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World Bank Civil Society Engagement Newsletter - Feb. 2008

MAIN STORIES:

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


1. Civil Society Accreditation for 2008 Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Opens - The 2008 Spring Meetings of the WB and the IMF will be held on April 12 and 13.  As in previous years, a program of policy dialogues for accredited CSOs will be organized by the WB and IMF Civil Society Teams in collaboration with interested CSOs.  These dialogues will be held within the Civil Society Policy Forum from Thursday, April 10 to Sunday, April 13.  Please note that all CSOs who wish to participate in these dialogues as well as in all open official Spring Meetings events over the weekend, will need to obtain accreditation.  The CSO accreditation system opened on February 19, and will close on Sunday, March 23.  As in previous years, the process is fully automated and on-line.  Details of the accreditation requirements as well as initial information on the planned Policy Dialogues for CSOs, are available on the World Bank’s Civil Society website:  www.worldbank.org/civilsociety. If you have any questions about the Spring Meetings, please send an email to: civilsociety@worldbank.org.

2.  Chief Economist and Senior Vice President for Development Economics at the World Bank Appointed - WB President announced on February 4 the appointment of Justin Lin as the new Chief Economist and Senior Vice President for Development Economics at the Bank. As our first Chief Economist from a developing country, and an expert on economic development and particularly agriculture, Justin Lin brings a unique set of skills and experience to the World Bank Group,” Mr Zoellick said. Lin, a Chinese national, and currently Professor and Founding Director of the China Centre for Economic Research at Peking University, was selected after a global search. He has a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago, an MA in political economy from Peking University and a MBA from the National Chengchi University. Well known for his work on fiscal decentralization, enterprise reform, urban and rural modernization, and agricultural innovation and reform, Mr. Lin has taught at several leading universities. He is expected to take up his position on May 31.    More

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3. World Bank Introduces New Measures to Strengthen Governance and Anti-Corruption - The World Bank Group will implement the recommendations of the Volcker Report to strengthen its Department of Institutional Integrity (INT), which investigates fraud and corruption. The recommendations include creation of an independent advisory board composed of international anticorruption experts to protect the independence and strengthen the accountability of INT. They also call for creation of a preventive services consulting unit to help Bank staff guard against fraud and corruption in Bank projects. The recommendations were made by an internal WB Working Group that reviewed a report on INT by a panel led by former US Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker. The Working Group broadly endorsed all recommendations of the Volcker panel. President stated his appreciation for the working group's work and backed the panel’s recommendations to strengthen INT including raising the head of the department to the rank of Vice President.    More

4.  World Bank President Meets Civil Society During His Visit to Africa - Robert B. Zoellick traveled to four African countries during his first major visit to Africa as President of the World Bank Group.  In Mauritania 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. In Liberia the President visited the Kakata township in Margibi County in order to attend a regional Poverty Reduction Strategy Stakeholders’ consultation with government officials, local leaders, and CSOs.  Deliberations were jointly led by the President of Liberia and Mr. Zoellick, and included ministers of state, UN officials, Bank’s county director, local government officials, community leaders, and women’s groups.  The issues of pro-poor growth and equitable distribution of resources were top on the agenda, as were efforts to increase broad-based political participation at all levels.  More

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5.  World Bank Grants for Innovations in Agriculture - The 2008 Global Development Marketplace competition will offer grants to social entrepreneurs with innovative ideas that have potential for high impact in promoting sustainable agriculture. The competition this year is focused on the theme of “Sustainable Agriculture for Development.” It is asking participants to focus on solutions to agricultural challenges in developing countries. Applications are accepted through March 21, 2008 and will undergo rigorous review. About 100 finalists will be announced in June and will be invited to World Bank headquarters in late September to vie for grants in person at the DM2008 Marketplace. The competition offers a unique opportunity to turn innovative ideas for sustainable agriculture in developing countries into reality. Projects selected could receive up to US$200,000 in grant funding for implementation over two years.  More

6.  Feedback Sought on Proposed Whistle-blowing Policy - The Bank is seeking feedback on its proposed new whistle-blowing policy aimed at providing a safe environment to staff for reporting and addressing allegations of misconduct. The current proposal is the result of extensive consultations including staff feedback, discussions with the Audit and Personnel Committees of the Bank Group's Board of Executive Directors, and consultations with outside experts and other international organizations. The proposed whistle-blowing policy aims to strengthen protections for staff who report suspected misconduct that may threaten the operations or governance of the Bank Group. Comments and suggestions may be submitted to this policy feedback line through Friday, February 22.  More

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7.  Launch of the International Essay Competition 2008 - For the fifth time, youth aged 18-25 from all countries around the world are invited to share their concrete ideas on development issues and win awards of 5,000 USD and 1,000 USD. Essay Competition 2008 is co-organized by the World Bank, Cities Alliance, and Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As in previous years, it is implemented in partnership with World Bank Public Information Centers, as well as external academic and civil society organizations working for and with youth. Last year, 2,240 youth from over 130 countries submitted essays on the subject of corruption and good governance. Essays can be submitted in English, French, Spanish, and, for the first time, in Arabic and Portuguese. The theme chosen for this year's competition is: "What Can You Do to Shape the City of Your Dreams?". Submissions are accepted until March 23.   More


NEWS FROM THE WORLD BANK'S REGIONAL DEPARTMENTS

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Africa

Horn of Africa States Unite Against HIV/AIDS - The first regional HIV/AIDS program in the Horn of Africa was launched in Kampala. The US$15-million, four-year Regional HIV/AIDS Partnership Program Support Project is expected to strengthen regional collaboration in addressing HIV/AIDS and address the impact of the epidemic among refugees, internally displaced persons, and cross-border and mobile populations in the seven member states. The project is financed by the Bank-administered Africa Catalytic Growth Fund and is the very first project to be approved and become effective under this new trust fund. The funds are intended to leverage additional resources from other partners, in order to ensure a sustainable program that addresses target groups often not addressed through national AIDS programs.     More

Fighting HIV/AIDS Pandemic in Swaziland: Call For Project Proposals From CSOs - The World Bank is partnering with the National Emergency Response Council on HIV/AIDS (NERCHA) to assist grassroots organizations in fighting the pandemic through the Human Development Civil Society Fund (previously the Small Grants program). NERCHA and the Bank have issued a Call for Proposals that will reach deep into the country’s four provinces at the community level. NERCHA will implement the program with the WB, while the government, other development partners, and the country’s umbrella NGO organization will join an independent assessment panel, which will chose the funding recipients. Grants totaling at least $20,000 will be awarded. To compete in the CS Fund Competition organizations must meet eligibility criteria and submit a Proposal Outline no later than February 22nd, 2008.     Call for proposals    More

Poverty Reduction Support Credits (PRSC II) for Mali and Mozambique- The US$ 42 million credit to support implementation of Mali's Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (GPRSP) was approved by the WB Board on February 5.  It focuses on maintaining a stable macroeconomic framework, improving the overall management of public expenditure, and expanding access to basic social services, with a view to achieving the MDGs.  More   The Fourth Poverty Reduction Support Credit (PRSC4) for Mozambique, in the amount of US$60 million was approved by the WB Board on January 29.  It is part of a series of annual budget support operations approved by the World Bank for Mozambique, aimed at supporting the Government’s implementation of key policy actions outlined in its Second Action Plan for the Reduction of Absolute Poverty (known as PARPA II by its Portuguese acronym).  More

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East Asia and the Pacific

Demand-Side Governance Pushes Reform in Cambodia - The WB's first large-scale program dedicated to building CSO capacity to tackle governance has been launched in Cambodia with the support of a $2 million grant from the LICUS Trust Fund.  The Program to Enhance Capacity in Social Accountability (PECSA) is a 2-year initiative that will provide training, mentoring, networking and other support designed to bring to Cambodia some of the world’s most effective civil society practices to combat corruption and promote good governance. PECSA will also provide grants to national and local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), other grassroots organizations, policy and research centers, professional associations, trade unions, and independent media, for piloting social accountability programs so that those who have been trained or mentored can put into practice what they have learned.      More

China's Quarterly Update - According to the latest Bank-published China Quarterly Update, China's economic growth has begun to inch down from its record rates earlier in 2007, while food prices are lifting inflation. The update finds that the global outlook has weakened and is uncertain, but concludes that China is likely to grow robustly in 2008 and is well-positioned to stimulate demand if needed. The report also includes an explanation of how the recently released improved estimates of China's GDP affect our understanding of country economies and of poverty rates.     More

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Europe and Central Asia

Call for Applications: Small Grants For Civil Society Organizations - A number of countries in the Europe and Central Asia region have launched in January their small grant programs for interested CSOs.  WB country offices in  Albania Kyrgyz Republic Tajikistan and Turkey are the first ones to launch their grants programs for 2008.  All local CSOs with proven development experience are invited to submit proposals for the national competitions.  Interested organizations should contact WB country offices in these countries where they will be able to obtain information about specific program requirements and deadlines. 

EU8+2 Regular Economic Report January 2008 - The latest edition of the Bank regular economic report on the latest 10 members to join the European Union, (known as the EU8+2 Regular Economic Report) shows that disturbances originating in the US sub-prime mortgage market have widened to affect other markets, but the fundamentals for the EU8+2 are largely unchanged although the level of uncertainty has risen. A prolonged period of lower appetite for risk is likely along with continuing volatility, adding that this will be challenging period for the EU8+2. The report says the economic outlook for the EU8+2 in 2008 and 2009 is generally positive.  More

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Latin America and the Caribbean

Partnership for High Quality Educational Television - More than 834 teachers and about 11,749 students in 21 middle and secondary schools will benefit in Puerto Rico alone with “Escuela+”.  This educational program aims to bring high quality educational television to schools in the region, and was created through a partnership between WB, DIRECTV, Discovery Networks, and Microsoft Corporation. The pilot of this program, launched in Puerto Rico is expected to roll-out in Chile, Colombia and several other Latin American countries. Escuela+ will take advantage of existing satellite television capacity and leverage the wealth of educational material already available in Spanish. DIRECTV will provide Digital Video Recorders allowing teachers to download and store up to 100 hours of programming.   More

Farmers and Indigenous Communities in Paraguay Benefit From World Bank Loan - The WB approved on January 29 a US$37.58 million loan to support the Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development project in Paraguay. The project aims to improve the quality of life of small-scale farmers and indigenous communities in the departments of San Pedro and Caaguazú, in the eastern region of the country. The initiative is geared specifically: to increasing agricultural productivity as well as supporting community organization and self-governance; improve natural resources management; and enhance the socio-economic conditions of the rural population.   More

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Middle East and North Africa

World Bank Report Calls for Education Reforms in the Region - A WB report launched on February 4 in Amman, Jordan, says that countries in the MENA region need to overhaul their education systems to meet the demands of an increasingly competitive world and realize the potential of their large and growing youth population. The report, “The Road Not Traveled: Education Reform in the Middle East and North Africa,” is a comprehensive economic analysis of the impact of education investments on the region, as well as demographic changes, globalization, labor migration, and the role of the labor market. It stresses that policy-makers should use incentives, public accountability, curriculum, and labor market reforms to make the region’s economies more dynamic.   More

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South Asia

Two Grants to Improve Basic Education in Afganistan - On January 31 the WB Board approved two grants totaling US$50 million to increase equitable access to quality basic education, especially for girls, and provide vocational education and training opportunities. The Second Education Quality Improvement Program (US$30 million) will provide teacher training and grants directly to communities to be used for the rehabilitation of school buildings and improving the quality of teaching and learning materials.  The Afghanistan Skills Development Project (US$20 million) is designed to increase the number of skilled Afghans and create a high-quality technical vocational education and training system.   More

World Bank Launches New Assistance Strategy for Maldives - The new World Bank Group Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) for the Republic of Maldives, approved by the WB Board on January 8, envisages lending around US$45 million in highly concessional funds from the International Development Association (IDA) over the next five years to support the country’s development program. The strategy was prepared jointly by the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC). The Bank’s IDA financing will focus on results established by previous operations, for example, in the areas of human development and environmental management, as well as some new areas that include environmental management, mobile phone banking, and a new pensions system.   More

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NEW PUBLICATIONS FROM THE WORLD BANK

The World Bank's Commitment to HIV/AIDS in Africa: Our Agenda for Action, 2007-2011 - The report reaffirms WB's commitment to combating HIV/AIDS in Africa, moving from its initial emergency response to the next phase, including the goal to provide at least US $250 million annually and to create an Africa HIV/AIDS Incentive Fund to: enhance evidenced-based results monitering, promote a multisectoral response, and provide technical support, analysis and policy advice to countries. It will be available in March but can already be pre-ordered.  More

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NEW WORLD BANK WEBSITES

World Bank President's Interactions with CSOs - A new page within the WB website for CSOs has been created documenting meetings of the WB President with CSOs.  The page provides short summaries as well as photos of some of the major discussions the President has held with civil society representatives.  Already as a nominee to the World Bank post, Mr. Zoellick held numerous discussions with Bank's stakeholders around the world, including with CSOs.  He has been having formal and informal meetings with individual CSOs throughout his first months in office and during his many travels.  He held a video dialogue with CSOs in seven countries in the run up to the 2007 Annual Meetings, and met with CSOs at the Meetings. During his recent visits to Asia and Africa he held meetings with CSO representatives.  More

Country Systems Consultations: Summary of Feedback - Consultation meetings were held with multiple constituencies, including CSOs, recently as the WB moves forward in defining a methodology for piloting the use of country systems for procurement within its operations.   Summaries of over 30 meetings held during the process have been posted on the web along with the presentations made by the WB team.  Individual comments submitted by various organizations such as Transparency International have also been posted.  The website also lists questions received online and responses by the WB.   More

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UPCOMING GLOBAL EVENTS/DISCUSSIONS

Annual Bank Conference on Development Economics (ABCDE) Cape Town, June 9-11, 2008 - In 2008, the ABCDE conference will take place in Cape Town, South Africa, under the overarching theme of growth. The global and regional ABCDE will be combined in one event for the first time. The conference will offer a unique comparative perspective between Africa and South Asia and will address various aspects of growth and development.  The agenda will comprise a mix of roundtable discussions, interactive workshops, and keynote speeches. Participants from developing countries are eligible for funding for travel-related expenses under the ABCDE Support Grant.   Deadline for submitting applications for funding is March 31.  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 our online registration form:  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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