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World Bank Civil Society Engagement Newsletter - October/November 2007

MAIN STORIES:

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


1.  Zoellick Interacts with CSOs through Townhall Meeting and Video Conference - WB President Robert B. Zoellick had two occasions to meet and engage in policy dialogue with CSO representatives in the run up to, and during the 2007 Annual Meetings.  These not only allowed him to share his views on issues related to the Annual Meetings, but provided a wide range of CSOs with the opportunity to share their perspectives and concerns with him. The first event was a video conference on October 3, 2007 with over 100 CSO representatives from seven countries: Angola, France, Kenya, Malawi, Nepal Tajikistan, and Timor Leste. The second occasion for Bank - civil society interaction was during the Civil Society Townhall held during the Annual Meetings in Washington on October 18, 2007.  The meeting brought together Mr. Zoellick and Fund Managing Director, Rodrigo de Rato with some 80 CSO representatives.  More

2.  COMMENTS SOUGHT: Draft IDA 15 Replenishment Report - The 15th Replenishment process of the International Development Association (IDA) is underway.  The Bank is seeking feedback from civil society on its Draft Report before it is submitted to the Bank's Board. The Report focuses on how IDA helps to achieve the MDGs, its role in global aid architecture, and support for fragile states. Comments are welcome until November 30, 2007.  More

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3.  World Bank Group President Unveils Strategic Direction to Advance Inclusive & Sustainable Globalization - Speaking at the National Press Club in Washington on October 10 to mark his first 100 days as President of the WB Group, Robert B. Zoellick said, “It is the vision of the World Bank Group to contribute to an inclusive and sustainable globalization – to overcome poverty, enhance growth with care for the environment, and create individual opportunity and hope.”  Zoellick said the Bank Group should be expanding the frontiers of thinking about policy and markets and pioneering new possibilities. In laying out his vision for the WB, Zoellick suggested six strategic themes: overcoming poverty in low-income countries, promoting post-conflict reconstruction, providing services to middle income countries, fostering global public goods, advancing development in the Arab world, and enhancing knowledge sharing.  More

4. Two New World Bank Carbon Facilities Will Help Fight Climate Change And Deforestation - As part of its efforts to increase significantly the world’s ability to tackle global climate change and deforestation, the WB has been developing two new carbon finance facilities to benefit developing countries. The new Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) would prevent deforestation by compensating developing countries for carbon dioxide reductions realized by maintaining their forests, and a new Carbon Partnership Facility (CPF) is expected to be used in areas such as power sector development, energy efficiency, gas flaring, transport, and urban development, including integrated waste management systems. Both aim to support developing countries in their moves towards lower carbon development paths, and by helping remove heat trapping gases from the atmosphere which are changing the climate. They are expected to be officially launched by WB President in December 2007, during the 13th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Bali, Indonesia. More

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5.  World Bank Group Raises Funding For Renewables and Energy Efficiency - The WB Group’s commitments to finance renewable energy projects – comprising wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, and hydropower – and energy efficiency projects, rose by two-thirds in the past year.  The investments went from  US$830 million in 2006 to US$1.43 billion, according to figures released on October 20 at the end of the 2007 financial year. The WB Group has outperformed th pledge made during the 2004 Bonn International Conference on Renewable Energies to increase funding of new renewable energy projects and energy efficiency projects by 20 percent a year. From July 2004 through June 2007, the WB has committed $1.8 billion for new projects, almost doubling its Bonn goal of $913 million for the same period. More

6.  COMMENTS SOUGHT: Consultation on the Use of Country Systems for Procurement - CSOs, as well as companies, academic institutions, and individuals from member countries of the WB are eligible to compete for business opportunities within the projects supported by WB loans to these countries. The Bank is moving forward in defining a methodology for piloting the use of country systems for procurement. A multi-stakeholder consultation process is underway between September and November, 2007. The purpose of the consultation is to improve the quality of the new methodology for piloting the use of country systems in procurement; to tap the knowledge of a diverse range of stakeholders; to listen to issues raised and address them to the maximum extent in new methodology; and finally to focus on future actions.  More

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7.  CSO Activities during 2007 Annual Meetings - Civil Society Organizations participated actively during the 2007 Annual Meetings.  Events included the Civil Society Forum and Program of Seminars, townhall meeting with the heads of the Bank and Fund, hosting press conferences, and interaction with Bank/Fund staff and Executive Directors.  The Global Call to Against Against Poverty (GCAP) also organized several events including performing the Poverty Requiem in Murrow Park.   More


NEWS FROM THE WORLD BANK'S REGIONAL DEPARTMENTS

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Africa

Panel Calls for Increased Integration of African Civil Society and Regional Groups - African CSOs can make an important contribution to regional policy debates and to the selection and development of programs to aid the region, said WB Africa Region Vice President during a discussion on “The Interaction of African Civil Society with Regional Entities.” The meeting was part of the Civil Society Policy Forum held during the WB Group and IMF 2007 Annual Meetings. The session brought together African CSOs, regional economic communities (RECs), the African Union and national governments. The purpose of the session was to explore ways to expand communication between African CSOs and RECs, and how the World Bank Group might support that. More

Arrears Clearance Plan for Liberia Approved - A comprehensive arrears plan achieved on November 12 positions Liberia for debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) Initiative and the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI).  The agreement, which covers Liberia’s arrears to the World Bank and the IMF, will permit Liberia to rapidly clear much of its arrears to smaller multilateral creditors and, with the Paris Club assistance, to clear much of its arrears to bilateral creditors.  Arrears clearance and the normalization of Liberia’s external financial position will allow the country to trade freely and start attracting foreign direct investment to develop its resources and strengthen its capital markets. Liberia and its international partners will work rapidly toward reaching the Decision Point under the Enhanced HIPC Initiative.  More

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East Asia and the Pacific

Second China Development Marketplace - The WB and partners on November 8 launched the 2nd China Development Marketplace (China DM), a program aiming to provide a platform for the most innovative Chinese CSOs and successful businesses, individuals and foundations to identify and support innovative bottom-up development ideas. Initiated by the WB, development marketplace is a competitive grant mechanism to fund innovative ideas and projects from grassroots organizations and CSOs.  Since 1998, the WB has provided more than $40 million to over 1,000 projects at global and country DMs held in some 70 countries.  A significant amount of the grant funds has come from the private sector and foundations. More

Bank Reviews Progress in Cambodia Country Assistance Strategy - Two years into the implementation of its Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) for Cambodia for 2005-2008, in early October the WB held a series of consultative meetings with the Government, businesses, CSOs, and donor agencies to seek their feedback on CAS implementation to date far and proposals for the future. The purpose of the consultations was to get feedback on whether the stakeholders feel that the CAS remains relevant and is on track in its implementation or whether it needs some adjustments based on events in Cambodia during the last two years.  More

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Europe and Central Asia

Integrating Environment into Key Economic Sectors: A Prerequisite for Sustainable Development in the Region - The transition to a market economy, which is happening in most of the Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) sub-region, presents both a challenge and an opportunity to put in place policies and incentives that would minimize the environmental impact of increased development while ensuring the sustainable management of natural resources and the environment. Integrating environment in key sectors – energy, agriculture, forestry, extractive industries and transportation - is central to the long-term sustainability of economic development in EECA countries. These are the main messages coming out of two World Bank reports prepared as part of its contribution to the “Environment for Europe” conference, held in Belgrade, October 10-12, 2007. More

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Latin America and the Caribbean

New Country Partnership Strategy for Nicaragua - On October 11, the Board of Executive Directors of the WB discussed a new Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for Nicaragua, with project and investment loans and credits by the International Development Association (IDA) to total $240 million for five years from 2008 to 2012. The new strategy is closely aligned to the Government's priorities and its evolving poverty reduction strategy structured around four strategic objectives which are: i) reactivating the economy, stimulating productivity and competitiveness; ii) human capital development – improving social equity and opportunity, iii) infrastructure and sustainable development; iv) strengthening governance and accountability by modernizing state institutions and promoting citizen participation. The new strategy will also be supported by the International Finance Corporation. More

World Bank Approves Assistance Strategy and Opens Office in Panama - On October 31, the WB Group’s Board of Directors approved a Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for Panama, the institution’s formal agreement with the Government for 2008 to 2010, which includes a lending envelope of $390-$465 million.  The new strategy was discussed by the Board as the Bank was about to open the new office in Panama City November 1, 2007. New financing would be split mainly between Development Policy Lending and seven new poverty-focused investment projects.  More

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Middle East and North Africa

Status of World Bank Group Lending to Iran - The nine IBRD loans to Iran for projects where work is still underway were approved between 2000 and 2005 by the Board of Executive Directors of the WB. There are no plans to approve any new loans to Iran. The WB Group complies with UN sanctions on Iran and reviews payments under WB's financed projects to ensure compliance. About half the portfolio addresses environmental issues (largely water supply and sanitation) and about a third is in response to earthquake disasters. The balance is for health care and nutrition. Undisbursed funds for IBRD projects in Iran total US $770.1 million. IFC’s program in Iran is focused on helping small businesses in order to create jobs and spur economic growth. IFC has US $28 million invested in four projects, approved between 2002 and 2005, supporting small and medium businesses. In 2005, the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) provided US $127 million in guarantees for two projects.  More

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South Asia

Role of Community Development Councils in Good Local Governance and Development Discussed in Afghanistan - Delegates, representing thousands of rural communities from all over Afghanistan, gathered in Kabul for a "National Public Consultation Conference." The conference is part of the National Solidarity Program (NSP), a project that empowers the grassroots of Afghan society by the establishment of local governance bodies in villages across the country. It’s the only government program to have reached all the country’s 34 provinces, often in remote communities with high levels of illiteracy. The conference was a crucial step in the broader consultation process for self-governance in Afghanistan. Village delegates discussed ways to maintain the progress they have already made, and how to expand it to other areas of the country. The conference aimed to inform the policy discussions between experts and decision-makers, and to allow exchanges of views and experiences between them and in particular CDCs. More

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NEW PUBLICATIONS FROM THE WORLD BANK

World Bank Group Calls For Broader Access to Finance - Between 50 and 80 percent of adults in many developing countries have inadequate access to financial services, finds a new WB policy research report entitled "Finance for All? Policies and Pitfalls in Expanding Access". The report also found that failure to provide more households and small and medium enterprises with the financial services they need acts as a brake on development. While noting the microfinance industry's progress in delivering credit to poor people, the report calls for a broader financial strategy that delivers services to all excluded people and firms. Inclusive financial systems ultimately benefit the poorest people and the smallest firms the most, by creating more jobs, raising incomes, and generating more opportunities for small businesses, the report says.  More

World Bank Group Report on Malaria in Africa - A new WB report says in just two years nearly 20 million long lasting insecticidal nets and more than 15 million doses of artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) are on course to be distributed under the WB Booster Program for Malaria Control in Africa. The Progress Report on the Booster Program, says about 240 million people are in areas covered by its projects. Launched in September 2005, the Booster Program seeks to help cut malaria deaths in Africa by at least 75 percent by 2015, through the distribution of medicines, nets, and strengthening health systems to sustain the gains.  Just two years after the launch of the Booster Program and in response to strong country demand, the World Bank Group has now increased its financing for malaria control in Africa more than nine-fold. The second phase of the Booster Program is set to run from July 2008 to 2015. The report says while gains have been made, much work remains. More

Africa Experiencing Spreading and Sustaining Growth - Many African economies appear to have turned the corner and may be moving to a path of faster and steadier economic growth needed to reduce high levels of poverty, according to the WB Africa Development Indicators 2007 (ADI), released on November 14. The ADI indicates that spreading and sustaining growth going forward can be achieved by accelerating productivity and increasing private investment.  Accomplishing this will require improving the business climate and infrastructure in African countries, as well as spurring innovation and building institutional capacity. It warns that growth in Africa is more volatile than in any other region. That volatility, it says, has dampened expectations and investments. The report identifies stronger and more diverse export growth as a key factor needed to sustain growth and reduce volatility.  More

Global Trade Liberalization Crucial as Developing Countries Address Climate Change - A new report from the World Bank, International Trade and Climate Change: Economic, Legal, and Institutional Perspectives, says liberalization of the global trading system will be a key factor in helping developing countries reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change. The report describes how the trade-environment debate has so far considered little in terms of global-scale environmental problems – climate change, declining biodiversity, the depletion of ocean fisheries, and the over-exploitation of shared resources.  These ‘public goods’ issues, which require international cooperative action, can potentially lead to trade tensions if some countries get a ‘free ride’ on the environmental efforts of others.  More

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NEW WORLD BANK WEBSITES

New Google Map Service Provides Easy Access to World Bank Country Data - In an effort to provide its web users a visual entry point to browse WB projects, news, statistics and public information center by country, the WB used Google Maps and loaded them with World Bank data. Visitors can view WB country data, information on projects active in the country and create their own reports with selected data inputs.  More


PAST GLOBAL EVENTS/DISCUSSIONS

World Bank-CSO Collaboration on Fighting Illegal Logging - Representatives of WWF and IUCN met with WB officials in Brussels on November 9 to discuss the implementation a program to combat illegal logging in six Eastern European countries (Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Russia and Belarus). The program, which is slated to start in December 2007, will be funded through an EC financed trust fund. The CSOs will be subcontracted by the Bank to carry out assessments of the enforcement of logging laws in the above-mentioned countries. This program represents the first ever agreement between the Bank and WWF to collaborate on operations at European level.

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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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