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Civil Society Engagement Newsletter-November 2006

MAIN STORIES:

  1. Next Phase of Consultations on the World Bank Governance Strategy
  2. Wolfowitz Discusses Governance and Anticorruption Work with European CSOs
  3. World Bank Participation at the Transparency International Conference, Guatemala City
  4. World Bank Participation at the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties, Narobi
  5. World Bank Sanctions Lahmeyer International for Corrupt Activities in Bank-Financed Projects
  6. Bank Staff Receive Outstanding Corporate Partner Award

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


1. Next Phase of Consultations on the World Bank Governance Strategy - The next phase of the consultation process on the World Bank Group's new governance and anti-corruption (GAC) strategy has been launched. In light of guidance received from the Development Committee in Singapore on the governance and anticorruption paper, the Bank's Board recently approved a work plan  for the coming months which includes further consultation with external partners and stakeholders. The Bank will consult with representatives from governments, donors, civil society, parliaments, private sector, academia and other stakeholders and seek feedback on the new approach laid out in the Development Committee paper and work plan, eliciting ideas, best practices and lessons learned. In addition to face-to-face and virtual discussions, the Bank will also invite written feedback.Consultations are expected to take place in a significant number of the Bank’s borrowing and donor countries, in addition to the written comments received via the web. In the interest of transparency, dates and venues of scheduled consultation meetings, background materials, and summaries of feedback received will be posted and updated regularly on the Bank’s website at www.worldbank.org/governancefeedback. Questions on the process may be directed to civilsociety@worldbank.org .

2.  Wolfowitz Discusses Governance and Anticorruption Work with European CSOs - During his recent visits to London and Brussels on November 13 and 15, WB President, Paul Wolfowitz met with a number of UK and European civil society organizations including BOND, Action Aid, Oxfam, Bretton Woods Project, CIDSE, and Eurodad for an informal exchange of views on the Bank’s Governance and Anti Corruption (GAC) as well as other policy issues. The meeting in Brussels was co-organized with CIDSE and provided an useful opportunity for discuss the Bank’s proposed new GAC framework.    Mr. Wolfowitz expressed his support for the work that many civil society actors are doing in promoting good governance in developing countries.  The CSOs present expressed their reservations about certain aspects of the Bank’s approach, namely the emphasis on anti-corruption and the need to ensure greater Bank transparency in its own operations, as well as criticized the limited consultations undertaken on the initial outline of the framework.   Mr. Wolfowitz acknowledged the critique, discussed the underlying rationale for the policy, and welcomed participants to participate actively in the second phase of the consultations which would be more broad-based and thorough.   A full report of the meeting will appear shortly at  www.worldbank.org/eu.

3. World Bank Participation at the Transparency International Conference, Guatemala City -Several senior Bank managers and staff participated at the 12th Annual TI conference held November 15-18 in Guatemala City. Managing Director, Juan Jose Daboub, addressed participants at the opening plenary and emphasized the Bank’s intention to listen and work together with stakeholders, including civil society, the media, and the private sector, in improving governance in developing countries. Sanjay Pradhan, Director of Pubic Sector Governance, and Daniel Kaufmann, Director of Global Programs at the World Bank Institute, held a consultation session on the Bank’s governance strategy. The session, World Bank Anti-corruption Strategy: A Multistakeholder Dialogue on the Road Ahead, featured Huguette Labelle, (Chair of TI) and John Gitthongo (former Permanent Secretary for Governance and Ethics in the Office of the President of Kenya) as commentators.   Glen Ware, Chief Investigator of INT at the Bank, gave a presentation during a workshop on current MDBs mechanisms available to investigate and sanction corruption.   Transcript of Juan Jose Daboub’s Remarks at Opening Plenary

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4.  World Bank Participation at the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP-12), Narobi -   Vice President for Sustainable Development Katherine Sierra led the World Bank delegation in the COP, with activities that included: delivered the  World Bank's official statement to the High Level Ministerial as well as a presentation on the Investment Framework to a separate session; signed  an agreement with the Green Belt Movement led by Nobel Prize Winner Wangari Maathai, for a reforestation project through the Bio Carbon Fund; successfully launched the Carbon Finance Unit's "State of the Carbon Market -- Focus on Africa" report; and together with the Country Director Colin Bruce, organized a public lecture on the  Investment Framework with an emphasis on Africa in which more than 200 people participated including development practitioners, government officials, CSOs, trade union representatives, and media outlets.

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5. World Bank Sanctions Lahmeyer International for Corrupt Activities in Bank-Financed Projects - The World Bank has declared Lahmeyer International GmbH (Lahmeyer), a German company, ineligible to be awarded Bank-financed contracts for a period of seven years, because of corrupt activities in connection with the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP). The period of ineligibility may be reduced by four years if the Bank determines that Lahmeyer has met specific compliance conditions and fully cooperated with the Bank in disclosing past sanctionable misconduct. The World Bank's Sanctions Committee found that Lahmeyer engaged in corrupt activities by bribing the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority's Chief Executive, Mr. Masupha Sole, the government official responsible for contract award and implementation under the LHWP, in violation of the Bank's procurement guidelines. In July 2004, the World Bank debarred Acres International, another firm convicted of paying bribes under the LHWP, for a period of three years. Two other European firms were also convicted in Lesotho in relation to the LHWP, although they were not involved in the Bank-financed portions of the project. More

6.  Bank Staff Receive Outstanding Corporate Partner Award -The World Bank Group received the Outstanding Corporate Partner Award in recognition of its philanthropy in the Washingotn area. The award, presented by the American Fundraising Professionals in D.C. praised Bank staff for their voluntary contributions to the people of the Washington metropolitan area, particularly their dedicated support to nonprofit organizations that work to end hunger.  The Bank’s Community Outreach Program encourages Bank staff, whose daily work is focused on promoting economic development and reducing poverty in developing countries, to also demonstrate their concern and generosity to poor communities of Washington D.C. The program provides volunteer support, offers student internships, and makes in-kind donations to numerous charitable organizations. Bank staff also make donations through a payroll deductions program, and raise funds for international disaster relief throughout the year.  Among the non-profits supported through these programs are organizations which undertake the following activities: after-school tutoring, renovating low-income housing, HIV/AIDS prevention, skills training for unemployed workers, sheltering battered women, distribution of meals to street residents, Latino youth support, and prenatal and well-baby care.    More

7. Senior Staff Announcements -Isabel Guerrero has been appointed as the Country Director for India. Her appointment will be effective March1, 2007. Ms. Guerrero has held several positions at the Bank, her most recent being Country Director for Colombia and Mexico. Xian Zhu has been appointed as the Country Director for Bangladesh. His appointment will be effective February 1, 2007. He currently serves as the Country Director for Papua New Guinea and Pacific Islands. Engilbert Gudmundsson has been appointed as the Country Director for Sierra Leone. His appointment is effective December 1, 2006.  He is currently the Partnerships Coordinator for the Global Programs and Partnerships Group. Also, Gobind Nankani, Vice-President of the Africa Region, has informed management of his decision to retire after his thirty year career at the Bank. His successor has not yet been named.

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NEWS FROM THE WORLD BANK'S REGIONAL DEPARTMENTS

Africa

World Bank Approves US$8.5 Million Grant for Liberia - On November 14, The World Bank approved a grant totaling US$8.5 million to the Government of Liberia to support its infrastructural regeneration programs. Most of the grant will cover Infrastructure Rehabilitation, specifically focusing on Monrovia Port and Roberts International Airport.  A portion of the grant will be used for Technical Assistance and Capacity Building for Relevant Government Institutions. This will include support to develop a strategic framework for the sub-sectors, as well as targeted training in National Port Authority and Roberts International Airport to complement normalization of operations. A small amount will go towards Project Management. This grant will also support the Ministry of Public Works through a Special Implementation Unit which has been set up to provide coordination, procurement, M&E and support to safeguard management. This brings the total World Bank grant assistance to Liberia, this year, to more than US$84 million. More

 

Infrastructure, Investment, Innovation & Institutional Capacity: The Four Big “I”s needed to achieve growth in Africa-A recent World Bank study says that boosting economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is dependent, to a large extent, on expanding infrastructure investments, improving the investment climate, harnessing skills for innovation and building institutional capacity across the continent. The study holds that the continent is capable of regaining the pace of robust growth it experienced between 1960 and 1973. It urges African countries to create the right conditions to benefit from opportunities offered by the growing global economy and by information-based technology. Key among these conditions is the need to lower indirect costs that seriously constrain export-led growth, invest in skills and support innovation to spur productivity and competitiveness. The report includes a broad menu of strategic options that countries can use in developing growth strategies, underlining the importance of good governance and bureaucratic efficiency; the importance of innovation (technological progress) in raising productivity and competitiveness; and the need to address infrastructure shortcomings, notably in transportation and energy. More

 

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East Asia and the Pacific

East Asia Posts Solid Growth While Bracing for A Global Downturn

East Asian economies are expected to register their fifth consecutive year of strong growth in 2006, backed up by a substantial decline in poverty, according to the World Bank’s latest East Asia Update. But on the horizon, growth rates in Transition Economies and Newly Industrialized Economies are expected to slow, reflecting a likely weakening in US growth in 2007 and a consequent drop in exports from East Asia.  The Update shows that growth in the countries of Emerging East Asia* is likely to reach around 8 percent in 2006, the second strongest pace in the five-year long economic expansion underway in the region. Current estimates also suggest that the number of people in East Asia living on or below $2 a day will fall to around 550 million (or 29.3 percent of the population) in 2006. This 1.5 percentage point drop in the past year means that around 25 million people in the region have emerged from severe poverty since 2005. More

 

World Bank Says Indonesia Can Send Every Child to School and Raise Teaching Standards with Proper Allocation of Resources

Indonesia has made significant strides in the field of education and is close to achieving universal primary enrolment. The sector receives close to 17 per cent of the country’s budget – yet secondary and higher education are beyond the reach of the majority of Indonesians’ poor. The country’s academic institutions have lower ratings on the whole for standards of excellence when compared to others in the region.Over the past 20 years, the World Bank has supported 26 education projects in  Indonesia totaling $1.5 billion. These have resulted in, for instance, 650 new schools and 2,500 rehabilitated schools. Recently, the Government of Indonesia launched a 7-year program that will give 740,000 of Indonesia's poorest children a good start in life. More

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Europe and Central Asia

World Bank Helps Strengthen Georgia's Education System - On November 9, The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved a US$ 15 million credit for the second phase of the Education System Realignment and Strengthening Program. The project builds on the successes achieved by the Government in implementing far-reaching, systemic changes in the education sector during phase one of the program.  It will increase the quality and efficiency of primary and secondary education in Georgia through the implementation of the institutional and policy framework developed thus far. In addition, the project will help ensure that schools in dire physical condition are reconstructed, thus supporting the Government’s priorities related to school-building infrastructure.  More

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Latin America and the Caribbean

Argentina:  World Bank Approves $220 Million for Public Health - The World Bank’s Board of Directors today approved a $220 million loan to Argentina to improve the capacity of the health system to promote healthy life styles; prevent new public health risks, emergencies and disasters associated with illness, and to increase the effectiveness of public health programs, such as AIDS prevention and Tuberculosis control.     This new program together with the project for maternal and child care approved by the board at the beginning of November (second phase of Plan Nacer) makes up a central pillar of the Bank's new Country Assistance Strategy in Argentina. More

Latin America Shouldn’t Bet Everything On Remittances -      A newly released World Bank report says that workers’ remittances are largely positive for growth and poverty reduction in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), but they are no replacement for sound development policies in the countries. According to Close to Home: The Development Impact of Remittances in Latin America, the money that migrant workers send back to their home countries has helped to increase growth, reduce poverty and improve education and health indicators in the region. Nevertheless, the benefits of these flows have been largely overestimated without taking into account some of their costs. More

 

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Middle East and North Africa

Donors Pledge Commitment to Yemen's Development -Yemen'sdevelopment partners reaffirmed their support for the country’s efforts to reduce poverty through macroeconomic stability and structural reforms. Approximately US $4.7 billion was pledged for the four-year period 2007-2010 at the fourth Consultative Group (CG) meeting of donors for Yemen, held in London on November 15-16, 2006. This is a significant increase in assistance and represents over 85 percent of the Governments’ estimated external financing needs. Before this meeting, Official Development Assistance (ODA) for Yemen represented less than US$13 per capita—about one-third of the average for Least Developed Countries (LDCs). The meeting was hosted by the UK Government and was sponsored by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).    It was jointly chaired by the Government of Yemen, led by H.E. Ali Abdulla Saleh, President of the Republic of Yemen, and the World Bank led by Daniela Gressani, Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa. The meeting was attended by senior officials representing 39 countries and development agencies. More

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South Asia
 

Bank Board Approves Southern Pakistan Water Management Action Plan -On November 1, the Bank's Board approved the southern Pakistan Water Management Action plan which comes in response to Bank's independent Inspection Panel's investigation of the Pakistan National Drainage Program (LBOD) requested by residents of Badin. The requesters, on behalf of local communities, claimed they were adversely affected by the Bank's failure to comply with certain operational policies in connection with the Bank-financed NDP Project and earlier LBOD project. The Action Plan, which has the full support of the Government of Pakistan and the Government of Sindh, is based on the findings of the Inspection Panel report, on lessons learned from the Bank's nearly 50-year history of involvement in Pakistan's water sector, on recent studies done in the affected area and consultations with farmer organizations and those people directly affected. Following the discussion at the Board, the Executive Directors endorsed the Action Plan. It was agreed that Management would submit an update to the Board by June 2007 and a progress report within 12 months concerning its implementation. The Board also emphasized the importance of the World Bank remaining engaged in Pakistan's challenging water sector and managing the risks associated with large complex projects. More

 

World Bank Supports Nepal's Rural Poor with an Additional US$25 Million -The Bank approved a $25 million grant designed to improve community infrastructure and access to income-generating projects for the rural poor and vulnerable groups in Nepal. The additional financing approved by the World Bank, will support new infrastructure, employment and income-generating opportunities, and enhance the capacity of local governments to provide better services in poor communities. The project builds on the original grant of US$15 million, approved by the World Bank on June 1, 2004. The PAF has committed nearly all its available resources, about two years ahead of original schedule. The additional financing will allow the PAF, which currently operates in six of the country's poorest districts, to scale up project activities to 19 more poor districts. This would allow PAF cover all of the poorest one-third of Nepal's 75 districts. More

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NEW PUBLICATIONS FROM THE WORLD BANK

Africa's Silk Road: China and India's New Economic Frontier - China and India's new-found interest in trade and investment with Africa - home to 300 million of the globe's poorest people and the world's most formidable development challenge - presents a significant opportunity for growth and integration of the Sub-Saharan continent into the global economy. Africa's Silk Road finds that China and India's South-South commerce with Africa is about far more than natural resources, opening the way for Africa to become a processor of commodities and a competitive supplier of goods and services to these countries - a major departure from its long established relations with the North. A growing number of Chinese and Indian businesses active in Africa operate on a global scale, work with world-class technologies, produce products and services according to the most demanding standards, and foster the integration of African businesses into advanced markets. More

At Loggerheads?: Agricultural Expansion, Poverty Reduction, and Environment in the Tropical Forests - This book seeks to describe ways to reconcile pressures for agricultural expansion in the tropics with the urgent needs for both forest conservation and poverty alleviation. It diagnoses the causes and impacts of forest loss and the reasons for the association of forests and poverty. It looks at how policies - modulated by local conditions - act simultaneously on deforestation and poverty, creating trade-offs or complementarity's, depending on the situation. The report brings to the surface problems that impede adoption of favorable policies, describing institutional and technological innovations that might help overcome these impediments. More

 

Enhancing Agricultural Innovation: How to Go Beyond the Strengthening of Research Systems - An innovation system can be defined as a network of organizations, enterprises, and individuals demanding and supplying knowledge and bringing it into a social and economic use. This book's primary aim, therefore, is to focus on the largely unexplored operational aspects of the innovation systems concept and to explore its potential for agriculture. This book evaluates real-world innovation systems and assesses the usefulness of the concept in guiding investments to support knowledge-intensive, sustainable agricultural development. A typology of innovation systems is developed; strategies to guide investments for strengthening innovation capacity are drawn up; and concrete interventions options defined. More

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UPCOMING AND ONGOING GLOBAL EVENTS/DISCUSSIONS

World Bank – InterAction Workshop on Disaster Relief -

Thursday, December 14, at the World Bank Headquarters

This joint workshop to be held on December 14, 2006 in Washington will bring together staff from the Bank, World Vision, Mercy Corps, and InterAction to discuss the experiences and lessons learned from disaster relief efforts throughout the world.   It will also allow for a discussion of new approaches being considered by the donor community to strengthen risk reduction systems, and explore opportunities for collaboration between the Bank and CSOs.  For more information contact:  civilsociety@worldbank.org.

 

World Bank Info Shop Documentary Film Showing : The Imam and the Pastor -

Monday, December 4, 12 2pm, in the World Bank J Building- J1-050.

"The Imam and the Pastor" describes how two religious leaders turned from hatred to reconciliation and later co-founded the Muslim-Christian Interfaith Centre in Kaduna in Northern Nigeria .  The film culminates with the story of their mediation in the town of Yelwa Shendam, where clashes in May 2004 killed hundreds and displaced thousands.  Less than one year later, a public peace ceremony was held there, attended by the state Governor, Christian, Muslim and traditional leaders and 5000 local people.

For more information on weekly Info Shop events please click here

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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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