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Civil Society Engagement eNewsletter - April 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.  Spring Meetings 2006: Final Program of Dialogues for CSOs and Development Committee Documents - The 2006 Spring Meetings of the Boards of the WB and the IMF will be held in Washington, DC on April 22 and 23. Some 15 Policy Dialogues for accredited CSOs are being organized by the CSOs themselves, by the WB's Civil Society Team in cooperation with other teams across the Bank Group and the IMF. These dialogues will be held between Thursday, April 20 and Monday, April 24. Some of the topics that will be discussed by the CSOs and Bank/IMF representatives, include: development policy lending and conditionality; debt sustainability; EIR; governance conditionality; debt relief; trade; IMF and WB role in the middle-income countries.  There will also be a discussion of the Bank's plans for CSO dialogues and participation in the upcoming Fall Meetings in Singapore and a CSO briefing and reception with the Bank's senior management including President Wolfowitz.  The Development Committee agenda and documents that will be discussed are posted.  More

2.  World Bank Announces Strategy to Combat Corruption - President Paul Wolfowitz on April 11 outlined a comprehensive strategy for tackling corruption, a serious impediment to development and effective governance. Speaking in Jakarta, Indonesia, he laid out a three-prong plan for expanding the World Bank Group's work on governance and anti-corruption at the country level, in Bank projects, and through partnerships with various stakeholders.  Wolfowitz said that governance and anti-corruption measures will be strengthened in all Bank instruments, including loans, grants, research and technical assistance.  The Bank will continue to work closely with civil society organizations to enable these groups to provide checks and balances and promote accountability of their governments.  The Bank will be taking new steps to minimize the risk of corruption in WB-funded projects.  The Bank will also expand partnerships with various groups that have a stake in improving governance - rich countries, multilateral development banks, as well as with the private sector. More

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3.  World Bank Approves US$37 Billion For Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative - The WB’s Board of Executive Directors on March 28 approved financing and implementation details for the WB’s contribution toward the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI), which will cancel the IDA debt of some of the world’s poorest countries starting on July 1, 2006, at the start of the WB’s new fiscal year. IDA is expected to provide more than US$37 billion in debt relief over 40 years.  Donors have agreed to a financing package that calls for additional donor contributions over time to ensure delivery of fresh resources for poverty reduction. Compensatory financing over the duration of the cancelled loans will be based on strong indicative pledges already made, and donors are undertaking the necessary steps in their home countries to provide their financing commitments. More

4.  IDA Executive Board Discusses The List Of Ring-Fenced Countries Potentially Eligible Under The Enhanced HIPC Initiative - The Executive Board of the World Bank's International Development Association (IDA) approved on April 13 the paper entitled: "Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative — List of Ring-Fenced Countries that Meet the Income and Indebtedness Criteria at end-2004", which was prepared jointly by the staffs of the IMF and the WB. The Executive Directors endorsed the results presented in the document as well as staff’s recommendations.  The document identifies 11 countries that meet the HIPC Initiative income and indebtedness criteria using end-2004 data and might wish to be considered for debt relief under the Initiative. These include seven countries identified previously as potential HIPCs (Central African Republic, Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Somalia, Sudan, and Togo) and four additional countries (Eritrea, Haiti, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Nepal). The cost of HIPC Initiative debt relief for the 11 countries is estimated at US$21 billion in 2004 NPV terms, roughly half of the cost of providing debt relief to the 29 HIPCs that have already reached their decision points.  To become eligible for debt relief under the HIPC Initiative, the 11 identified countries must have begun a reform program supported by the IMF and IDA between October 1, 1996 and December 31, 2006, the date of the HIPC Initiative sunset clause. To qualify for debt relief, eligible countries need to demonstrate the capacity to use the expected assistance prudently by establishing a satisfactory track record under IMF- and IDA-supported programs and by having put in place a poverty reduction strategy. More

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5.  Global Assessment On Agricultural Science & Technology Gets New Boost - The World Bank on March 29 approved a $3 million Global Environment Facility (GEF) grant for the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD), a unique global effort that will evaluate the relevance, quality, and effectiveness of agricultural science and technologies – from organic to indigenous and traditional practices, to biotechnology and transgenic approaches.The IAASTD process brings together representatives from governments, UN agencies, the private sector, the scientific community, and CSOs from around the world to work together to give decision makers the tools and information they need to answer policy questions and to shape the future of agriculture.  Over 400 experts from around the world are involved in the preparation of the IAASTD, which will: (a) analyze new and existing technologies, and their impact on development; (b) highlight key uncertainties and risks; and (c) point to where research and investment are most urgently needed. The initial reports will be made public by end-2007. More

6.  IMF Managing Director and World Bank President Initiate Deeper Measures To Review And Enhance IMF-World Bank Cooperation - The heads of the IMF and the WB Group have initiated a range of measures to review Fund-Bank collaboration, including the creation of a six-member External Review Committee. The review will examine how the Fund and Bank work together to enhance global economic performance and development. A Joint Task Force, made up of senior IMF and World Bank staff has also been created to assist in the review process. The Review Committee is expected to solicit a representative and broad-ranging sample of views from member countries on the nature and practice of Fund-Bank collaboration, which has been guided since 1989 by a formal Concordat between the two institutions. The Committee will present its final report to Fund and Bank management before the end of 2006. The Review Committee is expected to explore whether the areas of primary responsibility in the 1989 Concordat, as updated by subsequent reviews, provide a clear enough foundation for Fund-Bank collaboration. The Committee is also expected to consider whether the established areas of responsibility are consistent with the two institutions' mandates. The Committee is also expected to determine whether the "lead agency concept" works well, and whether the institutions can be held sufficiently accountable under this approach, while still coordinating their efforts.  More

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7.  IFC Vice President Appointments - In line with his strategy of realignment of IFC's operational team of senior managers along regional and industry lines, Executive Vice President Lars Thunell announced several new Vice Presidents for IFC.  Farida Khambata will assume the position of Regional Vice President for Asia and Latin America.  Prior to assuming her current role as Vice President for Portfolio and Risk Management, Farida served as Treasurer of the Corporation and as Director of the Central Capital Markets Department.  Edward Nassim is being promoted to Regional Vice President for Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.  He currently serves as Director of IFC's Central and Eastern Europe department.  Prior to this position, he was the Director of the Corporate Finance Services department.  Declan Duff is being promoted to the position of Vice President, Industries.  For the past fourteen months, he has been serving as Acting Vice President of Operations.  Prior to that assignment, Declan headed the Municipal Fund Group.  He has held a number of key positions including Director of the Infrastructure Department.  All these appointments will be effective July 1, 2006.


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NEWS FROM THE WORLD BANK'S REGIONAL DEPARTMENTS

Africa

Government of Chad and World Bank Group Joint Statement - A meeting was held in N’Djamena from April 4 through 6, 2006 between the Government of Chad and the WB, in the presence of representatives of bilateral and multilateral partners.  The meeting was preceded by intensive technical consultations, with the goal of defining the conditions to resume cooperation between the two parties. Based on presentations by the technical teams, the constructive discussions allowed for shared views of the challenges that Chad faces in its poverty reduction strategy.  These challenges are intensified by the socioeconomic situation created by the Darfur crisis. At the conclusion of their meeting, the two parties agreed on a comprehensive framework to present to their respective Presidents. The framework would allow rapid availability of funds and would set the conditions necessary for good governance and transparent management and monitoring of public resources.  More

Senegal Receives US$30 Million For Support In Poverty Reduction - The WB Board of Directors on March 29 approved an International Development Association (IDA) credit for US$30 million to support the implementation of Senegal’s poverty reduction strategy and strengthen the Government’s capacity to design and carry out its own development and poverty reduction programs. The Poverty Reduction Support Credit (PRSC II) aims to improve the effectiveness and transparency of the national budget process and expenditure management, promote the delivery of public services by local governments, and support poverty reduction in terms of improved living conditions of the people of Senegal with a focus on better health services. The Credit will also promote shared-growth by supporting ongoing reforms in the labor market and improvements in the judiciary system, as well as helping implementation of the new national social protection strategy. In doing so, the Credit will strengthen the basic elements of the country’s investment climate and reinforce its efforts to improve the lives of the poorest segments of the population.  More

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East Asia and the Pacific

WB Releases Progress Report On NT2 Project, Finds Progress Satisfactory - The WB released its first Annual Progress Report on the US$1.4 billion dollar Nam Theun 2 Hydroelectric Project in Lao PDR on April 5, announcing that the implementation of NT2 is progressing satisfactorily, with construction activities well underway, and is doing so within the context of an improving economic and structural reform program in Lao PDR, one of the poorest countries in East Asia. The Progress Report noted however that there have been some delays in the social and environmental programs that have been designed to ensure that any negative impacts the project’s construction may have on the people or environment are managed well and mitigated. To keep members of the public informed on the project, half-yearly reports are produced and made public by NTPC on a regular basis; the World Bank and ADB are also producing reports on this basis. The Government will hold its first Annual Stakeholder Forum on May 17, 2006, to update interested parties on the status of project implementation. Interested members of the public are invited to attend this Annual Stakeholder Forum – which will be followed with a visit to the Project Site.  More

World Bank's East Asia Update - East Asia's economies delivered another solid performance in 2005, now surpassing Europe as the region most open for trade in the world, according to the new WB research.  In 2005, developing country economies grew by 8.2 percent and this solid growth is expected to continue at a 7.8 percent, rate in 2006. Growth in East Asia was broad based for the second year in a row, exceeding 4 percent in every country, except Timor-Leste. The Pacific Islands, however, show a much weaker performance with only two out of ten countries growing above 4 percent. This impressive performance was in spite of rising oil prices – the highest in 25 years – rising interest rates, continued worries over the financing of the United States’ current account deficit and over the prospect of the spread of avian flu, reports the twice-yearly look at the economies of East Asia and Pacific.  More

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Europe and Central Asia

Bank Suspends Ukraine TB and HIV/AIDS Control Project - The Bank suspended disbursement of the US$60 million Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS Control Project in Ukraine because of lack of progress in implementing the program. The government had disbursed only 2 percent of the amount available after three years. Ukraine has one of the fastest growing rates of HIV/AIDS infection in Europe with more than 1 percent of the adult population already infected. The goal of the project is to halt the spread of TB and HIV/AIDS using proven methods of prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.  More

New Regional Brief - ECA's new Regional Brief outlines where the region is going, what the WB is doing and how much money its lending. The region is progressing steadily beyond the transition phase, which began in 1989 with the fall of the Berlin Wall.  Markets in most of the 28 countries in the region have responded favorably to reforms, and political change in some members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) has improved performance.  Regional economic growth is expected to ease to 5.9 percent in 2005, down from 8 percent in 2004. While membership in the European Union has spurred many countries to move ahead with complex reforms that are ‘owned’ by countries themselves, challenges remain across the Region.  WB lending during fiscal year 2005 reached $4.1 billion, including $3.6 billion in IBRD loans and guarantees and $504.9 million in IDA concessional assistance. The Bank delivered 98 pieces of economic and sector work and completed 68 technical assistance assignments.  More

Kosovo: World Bank Launches New Strategy - The WB’s Board of Executive Directors on March 29 discussed a new Interim Strategy for Kosovo.  This strategy, spanning Fiscal Years 2006 and 2007, envisages around US$19 million in grant funding for Kosovo. In countries emerging from conflict, the WB prepares an Interim Strategy Note in partnership with other donors in order to plan for resource mobilization and action.  The key priorities of the new strategy are to help Kosovo generate new and sustainable sources of economic growth, address environmental legacy issues and to ensure macroeconomic stability. The new strategy builds upon the previous work of the World Bank in Kosovo. Since FY2000, the Bank has approved 22 grants totaling $95 million to Kosovo. The Bank is currently operating in the business environment, public expenditure management, energy and mining, education, community development and youth sectors. The strategy for Kosovo was developed in cooperation with the European Commission and other donors.  It is expected to continue until the end of Fiscal Year 2007.  More

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Latin America and the Caribbean

New Venture to Improve Child Health in Latin America - The Global Development Learning Network (GDLN), Medical Missions for Children (MMC) and the WB announced a new partnership on March 20 to close the rapidly growing knowledge gap between the North and South in an effort to better serve the medical needs of catastrophically ill children in Latin America and the Caribbean.  Through the new expanded network, the Global Telemedicine & Teaching Network™ (GTTN), a satellite and Internet-based communications platform, GDLN and MMC will improve treatment of remote, critically ill children in real-time.  More

Dominican Republic: World Bank Approves $25 Million Youth Development Program - The WB's Board of Directors on March 23 approved a $25 million loan to improve the employability of at-risk youth from poor families. The new program intends to offer poor youth an opportunity to break the vicious cycle of poverty that traps so many.  During their difficult transition into the labor market, poor youth will benefit from job training, internships, additional education and important life skills that are sought by employers.  The Bank’s focus on poor and disadvantaged youth is complementary to the Inter-American Development Bank’s program to improve Labor Markets and Social Transfers, as well as expand primary and secondary education in the Dominican Republic.  More

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Middle East and North Africa

Lebanon Development Marketplace 2006 - The WB and international development partners have awarded US$230,000 to 13 local NGOs and academic institutions, which applied for seed funding for projects in the competition entitled "Youth in Governance: Shaping the Future."  Winners of the Lebanon Development Marketplace 2006 were announced on Innovation Day on April 6. Twenty-three competitors displayed proposals to promote the rights and duties of the youth in Lebanon, curb the brain drain and foster links between the Lebanese at home and in Diaspora.  The competition, launched in November 2005, was organized by the WB in partnership with the British Foreign Office’s Global Opportunities Fund (GOF), UNDP, UNICEF and the Lebanese Transparency International. More

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NEW PUBLICATIONS FROM THE WORLD BANK

Debt Relief for the Poorest: An Evaluation Update of the HIPC Initiative - This study, by the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) of the WB, evaluates progress under the HIPC Initiative since the 2003 evaluation. It finds that the Enhanced HIPC initiative cut debt ratios in half for 18 countries, but in eight of these countries, the ratios have come to once again exceed HIPC thresholds. Debt reduction alone is not a sufficient instrument to affect the multiple drivers of debt sustainability. Sustained improvements in export diversification, fiscal management, the terms of new financing, and public debt management are also needed, measures that fall outside the ambit of the HIPC initiative.  More

World Bank's Independent Evaluation Group's Report on Global Trade Programs - This report analyzes WB's contribution to freer trade in developing countries and makes concrete recommendations on how to boost trade opportunities to better alleviate poverty in the future.  Between 1987 and 2004, 8.1 percent of total WB commitments (US$ 38 billion) went to 117 countries to help them become better integrated into the global economy. The study finds the WB support for trade helped open markets, but was not as effective in boosting exports and growth, and alleviating poverty as anticipated. The evaluation recommends that WB give greater attention to addressing poverty and distributional outcomes, and cushioning shocks associated with trade policies.  More

Information and Communications for Development 2006 - The publication looks at the rapid evolution of the Information and Communication Technology and the changes it has brought to rich and poor societies alike. It has become a powerful tool for participating in the global economy and for offering new opportunities for development efforts. The authors say this technology can and should advance economic growth and reduce poverty in developing countries. The book attempts to answer the questions of how the ICT sector and its role in development have evolved, what has been learned, and what is the way forward.  More

Disease Control Priorities in Developing Countries (2nd Edition) - In 1993, the Bank published "Disease Control Priorities in Developing Countries," a 750-page volume that established the concepts of disease burden and cost-effectiveness as inputs to health policy in middle and low-income countries. This second edition continues the effort to support evidence-based decision making in public health. It presents updated and improved information on disease burden and cost-effectiveness by disease or risk category. It also extends the analyses from the first volume to address health system institutions, policy instruments, and cross-cutting themes such as women's health, population aging, and health care finances. More

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UPCOMING AND ONGOING GLOBAL EVENTS/DISCUSSIONS

SpeakOut ! Discussion on Monitoring the Millennium Development Goals, April 25, 2006 - The on-line discussion will address the questions of how is the developing world faring on progress towards the MDGs.  One of the documents to be discussed by the WB and IMF Board of Governors at their Spring Meetings this weekend will be a joint WB and IMF 2006 Global Monitoring Report (GMR).  Answering the questions will be Mark Sundberg, Lead Author of this year's Global Monitoring Report and Brian Levy, Adviser, Public Sector Governance at the World Bank.  You can ask your question either before or during the discussion.  More

Global Development Marketplace 2006: Innovations in Water, Sanitation and Energy Services for Poor People, May 8-9, 2006, Washington, DC  - During the event 118 finalists - chosen from over 2,500 applications - will compete for US$4 million in grants at the 2006 Global Development Marketplace. This year's theme of "Innovations in Water, Sanitation and Energy Services for Poor People" reflects the WB and its partners' commitment to support and incubate ideas that provide clean water supply, sanitation, and energy services to poor communities in developing countries. Finalist proposals range from solar-powered water filters, to creative methods for rural refrigeration and power generation, to the provision of locally-produced biomass briquettes as alternatives to fuelwood.  More information on how to register and attend.

Annual Bank Conference on Development Economics (ABCDE), May 29-30, 2006, Tokyo, Japan - The theme of this year's conference is "Rethinking Infrastructure for Development". Confirmed speakers include WB President, Minister of Finance of Japan, Joseph Stiglitz, President of Japanese International Cooperation Agency, President of the Asian Development Bank, President of the African Development Bank, Chair of OECD DAC, the Governors of Lagos and Alexandria, and other leading economists and policy makers from around the world.  This year's ABCDE will also serve as launching pad for the Global Development Finance (GDF) publication, and the award Ceremony of the Essay Competition (which has received more than 1900 submissions from 126 countries ). It will be held back to back with the OECD Tidewater in Kyoto the day before, and will be linked with the G-8 Summit to be held a few weeks later in Saint Petersburg with the possible participation of the Russian vice prime Minister. Its participants will include members of academia, CSOs, business, policy makers, bilateral and multilateral organizations in the developing and developed countries.  Interested CSOs are encouraged to apply for accreditation and participate in the event.  More

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RECENT GLOBAL EVENTS/DISCUSSIONS

First "World Ethics Forum" on Leadership, Ethics, and Integrity in Public Life, April 9-12, Oxford, UK - Corruption and poor governance around the world will only be overcome through much greater emphasis on ethics and integrity in leadership, concluded the event participants.  The Forum was an important step in tackling the missing link in governance and moving ethical leadership in public life to the center of the international development agenda.  Forum brought together over 250 leaders, thinkers, development practitioners, and youth from over 70 developed and developing countries.  Participants were those whom have made significant contributions to improving governance in their countries, and have demonstrated exemplary leadership in the public sector, civil society, media, or local communities.  Discussions at the Forum focused on strategies to promote ethical leadership and public integrity as tools for better governance and accelerated development.  More

Knowledge Economy Forum,  March 28-30, Prague, Czech Republic - Countries from Central Europe to Central Asia are trailing most of the developed world in spending on research and development. Additional public funding to encourage innovation will be wasted without also improving economic incentives, upgrading information infrastructure, and reforming education, according to a new WB report.  To discuss how these countries can improve their innovation systems and foster better use of knowledge by firms, the World Bank is hosting a Knowledge Economy Forum in Prague, March 28-30. The Forum is cosponsored by the Ministry of Finance and Government Office of the Czech Republic.  More

Roundtable discussion on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 16 March 2006, Brussels, Belgium - The discussion aimed at providing an exchange of information and views between key actors - NGOs, Research Organizations, Foundations, medical practitioners, the European Commission and the WB - on addressing the problem of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) in developing countries and the achievement of the MDGs.   Participants focussed on the trends and impact of sexual and reproductive health, funding modalities and programs to address the problem, and the role and potential responsibilities of different actors in this endeavor. Key suggestions made included  a need for CSOs to better engage in dialogue with government on country programs and PRSPs in developing countries on SRH, the need for capacity of CSO actors to better exploit available funds on addressing SRH, the need for donors to look at the links between SRH and disabilities and the need for donors to simplify the process of accessing funds by CSOs on SRH.  More

Video Dialogue on Women's Participation in Economic Life in the Middle East, March 8, 2006 - The discussion held on the International Women's Day, was organized jointly by the WB Brussels office, an NGO - No Peace without Justice, and the Cabinet of the Belgian Deputy Prime Minister.  It brought together about 60 participants including policy makers, CSOs, parliamentarians, and journalists from Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, West Bank and Gaza and Europe to discuss the advancement of women's economic rights in the Middle East region.  The objective of the meeting was to share ideas and best practices on how to promote greater economic opportunities for women in the region, and identify means to contribute to women's empowerment. It also aimed to promote better understanding and collaboration between the World Bank and other stakeholders working on gender and development in the Middle East Region.  Discussions focused on increasing the proportion of women in the labor force as a means of enhancing women’s participation in economic life in the Middle East. A key strategy advanced by the WB in achieving this was in fostering of entrepreneurship amongst women in the region. Participants identified a number of challenges in enhancing women's participation in economic life.  Particular emphasis was given to the important role CSOs could play along side governments and the private sector in advocating these proposals.  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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