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Spring Meetings 2007

As in previous years, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund’s Civil Society Teams organized a series of policy dialogue sessions for civil society representatives participating in the Spring Meetings.   These were hosted with the Civil Society Policy Forum (CS Forum) which was held at the Bank’s Main Complex Building on April 12-17, 2007. 

SM 2007 Reception with PW and deRato 

This year's CS Forum reflected the growing level of civil society participation in terms of the large number of accredited CSOs, increased number of policy sessions, and enhanced dissemination efforts. 
A total of 300 CSO representatives were accredited to the Spring Meetings and some 220 attended the sessions of the CS Forum - representing a 47% increase from last years’ Spring Meetings. 

CSOs hailed from 34 countries, although the majority were from the US and Western Europe.

In order to ensure greater participation from developing countries, the Bank and Fund also partnered with InterAction, US civil society umbrella organization,  to bring 12 CSO representatives from Africa to attend the Spring Meetings. These CSOs not only participated in Forum sessions, but had follow-up meeting with senior Bank managers in the Bank’s Africa Region and IDA Team, as well as with several Fund country managers.  The Bank brought three CSOs leaders from Asia to continue efforts begun at the 2006 Annual Meetings in Singapore to strengthen Bank – civil society engagement at the regional and global levels. 

Highlights of the CS Forum were policy briefings given by the heads of IFC (Lars Thunell), MIGA (Yukiko Omura), EXT (Marwan Muasher), and EXR/IMF (Masood Ahmed), as well as a reception hosted by World Bank President Wolfowitz and Fund Managing Director de Rato. 
There were 26 policy sessions many of which were organized by the CSOs themselves or in partnership with the Bank and/or the Fund staff.    

 SM 2007 Reception with PW and deRato
WBG staff also participated in greater numbers, with some sessions attracting nearly a dozen senior managers and/or technical staff from IBRD, IFC, and MIGA.  The CS Forum also broke ground by having two of the sessions web cast live over the internet, one on the reform of the IMF and the other on financing of education in conflicted countries.

The policy dialogue sessions included a wide range of topics:  role of IMF in Sub-Saharan Africa, Debt Sustainability Framework, World Bank’s Health, Nutrition and Population Strategy, World Bank’s governance and anti-corruption strategy, climate change, IMF Board accountability, fiscal space, IDA-15 replenishment process, Africa Action Plan, and extractive industries.  Many of the session generated frank and substantive discussions.  Here is a sampling.

  • Two sessions on reforming the Bretton Woods Institutions organized by the New Rules for Global Finance Coalition which had panelists from Fund Board, government officials, civil society representatives, and academics discussed options for updating voting shares and strengthening Board accountability.
  • The session on the Chad-Cameroon Pipeline co-hosted with Environmental Defense discussed the Implementation Completion Report and what lessons could be applied to other “high risk – high reward” extractive industry projects in terms of project design, role of capacity building, and poverty impacts. 
  • Action Aid International brought staff from Malawi, Mozambique, Sierra Leone to discuss with Fund and Bank staff who also work in those countries about the perception that the Fund sets wage bill limits, which in turn constrain the hiring of needed teachers which could lead to improved educational outcomes.
  • Discussion led by Transparency International on the Bank’s new Governance and Anti-Corruption Strategy which will be implemented across the Bank, and the challenges of ensuring civil society participation in weak governments contexts.

Please visit the CS Forum site to see short summaries, participants lists, and photos of many of the sessions.  We also created a Photo Gallery from the Forum.


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