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2008 Annual Meetings: Civil Society Survey

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Annual Meetings 2008 LogoThe World Bank and International Monetary Fund's Civil Society Teams surveyed civil society representatives who attended the 2008 Annual Meetings to ascertain their views on the Civil Society Policy Forum and other events.  Feedback was received via a 7-question questionnaire that was distributed during the meetings and via the web.  Responses were received from 50 individuals out of 350 participants who participated in the Meetings, which represents a 14% response rate – similar to previous years.
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Summary of Responses:


As the graph below shows, the majority of those surveyed stated the main reason for having attended the Annual Meetings (question #1) was to “learn about Bank/Fund policies” (76%), followed by “networking and sharing information” (70%). These two reasons came at the top of the 2008 Annual Meetings survey as well.   Within the “Other” category, several reasons were given for attending including “handing the youth petition” on managing Congo Basin forests to the World Bank ent.

 am 2008 cs survey: main reason for attending

The survey also recorded the views of participants regarding logistics, the various events organized, and the overall quality and usefulness of the Civil Society Policy Forum. Participants were asked to rate these experiences on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest.


On logistics (question # 2), the “accreditation process” received the high ratings with 87.7% rating it as being good and very good.   “Assistance from the Civil Society Team” came second with 77.1% high ratings (good and very good). “Convenience of civil society rooms”, and “access to Bank/Fund staff” ranked 3rd and 4th respectively.  

 am 2008 cs survey: logistics ratings

In terms of the events (question #3), respondents gave the highest marks to the “policy dialogue sessions” with 78% rating them as good and very good.   The “Program of Seminars” was rated high (good and very good) by 72% and the “Townhall” with Bank and Fund heads, received 62% high ratings.

 2008 am cs survey: events ratings

In terms of the overall views of the Policy Forum (question #4), 86% of respondents rated them high (good and very good) for “overall quality”,   85.7%  for “usefulness”, and 80% “relevance” to their work.

 am 2008 cs survey: overall views

Asked to point out what worked best (questions #5) at the Policy Forum, participants had varying opinions. A considerable number of responses appreciated the transparency and openness of the Forum, and thought that the “friendly” environment led to meaningful policy discussions. Participants also found the Forum useful for “clear and updated information,” especially the “data and program information provided by Bank staff.” Others found it “helpful to hear more directly about Bank policies and the thinking behind them.” Many also found the opportunity to interact with other CSOs particularly helpful.      


Respondents identified sessions that they thought were particularly useful. Those sessions were:

  • The Chad-Cameroon Pipeline Discussion
  • The Political Café
  • TownHall with Bank and Fund Managers
  • Youth Employment in MENA Discussion
  • Climate Change

Recommendations to improve the Forum (questions #6) covered suggestions on scheduling, session content, translation, and format of the sessions. Some respondents felt that there were too many sessions, and recommended reducing the number of topics and concentrating on a few critical topic areas. A respondent commented that the forum was highly concentrated on Africa and African countries, and could benefit from a broader view of the developing world. There was also a desire to see the quality of the Forum maintained in the future. Specific recommendations included:

  • More introductory seminars about the World Bank.
  • More interaction with government officials, and with the official Annual Meetings program.
  • Provide interpretation for Spanish and French (Arabic interpretation was offered).
  • Increase participation of CSO representatives from developing countries by providing funding for their attendance. (Editorial Note: the Bank/Fund did cover the costs of 26 CSO representatives from developing countries to participate)
  • Increase participation of more Bank staff by publicizing the CS Forum within the Bank.
  • Increase the time allocated for the Townhall with Bank/Fund Managers.
  • Ensure that CSO participants go away with the feeling that their interventions or opinions would be taken into consideration in future decisions of the authorities. Posting notes of the meetings could help demonstrate this.
  • Encourage more dialogue and fewer presentations in the sessions.
  • Make background documents available ahead of time to encourage more substantive dialogue.                                                  

Last updated: 2008-12-15

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