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World Bank President's Interactions with CSOs

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2011 Zoellick Speaks at CSOs Conference on Scaling Up Nutrition

RBZ and Beckmann at SUN 2011, Photo Courtesy of Bread for the World 

Mr. Zoellick Speaks at CSO Nutrition Conference
Bank President Robert Zoellick spoke at conference on nutrition convened by Bread for the World and Concern Worldwide on June 13 in Washington, DC.  Mr. Zoellick participated in a conversational session with David Beckman (Bread CEO), during one of the plenary sessions of the conference titled “1,000 Days to Scale-Up Nutrition for Mothers & Children: Building Political Commitment”.  The conference brought together hundreds of food activists from the US and developing countries, to push for increased funding nutrition programs worldwide. More... 

2011 CSOs and the World Bank Discuss Impact of Latest Food Price Increases

World Bank President Robert Zoellick hosted a CSO Roundtable on Food Price Volatility on April 14, in the run up to the 2011 Spring Meetings.  This was the seventh WB – CSO food roundtable since March 2008, and brought together some 80 CSO representatives and senior Bank, IMF, and UN managers to discuss the recent spike in food prices.  Global food prices are rising to dangerous levels and are 29 percent above its level a year earlier, and are only 3 percent below its 2008 peak.  More...  


Zoellick Calls for Support of Civil Society in the Middle East

The recent democratic uprisings in the Middle East served as the backdrop for a major speech given by Bank President Robert Zoellick on the emerging role of civil society.  The speech, “The Middle East and North Africa: A New Social Contract for Development” given at Washington’s Peterson Institute on April 6, may well mark a watershed in Bank – civil society relations.  He stated that “now it may be time to invest in the private, not-for-profit sector – civil society -- to help strengthen the capacity of organizations working on transparency, accountability, and service delivery.”  Read the Full Speech...   

2011 World Bank and Trade Unions Discuss Global Job Creation Policies

Mr. Zoellick held discussions with the General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), Sharan Burrow, on global economic recovery, job creation efforts, and other issues of common interest.  The event was part of a high level IMF – ITUC – WB meeting held in Washington on January 18 – 20, 2011.   This was the 4th biannual high level meeting held since 2002, which is part of a collaborative agreement between the Bank, Fund, and ITUC which involves annual technical workshops, ongoing information exchange, and staff secondments. More... 

Kwasi Adu-Amakwah (Africa General Sec., ITUC), Sharran Burrow (Gen Sec. ITUC and President Zoellick

2010 Annual Meetings of World Bank and IMF - October 2010

2010 CS Townhall

Mr. Zoellick co-hosted with IMF Managing Director Strauss-Khan the Civil Society Townhall which was held on October 7, 2010 in Washington.  The townhall was chaired by Jo Marie Griesgraber of New Rules Coalition, and followed a new format in which the floor was first provided to two CSO discussants – Dickson Khainga of Kenya and Bishop David Niringiye of Uganda – who framed the issues for two senior managers to respond.  The format generated an  interactive and substantive exchange on a variety of topics which included IFI governance reform, post-conflict reconstruction, and gender equality. More 

6th WB – CSO Food Crisis Roundtable

Mr. Zoellick participated in a Food Roundtable held with CSO leaders on September 17, 2010 to discuss growing price volatility and food shortages in some parts of the world.   Some 70 civil society leaders and staff attended the meeting either in person or via video conferences from six countries:  Accra (Ghana), Brussels (Belgium), Dakar (Senegal), Dhaka (Bangladesh), Nairobi (Kenya), and Paris (France).  Several dozen senior WB staff participated, including the Bank President, as well as representatives from the IMF and UN agencies. More 

6th food roundtable

2010 Spring Meetings of World Bank and IMF - April 2010

2009 SMs CSOs Reception

The highlight of the CS Forum during the 2010 Spring Meetings  was a CSO Roundtable on post-crisis economic recovery hosted by  Mr. Zoellick.  Mr. Zoellick talked about the efforts undertaken by the Bank to help developing countries address the economic crisis through the support of economic stimulus packages, doubling of financing for development projects, and increase in the funding of social protection programs.   He also explained the rationale for the capital increase request, increase in Bank voting shares for developing countries, and proposed internal reforms. More 

2009 Annual Meetings of World Bank and IMF - October 2009

Mr. Zoellick co-hosted the CSO Townhall at the 2009 Annual Meetings held in Istanbul on October 6 -7, 2009. The major issues addressed included the prospects for global economic recovery, continued impacts of the food crisis on the poor, and the significant reforms being undertaken on international governance, including at the Bank and Fund. The Townhall was chaired by Archbishop Winston Njongonkulu Ndungane of the African Monitor in South Africa, and had over 250 CSO participants. More 

2009 SMs CSOs Reception

5th WB – CSO Financial Crisis Roundtable

2009 SMs CSOs Reception

This Roundtable held on September 10, 2009 was the fifth Bank - CSO roundtable on the food / financial crises since March 2008. About 70 civil society leaders and staff attended the meeting either in person or via video conferences in 6 sites (Lilongwe, New Delhi, Brussels, Dublin, Geneva, and Atlanta). Representatives from the IMF and UN Agencies participated, as well as several dozen senior Bank staff.   Robert Zoellick broadly shared his vision for tackling these global crises and cited specific examples of Bank policies and programs implemented to address these.he three hour meeting was divided into two sessions. More 

2009 Spring Meetings of World Bank and IMF - April 2009

During the 2009 Spring meetings .Mr. Zoellick, together with IMF Managing Director, Mr. Dominique Strauss Kahn hosted a Reception for civil society representatives (participants list). Mssrs. Zoellick and Strauss-Khan made informal remarks and responded to questions from participants on the multilateral responses to the financial crisis. The Reception followed a well attended session focused on the financial crisis and the G20 Summit. Over a hundred civil society representatives attended the Reception and asked questions on the World Bank’s plan for IDA Replenishment, the IMF’s planned gold sales, and debt relief, among others. Photos More 

2009 SMs CSOs Reception

Fourth Roundtable with CSOs on Global Food Price Crisis - March 2009

 World Bank President Speaking at the Roundtable

On March 26, President Zoellick convened the fourth high level dialogue session between the Bank and CSOs on the global crises. Civil society leaders representing NGOs, farmers' organizations, faith-based organizations, and research centers participated. Please see: (agenda) and (participants list), as well as a short video on the Bank’s multi-pronged and participatory response to the food crisis. Next steps that emerged from the roundtable included a continued push to conduct similar policy dialogues at the country level in order to promote greater on-the-ground operational collaboration between the Bank and CSOs, and exploring the possibility of joint research on the social and political impacts of these crises. More 

High Level Meeting With the Trade Unions - January 2009

The World Bank Group (WBG) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) hosted a week-long series of meetings with global unions to discuss the global financial crisis, governance reform, and gender equality. Mr. Zoellick participated in the High Level Meetings between the leadership of all three institutions. (see agenda). Some 80 leaders from the International Trade Union Confederation and 10 Global Union Confederations were present at the week-long series of meetings, representing some 168 million workers worldwide (see participants list). This was the fourth high level meeting held since 2002, and it attracted the highest level of union participation. More 

World Bank President Robert Zoellick, ED Rogerio Studart and ITUC General Secretary Guy Ryder

2008 Annual Meetings of the IMF and World Bank - October 2008

Mr. Zoellick had a number of interactions with civil society representatives during the 2008 Annual Meetings. He met with some 100 CSO representatives during the Townhall and Reception (summary, video, transcript, photos) , alongside IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn, to discuss a wide range of topics. [The photo at the left depicts Mr. Zoellick receiving a letter signed by 40,000 Cameroon youth calling on the Bank to protect the rainforest - see original letter and Bank response. ]

He also met with the heads of some 25 CSOs over breakfast to discuss ways to improve Bank - civil society relations.


Second Roundtable with CSOs on Global Food Price Crisis - July 2008


President Zoellick convened a second roundtable on the global food crisis with CSO, IMF, and UN representatives on July 15,2008. The purpose of the meeting was for Mr. Zoellick to report on the G8 Meeting, and on what actions the Bank, CSOs, and the donor agencies have undertaken in the last month to promote food delivery and increase funding for food security measures. CSOs raised a number of issues and recommendations including the need to close the gap between donor financing commitments and action at the country level, encourage greater media coverage of food crisis, and the need to integrate CSOs in donor agency – government initiatives...More

First Roundtable with CSOs on Global Food Price Crisis - May 2008

Food prices crisis mtg. with CSOs - May 2008 picture 1President Zoellick joined a roundtable on May 23, 2008 to discuss the global food price crisis. Also in attendance were the heads of the IMF, UNICEF, the UN Food Crisis Taskforce, and leaders of some 30 CSOs that work with food delivery and security issues. The meeting was chaired by World Bank Group Manging Director, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

In the meeting, Zoellick outlined policy initiatives that the Bank and its partners are taking to address the problem. He also explained a fast track financing mechanism that the Bank has set up to assist the 15 most vulnerable countries. The crisis presents a solutions-focused opportunity for collaboration and cooperation among a wide array of actors. Zoellick welcomed continuing dialogue with CSOs, and encouraged ongoing dialogue at the country level...More

2008 Spring Meetings of the IMF and World Bank - April 2008

 SM08 RBZ Reception 1

On April 10, 2008, President Zoellick and Dominique Strauss-Kahn (International Monetary Fund Managing Director), hosted a reception for civil society representatives as part of the Spring Meetings events. They were introduced by Andrew Kumbatira, Executive Director, Malawi Economic Justice Network. Mrss. Zoellick and Stauss-Kahn spoke briefly about the policy agenda of the Spring Meetings, and particularly the global food crisis. This was followed by a question and comment period in which a number of issues were raised including climate change, food security, and aid for Africa...More on 2008 Spring Meetings

Visits to Liberia and Mauritania - January 2008

RBZ 2008 visit to Liberia - mtg. with CSOsPresident Zoellick visited Liberia from January 29-30, 2008. The purpose of the visit was to learn first hand of the developmental challenges facing the country and the efforts being made by the government and people of Liberia to promote growth and poverty reduction, as well as improve their standard of living. The highpoint of the trip was the visit to Kakata township in Margibi County in order to attend a regional Poverty Reduction Strategy Stakeholders’ consultation with government officials, local leaders, and civil society representatives. Deliberations were jointly led by the President of Liberia, Ms. Ellen Sirleaf Johnson, and Mr. Zoellick, and included ministers of state, UN officials, the Bank’s county director local government officials, community leaders, and CSOs. The issue of pro-poor growth and the equitable distribution of resources were top on the agenda, as were efforts to increase broad-based political participation at all levels. Civil society representatives made clear what role they expect their government and development partners to play in their communities. President Zoellick reiterated the importance of inclusive development and improved governance in Liberia, and pledged the full support of the Bank in this endeavor. More on President's visit to Liberia

RBZ mgt with CSOs in Mauritania - Jan 08 #1During his visit to Mauritania, on January 28, 2008 President Zoellick visited a World Bank-financed Urban Development Project in the Nouakchott slum community in El Mina. He met with local government officials, community leaders, and CSO representatives. He then held a discussion with civil society representatives to learn about their concerns and priorities, and hear their views on their relations with the World Bank. He listened to CSO concerns on specific issues such as capacity building, gender, democracy building, governance, and the role played by the Bank in these areas. The CSO representatives present requested the Bank’s support for capacity building programs and for a closer partnership with the Bank in implementing development programs.

RBZ mtg. with CSOs in Mauritania - Jan08 #2Zoellick reemphasized the Bank's commitment to working with CSOs as partners, and said that the Bank is developing a comprehensive regional strategy for engaging civil society which will provide more guidance and direction for Country Teams on how to engage with CSOs. Zoellick thanked everyone for coming and congratulated CSOs on the important role their organizations play, particularly fighting inequality, supporting governance and anti-corruption programs, and helping with the implementation of development projects such as the community’s Urban Development project. More on President's visit to Mauritania

Visit to China - December 2007

RBZ in China in Dec 2007 - mtg with CSOsDuring his visit in Beijing, World Bank President, Robert B. Zoellick met on December 17, 2007 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

Meeting with US-Based International Development CSOs - December 2007

Mr. Zoellick joined a group of over a dozen leaders of US-based international development CSOs during the 2007 NGO Leaders Forum held in Greentree Conference Center, New York, on December 3, 2007. He made some informal remarks in which he talked about the need to make globalization inclusive and sustainable. He also outlined the Bank's six strategic policy themes for the coming years: increased aid for Africa, improving support to fragile states; continued engagement in middle income countries, financing for global public goods, outreach to the Arab world, and focus on knowledge management. CSO participants discussed how CSOs can be involved in these six strategic themes. They also raised several other issues including: the Bank’s Extractive Industries Review Implementation Report; project-level reporting at the IFC; Bank's work on anticorruption and governance; provision of basic services by private sector in developing countries; and mechanisms to allow opportunities for the Bank to better cooperate and engage with the civil society community. Among suggestions raised was the establishment of a global mechanism for Bank - civil society engagement, and the create of an “account representative” structure to help CSOs navigate the Bank’s hierarchy and identify appropriate connections. A sub-group of the meeting participants will work together to clarify the type of relationship that would be most useful to CSOs in an effort to strengthen exchange on policy issues or improve operational partnerships. Other suggestions included exchange of visits between senior leadership teams at the Bank and selected CSOs, as well as consultations with European CSO partners on their desired relationship with the Bank.

Meeting with US-Based Environmental CSOs - December 2007

World Bank President met in Washington, DC with representatives of environmental CSOs in the morning of December 3, 2007. During discussion CSO participants highlighted their efforts and collaboration on the environment, including conservation of biodiversity and ecosystems, and regular strategic discussions on issues of mutual interest. They stressed the importance of focusing on the needs of developing countries while addressing the challenges of climate change, as well as supporting market transformation, payment for ecosystem services and engaging the corporate sector. The CSOs were interested in working closely with the WB to protect global public goods and to support the Bank in addressing the ecological footprint of its operations. It was agreed that the Bank works with CSOs to establish an advisory group to support WBG efforts on the environment and promote regular dialogue. Mr. Zoellick acknowledged the work of NGOs and, using climate change as an example, he outlined his vision on environment.

2007 Annual Meetings of the IMF and World Bank - October 2007

RBZ VC with Civil Society 2World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick had two occasions to meet and engage on policy dialogue with civil society representatives (CSOs) in the run up to the 2007 Annual Meetings. These not only allowed him to share his views on issues related to the Annual Meetings agenda, but provided a wide range of CSOs with the opportunity to share their perspectives and concerns on multiple issues with the head of the World Bank. 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. More

2007 AMs Townhall - 3The second occasion for the World Bank Group President - civil society interaction at the 2007 Annual Meetings was during the Civil Society Townhall held at the International Monetary Fund's Board Room in Washington, DC on October 18, 2007. The meeting brought together President Zoellick and International Monetary Fund's Managing Director, Rodrigo de Rato with some 80 CSO representatives accredited to the Annual Meetings. The hour-long session was chaired by Emmanuel  Akwetey, Executive Director of the Institute for Democratic Governance in Ghana, and was followed by a reception. It provided an opportunity to discuss various issues of CSO interest. More

First Months in Office - July - September 2007

Zoellick imageOn July 2, 2007 Robert B. Zoellick became the Bank's 11th President. Already as a nominee to the World Bank post, Mr. Zoellick made trips to Sub-Saharan Africa, Europe, and Latin America, meeting with Bank's stakeholders, to listen and learn how the Bank can play a more effective role in promoting global development. Mr. Zoellick has also been having informal meetings with individual CSOs throughout his first two months in office. During his first official trip as World Bank Group President, he traveled to East Asia and held talks with CSOs in Cambodia and Vietnam. More

More Resources:
Office of the President
Dialogue with Civil Society

Last updated: 2011-07-18

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