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Civil Society Engagement eNewsletter - September 2006

MAIN STORIES:

2006 Annual Meetings: Key Themes and Issues
Civil Society Forum at the 2006 Annual Meetings
Update on “Strengthening Bank Group Engagement on Governance and Anti-corruption”
New World Bank Climate Change Report: Development Under Climate Threat

The Bank’s Renewed Agenda for Action in the Fight against AIDS in Africa

Senior Staff Announcements

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


1.  2006 Annual Meetings: Key Themes and Issues - The World Bank and IMF Annual Meetings will be held on September 19-20 at the Suntec Conference Center in Singapore.  In line with the Meeting’s central theme of accountability in development, the Development Committee will discuss the Bank’s strategy on Governance and Anti-corruption, as well as the Bank’s progress on its commitments on clean energy.  A Program of Seminars will once again be held during the Meetings. Titled “Asia in the World, The World in Asia”, the Program of Seminars, which will include plenary sessions, roundtable discussions, and seminars on many of today’s development hot topics, will be held at the Pan-Pacific Hotel between September 16-18.  More

2.  Civil Society Forum at the 2006 Annual Meetings The World Bank and IMF are organizing a Civil Society Forum for accredited CSOs between September 14 - 20.  This year’s Civil Society Forum is expected to be the largest ever, with roughly 500 participants from 45 countries, including a large delegations from East and South Asia.  Over the past six months, a group of  CSOs from East and South Asia have been working with the Bank-Fund team to help plan the Forum. A variety of issues will be discussed during the nearly 40 policy dialogue sessions organized by the Bank, the Fund, and participating CSOs.  Among the issues to be discussed will be governance, social accountability, women and trade, sustainable energy, debt sustainability, odious debt, and CSO accountability. Additionally, an introductory briefing session for CSOs will be held at the start of the Forum on September 14. On September 15, WB President, Mr. Wolfowitz and IMF Managing Director, Mr. de Rato will host a Townhall meeting for participating CSOs at which they will discuss a wide range of topics.  Several CSOs are also expected to present an array of new publications.  CSOs will also be able to participate in the official Program of Seminars, attend opening plenary speeches, and meet with government delegations and journalists at the Meetings.  A designated meeting and workspace at the conference center for CSOs has also been secured during the Meetings.  More

3.  Update on “Strengthening Bank Group Engagement on Governance and Anti-corruption”- The Bank received substantive feedback on the draft of its strategy paper, “Strengthening the World Bank’s Engagement on Governance and Anti-corruption,” during the initial public comment period. Comments received as of August 28 were summarized in a document entitled, “Feedback from Initial Consultations on Strengthening Group Engagement on Governance and Anticorruption.”  This summary was forwarded to the Bank’s Board for consideration during a meeting on the draft strategy paper on August 31. The strategy paper is expected to be finalized and presented to the Development Committee for discussion on September 18 at the 2006 Annual Meetings. After the Development Committee meeting, a process of further consultation and feedback will be announced. More

4. New World Bank Climate Change Report: Development Under Climate Threat - At the Third Global Environment Facility (GEF) Assembly, held in Cape Town on August 29, the Bank launched a new report on climate change, “Managing Climate Risk-Integrating Adaptation into World Bank Group Operations.” According to the report, governments must account for climate risk concerns in formulating development strategies that protect their country’s short and long term economic growth and reduce poverty. The report concludes that climate change poses a threat to development because: (i) it is a risk to investments; (ii) it can cause investments to under-perform; and (iii) it can cause mal-adaptation, as when economic development triggers more vulnerability in high risk areas. Warren Evans, Environment Director at the World Bank, noted that “adaptation to climate risks needs to be treated as a major economic and social risk to national economies, not just as a long-term environment problem.”  More

5.  The Bank’s Renewed Agenda for Action in the Fight against AIDS in Africa - At the 16th Annual HIV/AIDS Conference held in Toronto last month, Bank staff held several consultations with stakeholders. They discussed the Bank’s plans to revitalize the organization’s HIV/AIDS strategy in the Africa region as part of its Agenda for Action 2007-2011.  In preparing its new HIV/AIDS strategy, the Bank plans to take into account the changes surrounding the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the last decade. Specifically, the Bank plans to: (i) define the Bank’s role in a coordinated international effort; and (ii) mainstream HIV/AIDS programs in other sectoral projects in Africa. Over the coming months, Bank staff expect to hold several consultations, in addition to a regional consultation with civil society organizations that was held in Nairobi in May 2006.   More

6.     Senior Staff Announcements - Christiaan Poortman retired in August from his position as the Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa region; a position he held for three years. Daniela Gressani has been appointed as the region’s new Vice President.  Her appointment will be effective on September 8. Ms. Gressani has held several positions in the Bank, most recently being the Operations Director in the Latin America and Caribbean region.  James Adams has been appointed Vice President for the East Asia and Pacific region as of September 8. Mr. Adams is currently the Vice President of Operational Policy and Country Services, a position that he will also continue to serve until November so he can oversee completion of IDA-14 negotiations. Mr. Adams will be Acting Vice President for the East Asia and Pacific Region till November.


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NEWS FROM THE WORLD BANK'S REGIONAL DEPARTMENTS

Africa (AFR)

World Bank and IMF Approve HIPC and MDRI relief for Malawi - On September 1, the Bank’s International Development Association and the International Monetary Fund agreed that Malawi made sufficient progress to reach completion point under the Enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative.  Being the 20th country to graduate from the HIPC Initiative, Malawi also becomes eligible for further debt relief from IDA, IMF and the African Development Fund under the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI). Malawi will receive approximately US$3.1 billion under the HIPC Initiative, and debt service savings under the MDRI is expected to amount to US$1.4 billion. Malawi’s Average annual debt service savings are expected to increase from US$39 million (between 2001 and 2005) to about US$110 million (between 2006 and 2025). Michael Baxter, Country Director for Malawi, observed that “the timing [of the debt relief] could not have been better, with Malawi just about to start implementing its new poverty reduction strategy.” More

$12 Million to Support Rural Communities in The Gambia—Community Driven Project - On August 31, the Bank’s Board approved US$12 million to assist rural communities of The Gambia to plan, implement, and maintain their priority social and economic investments. The Community-Driven Development Project is expected to benefit 50 percent of its the rural population.  Renato Nardello, World Bank Task Team Leader, says that the CDD project will “provide a single mechanism for working across sectors and tackle some of the priority issues affecting rural areas, particularly related to the past weaknesses associated with a centralized, supply-driven approach to poverty reduction.”   More

Bank Website Will Monitor Donor Funding of Sudan’s Reconstruction - Sudan Multi-Donor Trust Funds (MDTFs) were created to help with its post-civil war rebuilding efforts. The Bank has launched a new website that will monitor activities of the funds pledged to the MDTFs—to date the amount stands at over $500 million. The website will provide a public record of Multi-donor Trust Fund actions and outputs for partners and others in Sudan’s reconstruction.   More


East Asia and the Pacific (EAP)


China: Growth Reached Record Highs in the Second Quarter of 2006.
- The Bank’s China Quarterly Update, indicates growth reached record highs in the second quarter of 2006, the highest growth in the second quarter in over a decade. So far, this year China’s economy grew by almost 11 percent mostly due to its export growth. Although China’s economic outlook looks favorable, some policymakers are worried that high investment could cause overcapacity in specific sectors, and may affect the banking sector if the outstanding loan portfolio is not repaid in the future.   More

Philippines: Protecting Coastal Resources Supports National Economy - The World Bank and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) co-authored the report,” Philippines’ Environment Monitor 2005 on Coastal and Marine Resource Management”. The report concludes that local communities must take a proactive role in saving the country’s coastal and marine resources from degradation, which poses a threat to its national economy.  The report calls on local governments to adopt an integrated approach to managing resources in order to address the various threats to coastal ecosystems, including poor water quality. More

The Economics of Effective AIDS Treatment: Evaluating Policy Options for Thailand -  A new report “The Economics of Effective AIDS Treatment: Evaluating Policy Options for Thailand” highlights Thailand’s experience of giving free anti-retroviral drugs (ART) to people living with AIDS. The report findings imply that even developing countries with limited resources may be able to deliver the life-saving drugs on a large scale. Presently only 20% of people worldwide are benefiting from ART, whereas more than 90% of Thailand’s AIDS patients are benefiting from the drug. More

Europe and Central Asia (ECA)

Preventing the Spread of HIV/AIDS in Russia: New Assessment of Harm Reduction Programs - The World Bank asked the Open Health Institute to conduct a study to assess the HIV/AIDS harm reduction services in the Russian Federation. The study is titled “Harm Reduction Programs in the Civilian and Prison Sectors of the Russian Federation: Assessment of Best Practices”, reaffirms data from Australia and Canada that harm reduction programs can be a cost effective tool against the spread of HIV/AIDS.  Harm reduction programs seek to decrease the adverse consequences of drug use through needle exchange programs and other medical and social services. More

Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC)

Guatemala: World Bank Approves $100 Million in Support of Measures to Boost Broad-Based Growth, Social Spending and Enhanced Management of Public Funds - On August 29, The Bank’s Board approved a $100 million budgetary support loan which recognizes Guatemala’s efforts to promote growth through improvements in its business climate, as well as efforts to strengthen trade integration and more secure property rights in both urban and rural areas. The loan is the second in a series of three loans identified in the World Bank’s Country Assistance Strategy for Guatemala.  More

Nicaragua: World Bank Approves US$17 Million for Competitiveness - On August 24, the Bank’s Board approved a US$17 million, no-interest credit to Nicaragua to strengthen the institutions involved in increasing private sector competitiveness to meet the opportunities presented by the DR-CAFTA Trade Agreement. It is necessary to improve the business climate to remove administrative and regulatory obstacles for private sector firms, as well to provide services to the private sector that would enable them to be more competitive in both the domestic and international markets.  More

South Asia (SAR)
 
World Bank Supports India’s Health Sector: Three new projects worth US$672 million focus on women, children and communicable diseases - On August 22, The Bank’s Board approved a US$672 million package to improve India’s health services, including child health services, resources for tuberculosis, and increasing utilization of health services in the State of Karnataka. World Bank Management had previously withheld presenting these projects to its’ Board, while it investigated allegations of wrong-doing in the procurement of pharmaceuticals as part of the RCH 1 Project. The investigation found instances of serious deficiencies in procurement and its practices. The findings were forwarded to government authorities who took swift action.  Praful Patel, World Bank Vice-President for South Asia, noted that the Indian Government’s actions “will help provide a larger framework to improve governance in the health sector in India and ensure that quality health services are available to millions of poor people.”  
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NEW WORLD BANK WEBSITES

World Bank Source Book on Social Accountability - The World Bank’s Sourcebook “Social Accountability: Strengthening the Demand Side of Governance and Service Delivery” is now available on-line. There is growing recognition both among governments, donors and civil society that citizens and communities have an important role to play with regard to enhancing accountability of public officials, reducing corruption and leakage of funds and improving public service delivery. Over the last decade, numerous examples have emerged that demonstrate how citizens can make their voice heard and effectively engage in making the public sector more responsive and accountable. In an effort to capture the diverse experiences from across the world and make them available in one single place, the World Bank began developing a Sourcebook in 2005 on these approaches for reference and training purposes. Practitioners and decision makers in the World Bank and in client countries constitute the primary audience for the Sourcebook.   More

Bank Loan Data Online- On August 21, the Bank made information about its loans publicly available for the first time—this information was previously restricted to borrowing countries. The Bank’s new website, Country Aggregate Reports, contains data on Bank client countries’ loan portfolios, including information about their loans, credits, disbursements and repayments.  In the future, the site is expected to incorporate financial statistics about individual Bank projects per country, as well as a Debt Management section containing countries’ debt statistics.More


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NEW PUBLICATIONS FROM THE WORLD BANK

The World Development Report - The Bank will launch the 2007 World Development Report: Development and the Next Generation on September 16. The report is expected to draw the international community’s attention to the importance of investing and engaging today’s youth community.The report will focus on crucial capabilities and transitions in a young person's life: learning for life and work, staying healthy, working, forming families, and exercising citizenship. More

Doing Business 2007- The joint WB and IMF publication “Doing Business 2007” notes that doing business became less complicated worldwide, in part due to the two hundred and thirteen regulatory reforms that took place in over 112 economies. The report, which provides rankings of 175 economies on the simplicity of conducting business, recognized Georgia as the top reformer in 2005/2006.  Authors also applauded Africa region’s commitment to reform—approximately two-thirds of African countries made at least one reform. Africa’s progress was ranked ahead of Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. Paul Wolfowitz commented that the report is “a critical tool for developing countries to determine where more reforms are needed.” More

Transforming Microfinance Institutions: Providing Full Financial Services to the Poor - This book provides guidelines for regulators to license and regulate microfinance providers, and for transforming MFIs to meet the demands of two major new stakeholders, regulators and shareholders. As such, it focuses on developing the capacity of NGO MFIs to mobilize and intermediate voluntary savings. Drawing from worldwide experience, it outlines how to manage the transformation process and address major strategic and operational issues inherent in transformation including competitive positioning, business planning, accessing capital and shareholders, and how to "transform" the MFI's human resources, financial management, MIS, internal controls, and branch operations.   More

Reproductive Health -- The Missing Millennium Development Goal: Poverty, Health, and Development in a Changing World- While women in developing countries continue to die in large numbers in child birth, population and reproductive health specialists and advocates around the world are struggling to keep the policy agenda focused on the rights and needs of poor women. This volume addresses a large knowledge and capacity gap in the reproductive health community and provides tools for key actors to empower faster positive change.  The volume brings together knowledge about epidemiology, demography, economics, and trends in global financial assistance. The volume also introduces practical tools such as benefit incidence analysis, costing, and stakeholder analysis to strengthen the evidence base for policy and to address the political economy factors for reform.  More

Reforming the Investment Climate: Lessons for Practitioners - Most people agree that a good investment climate is essential for growth and poverty reduction. Less clear is how to achieve it. Drawing from more than 25 case studies, this book shows that reform often requires paying as much attention to dealing with the politics and institutional dimensions as to designing policy substance. While there is no single recipe or "manual" for reform, the authors highlight three broad lessons. The first is to recognize and seize opportunities for reform.The second is to invest early in the politics of reform through public education and pilot programs. And the third is to treat implementation and monitoring as an integral part of the reform process and not merely as an afterthought. The book provides an emerging checklist for reformers and identifies areas for future work.    More

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UPCOMING AND ONGOING GLOBAL EVENTS/DISCUSSIONS

Roundtable on Advancing the Conclusions of the 2007 World Development Report with Civil Society Organizations - A roundtable discussion with CSOs on the 2007 World Development Report will be held on September 12 at the World Bank’s Brussels Office.  Participants registered for the event  include representatives from NGOs disability groups, trade unions, other youth organizations.  More

World Bank Global Issues Seminar Series - The World Bank is offering a Global Seminar Series to promote better understanding of global issues and to generate discussion among senior undergraduate and graduate students of social sciences, international development, public policy and business. The new round of series will be held every Wednesday from September 13-December 13.   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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