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Civil Society Engagement eNewsletter - July 2006

MAIN STORIES:

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


1.  G8 +5 Leaders Urged by the World Bank President to Reach Trade Deal - On July 7, World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz sent a letter to the G8 +5 leaders (Brazil, China, India, Mexico, South Africa) urging them to reach an agreement in the Doha round trade talks when they meet in St. Petersburg, Monday, July 17. The letter was addressed to each of the leaders, encouraging them to take advantage of the meeting to make urgently needed progress in the Doha trade talks.  Wolfowitz stressed that there is the opportunity for the leaders gathered in St. Petersburg to provide the momentum essential to success of Doha.  He urged all participants in the July 17 meeting to "come prepared to compromise and commit to success."  More

2.  World Bank President Returns to Africa, Visits Ethiopia and Tanzania, as well as Nigeria, Benin, Sierra Leone and Liberia - On July 10 WB President Paul Wolfowitz began the first of two visits to Africa this month, before and after the G8 summit, where he will press world leaders to make good on the pledges they made at the 2005 G8 Summit in Gleneagles to help Africa's poorest citizens.  Mr. Wolfowitz first traveled to Ethiopia and Tanzania, two of the WB's largest portfolios in the region.  In Ethiopia he visited a number of projects focused on improving basic services, with a renewed focus on quality, local empowerment and transparency.  He also met with government officials, parliamentary leaders, as well as representatives from civil society and the private sector.  While in Tanzania, he reviewed the country's ongoing effort to strengthen economic growth through small business development.  His visit included discussions with the president, parliamentarians, civil society, a visit with coffee growers and with workers at an anti-malaria bed net factory. After the G8 summit, Mr. Wolfowitz will travel to Nigeria, Benin, Sierra Leone and Liberia.  This is his second trip to the African region in just over a year as president of the World Bank.  In June 2005 he traveled to Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Rwanda and South Africa.  More

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3.  Senior Legislators From The G8, European Parliament And “Plus Five Countries” Urge G8 Heads Of State To Advance Energy And Climate Security Agenda - Legislators and representatives from the G8, European Parliament, Brazil, China, India and South Africa along with senior business leaders and representatives of IUCN and WWF International called on July 10, 2006, in a joint statement to the G8 ahead of the St Petersburg Summit for renewed action on energy and climate security.  The statement calls for investment in low carbon research and development and business development in line with the objectives of establishing a long-term stabilization goal to avoid dangerous climate change. The statement was formulated at a high-level Legislators Forum of 45 legislators, business leaders and civil society representatives held in the European Parliament as part of the ongoing G8+5 Legislators Dialogue on climate change, organized by Globe and the COM+ Alliance, of which the WB is a member.  More

4.  COMMENTS SOUGHT BY AUGUST 4: Detailed Outline of a Paper: "Strengthening Bank Group Work in Governance and Anticorruption" - In a major speech in Jakarta, Indonesia, on April 11, 2006, WB President stressed that promoting good governance and fighting corruption is critical to helping countries achieve economic progress, to promoting sustainable development, and to ensuring that governments are accountable to their citizens. In the speech, he announced his plan to enhance the Bank's work on governance and anticorruption on several fronts. During the 2006 World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings, the Development Committee asked WB Group management to prepare a paper laying out this enhanced strategy for discussion by the Committee at the 2006 Annual Meetings in Singapore. WB staff have prepared an outline for the strategy paper, which lays out the main issues and actions to be addressed.  To initiate the process of broad consultation with interested parties inside and outside WB Group, CSOs and other interested parties are invited to comment on the outline until August 4, 2006. Comments received by that date will be summarized and reviewed by WB management, and will be considered in the preparation of the paper for the Development Committee. The paper will be made publicly available in mid-September. After the Development Committee meeting on September 18 in Singapore, a process for further consultation and feedback will be announced.  More

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5.  COMMENTS SOUGHT: Nature and Practice of Bank-Fund Collaboration - On March 29, 2006, the IMF and the WB announced a range of measures to a review of IMF-WB collaboration, including the creation of a six-member External Review Committee.  In proceeding with its work, the committee has decided to solicit views from the public.  In particular, the Committee would appreciate perspectives on possible improvement to be made on division of labor and collaboration between the two institutions. The comments may be submitted until September 15, 2006.  More

6.  World Bank Begins Implementation of Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative - The Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI), which will cancel the International Development Association (IDA) debt of some of the world’s poorest countries, took effect on July 1, 2006.  Under the MDRI, IDA is expected to provide some US$37 billion in debt relief over 40 years.  This is in addition to some US$17 billion of debt relief already committed by IDA under the Enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative.  Initially, 19 countries will receive 100 percent cancellation of their eligible debt: Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guyana, Honduras, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. Other HIPC countries will be eligible for debt cancellation once they have completed the requirements of the HIPC Initiative.  More

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7.  New Sustainable Development Vice Presidency Announced by Bank President - On June 27 2006, WB President Paul Wolfowitz announced a number of new organizational and management arrangements for the Bank, saying that "stronger cooperation, coordination, and integration across the World Bank Group are essential to our success in helping create opportunities for the poor."  The changes include the creation of a new Sustainable Development Vice Presidency, integrating the former Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development (ESSD) and the Infrastructure (INF) Networks, under the leadership of Kathy Sierra.  This move is designed to further mainstream environmental and social concerns into infrastructure project design, planning, implementation, and monitoring, in key areas such as energy, transport and power, and to ensure that the Bank is learning from its past mistakes in infrastructure lending.  Mr. Wolfowitz took this decision after carefully listening to the concerns of major social and environmental CSOs that were relayed to him through letters and in discussions with Bank staff over the past several months. The Bank unit responsible for the core safeguards compliance functions will be moved into the Operations Policy and Country Services Vice Presidency (OPCS) in order to preserve their independence vis-a-vis operational staff -- a request also made by civil society representatives. In order to maintain the Bank's strong commitment to the environment, the President will appoint an internationally recognized environmentalist to head a new post within the department.  More

8.  Senior Vice President for the Human Development Network at the World Bank Retires - Jean-Louis Sarbib retired in mid-July as the Senior VP for the Human Development Network after having spent 26 years at the WB.  Mr. Nicholas Krafft, currently Director of Network Operations in the Human Development Network will serve as Acting Vice President for the Human Development Network until Mr. Sarbib's successor is selected.

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NEWS FROM THE WORLD BANK'S REGIONAL DEPARTMENTS

Africa

World Bank and Government of Chad Sign Memorandum of Understanding on Poverty Reduction - Representatives from the WB and the Government of Chad on July 14 signed a memorandum of understanding under which the Government of Chad has committed 70 percent of its budget spending to priority poverty reduction programs, and provided for long-term growth and opportunity by creating a stabilization fund.  The Government also will enhance transparency and accountability with a new pledge of support for the role of the Collège, Chad's independent oil revenue oversight authority.  Priority programs are in the areas of health, education, agriculture, infrastructure, environment, rural development, de-mining, and good governance.  During the period covered by the memorandum, WB and the International Monetary Fund will work in partnership with the Chad Government to develop a framework to guide annual budgetary process, beginning with the 2007 budget.  More

Ethiopia to Receive Debt Relief Totaling US$3.616 Billion - Starting on July 1, 2006, the WB will cancel the International Development Association (IDA) debt of Ethiopia under the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI). Ethiopia will receive an overall debt relief of US$3.616 billion, which is the total amount of additional IDA debt relief provided under the MDRI and the IDA portion of debt relief already committed under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative.  The main objective of the MDRI is to provide additional support to HIPCs to reach the MDGs. Ethiopia’s economic growth performance over the past two years has been very strong and broad based. Ethiopia has also made important gains on human development indicators. These gains have been fueled by an increase in pro-poor spending from 39 percent of the budget in 1999/2000 to 54 percent in 2005/06.  More

Grant for Community-Based Land Management for Guinea - The Board of Executive Directors of the WB on June 22 approved a project which aims at better involving local communities in the sustainable management of land to expand productivity, sustain employment opportunities, expand income generation and yet conserve the land.  The Community-Based Land Management Project will be financed over the next five years by a US$7 million grant from the Global Environment Facility (GEF).  The project will be implemented in synergy with the ongoing second phase of the Village Communities Support Project (PACV) which focuses on participatory community-based approaches to provide basic social infrastructure investments. The PACV has tremendously improved the access of communities to basic social services, including health, education, and potable water.  More

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East Asia and the Pacific

Cambodia: World Bank Releases Latest Statement and Update - As part of a series of regular updates on WB's program in Cambodia, and following up to a statement on June 18 regarding 30 contracts in three of the seven projects investigated by WB’s Department of Institutional Integrity (INT), the WB on June 22 announced that it has now completed its detailed review of the contracts under the remaining four projects: Agricultural Productivity Improvement - APIP, Flood Emergency Rehabilitation - FERP, Forestry Concession Management and Pilot – FCMCPP, and Biodiversity and Protected Areas and Management - BPAMP.  In all, the Bank found examples of conflict of interest, fraud, collusion and corruption in 43 contracts with a total value of $11.9 million.  In addition to cancelling these contracts, the WB is seeking repayment of the money that has been disbursed against these contracts.  Further actions with respect to sanctions against specific companies and individuals will be explored according to Bank sanctions procedures.  More

Vietnam: Loan to Support Country’s Efforts to Reduce Poverty - The fifth Poverty Reduction Support Credit (PRSC 5), approved by the WB on June 23, provides direct support to the government budget in recognition for the progress accomplished in policy reforms over the last year, across several important areas including inclusive and sustainable development, and government's public financial management reform.  The PRSC recognizes measures to promote human development through upgrading the quality of education (especially in poor zones), promoting inclusive education for children living with disabilities, improving the access of the poor to health services, and helping secure asset ownership through the implementation of the new Land Law.  More

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Europe and Central Asia

New Strategies for Growth, Poverty Reduction and EU Accession in Romania and Bulgaria - Recognizing significant progress in reforming their economies on the way to EU accession, the WB prepared Country Partnership Strategies for both Bulgaria and Romania and discussed them on June 13.  The two Strategies outline WB’s work plan in these countries for the next few years. Under the new strategies, the Bank is envisaging a lending program of $450 to $550 million per year in Romania and up to $300 million per year in Bulgaria. The amount, direction and timing of these loans will be entirely flexible to suit client country needs.  More

Joint Learning and Coordination Workshop for EC, UNDP, WB Country Office Staff Responsible for Civil Society Development Programs, Vienna, Austria, June 14-17, 2006 - WB staff working on civil society engagement in the Europe and Central Asia region, met with their counterparts in the EC and UNDP to exchange knowledge and best practice and to ensure better coordination of initiatives across the region.  During the event, they discussed the impact and meaning of civil society development in a global and sub regional context and shared specific country examples of donor coordination from staff and CSO perspectives.  More

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Latin America and the Caribbean

Bolivia, Guyana, Honduras and Nicaragua Receive Debt Relief Under MDRI - Starting on July 1, 2006, the WB canceled the International Development Association (IDA) debt of Bolivia, Guyana, Honduras and Nicaragua under the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI). Bolivia will receive US$1.804 billion; Guyana - US$322 million; Honduras - US$1.293 billion; and Nicaragua - US$1.148 billion in debt relief.  These amounts constitute the total amount of additional IDA debt relief provided under the MDRI and the IDA portion of debt relief already committed under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPC). More on: Bolivia, Guyana, Honduras, Nicaragua

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Middle East and North Africa

World Bank Approves Four Year Country Assistance Strategy for Yemen - The WB Board of Directors on June 15 discussed the 2006-2009 Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) for Yemen. This CAS was prepared after consultations with central and local government officials, CSOs, private sector and donors. It also benefited from the Government’s Progress Report for the first two years of implementation of the First Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (2003-2005) as well as the 2006 Country Assistance Evaluation prepared by the Independent Evaluation Group of the WB.  The CAS will provide assistance based on four pillars: increasing non-oil growth; improving human development outcomes; improving fiscal sustainability; and addressing the resource sustainability crisis.  The CAS would provide about $400 million in IDA credits to Yemen through a selective program of lending operations as well as a strategic program of analytical and learning services.  More

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South Asia
 
New Report on Economic Growth in South Asia - Corruption, conflict, high deficits and a growing gap between the rich and poor are some of the major constraints to boosting economic growth in the South Asia region, according to a new WB report released on June 25.  However the report, "Economic Growth in South Asia", says while the challenges facing the region are daunting, it is possible South Asia could see poverty rates cut by two thirds in a decade.  More

South Asia Region's Website on Trade - The South Asia Region of the WB has launched in June a new web site, "International Economics and Trade in South Asia," highlighting the progress of trade liberalization and market reforms in all the countries of the region. The authors note that it remains the most highly protected region in the world and lags behind in opening up to foreign competition and in attracting foreign direct investment.  More

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NEW PUBLICATIONS FROM THE WORLD BANK

Independent Evaluation Group Assesses Primary Education In Developing Countries and the World Bank’s Support - A new report released on July 13 by the WB’s Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) finds that in developing countries over the past 15 years, high priority was accorded to increasing enrollments in primary schools, but much less attention was directed to the crucial issue of whether children are learning adequately. According to the report, “From Schooling Access to Learning Outcomes – an Unfinished Agenda,” only 20 percent of primary education projects funded by WB have an explicit objective to help children improve learning outcomes including such basic skills as reading and writing. Some 90 percent of the projects support quality improvements, usually in terms of better educational inputs such as books and teacher training, but only about 35 percent target and track improved student learning as made evident by, for example, better reading, writing and mathematical skills. The report recommends that countries, the WB and development partners give the same emphasis to learning outcomes as to access, so that the world’s increasing investments in primary education have a far greater impact on poverty reduction and national development.  More

Enrollments Rising as African Nations Reform Education Systems - Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa are sending more children to school and taking steps to improve education quality. But the region still needs help from wealthy nations to achieve universal education by 2015, says a global partnership of donors and developing countries. A report by the Education for All Fast Track Initiative says that enrollment rates in Sub-Saharan Africa increased from 83 percent in 2000 to 95 percent in 2002, sending an additional 17 million students to school.  More

Beyond the Numbers: Understanding the Institutions for Monitoring Poverty Reduction Strategies - One of the key components of a successful poverty reduction strategy is a system for monitoring the implementation of the strategy and for tracking progress in poverty reduction. The publication provides lessons on the design and functioning of such monitoring systems, which are based on the experiences of twelve countries. The book's focus is on the institutional arrangements of poverty reduction monitoring systems - the rules and processes that bring the various actors and monitoring activities together in a coherent framework - rather than on any particular activity or actor. This book provides practitioners with lessons and guidance, diagnostic tools, and a summary of the progress made in the twelve countries that have embraced the poverty reduction strategy.  More

Poverty and Social Impact Analysis of Reforms: Lessons and Examples From Implementation - The publication presents a collection of case studies that illustrate the spectrum of sectors and policy reforms to which Poverty and Social Impact Analysis (PSIA) can be applied; it also elaborates on the broad range of analytical tools and techniques that can be used for PSIA. The case studies provide examples of the impact that PSIA can have on the design of policy reforms and draw operational lessons for PSIA implementation. The case studies deal largely with policy reforms in a single sector, such as agriculture, energy, utilities, social sectors, taxation reform, as well as macroeconomic modeling.  More

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UPCOMING AND ONGOING GLOBAL EVENTS/DISCUSSIONS

CSO Accreditation Process for the 2006 Annual Meetings of the IMF and the World Bank Closes on August 4, 2006 - All CSO representatives who wish to participate in the 2006 Annual Meetings of the IMF and the WB will need to obtain formal accreditation. The accreditation system is fully web-based. It opened on June 2 and will close on August 4, 2006. If you are planning to attend the Annual Meetings, please apply for accreditation as early as possible. Please note that no applications will be accepted past the deadline.  As in previous years, the Civil Society Teams at the Bank and IMF will organize a Civil Society Forum for accredited CSOs during the 2006 Annual Meetings.  We would like to encourage representatives from established CSOs that focus on development issues and other issues relevant to the work of the World Bank and the IMF, and have a track record in these areas, to apply for accreditation.  Please note that at the present time the World Bank and the IMF do not have any funding to enable CSO participation in the Annual Meetings. Accredited CSOs are responsible for obtaining a visa, if necessary, to enter Singapore.  More

WINGS Global Fund for Community Foundations Announces Grantmaking Program - The Global Fund for Community Foundations, supported by the WB as one of its donors, initiated on June 23, 2006 its grantmaking program in support of community foundations in developing and transitioning countries.  Community foundations are important vehicles for community-driven development and capacity building. The Global Fund for Community Foundations has been created to provide a grantmaking program to promote the growth and sustainability of community foundations.  The program is aimed at developing the core competencies of community foundations to help them realize their full potential. It will provide access to the experience and skills of resource people as well as developing and engaging, where feasible, the knowledge and expertise of national and regional support organizations.  The key elements of the program are grants that will progressively build organizational capacity and the leadership skills necessary for the development of social infrastructure and enhance local philanthropy.  For eligibility and program details go to: http://www.wings-globalfund.org or contact: info@wings-globalfund.org.

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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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