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World Bank Civil Society Engagement Newsletter - December 2007

MAIN STORIES:

*     NEWS FROM THE WORLD BANK'S REGIONAL DEPARTMENTS
*     NEW PUBLICATIONS FROM THE WORLD BANK


1. Record Funding for World Bank's International Development Association - At the conclusion of the final meeting the 15th replenishment of the International Development Association (IDA15) held in Berlin on December 14, donor countries announced their record pledge of US$ 25.1 billion. In total, the IDA15 replenishment will provide US$ 41.6 billion, an increase of US$ 9.5 billion over the previous replenishment (IDA14) which provided US$ 32.1 billion. The record donor pledges for IDA15 represent a 42 percent increase from the previous replenishment. This is complemented by US$ 16.5 billion in internal financing from the World Bank Group and prior donor pledges for financing debt forgiveness. IDA15 will support low-income countries by increasing its activities in combating climate change, facilitating regional integration and cooperation, boosting infrastructure investment and providing greater support to post-conflict countries, notably in Africa. Throughout the replenishment process, Bank staff met with CSOs in Washington, Europe, and Africa to explain details of the process and take on their concerns.   More

2.  Bank and Global Trade Unions Assess Engagement Results over Past Five Years - As the Bank has reached out to the civil society sector over the past several decades, relations with one constituency, trade unions, has seemed to evolve the farthest in terms of the breadth and substance. In February 2002 all parties concerned – World Bank, IMF, and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) – decided to adopt a ‘protocol’ to formalize and intensify this engagement process. Activities carried out under this institutional arrangement have included: bi-annual high level meetings, annual technical workshops, staff secondments, and ongoing exchange of information.  A workshop with staff from the Bank, Fund, and the ITUC was held on December 10 – 11, 2007 to review the quality and results of these engagement activities.   More

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3. World Bank President Meets Civil Society in China - During his visit in Beijing, World Bank President, Robert B. Zoellick met with a group of 10 Chinese CSO representatives working in the areas of environment, women, youth, migrants workers and their children, and ethnic minorities.  The CSO representatives raised a number of issues that they deemed important and called for more attention from the World Bank. Issues facing women in China, adaption of Chinese youth to the changing world, sustainable development of the CSO sector and its influence on government policy, promotion of a more sustainable life style and eco-culture, situation of rural migrant workers, access to education for migrant children in the cities, the need for capacity building training by NGOs, were among the topics that were discussed. Mr. Zoellick responded point by point to all the issues raised.  He also said that the Bank would try to build CSO support into the projects in China and also use the Bank's role as an intermediary to mobilize resources from other donors.   More

4.  Annual Integrity Report Highlights Increased Investigations, New Tools, and Better Donor Coordination - The World Bank’s Department of Institutional Integrity (INT) made significant contributions to the global fight against corruption in Fiscal Year 2007 according to a new report just released.  The report, "Improving Development Outcomes: Fiscal Year 2007 Annual Integrity Report", notes that the INT closed a total of 301 cases in Fiscal Year 2007, including both cases of fraud and corruption in Bank-financed projects and cases of alleged staff misconduct. Other results highlighted in the report were a 25 percent increase in closed investigations from the previous fiscal year, the launch of a Voluntary Disclosure Program to deter private-sector corruption, and agreement on a coordinated approach to rooting out corruption among the International Financial Institutions.   More

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5. Most Countries On Track to Reach 2010 Education Goal, Says Education Fast Track Initiative Report - Most of the 32 countries supported by the Education for All – Fast Track Initiative (FTI) are on track to have all six-year-olds enrolled in Grade One by 2010, a critical step on the way to achieving the goal of universal primary education by 2015. However, more funding will be needed as the Initiative continues to expand to include more countries, reports an annual progress report released on December 10 in Dakar. The FTI Annual Report 2007 released in December, “Quality Education for All Children: Meeting the Challenge,” documents progress in 32 countries with education sector plans endorsed by the FTI. Eighteen of these countries receive financial support from the Catalytic Fund, a multi-donor trust fund that provides additional financing to help countries implement their education sector plans.   More

6. Forest Carbon Partnership Facility Launched at Bali Climate Change Conference - World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick launched on December 11 in Bali a new financing mechanism to combat tropical deforestation and climate change.  The Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) will reduce deforestation and forest degradation by compensating developing countries for carbon dioxide reductions realized by maintaining their forests. Under the FCPF, resources can be used in any new climate change regime negotiated after 2012, when the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol ends. Nine developed countries and a non-governmental organization have already made financial commitments to the FCPF totaling US$160 million.   More

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7.  Debate on World Bank Conditionality Continues - During 2007, the World Bank undertook a second review of its use of conditionality, examining all Bank-financed loans approved during its 2007 fiscal year. The resulting report:  Conditionality in Development Policy Lending was discussed by the Board of Executive Directors in December 2007. It also draws on a series of consultations with governments, CSOs, and other stakeholders in IDA-eligible countries. The 2007 report confirms that Bank support remains broadly consistent with the good practice principles on conditionality introduced in 2005. The conditionality issue has sparked an intense debate with CSOs, several of which have produced reports of their own. Of note are a recent  report by Eurodad and an interesting comparative analysis carried out by a researcher at the University of Oslo on both the Bank and Eurodad reports. While pointing out how complex and difficult conditionality is to track, this study also welcomes the increased CSO monitoring of these policies.  Eurodad's analysis of the report

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NEWS FROM THE WORLD BANK'S REGIONAL DEPARTMENTS

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Africa

US$50 Million Funding Initiative to Eliminate River Blindness in Africa - The World Bank and Merck & Co., Inc., announced on December 4 an initiative to raise US$50 million to help eliminate river blindness, a leading cause of preventable blindness, in 28 African countries. Merck has pledged up to $25 million. The World Bank will work with Merck and other partners to raise the remaining $25 million. This new funding will supplement the $20 million already raised by the Bank from international partners, for a total of $70 million to support the program through 2015. Merck joined the fight to eliminate the disease in 1987 by announcing it would donate its medicine MECTIZAN for as long as necessary. In 1995, the World Bank together with the WHO, NGOs, foundations and other donors established the African Program for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC) to oversee successful delivery of MECTIZAN through community-directed treatment programs in the 19 non-West African countries affected by river blindness.   More

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East Asia and the Pacific

World Bank Assisting China in Its Search for Clean, Renewable Energy - Energy consumption in China grew at nearly 10 percent per year between 2000 and 2005, more than twice the yearly rate of the previous two decades. This sudden surge in energy consumption, forced China to increase its reliance on coal-fired power to almost 70 percent of its energy needs. China’s CO2 emissions nearly doubled in the last 6 years, at a time of rising concern about climate change around the world. With support from the World Bank, China has been seeking innovative ways to develop clean energy and energy efficiency for the last 10 years. "China and The World Bank: A Partnership in Innovation" is the Bank's new report that documents more than 35 case studies that show how China blends international good practice in development with the Chinese context. One case study in the report shows how China used World Bank knowledge to build a market for solar photovoltaic and wind energy technologies almost from scratch.   More

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Europe and Central Asia

New Partnership Strategy For Bosnia-Herzegovina - On December 14, the World Bank Board of Executive Directors endorsed a new Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for Bosnia and Herzegovina (BH) outlining its cooperation with the country over the next four years. The new CPS for BH outlines a lending program of about US$ 200 million in support of the country’s priorities. This program will be further supported by about US$200 million available under projects that have already been approved. The Bank Group has played a significant role in the development story of BH with commitments totaling more than $1.1 billion IDA credits and grants since 1996 and nearly $250 million original commitments from IFC and about $310 million in guarantees from MIGA. The World Bank current portfolio consists of 16 active projects totaling US$301 million.   More

New Partnership Strategy For Ukraine - The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors on December 6 endorsed a new Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for Ukraine covering the period of 2008-2011. The strategy proposes a lending range of US$ 2-6 billion over four years, with annual lending levels modulated by a series of performance benchmarks, including progress in structural reforms, macroeconomic stability and improvements in the implementation of existing World Bank loans. In addition, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) will continue to invest significant resources to support the private sector in Ukraine. Governance and Anti-Corruption efforts will cut across the CPS which emphasizes the importance of strengthening the demand for good governance by working with a broad group of stakeholders.   More

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Latin America and the Caribbean

World Bank Supports Nicaragua’s Cash Buy-Back Offer for External Commercial Debt - The World Bank Group on December 5 welcomed the announcement that the government of Nicaragua and its creditors have agreed to a cash buy-back of more than US$1.3 billion of the country’s commercial external debt. This announcement is a major step forward under a US$1.4 billion cash buy-back offer being implemented with the support of a grant of up to US$61 million from WB’s Debt Reduction Facility (DRF). DRF provides grants to Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPCs), to buy back - at a deep discount - the debts owed to external, commercial creditors. It also finances the legal and financial advice needed to implement such buybacks. By reducing sovereign debt burdens, the DRF facilitates the improvement of debt relief burden sharing by creditors under the HIPC Initiative and helps countries normalize their external financial relations.   More

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Middle East and North Africa

World Bank Group Pledge and Statement at Palestinian Donor's Conference - World Bank Managing Director participated in the Palestinian Pledging Conference in Paris on December 17, and expressed support for the Palestinian Recovery and Development Plan (PRDP). The World Bank has been present in Palestine since 1994 and has to date committed $532 million to 37 projects while leveraging close to $1 billion of donor funds for its operations.  The Bank’s current portfolio of 11 projects has disbursed 50% of its current $118 million commitments, with the remainder of $58 million to be disbursed over the first two years of the PRDP period (2008-2009).  The Bank’s future assistance program will be tailored to support the PRDP, and will include lending and non-lending services and technical assistance.   More

2007 Youth and Development Forum - The Business Federation (CGEM) and the World Bank, in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Development, family and solidarity organized on December 12-13, last phase of the program "Youth and Development", in Casablanca, Morocco. The Forum was open to all development and youth NGOs and provided a platform for dialogue and exchange between CSOs, youth and the private sector. The Forum's 2007 main objective was to facilitate the meeting between enterprises and CSOs to finalize the projects selection and financing process. After the successful 2006 edition, this year the Forum will support, once again, innovative local development initiatives which involve youth as partners and actors for change.    More

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South Asia

South Asia Regional Development Marketplace - Following the success of country-based Development Marketplaces in India, Pakistan, and Nepal, the World Bank’s South Asia Region and partners are organizing a region-wide Development Marketplace (DM)  that includes: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The theme of the event is “Tackling HIV/AIDS Stigma and Discrimination: From Insights to Action”. The objective of the South Asia DM is to identify and fund innovative approaches for how to reduce stigma and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS in the region. Applications from interested organizations are accepted through the end of January, 2008.   More

Unprecedented Support Package to Nepal - On December 6 the World Bank approved its largest ever support package to Nepal with US$253 million in grants designed to improve access to basic and primary education, enhance irrigation, expand rural roads, and improve living conditions, livelihoods, and empowerment among the rural poor.  The new support package doubles the amount of development resources currently available from the Bank to Nepal. The briefing to members of the World Bank Board of Executive Directors in Washington DC follows consultations in Kathmandu on November 8, 2007 between senior managers and staff of the South Asia Region of the World Bank and a wide range of Nepalis, including politicians, senior government officials, development partners, and representatives from civil society, the private sector and the media.   More

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NEW PUBLICATIONS FROM THE WORLD BANK

International Comparison Program Preliminary Global Report Compares Size of Economies - The International Comparison Program (ICP) released on December 17 new data showing the world economy produced goods and services worth almost $55 trillion in 2005 and that almost 40 percent of the world’s output came from developing economies. Carried out with the World Bank and other partners, the preliminary global report provides estimates of internationally comparable price levels and the relative purchasing power of currencies for 146 economies.  The global report brings together the results of the International Comparison Program and the Eurostat-OECD PPP program.   More

Remittance Flows to Developing Countries to Reach $240 billion in 2007, Predicts World Bank - Remittances to developing countries will reach an estimated $240 billion in 2007, according to new data released today by the World Bank.  The brief, “Remittance Trends 2007,” goes on to say that the true size of remittances including unrecorded flows is even larger. The release was timed to coincide with a November 28-30 G8 Outreach meeting on remittances in Berlin. The brief describes broad regional and country specific trends in remittance flows worldwide, and highlights some structural changes that will affect future flows.   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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