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World Bank Civil Society Engagement eNewsletter April 2007




1.  Recent Communications from the Executive Directors and the President of the World Bank Group - The current situation concerning WBG President Paul Wolfowitz, as reported in the international press, was discussed by the Bank’s Executive Directors on April 19, as recommended by the Board of Governors in their final Communique issued at the conclusion of the 2007 Spring Meetings. The Board agreed to further investigate the matter and come up with a solution in an expedited manner.  In response to that announcement, President Wolfowitz issued a statement in which he welcomed the decision of the Board to move forward and resolve this very important issue.  He also said that he was looking forward to implementing the recommendations of the Board.  More

2.  2007 World Bank and International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings Conclude - The Spring Meetings (SM) concluded on April 15 with a Communique issued after the formal Development Committee meeting.  The Ministers discussed two formal papers: Global Monitoring Report 2007 and Progress and Change in the Africa Action Plan, as well as a background report on the evolving Aid Architecture.  Other issues discussed included: clean energy, options on voice and representation at the WB and IMF, review of Bank-Fund collaboration, progress in implementation of WB's Africa Action Plan, WB's engagement on governance and anticorruption, and fiscal policy for growth and development.  The Ministers also discussed and commented on the current situation related to the Bank’s President, as reported in the international press.  More


3. Stolen Asset Recovery (StAR) Initiative Launched at the Spring Meetings - As a follow-up action of the WB’s new Governance and Anti-Corruption Strategy, the StAR initiative was launched during the SM to help developing countries recover assets stolen by corrupt leaders. The Bank is pursuing the StAR initiative jointly with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The WB and UNODC will forge partnerships with other agencies, including civil society, to ensure this is a truly global effort.  More

4. International Community To Step Up Action On Water And Sanitation Agenda - New commitments were expressed by donors, international development institutions and developing countries to tackle the water and sanitation crisis that affects the world’s poor. It happened during a special event held during the SMs co-hosted by the WB, UNDP, and the UK Department for International Development (DFID). The meeting brought together developed and developing country government representatives along with CSO leaders and development agencies to galvanize common action on access to clean water and sanitation. A number of donors present committed to increase and improve support to countries to expand water and sanitation services In addition, participants agreed to better coordinate their actions at a global level to deliver a greater impact on the ground, and identified some practical initiatives.  More


5.  Civil Society Policy Forum During Spring Meetings Wraps Up - The WB and IMF together with a number of CSOs organized a Civil Society Policy Forum around the SMs between April 12 – 17, 2007. The Forum brought together WB and IMF staff, CSOs, government officials, and others to discuss important issues such as: governance and performance of the IMF and WB; role and relationship of WB and IMF to the question of labor standards, human rights and democracy; WB's work on human development and its new Health, Nutrition and Population strategy; the role of the Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman; IMF's work in sub-Saharan Africa; MIGA's proposed new Disclosure and Social and Environmental Sustainability Policies; future of poverty reduction strategies; pros and cons of fiscal space for infrastructure; WB trainings for CSOs; Debt Sustainability Framework; natural resources management; IDA 15 replenishment; challenges and lessons learned from Chad-Cameroon pipeline project; implementation of IFC's policy and performance standards on social and environmental sustainability; WB and climate change; WB governance strategy and implementation; forthcoming World Development Report 2008 on agriculture and development; education in fragile states and conflict affected countries; Extractive Industries Revenue Transparency implementation; progress on Africa Action Plan. Participating CSOs also met with heads of the WB, IMF, and the International Finance Corporation (IFC).  More

6. INVITATION TO COMMENT: MIGA’s Proposed New Disclosure and Social and Environmental Sustainability Policies - You are invited to comment on MIGA’s proposed new disclosure policy and new social and environmental policies and performance standards via MIGA’s online commentary tool, which includes access to the draft new policies. The facility will be available until midnight on April 27, 2007, to submit comments. A summary of the main findings will be published subsequently on MIGA’s website.  More


7.  Vacancy: Inspection Panel Member - The WB is inviting applications and nominations for the position of Inspection Panel Member. The Inspection Panel is an independent forum established by the Executive Directors of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA). The role of the Panel is to carry out independent investigations into whether the Bank has complied with its policies and procedures. Its function is triggered by a Request for Inspection, normally from people affected by a World Bank financed project.  Detailed information is available by logging in the Inspection Panel web site: Curriculum Vitae should be sent electronically by April 27, 2007 to the following email address:

8.  World Bank Group Sanctions Board Members and Evaluation and Suspension Officers Have Been Appointed - After consultations with the WBG Executive Directors, and as a result of reforms to the Bank's sanctions process, the WBG Sanctions Board Members and Evaluation and Suspension Officers have been appointed, and started their work in March 2007. The previous Sanctions Committee has been reconstituted as the Sanctions Board which, for IBRD/IDA, now includes three WB staff and four external members, whereas it was formerly constituted exclusively of Bank Group staff. Two external and two internal members have been appointed for each of IFC and MIGA, specifically dedicated to IFC and MIGA matters. The Sanctions Board also comprises separate internal members for IFC and MIGA. For matters concerning Bank Guarantees, either the IFC or MIGA external and internal members will be involved, as appropriate. Evaluation and Suspension Officers have been appointed for each of IBRD/IDA, IFC, MIGA and Bank Guarantees.  More


9.  Development Marketplace (DM) Announces Winners of its First Photography Contest - The DM selected winners of its first Photography Contest, which received dozens of images that capture successful implementation of DM-funded projects.  Three projects won a week of technical assistance paid for by the DM program tailored to their particular needs. The winning images, which also include 10 Honorable Mention prizes, will be featured at the 2007 Global Development Marketplace (GDM), May 22-23 and displayed in an exhibition at the WB. The 2007 GDM competition will bring together 104 innovative projects from 42 countries to vie for a share of the $4 million award pool.  More

10.  New Development Committee Chairman - The WB/IMF Development Committee (DC) announced on March 26 that Mexico's Secretary of Finance and Public Credit, Agustin Carstens, has been selected as its new Chairman. He replaces Mr. Alberto Carrasquilla, former Finance Minister of Colombia.  The DC's 24 Members - mostly Finance or Development Ministers - represent the full membership of the Bank and the Fund. The Committee's mandate is to advise the Boards of Governors of the Bank and the Fund on critical development issues. The next meeting of the Committee will be held on October 21, 2007, in Washington, DC. More





World Bank Hones Plan to Accelerate Progress in Africa - The WB’s three-year Africa Action Plan was discussed by the Development Committee, the body that advises the Boards of Governors of the Bank and the IMF on critical development issues during the Spring Meetings 2007. While the Plan has many successes from its first 18 months, it also acknowledges that if current trends continue, poverty in Africa will only fall to 37 percent by 2015 -- the target date for the Millennium Development Goals. With many countries at risk of being left behind, the Bank decided to amend its strategy to accelerate progress and work more effectively with countries and other development partners. The result is a more focused and outcome-oriented plan that leverages the Bank Group’s strengths and seeks to improve the odds for all 48 African nations.  More

Call for Funding for IDA - Wealthy nations have been called on to boost funding for the WB's concessional arm, IDA - the International Development Association - which provides financing to the world's poorest countries. The call came from African ministers attending the 2007 Spring Meetings of the Bank/IMF. Ministers of Finance of Ghana, Liberia and Malawi called on the donors to replenish IDA to make up for lost revenue as a result of debt relief and increase funding in general.  They stressed that funding from the WB through IDA has had huge impact on their countries and would be critical to help move their countries' economies forward.  More

Obiageli Katryn Ezekwesili, Vice President, Africa Region - WB President Paul Wolfowitz announced on March 23 the appointment of Obiageli “Oby” Ezekwesili as Vice President for the Africa Region. Ms. Ezekwesili, a Nigerian national, will join the WB from her most recent position as Minister of Education within the Government of Nigeria. Beginning May 1, she will lead the WB's Africa operations, which lend about $4.7 billion a year to the continent.  Ms. Ezekwesili began her career as an auditor and management consultant.  She was one of the founding members of Transparency International, where she held the position Director for Africa.  She has also served as the Chairperson for the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative since 2004 and pioneered the voluntary sign-on of Nigeria to the EITI Principles.  More.



East Asia and the Pacific

East Asia & Pacific Update: April 2007 - A decade after the financial crisis which devastated East Asia in mid-1997, the region is much wealthier, has fewer poor people and a larger global role than ever before, says the WB's latest East Asia & Pacific Update - a six-monthly report on the region's economic and social health. But with this success, comes a new wave of challenges for countries trying to avoid the 'middle-income trap'. The report finds that growth in Emerging East Asia reached 8.1 percent in 2006 - the strongest in the past 10 years and it is likely to slow only modestly to 7.3 percent in 2007. Per capita incomes in the former crisis-affected economies have significantly exceeded their pre-crisis levels and are growing steadily nearly everywhere. In China and low-income transition economies like Vietnam, Cambodia and Lao PDR, incomes have grown at 'exceptional rates', the report says.  But the report warns new challenges are arising which could slow or even derail growth if not handled properly.  More


Europe and Central Asia

Republic of Latvia Graduates from the World Bank - The Government of the Republic of Latvia and the WB on April 13 exchanged letters to mark the formal graduation of the country from WB borrower status. Minister of Finance of the Republic of Latvia, signed on behalf of the Government and WB Vice President for the Europe and Central Asia Region, signed on behalf of WB. Following Latvia’s graduation, future cooperation with WB will be based on knowledge sharing and partnership.  More

World Bank Launches New Partnership Strategy for FYR Macedonia - The WB’s Board of Executive Directors on March 27 discussed the new Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, which envisages a lending program of up to US$280 million for the period 2007-2010.  The CPS is a document that details the WB’s work plan to assist client countries achieve their development goals. It describes all of the WB’s planned operations in the country—lending, analytical work, and technical assistance. Priorities of the new CPS are centered around the country’s ambition to join the European Union and aim at supporting the government’s program to accelerate economic growth and job creation. The new CPS was prepared in partnership with the government of FYR Macedonia and in consultation with representatives of CSOs, municipalities and the private sector.  More



Latin America and the Caribbean

Rising Health Care Costs and Lost Wages Can Impoverish Households in Latin America - Despite Latin America's economic growth of 5 percent in the last three years and significant progress in reducing poverty in recent years, a World Bank report launched on April 3 to mark World Health Day warns that illness, accidents, and normal life-cycle events such as old age can jeopardize people's health and throw their households and families into poverty. The report "Beyond Survival: Protecting Households from Health Shocks in Latin America" is based on six case studies in:  Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras, and Mexico, and argues that applying a classical insurance system could better protect Latin American households which are over-burdened with out-of-pocket spending and lack sufficient access to instruments with which to pool risks.  More


Middle East and North Africa

Middle East and North Africa Economic Developments and Prospects 2007 - High economic growth has been accompanied by strong job creation and declining unemployment in recent years. But for this performance to be sustainable it needs to be supported by deeper structural reforms in countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The WB MENA region launched a new report that looks into economic trends and prospects for the region. This is the third of an annual series of reports. The theme for this year's publication is labor markets and employment, a critical area for the MENA region as a result of its strong labor force growth and large share of young population.  More



World Development Indicators 2007 - Global poverty rates continued to fall in the first four years of the 21st century according to new estimates published in the World Development Indicators (WDI) 2007, released on April 15.  The report finds that, in the past decade, poverty reduction was not always or everywhere commensurate with income growth. In some countries and regions, inequality worsened, as poor people did not reap the fruits of economic expansion, because of a lack of job opportunities, limited education or bad health. This 11th edition of the WDI looks at countries that have done unusually well over the past decade. It finds strong performers in all regions, with notably fast growth in GDP per capita among many states of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. But it also finds that the countries with the highest rates of under-5 mortality a decade ago have, on average, made the slowest reduction in mortality.  More

The 2007 Global Monitoring Report: Confronting the Challenges of Gender Equality and Fragile States - The 2007 Global Monitoring Report (GMR) assesses the contributions of developing countries, developed countries, and international financial institutions (IFIs) toward meeting universally agreed Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).  This year's report focuses on gender equality and the lack of opportunities for women as well as the vulnerability of fragile states. To reach key development objectives by 2015, women's equality and fragile states need to receive concerted attention and the international community must scale up strategies for reaching the eight MDGs. While progress on the first goal of halving poverty is on track everywhere except in Sub-Saharan Africa, efforts to attain goals related to child mortality, disease reduction, and environmental sustainability are falling short, says the report.  More

Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) Report on Development Potential of Regional Programs - This evaluation, which assesses WB support for regional development programs over fiscal years 1995-2005, finds that a majority of the programs evaluated have been or appear likely to be effective in achieving most of their development objectives. Even stronger results could be achieved if regional program support were better developed as an international development practice. These findings are based on evaluations of 19 regional programs and a review of the Bank's total portfolio of some 100 regional operations.  More



New Feature on Bank's Social Analysis Website - A new section called: Social Analysis Guidance Note Series has been added to the Social Development Department's Social Analysis website. The first feature presents the Social Analysis and Disability Guidelines intended to assist WB task managers and country teams to better integrate disability concerns into Bank operations. This latest in the Social Analysis Guidance Note Series is particularly timely given the recent U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  More



High-Level Education Conference in Brussels on May 2, 2007 - The event aims to generate renewed high-level political commitment to finance basic education in an urgent and longer-term predictable way. It will be hosted by the European Commission and co-organized by the UK government and WB. It follows on an earlier agreement in Singapore in September 2006 by UK Chancellor Gordon Brown, European Commissioner Louis Michel and WB President. Conference participants will include Ministers of Finance and Development Cooperation of the EU Member States, the OECD donor countries, emerging donors and developing countries, leaders of international organizations, foundations, CSOs and the private sector as well as Members of the European Parliament, individual advocates and experts.  More

ABCDE Slovenia 2007 - The Annual Bank Conference on Development Economics (ABCDE) 2007 will take place in Bled, Slovenia, on May 17-18, 2007. The conference will be co-organized by WB and the Government of Slovenia. It will have as the overarching topic 'Private Sector and Development' and it will feature research papers on the following sub-topics, as well as working sessions: (a) Financial Inclusion; (b) The business climate; and (c) The provision of public services by non-state actors: health, education, environment/water. Registration has been extended till April 30.  More


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: Please share your comments on the Newsletter with us:  All past issues of the Newsletter can be found on the WB site on Civil Society Engagement at:

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