical and financial assistance for the 1999 and 2003 Tajikistan Living Standards Survey, etc.  More

Announcement: Launch of Small Grants Program in Albania, Croatia and Romania - The WB offices in Albania, Croatia and Romania announced the launch of the 2006 edition of the Small Grants Program (SGP).  All three offices encourage local CSOs to participate.  The WB SGP supports activities by local CSOs whose primary objective is civic engagement; these activities may include workshops, seminars, appropriate communication campaigns and networking efforts for capacity building.  Grants range from $3000-$5000 and activities should be completed within one year of the date the grant is awarded. The deadlines for accepting applications vary in each of the countries.  Please visit the following websites for more information:   www.worldbank.org.al  www.worldbank.org.hr www.worldbank.org.ro

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Latin America and the Caribbean

Mexico: World Bank Approves $420 Million For Education - On December 13, 2005, the WB's Board of Directors approved three loans for a total of $420 million for Mexico to improve the quality of basic public schools and expand student access to tertiary education. The $240 million School Based Management Project will improve public basic school management through strengthening and expanding the government’s Quality Schools Program (Programa Escuelas de Calidad – PEC). The project will specifically finance the federal share of PEC school grant program, which states then complement with additional funds and help implement in their jurisdiction, program monitoring and oversight to ensure compliance and policy studies, program evaluation activities and pilot experiments for testing program adjustments. An estimated 33,000 public schools will benefit from these grants.  More

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Middle East and North Africa

Lebanon: World Bank Approves Four-Year Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) - On December 15, 2005, the WB Board of Directors endorsed a new Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) for Lebanon for 2006-2009. The CAS focuses on the three priorities: governance for economic management and growth support, development of human capital and the mitigation of the poverty effects of transition, and resource and environmental management. Under the new CAS, a concessional lending program ranging from US$100 million to US$700 million is proposed over the CAS period, depending on Lebanon’s ability to carry out fiscal and structural reforms, enhance the social safety net and poverty programs, and improve portfolio performance. The CAS was based on consultations with the Government, Parliament, CSOs, development partners, the private sector and other stakeholders.  More

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South Asia
 
Pakistan: World Bank Provides US $400 Million More For Earthquake Reconstruction - On December 15, 2005, the WB approved a US$400 million Emergency Recovery Credit to further support the earthquake recovery and reconstruction effort in Pakistan over a three-year period. This follows WB's initial commitment of US$475 million in October as part of the overall pledge of US$1 billion for earthquake recovery. The credit will support housing reconstruction, livelihood support, import financing, and capacity building, as well as make funds available for any financing gaps identified in other sectors such as social protection, health, education, agriculture, roads, water supply and other infrastructure. The capacity building component would include developing a strategic approach to hazard risk management. 
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NEW PUBLICATIONS FROM THE WORLD BANK

Economic Development and Multilateral Trade Cooperation - This new publication explores the questions of how international trade agreements can promote development and how rules can be designed to benefit poor countries. It provides an up-to-date analysis on how to translate good intentions into solid multilateral agreements and if multilateral trade cooperation in the WTO can really help developing countries create and strengthen institutions and regulatory regimes that will enhance the gains from trade and integration into the global economy.  More

From Disintegration to Reintegration: Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union in International Trade - This new publication discusses the international dynamics of the region’s reintegration into the world economy and the implications for their trading partners, international financial institutions, the donor community and the future of the world trading system as a whole. The study identifies the two “new” intra-regional trade blocs that have emerged, one fast growing and tending toward the advanced countries in Europe, the other registering significantly slower growth and pulling back towards a Russia-centric sphere dominated by commodity trade and risking non-participation in the international division of labor. The book aptly discusses and sums up the implications of globalization and coming full circle with the disintegration of the Soviet trade bloc and the transition from communism to capitalism in Europe and Central Asia.  More

Where is the Wealth of Nations? Measuring Capital for the 21st Century - The book presents estimates of total wealth for nearly 120 countries, giving a unique opportunity to look at economic management from a broader and comprehensive perspective. It is broken down into the component pieces of produced capital, natural resources and human resources. The book makes the basic point that economic development can be conceived as a process of portfolio management, so that sustainability becomes an integral part of economic policy making.  More

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UPCOMING AND ONGOING GLOBAL EVENTS/DISCUSSIONS

Join an Online Discussion on Aid to Afghanistan - A Bank report on the effectiveness of aid to Afghanistan warns that fragmentation of foreign assistance may adversely affect the accountability and capacity of the country's government.  The report is being released ahead of a January 31 London Conference on Afghanistan.  Join the authors on January 31 at 10 a.m. Washington time (15:00 UTC/GMT) for a live online discussion about the new report.  Questions can be submitted in advance at: http://discuss.worldbank.org/.


RECENT GLOBAL EVENTS/DISCUSSIONS

World Bank Economics Conference in St. Petersburg Jan. 18-19 Unveils New Research Findings on Transition, Growth and Inequality - The WB's  Annual Conference on Development Economics (ABCDE) was held in St. Petersburg, Russia January 18-19, 2006 and among the key themes discussed by world-class economists and other specialists were transition, economic growth and inequality. The conference was an opportunity for researchers to present and discuss new research on the factors behind development and poverty reduction and featured presentations of new research by invited experts on four themes, namely Growth After Transition: Is Rising Inequality Inevitable?, Economic Space, Governance, and Judiciary Foundations of a Market System, this year. Keynote speakers included Anders Aslund, of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Yegor Gaidar, of the Institute for the Economy in Transition, Vladimir Mau, Rector of the Academy of National Economy at the Government of the Russian Federation, and various WB experts and other academics. The ABCDE conference was followed immediately by the Eastern Europe and Central Asia (ECA) Policy Workshop on Education and Global Development, to provide insights into global education challenges critical for economic growth, and provide an opportunity for Russian experts to share new ideas in this area, which Russia seeks to emphasize during its G 8 chairmanship. The seventh annual conference of the Global Development Network (GDN) was also held in St. Petersburg from January 19-23 with the overall theme of Institutions and Development: At the Nexus of Global Change, with speakers including Martin Wolf, author and columnist with The Financial Times, former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo, now director of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization, and Francis Fukuyama of Johns Hopkins University, among others.  More

Bank Sponsors Arusha Conference Which Urges Bridging of Social Divide - Leading development and social policy thinkers, academics, practitioners and policymakers from the developed and developing world participated in the "New Frontiers of Social Policy: Development in a Globalizing World" international conference, held in Arusha, Tanzania on December 12-15, 2006. The participants put forth in "The Arusha Statement" three new frontiers for social development, namely the transformation of people into citizens by recognizing and promoting the universal rights and responsibilities of citizens, fostering an enabling, responsive and accountable state and for states to mobilize revenue from their citizens and diminishing reliance on external aid. The Arusha Statement also listed new areas that demand equal attention to social concerns if development policy is to be responsive to citizens' needs; such as enhancing market access for the poor, fostering more accessible and accountable public institutions for the provision of infrastructure, utilities services and social services to all citizens, building strong partnerships between public institutions and representative citizens' organizations to address the challenges of human settlements in the context of rapid urbanization and growth of urban slums, and the use of law to empower the poor. Organized by WB, DFID, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and the Governments of Finland and Norway, the conference aimed at exploring how policymakers globally and especially in Africa could address current gaps in the achievement of commitments made at the 1995 World Summit on Social Development in Copenhagen and in meeting the MDGs.  More

HIV/AIDS and African Youth - This B-Span panel discussion was timed to coincide with the WB's other World AIDS Day activities in December. The pan-African videoconference on HIV/AIDS brought together youth groups and WB Country Coordinators from Tanzania, South Africa, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Kenya, and Ethiopia. The discussion centered on HIV/AIDS and its impact on young people in Africa.  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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