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World Bank Civil Society Engagement Newsletter - January 2008

MAIN STORIES:

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


1. World Bank President Meets With Leaders of US-Based International Development CSOs - Mr. Zoellick joined a group of over a dozen CSO leaders during the 2007 NGO Leaders Forum held in Greentreen Conference Center, New York, on December 3, 2007. He talked about the need to make globalization inclusive and sustainable, outlining the Bank's six strategic policy themes for the coming years. The CSO leaders discussed how CSOs could 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 the private sector in developing countries; and mechanisms for more effective engagement between the Bank and CSOs. An idea discussed was the establishment of “account representatives” to help CSOs to navigate and  access the institution. Another idea was exchange of visits between senior leadership teams at the Bank and selected CSOs.    More

2.   Environmental CSOs Meet with President Zoellick - 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.

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3.  Joint Statement by the African Development Bank and The World Bank on the situation in Kenya - The African Development Bank and the World Bank note with concern the troubling events in Kenya following the announcement of the results of the Presidential election on December 30, 2007, and their disproportionate impact on the poorest and most vulnerable Kenyans, especially women and children. The early estimates of the two organizations suggest that the current situation could drive 2 million Kenyans into poverty, reversing the gains made over the last few years. The impact on other countries in Eastern Africa from the fall out in Kenya, in particular the disruption of transit routes, is also high and will increase as the problems persist, say the two Banks. The two institutions will continue to monitor developments, keep their programs under review and make necessary adjustments as the situation evolves.  More 

4.  Global Environment Partners Provide Additional $20 Million to Protect Endangered Habitats - The World Bank and Conservation International (CI) on January 11 signed an agreement for $20 million in new funds, provided by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), to protect some of the world’s most unique and threatened areas, including island ecosystems and temperate forests. The funds will be made available as grants for projects undertaken by nongovernmental, community, and private sector organizations through the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), which is administered by CI. The money is pooled with contributions from CI and other global leaders in the partnership to create a biodiversity fund that unites expertise and resources to safeguard the hotspots. CEPF support to more than 1,200 CSOs has enabled these partners to help protect more than 24 million acres (10 million hectares) of the most important sites for conservation and to influence policies in dozens of countries.   More

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5.  Former Senior Executive at World Bank Group Appointed Chair of the International Save the Children Alliance - The International Save the Children Alliance, has appointed Peter Woicke Chair of its global Board. Mr Woicke has held senior posts in international business and development sectors and from 1999-2005 was a Managing Director of the World Bank and CEO of the International Finance Corporation (IFC). Mr Woicke will take up his position in May 2008 at the Annual Meeting of the 28 Save the Children organizations which make up the global Alliance. Since retiring from the World Bank, he has become involved with a number of different activities as a Non-Executive Director, including service on the Board of the World Youth Foundation. More

6.  Launch of the Demand For Good Governance Peer Learning Network - Worldwide there is increasing recognition that citizen involvement is critical for enhancing democratic governance, improving service delivery, and fostering empowerment. Practitioners from across development sectors and organizations have a wealth of experience supporting the demand for good governance (DFGG).  Focusing on citizens as the ultimate development stakeholders, these efforts strengthen the capacity of civil society, the media, parliament, local communities, and the private sector to hold authorities accountable for better development results. To harness this rich experience and increase opportunities for exchanging knowledge, innovations and good practices among the diverse actors engaged in this work, the Social Development Department of the World Bank has launched the DFGG Peer Learning Network.   More

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NEWS FROM THE WORLD BANK'S REGIONAL DEPARTMENTS

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Africa

Africa High on Japan’s Agenda in 2008 - World Bank Africa Region Vice President Obiageli Ezekwesili visited Tokyo where she spent two days talking to numerous stakeholders in government, civil society, business and the media, making a case for Africa. Japan will be the center of attention for the African development agenda in May 2008 as it hosts the fifth annual Tokyo International Conference on African Development, where over 40 African heads of state are expected. Later in the year, Japan will chair the G-8 Summit at the Lake Toya resort on the northern island of Hokkaido. Close collaboration between Japan, the Bank, the United Nations Development Program and other global donors will be critical to produce concrete outcomes for Africa.   More

World Bank Committed to Staying Engaged in Improving Management of Congolese Forest Sector - The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors met on January 10 to discuss the Inspection Panel Report and the Management response and Action Plan with regards to the ongoing forest sector reforms supported by the World Bank. The World Bank independent Inspection Panel (IP) said that it appreciates the WB’s efforts to tackle problems in the forest sector in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).  While pointing to a series of significant policy compliance failures in Bank-supported forest-sector reforms, the Panel noted the view of many stakeholders, including critics of the Bank’s actions, that the Bank should stay engaged in DRC forest work and strengthen efforts to address problems and correct policy shortcomings.    More

World Bank Board Endorses New Poverty Strategy for Guinea - The World Bank Board on January 8 endorsed the second Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) for Guinea. In response to the demands of Guinean civil society, the strategy puts special emphasis on the need for urgent reforms to increase transparency and strengthen governance particularly in the mining sector. The Board also recognized the urgent need to increase the population’s access to basic services, accelerate Guinea’s growth, diversify the country’s economy, and generate employment opportunities for the young and the poor.  More

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East Asia and the Pacific

Bank Launches New Assistance Strategy for Maldives - The Bank’s new Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) for the Republic of Maldives envisages lending around US$45 million in highly concessional funds from the International Development Association over the next five years to support the country’s development program. The CAS is designed to support the government’s Seventh National Development Plan which aims to improve the standard of living for all Maldivians and which serves as the country’s Poverty Reduction Strategy.  More

New Country Assistance Strategy for Papua New Guinea - The Bank’s Board approved on December 18 a new, four-year Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) for Papua New Guinea. The new Strategy, the overarching goal of which is to help reduce poverty, is envisaged as the first in a series of Bank strategies covering the next 15 to 20 years. The strategy is based on two main pillars: supporting the sound and transparent management of the country’s natural resources and resource revenues; and addressing the needs of the poor by creating economic opportunities and improving the delivery of basic services.   More

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Europe and Central Asia

World Bank Appoints New Country Director for the New European Union Member States and Croatia - Effective January 1, 2008, Ms. Orsalia Kalantzopoulos took up her new post as Country Director of a newly established Country Unit covering the following countries: Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia. Under Ms. Kalantzopoulos’ leadership this new Country Unit will support a mix of active middle income countries and those that have financially graduated and are emerging as donor countries. Among Ms. Kalantzopoulos’ main responsibilities will be to facilitate knowledge sharing, innovation and synergies across the World Bank’s programs for the new EU member states and Croatia, as well as to assist the World Bank’s partner countries achieve convergence with the EU and full integration with the global economy.    More

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Latin America and the Caribbean

Latin America and the Caribbean: Positive 2008 Outlook - Few days before the end of the year, the World Bank expected Latin America and the Caribbean’s economy to grow about 5.1 percent in 2007, up from a previous forecast of 4.8 percent, but sees growth coming down slightly in 2008 given the stabilization of commodity prices and the impact of the U.S. economic slowdown. While countries that export commodities have benefited from high prices, others, such as Central American countries, have been hit hard, as they are net importers of foods and energy, the Bank said.  World Bank Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean, during an end-of-year press briefing in Washington said that overall the Bank is going into 2008 very positive about the developments in Latin America and very positive about the role of the World Bank in the region.    More

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Middle East and North Africa

New World Bank Study on Poverty in Morocco - The aim of the study, launched in December 2007, was to understand what combination of individual, family, community and country-wide factors help people move out of and stay out of poverty. The study: "Moving out of poverty in Morocco", adopted the methodology used for the global comparative study of mobility in 15 countries: Moving out of Poverty: Understanding Freedom, Democracy and Growth from the Bottom Up. Fieldwork was carried out by a Moroccan research team. Those researchers used a combination of key informant interviews, focus group discussions with men, women and young people, and individual life stories. The study notices that poor households fare best in larger, urban and/or prosperous communities, that economic diversification is essential to mobility.  It also points out that foreign and domestic migration remains key to household mobility, and that education is central to finding a good job.  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 AND 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 and AIDS in the region. All proposals should be submitted on or before by 10 p.m. GMT on January 31, 2008. More

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NEW PUBLICATIONS FROM THE WORLD BANK

World Bank's Assistance for Rural Electrification Evaluated - Rural electrification has been claimed to have substantial benefits, promoting production and better health and education. Yet coverage rates remain very low across Africa and in some other countries around the world. The newly released Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) report finds empirical support for many of these links. It also demonstrates rates of return on rural electrification projects are sufficient to warrant the investment. Moreover, it shows that consumer willingness to pay for electricity is almost always at or above supply cost. Given these findings, the report argues that rural electrification is both an important goal and a feasible one. But the Bank has frequently neglected the poverty dimension failing to do all it can to ensure that the poor benefit from rural electrification. More

Report Sees Need for More Investment in Africa’s Healthcare - Based on the research in a new report, IFC (International Finance Corporation - part of the World Bank Group) estimates that over the next decade, $25-$30 billion in new investment will be needed to meet Africa’s health care demand. It finds that the private sector already delivers about half of Africa's health products and services, and calls for a close partnership between the public and private sectors, including improvements to regulatory oversight of private health care, and outlines ways that the private sector could be better engaged to improve its sustainability. Private providers, including for-profit and not-for-profit enterprises, also fill an important medical need by offering products and services that are not otherwise available. The report finds considerable demand for investment over the next decade with about half of the investments are expected to be made by for-profit entities, with the rest spread between social enterprises and nongovernmental organizations. Most opportunities will be in the small and medium enterprise sector.   More

Gender and Macroeconomic Policy - The book examines the reasons for and approaches to "engendering" macroeconomic theory and policy, beginning with a brief history of how gender came to become an analytical category in economics. Recognizing that globalization and macroeconomic policies, such as government spending, taxation, interest rates, exchange rates, subsidized micro finance, and privatization of public services, appear to have a differential impact on men and women, the book explores the collection and use of gender-disaggregated statistics for macroeconomic policy making.  More

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UPCOMING EVENTS

Africa Regional Seminar on Participatory Budgeting, March 10-13, Durban, South Africa - With the advance of democratization and decentralization reforms, Participatory Budgeting is rapidly gaining attention from governments, CSOs, and development agencies as an effective platform for strengthening transparency, voice, and accountability in public expenditure management, and service delivery. Since the early experimental initiatives in Brazil, the use of Participatory Budgeting has grown exponentially in many countries in Latin America, Europe, and Asia, and more recently, in Africa. This has created a growing demand for knowledge about how to develop and implement participatory budgeting in the African context. The World Bank is one of the supporters of the event which targets local, regional and national level practitioners, government officials, CSOs, academics and development agencies.  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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