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Civil Society Engagement eNewsletter - November 2008

MAIN STORIES

1)       Zoellick Calls on G-20 for Fast, Coordinated Response to Financial Crisis
2)       Impact of the Global Financial Crisis on Developing Countries
3)       Bank Commits $100 Billion in Support for Developing Countries
4)       President-elect Obama Urged to Provide Leadership for Africa's Development
5)       Bank Launches Book on Poverty by Senior Oxfam Researcher
6)       Bank Vice President Speaks at Launch of CSO Hunger Report
7)       World Development Report 2009: Reshaping Economic Geography
8)       Increase in World Bank’s Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Funding
9)       Energy Initiative to Benefit the Poor
10)     World Bank Partnership to Finance Green Projects
11)     World Bank Global Poll Finds Poverty Still Biggest Challenge to Development
12)     Consultations to Improve the World Bank Website

BANK JOBS / INTERNSHIPS
REGIONAL NEWS
WEBSITES/BLOGS
TRAINING
PUBLICATIONS



1) Zoellick Calls on G-20 for Fast, Coordinated Response to Financial Crisis
Leaders of the G-20 nations, representing 85 percent of the world economy, met in Washington to discuss cooperative action to address the world financial crisis and expressed their determination to work together to achieve needed reforms in the world's financial systems. In a post-summit statement, World Bank President Robert Zoellick said the summit of G-20 leaders had begun to lay a productive foundation of discussion, input, and agreement, but called for low-income countries to also be included in the discussions.  He welcomed the reaffirmation by the Heads of Government of the importance of the Millennium Development Goals and their commitment to honor their pledges of overseas aid.  More...

2)  Impact of the Global Financial Crisis on Developing Countries
The world economy has changed dramatically since September 2008. What began as a downturn in the US housing sector is now a global crisis, spreading to both rich and poor economies. Many believe that this may go down in history as the worst crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Developing countries—at first sheltered from the worst elements of the turmoil—are now much more vulnerable, with dwindling capital flows, huge withdrawals of capital leading to losses in equity markets, and skyrocketing interest rates. GDP growth in developing countries, recently expected to grow by more than 6 percent, is now likely to be only 4.5 percent, according to economists at the World Bank. More...

3) World Bank Commits $100 Billion in Support for Developing Countries
The World Bank announced that it would substantially increase financial support for developing countries, including the launch or expansion of four facilities for the crisis-hit private sector that is critical to employment, recovery, and growth. The Bank would make new commitments of up to US$100 billion over the next three years. This increase in financial support will protect the poorest and most vulnerable from harm, support countries facing big budget short-falls, and help sustain long-term investments upon which recovery and long-term development will depend. More...

4) President-elect Obama Urged to Provide Leadership for Africa's Development
The World Bank has urged the United States of America under President-elect Barack Obama to provide "bold leadership" in bringing about the combination of development assistance, investment, trade and other technical and partnership support needed by Africa to transform it from a continent still wrestling with poverty to one that is the next growth pole for the world. In an interview published Nov 13th by The Guardian (Nigeria), the Bank's Vice President for the Africa Region Obiageli Ezekwesili, described the election victory of Barack Obama as "an epic event", adding that it demonstrates that even what may seem impossible can be attained with a clearly articulated vision. More...

5) Bank Launches Book on Poverty by Senior Oxfam Researcher
On November 19, Infoshop hosted a launch of a book on global poverty by Duncan Green, Director of Research at Oxfam GB.   "From Poverty to Power: How Active Citizens and Effective States Can Change the World"  argues that ending the scourges of extreme poverty, inequality, and threatened environmental collapse is the "greatest global challenge of the twenty-first century", much like women's suffrage and racism marked the 20th century. The launch and book signing were held in the Preston Auditorium and attended by some 150 Banks staff, CSO representatives, researches, and students.  The session was chaired by Jeff Thindwa of the Global Civil Society Team and the book commented by Shantayanan Devarajan  (Africa Region Chief Economist) and John Sewell (Board Chair of New Rules Coalition and Senior Scholar of the Wilson Center. More... Duncan's Blog

6)  Bank Vice President Speaks at Launch of CSO Hunger Report
Joy Phumaphi, Vice President for the Human Development Network, participated in the launch of Bread of the World’s annual report on global hunger on November 4 in Washington. In its report, Bread for the World called on the new US Congress and President-elect Barack Obama to rework US foreign assistance to make it more effective in fighting global hunger and poverty. Joy talked about the growing impact of the financial and food crisis on the world's poor and the Bank's response to these dual threats.  She seconded Bread for the World's call for development assistance to be maintained during the financial downturn, noting that current development assistance levels are a "drop in the ocean" compared to the trillions of dollars that are now being spent on financial rescues in the developed world. Report

7)   World Development Report 2009: Reshaping Economic Geography
The just-released “World Development Report 2009: Reshaping Economic Geography” argues that the most effective policies for promoting long-term growth are those that facilitate geographic concentration and economic integration, both within and across countries. The WDR report challenges the assumption that economic activities must be spread geographically to benefit the world’s most poor and vulnerable. Indeed its message is that economic growth is seldom balanced, and efforts to spread it out prematurely will jeopardize progress and does little to fight poverty. For rapid, shared growth, governments must promote economic integration which is about the mobility of people, products, and ideas. More...

8)  Increase in World Bank’s Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Funding
The World Bank announced an 87 percent increase in funding for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects and programs in developing countries in the past fiscal year, with total commitments of nearly $2.7 billion. These investments made up 35 percent of total Bank Group energy commitments for the year (up from 13 percent per year on average in the early 1990’s) with 95 projects in 51 countries, as well as two cross-border projects. An example of the innovative projects being supported, is the Kureimat solar-thermal hybrid project in Egypt. World Bank Group’s private sector arm, IFC (International Finance Corporation) doubled its private sector investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency last year and MIGA is also working to help countries move onto a lower carbon path. More...

9)  Energy Initiative to Benefit the Poor
Donor nations are scheduled to meet in Paris at the end of Nov 2008 to discuss a new initiative to help developing countries provide relief to the poor as they deal with high and volatile energy prices. The Bank’s Energy, Transport, and Water Department has been leading the formulation of an “Energy for the Poor Initiative” since the government of Saudi Arabia convened an international energy conference, where the issue was discussed, in Jeddah last June. The initiative was given a boost at the Annual Meetings when the Development Committee, in its final communiqué “encouraged the Bank and its partners to move forward with a planned new program – Energy for the Poor – that would provide rapid support for countries’ efforts to strengthen social safety nets to protect the poor against the impact of high fuel bills.” More...

10)  World Bank Partnership to Finance Green Projects
The World Bank has announced a partnership with SEB Bank and several key Scandinavian institutional investors to introduce a “World Bank green bond” to raise funds for projects seeking to mitigate climate change or help affected people adapt to it. The bond issue is one example of the kind of innovation the Bank is trying to encourage within its “Strategic Framework for Development and Climate Change,” launched earlier this year to help stimulate and coordinate public- and private-sector activity in this area. The offering is the first time both the Bank and SEB have offered bonds to raise funds identified to a specific Bank program. More...

11)  World Bank Global Poll Finds Poverty Still Biggest Challenge to Development
Overcoming poverty remains both a top priority and the largest development challenge, according to a global poll of 2,500 opinion leaders in more than 42 developed and developing countries, commissioned by the World Bank. Growing and strengthening domestic economies ranked second and improving governance third. The poll, the only one of its size and breadth among multilateral organizations, is a tool for the World Bank Group to assess and improve its work on the ground. Conducted between March and June by The Gallup Organization, the 2008 World Bank Group Global Poll highlights the need to help overcome poverty, which has intensified as a result of the global financial crisis. More...

12)  Consultations to Improve the World Bank Website
The Bank is soliciting a wide variety of inputs to inform the future direction of its Website. The online consultation seeks comments from anyone who wishes to discuss their information needs and any difficulties they encounter with the site. The feedback received will directly impact the future design and functionality of the external site by informing Bank management on audience needs. We welcome your feedback through December 31, 2008. More...



JOB OPENINGS
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Junior Professional Officers Program
The JPO Program is a donor funded program that provides professionals from donor countries an opportunity to gain experience in an international organization. Candidates must be 32 years old or younger, with Masters Degree and a minimum of two years’ experience in a related field. Fluency in English is required. JPOs are hired for two or three years, assigned in Washington DC or a World Bank country office. JPO positions are advertised by individual donors on a yearly basis. World Bank hiring managers interview and make final selections. More...
For a full list of open positions and scholarships: http://www.worldbank.org/jobs



REGIONAL NEWS AND PROJECTS
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AFRICA

World Bank More Than Doubles Its Investment to Fight Malaria
The Bank last month announced a $1.1 billion expansion of its fight against malaria in Africa following the approval of the second phase of the Bank’s flagship program to eradicate the disease: the Booster Program for Malaria Control in Africa. Phase I of the program committed $470 million to 19 countries in three years. The latest WHO Global Malaria Report estimates up to 327 million cases of the disease in 2006, nearly one million of which were fatalities. The vast majority of those deaths were children in Sub-Saharan Africa, making malaria the biggest single killer of Africa's children. Malaria costs Africa an estimated $12 billion in lost GDP every year. More...

Helping Female Ex-combatants Regain their Livelihoods in DRC
Women are among the most vulnerable groups in post-conflict situations. This is true in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where female ex-combatants often find themselves heading households alone, raising children and having to provide food and shelter for their families. A new pilot project, financed by the Multi-country Demobilization and Reintegration program (MDRP), an initiative funded by the World Bank and 13 donors, specifically targets female ex-combatants and is assisting them in regaining a place in society. More...

Brazzaville Hosts First Sustainable Development Forum in Africa
Several heads of state, environment ministers, and environmental experts gathered in Brazzaville, Congo, to discuss the issue of sustainable development, assess the level of progress achieved so far, and address remaining challenges. The meeting, the sixth Global Forum on Sustainable Development, brought together key stakeholders from various countries as part of ongoing discussions around forming an alternative global framework on environmental policy to replace the controversial Kyoto Protocol. It was also the occasion for African states to revive the environmental action plan of the New Partnership for African Development with a shared view that encompasses the concerns of their various geographical constituencies. More...

EAST ASIA AND THE PACIFIC

World Bank Group Opens New Solomon Islands Office
The Bank’s Director for the Pacific Region, Nigel Roberts, and the Asian Development Bank's Regional Director of the Sydney Office, Eugene Zhukov, jointly opened the new premises of the World Bank Group, which will also host the ADB development coordinator. These premises symbolize the deepening working relationship by both banks with the Solomon Islands Government and with each other. In establishing their presence in Honiara, ADB and the Bank Group are reaffirming their commitment to assisting small states affected by conflict and fragility, in which a sustained local presence better enables the two banks to bring their varied international experience to bear, and thereby provide better support. More...

EUROPE AND CENTRAL ASIA

Avian Influenza Preparedness Project Gets Underway
Implementation of the Avian Influenza Preparedness Project started at a workshop in Sarajevo, attended by representatives of the state and entity governments, local health and veterinary experts, foreign donors and Bank officials. This US$7 project is aimed at minimizing the threat posed both to humans and domestic animals and poultry by the Avian Influenza or similar diseases, and to prepare for, respond to and control this or other pandemics. The project will include human and animal health protection and disease prevention and control, strengthening of health and veterinary services, disease surveillance, as well as enhancing public health program planning and coordination.  More...

LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN

Renewable Energy in the Rural Market Project
The World Bank Group approved US$50 million in additional financing to provide rural areas of the participating provinces with reliable electricity supply in a sustainable manner using renewable energy technologies, when feasible.  It will also support studies by the borrower of critical energy sector issues and assist in the development of sustainable business operations for rural energy in Argentina.  Finally, it will strengthen private sector participation in the provision of electricity in rural areas, and to strengthen the capacity of provincial governments to regulate private sector participation. More...

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

IFC Client Begins Facilitating Trade for Smaller Businesses
Egypt Factors, a trade finance company established with help from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), has begun operations to promote cross-border trade by the country’s smaller businesses, helping to improve access to finance in a time of global economic uncertainty. The company is the first in Egypt to provide export factoring services, which is often scarce in developing countries. Export factoring is an alternative form of finance for local exporters that face difficulty obtaining domestic bank finance. Egypt Factors provides such services as bad-debt protection, and financing of up to 90 percent of a client’s trade receivables.More...

SOUTH ASIA

Growth and Perception in Bangladesh
Since 1990s, Bangladesh's economic growth has been substantial and has made convincing economic and human development advances since its independence in 1971. In his book, “Transforming Bangladesh into a Middle Income Economy,” Sadiq Ahmed (Acting Chief Economist for the Bank's South Asia Region) argues that Bangladesh could join the ranks of middle-income countries within a decade or soon after. In order to sustain this high growth, however, Bangladesh needs to “diversify the economy and improve the environment for foreign direct investment.” He also pointed out that its impressive record of economic growth and social development has been achieved despite apparent weak governance. Bangladesh often ranks near the bottom in cross-country comparisons relating to governance. More...



WEBSITES / BLOGS
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Join the Conversation - Amid Global Crisis, Remittance Flows Slow Down
Dilip Ratha notes in the “People Move” blog that “After several years of strong growth, remittance flows to developing countries began to slow down in the third quarter of 2008. This slowdown is expected to deepen further in 2009 in response to the global financial crisis. Migration flows from developing countries may slow as a result of the global growth slowdown, but the stock of international migrants from developing countries is unlikely to decrease. More...

Website on the Financial Crisis and What the World Bank is Doing This new website compiles World Bank research related to the financial crisis and provides information on what the World Bank. Find out what the World Bank is doing to help developing countries with the financial rescue and human rescue. The financial crisis now threatens to shrink emerging markets' access to trade and investment, and each 1 percent drop in growth could trap another 20 million in poverty. Governments must keep their commitments to increase aid to the most vulnerable people. More...

Live Online Discussion on China Quarterly Update
With global growth prospects for 2009 weaker than they have been in a long time, China's economy is braced for a significant further slowdown, says the Bank's latest edition of the China Quarterly Update. Fortunately, China's domestic economy has several sources of strength, including still robust growth in several parts and strong macroeconomic fundamentals that provide room for policy stimulus to dampen the downturn. What does this all mean, for China and the rest of the world? Join authors David Dollar, Country Director, and Louis Kuijs, Senior Economist, for a live online discussion on December 1 at 8am EST, (13:00 GMT/UTC) and 9 p.m. in Beijing. More...

Microfinance and the Financial Crisis
Elizabeth Littlefield notes in the Crisis Talk blog that “In most financial crises – especially those of the 1990’s - Mexico, Asia, Russia - financial services for poor people have shown remarkable resilience to shock. In fact, the loan portfolios of microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Asia during the Asian crisis and in Latin America during various banking crises barely quivered while corporate portfolios collapsed. This is of course because these banking or currency crises had little relevance to subsistence-based economies in closed ecosystem markets. Our present crisis is like no other, and microfinance is far more connected now. It still has deeply shock resistant roots, but there will be impact - both on the institutions and the clients they serve. The medium and longer term effects of global recession are likely to be punishing to poor people.” More...



TRAINING
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SIT Graduate Policy Advocacy Course: Citizen Engagement for Good GovernanceWorld Learning's SIT Graduate Institute will offer a section of its   3-credit Policy Advocacy course in an intensive workshop and seminar format in Washington DC from Jan 19 - Feb 7, 2009.   Course participants will learn about global, national, and grassroots advocacy campaigns to promote effective policy-making and effective global, national, and local governance. The course methodology combines academic and operational analyses, program strategies, research tools, case studies, and participation in "live" advocacy campaigns.  It is intended for Master's students and international development career professionals. More...



PUBLICATIONS
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The Missing Link
A recent study released by the Bank has found that high expectations for a quick "peace dividend", a public that does not trust the state, and state-citizen relations severed by years of exclusion, are among the most challenging issues national governments, and the international community supporting them, encounter in planning and executing post-conflict recovery programs. The study “Fostering Positive Citizen-State Relations in Post-Conflict Environments” also found that while these issues needs to be at the very heart of post-conflict work, they are too often neglected by policy makers. More...

The Political Economy of the World Bank: The Early Years
This is a fascinating study of economic history and history of economic thought. It narrates the history of the World Bank and the establishment of its role as leading development institution. The end of WWII was a crucial time: the reconstruction of Europe and the birth of the "third world" following decolonization, with the Cold War as a background, created a new need for development interventions and policies. The lesson that can be drawn from this book is that the World Bank and the developing countries as they are today are the result of their history - a history of constant transformation and adjustment to the ever-changing challenges of development. History shows paths of development, and as such it should not be ignored by today's policymakers. More...


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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