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World Bank Civil Society Newsletter - August 2008

MAIN STORIES:

  1. CSO Accreditation for World Bank IMF Annual Meetings is Open

NEWS FROM THE WORLD BANK'S REGIONAL DEPARTMENTS
JOB OPENINGS
NEW PUBLICATIONS FROM THE WORLD BANK
* NEW WEBSITES, BLOGS AND PODCASTS


1. CSO Accreditation for World Bank IMF Annual Meetings is Open - The 2008 Annual Meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund will be held over the weekend of October 11 - 13 at the World Bank and IMF Headquarters in Washington, D.C. As in previous years, the Civil Society Policy Forum, a program of policy dialogues for Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) will be organized on October 9 – 13, 2008. CSOs planning to attend the events should apply for accreditation as soon as possible. Please visit our website where updates on accreditation, registration, and the policy forum will be posted, as they become available. More

2. Registration Opens for the 2008 Global Development Marketplace - Register now and save the dates of September 24-26, 2008 for the Washington event. You will meet with representatives from 100 finalist projects from 42 different countries and participate in a policy dialogue on agricultural innovation in response to the food price crisis. This year Development Marketplace finalists will vie for grants to implement new and creative ways of tackling some of today’s agricultural problems faced by the poor in developing countries … More

3. WHO and World Bank Join Forces for Better Results from Global Health Investments – The World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank have joined forces to address the pressing global debate around health systems and initiatives in specific aspects of health, nutrition, and population. In an effort to gather evidence and provide technical guidance, the WHO and the World Bank will collaborate with a wide range of interested stakeholders including country officials, academic and research institutions, and CSOs. The WHO-World Bank collaboration will examine and combine the strengths of different approaches around the world in order to get better results from investments and improve health outcomes for all... More
4. World Bank Group to Scale Up Infrastructure Investments Significantly – The World Bank Group is moving ahead with an action plan to significantly scale up infrastructure support to developing countries. The Sustainable Infrastructure Action Plan (SIAP), to be implemented over the next three years, will help countries improve the reach and quality of infrastructure investments through increased financial and analytical support. The SIAP foresees increased cooperative approaches among different institutions of the World Bank Group, such as World Bank and IFC (International Finance Corporation) and MIGA (Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency) on large and complex infrastructure projects, particularly energy sector projects in Africa... More

5. World Bank Board Approves Action Plan on West African Gas Pipeline Project - After the independent Inspection Panel investigation of the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP) project, the World Bank has approved an Action Plan to address issues identified by the Panel, including actions to improve management of resettlement and compensation, creation of an effective grievance mechanism, enhanced disclosure of information, and strengthened field based supervision. The Inspection Panel investigation was initiated following a request made by communities in Nigeria who contended that the Bank failed to comply with its policies and procedures on environmental assessment, project supervision, and involuntary resettlement... More

6. Funds Support Countries Hit Hardest by Food Crisis - The rapid rise in food prices has been a burden on the poor in developing countries, who spend roughly half of their household incomes on food. Soaring prices for staples such as rice, maize, and wheat have been compounded by rising prices at the gas pumps—leading to requests for emergency food aid in many countries around the world. In May 2008, the Bank approved a new US$1.2 billion rapid financing facility to address immediate needs arising from the food crisis. The Global Food Response Program aims to strike a balance between short-term food stabilization and measures to ensure that countries are able to cope better in the medium term… More

7. Reporting Fraud and Corruption - The Bank’s Integrity Department (INT) investigates allegations of fraud or corruption in Bank -financed operations, as well as allegations of staff misconduct within the Bank Group. Examples of issues which should be reported to INT for further review include: suspected contract irregularities and violations of the Bank's procurement guidelines; bid manipulation and bid collusion; fraud in contract performance and audit inquiry; product substitution; price manipulation; kickbacks, bribery or acceptance of gratuities; abuse of authority; travel-related fraud; theft and embezzlement; conflict of interest; and forgery... More

NEWS FROM THE WORLD BANK'S REGIONAL DEPARTMENTS

AFRICA

Program to Alleviate the Food Price Crisis in Sierra Leone
An additional US$4 million food price crisis response grant was approved by the Bank’s Executive Board of Directors, following swiftly on the heels of the US3 million dollars in budget support approved earlier this month to offset lost revenues resulting from the spike in food prices. The additional grant focuses on providing assistance to those households most vulnerable to the escalation. The measures supported by this grant, which will be administered under the auspices of the National Commission for Social Action are expected to have a significant positive impact on poverty reduction. The grant will be specifically used to support the implementation of an emergency cash-for-work program with the objective of providing temporary employment opportunities for those most susceptible to the crisis…
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Vegetable Gardening Improving Livelihoods in Malawi
Surrounded by water and faced with sandy soils, the people of Likoma and Chizumulu Islands in the northern part of Lake Malawi never thought they could grow vegetables and other crops. For years, they depended on produce and maize brought in from mainland Malawi and neighboring Mozambique. Since 2006, however, courtesy of the Bank’s Civil Society Fund Program (CSFP), about 80 percent of the 17,000 islanders have access to vegetables and fruits grown on the two islands. The program is being overseen by Lake Malawi Projects (Malawi) or LMPM. The group is leading the islanders in managing household gardens for balancing nutritional requirements while improving livelihoods…
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EAST ASIA AND THE PACIFIC

Using Involuntary Resettlement on Highway Projects to Alleviate Poverty
Resettlement can be a challenge in any transport project, particularly in China with its high population densities and limited available unused land. However, when a project’s resettlement activities are properly designed and have the full support of the client, it is possible to overcome the challenges and have a successful outcome for those affected by the project. This note highlights the factors which contributed to the successful resettlement activities under the Hubei Shiyan-Manchuangan Expressway (Shiman) project, with particular emphasis on how they contributed towards poverty alleviation for most affected persons. These practices can be applied in other projects to have similar successful resettlement outcomes…
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Nam Theun 2 Dam - Resettled Population Move into their New Homes
The relocation of 6,200 people in the Nakai Plateau is now complete. People are living in their new and improved households, with safe and reliable water supply, roads and electricity. This, according to the latest annual progress report from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank on the Nam Theun 2 (NT2) hydroelectric project. The reservoir is starting to form, following tunnel diversion closure in April and dam gate closure now imminent. The Nakai resettlers are working closely with the NT2 Power Company and the Lao Government to ensure they can maximize their new living opportunities and double their income in five years time as stipulated in the project’s Concession Agreement...
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EUROPE AND CENTRAL ASIA

Bank Provides Cash Transfers for Vulnerable Groups in Moldova
The Bank approved a grant of US$7 million in additional financing to help Moldova address the challenges of the ongoing food crisis. The additional financing to the Moldova Health Services and Social Assistance Project aims to improve nutrition among new and expecting mothers, infants and children and to provide cash transfers to social institutions which provide food to children, the elderly, and other vulnerable groups to compensate for food price increases during the upcoming 2008/2009 winter season. The focus of nutrition interventions would be on protein energy malnutrition caused by inadequate intake of quantity of calories and protein. The impact of the global food crisis on Moldova’s market and social conditions has to be put into the context of the catastrophic drought in 2007 and its consequences for food production in the country...
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Expanding Microfinance in Central Asia
Access to finance in Central Asia can be challenging. The region's geographic diversity makes it costly to do business or deliver basic services, particularly to people in remote areas. In 2005, less than 1 percent of people in the region had access to microcredit, compared to 2.7 percent in South Asia. To help, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) is partnering with local microfinance institutions to support micro, small, and medium enterprises, which form the backbone of local economies and are crucial to the region's development and economic growth. As part of its efforts, IFC has established the Central Asia Micro and Small Enterprises Facility, which is providing up to US$45 million to banks for on-lending to entrepreneurs and smaller businesses in the region...
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LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN

US$10 Million to Support Honduras in Addressing the Food Crisis
The Bank approved a US$10 million zero-interest loan to support the government of Honduras in addressing the food crisis. This credit complements the US$25 million approved three years ago to support the institutional development of Honduras’ financial sector and contribute to the country’s long-term economic growth and poverty reduction efforts. The First Programmatic Financial Sector Development Policy Credit was aimed at reducing the financial sector’s vulnerabilities and improving its institutional health and infrastructure. The commitment of the government of Honduras to address the food crisis is particularly important given the current challenges faced by the financial sector as a result of the crisis, since the high food prices impact the consumer loan portfolio and the country’s macroeconomic stability...
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MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Kuwait Contributes US$80m to Palestinian Trust Fund
Bank Managing Director Juan Jose Daboub signed an agreement with the Ambassador of Kuwait in Washington, H.E. Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al Jaber Al-Sabah, to transfer US$80 million to the Bank-administered multi-donor Trust Fund to support the ongoing Palestinian Reform and Development Program. The Kuwaiti contribution will allow total transfers from trust fund and from the linked World Bank Funds to reach US$275 million. These resources will help support the urgent budget needs of the Palestinian Authority, providing support for education, health care and other vital social services for the Palestinian people and for the economic reforms currently underway. The Trust Fund was established in April 2008, when an agreement was signed between the Bank and the Palestinian Authority during the 2008 Bank-IMF Spring Meetings in Washington...
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SOUTH ASIA

Funding for Secondary Education in Bangladesh
The government of Bangladesh signed a credit agreement worth US$130.7 million with the International Development Association (IDA) to improve the quality and performance of secondary education and to ensure greater accountability at school level. The Secondary Education Quality and Access Enhancement Project is built upon the success of its predecessor ‘Female Secondary School Assistance Project’ which is universally acknowledged as a pioneer in improving access for girls in secondary education. Female enrollment in the secondary level increased from 1.1 million in 1991, to 4.4 million in 2006 after the project began in 1993. Despite these achievements, completion rate at the secondary level is still low and many poor children, especially boys, are still left out of the secondary school system...
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A “Co-benefits” Approach to Improving Urban Air Quality
The recently completed Country Environmental Assessment conducted jointly by the government of Bangladesh and the Bank identified air pollution as the leading cause of mortality and morbidity in Bangladesh. It is estimated that if the exposure to urban air pollution were reduced by 20% to 80%, it would result in saving 1,200 to 3,500 lives annually and avoiding 80 to 230 million cases of disease. Bangladesh recognizes the need to address the problem of urban air pollution because of its wide ranging adverse impacts. Bangladesh has proposed that the Bank fund a new ‘Clean Air and Sustainable Environment (CASE)’ project in order to facilitate the adoption of sustainable environmental initiatives in the key polluting sectors (urban transport and brick making) with a focus on reducing air pollution and improving safe mobility...
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NEW PUBLICATIONS FROM THE WORLD BANK

Abolishing School Fees in Africa
This book by Bank education specialist argues that progress in literacy and learning, especially through universal primary education, has done more to advance human conditions than perhaps any other policy. The book which is subtitled “Lessons Learned in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya and Mozambique” says the current generation has the possibility of becoming the first generation ever to offer all children access to good quality basic education. “But it will only happen if we have the political commitment -- at the country as well as at the international level -- to give priority to achieve this first in human history. And it will only happen if also those who cannot afford to pay school fees can benefit from a complete cycle of good quality primary education.” The authors add that investment in good quality fee-free primary education should be a cornerstone in any government's poverty reduction strategy…
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JOB OPENINGS

Below is a sampling of job openings currently available at the World Bank’s job vacancies website. Click here to view the positions and apply.

Counselor U.S. Government Affairs
The Counselor for U.S. Government Affairs, will report to the Special Representative, North American Affairs, EXTNA. S/he will have a lead role in the Bank’s external affairs, strategy and outreach program among U.S. policymakers to build support for and impact the Bank’s mission long term. The successful candidate should have a proven track record in communicating complex issues, a clear understanding of the World Bank’s role in fighting poverty, a sharp analytical mind, excellent writing skills, well-developed advisory skills and excellent political judgment…
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Winter Student Internship Program 2008
Application Period for Winter Internship Program 2008 will begin September 1. The Internship Program is open to students who are nationals of the Bank's member countries and attracts a large number of highly qualified candidates. The goal of this Internship Program is to offer successful candidates an opportunity to improve their skills as well as the experience of working in an international environment. To be eligible for the Program, candidates must possess an undergraduate degree and already be enrolled in a full-time graduate study program, with plans to return to school in a full-time capacity. Generally, candidates have completed at least their first year of graduate studies...
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WEBSITES, BLOGS AND PODCASTS

The World Bank’s Communication for Governance & Accountability Program (CommGAP) recently launched a blog entitled “People, Spaces, Deliberation” to share ideas and stimulate discussion among a growing global community of practice about the role of the democratic public sphere in governance. CommGAP aims to promote good and accountable governance through the use of innovative communication approaches and techniques that strengthen the constitutive elements of the public sphere. The blog is therefore addressing issues such as accountability, governance, media development, anti-corruption, post conflict environments, and public opinion... More

New Beginning for Girl Child Laborers in Andhra Pradesh, India
As part of its poverty reduction efforts, the Bank has helped empower around 8 million poor rural households, particularly women, in Andhra Pradesh, India. Many of these women have identified child labor as a key area for collective action. Bank projects are helping Andhra Pradesh tackle the problem of child labor. On one hand, they help ensure that children do not need to work by supporting poor mothers to join Self Help Groups, save money, take loans to pay off old debts and start new livelihoods. On the other hand, they mobilize parents to send their children to school and assist in the construction and management of residential schools for these children...
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Alliance for Education in Mexico
Is better education one of the answers to stop the massive exodus from Latin America? Mexicans think so and they are trying to better the educational system in their country through an innovative public school strengthening program in Mexico launched by the government and teachers union. Listen to this podcast on the Alianza por la Calidad de la Educacion...
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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



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