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Civil Society Engagement eNewsletter - December 2008

MAIN STORIES

1)     CSOs Express Views on Usefulness of the Annual Meetings
2)     2008 Global Accountability Report Gives IFC High Marks for Transparency
3)     World Bank Hosts Global Reporting Initiative Meeting
4)     Daniel Kaufmann’s Farewell Lecture on Governance
5)     Global Financial Slump Impacts Developing Countries: Global Economic Prospects
6)     Bank Launches $2 billion Fast Track Facility for Poorest Countries
7)     Bank Unveils Governance and Anti-Corruption Facility
8)     Bank Rolls Out Facility to Prevent Debt Problems
9)     Remittances Might Rescue Developing Countries from Crisis
10)   GenderStats -- A Resource for Data on Gender and Women
11)   Consultations to Improve the World Bank Website
12)   Development Marketplace 2009: Climate Change Adaptation

JOBS / SCHOLARSHIPS
REGIONS
WEBSITES / BLOGS
PUBLICATIONS


1) CSOs Express Views on Usefulness of the Annual Meetings
The 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.  The majority of those surveyed stated that their main reason for having attended the Annual Meetings was to learn about Bank/Fund policies and to network. In terms of the events organized, respondents gave highest marks to the policy dialogue sessions followed by the Program of Seminars. Participants also thought that the transparency, openness, and friendly tone of the Civil Society Policy Forum led to meaningful policy discussions, and found it “helpful to hear more directly about Bank policies and the thinking behind them.” Recommendations to improve the Forum included suggestions on scheduling, translation, and format of the sessions. Other suggestions included requests to increase the time allocated for the Townhall with Bank/Fund Managers, and to expand the Forum to include youth voices. More...

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2)  2008 Global Accountability Report Gives IFC High Marks for Transparency
OneWorld Trust just released its 2008 Global Accountability Report, which compares the accountability policies of 30 international organizations, NGOs, and multilateral companies.  The Report covers four key dimensions of accountability: transparency, participation, evaluation, and complaints. On the overall accountability report score, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) tied for third place with UNICEF and Plan International, with a score of 69%. IFC is the only international organization assessed which scored above 70 percent in 3 of the 4 dimensions of accountability. IFC also received first place for 'transparency' (shared with European Investment Bank), with a score of 76 percent. The IFC’s projects information portal was cited as an example of a good transparency practice. On the other hand, IFC scored low on 'participation' in large part due to unequal levels of country shares on the World Bank Group's Board. More...

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3) World Bank Hosts Global Reporting Initiative Meeting
On December 8 – 9, the World Bank hosted the fourth meeting of the Global Reporting Initiative’s Working Group on developing sustainability indicators for the civil society sector. The Working Group consists of 20 representatives from leading NGOs, companies, World Bank, as well as experts in the field of sustainability.  GRI held a Stakeholder Consultation Meeting on Wednesday, December 10 which had the participation of NGO/CSO representatives, donor agency officials, and Bank staff. The purpose of the meeting was to explain the drafting process and obtain feedback on the indicator drafting work carried out so far. More...
The World Bank has also published its latest GRI Report which can be found here.

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4) Daniel Kaufmann’s Farewell Lecture on Governance
On Dec. 9, International Anti-Corruption Day, the World Bank Institute held a farewell lecture by Daniel Kaufmann, the outgoing Director of Global Programs at the World Bank Institute. Kaufmann was involved in the development of the Worldwide Governance Indicators, the Governance and Corruption Diagnostic Surveys, and other innovative operational research. He sketched his early experience which taught him about the various manifestations and costs of corruption and poor governance, and made clear to him that development was not only about technocratic economic issues. Faced with a narrow interpretation of the Bank mandate which considered corruption an internal political issue, outside the scope of development, he focused on producing new type of surveys, data and analysis for reformers in the country, which resulted in the Worldwide Governance Indicators, which eventually became a fully disclosed external Bank product. More...

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5) Global Financial Slump Impacts Developing Countries
The Bank finds that the world financial crisis has dimmed short-term prospects for developing countries. In its Global Economic Prospects 2009, the Bank projects that world GDP growth will be 2.5 percent in 2008 and 0.9 percent for 2009. Developing countries will likely grow by 4.5 percent next year, down from 7.9 percent in 2007, while growth in high-income countries will turn negative. With world trade volumes projected to contract 2.1 percent in 2009, developing countries will see a big drop in their exports. The message is that both developed and developing countries need to resist the temptation to resort to protectionism, or to cut social spending. Looking forward to the longer term term, and despite concerns that recent price spikes might signal future supply shortages, the report finds that supply should more than meet demand over the next 20 years. More...

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6) Bank Launches $2 billion Fast Track Facility for Poorest Countries
The Bank has launched a new facility to fast track an initial $2bn of the $42 bn of IDA15 resources for poor countries hardest hit by the global financial meltdown. The new IDA Facility will finance expenditures needed to maintain economic stability and sustain growth, address volatility, and protect the poor. Operational responses will include funding budget expenditures in infrastructure services, education, and health and social safety nets. The facility builds on the Food Crisis Facility created earlier this year to support countries hit hard by the food crisis. The Bank will be undertaking early assessments to determine what countries need are, and help anticipate, pre-empt, and manage the crisis.  It is also hoped that the facility can help leverage additional resources from other development partners to address the crisis. More...

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7) Bank Unveils Governance and Anti-Corruption Facility
The Bank launched a Governance Partnership Facility (GPF) to help developing countries strengthen governance programs and further the fight against corruption. The US$65 million Facility, launched in the lead up to Anti-Corruption Day on December 9th, is a four-year initiative funded by the UK, Netherlands, Norwegian governments, with the Bank providing matching funding. The GPF also complements the Bank’s efforts in the area of good governance and provides additional resources with which country teams can ramp up their efforts to help governments improve their internal accountability and provide better services to their citizens. More...

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8) Bank Rolls Out Facility to Prevent Debt Problems
The Bank launched the Debt Management Facility to help developing countries prevent future debt problems. The Bank also called on donor countries to meet their debt relief commitments. Thanks to the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative and the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI) supported by the Bank and other creditors, the decrease in debt service for the 34 countries which reached the decision point under the HIPC Initiative, has been accompanied by a marked increase in their poverty reduction spending. Likewise, as a result of overall debt relief, the external debt stock of the 34 post-decision-point HIPCs is expected to be reduced more than 90 percent. According to the Bank, debt sustainability for low income countries depends on achieving sustainable growth through export diversification, sound borrowing policies, and a strong   capacity to manage their public debt as they go forward. More...

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9) Remittances Might Rescue Developing Countries from Crisis
Bank officials say that, as developing countries face severe fall-offs in financing and investment amid the global financial crisis, remittances are increasingly being viewed as an important source of finance for development. The Bank’s Migration and Remittances Team argues that remittances will prove more resilient than capital flows or perhaps even official aid between now and 2010. This year, some 200 million migrants around the world will likely send home US$283 billion, up from US$265 billion in 2007, according to a new Bank brief on migration and remittances. While remittances are expected to fall by 0.9 percent in 2009, they will still dwarf official development aid, which averages US$100 billion a year. More...

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10) GenderStats - A Resource for Data on Gender and Women
This new user-friendly online database provides easy access to up-to-date gender-disaggregated statistics on population, health, education, employment, political participation, programs, and policies for many countries. The database allows users to create their own tables (by country and indicator), facilitates comparisons among countries, includes a module on gender monitoring on MDGs and also links to the World Bank’s regional gender resources. The new GenderStats website is part of theWorld Bank’s efforts to promote gender equality, and was developed and refurbished jointly by the Gender Team at the Bank’s Poverty Reduction and Economic Management network and the Data Group of Development Economics Vice-Presidency. More...

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11) 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. More...

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12)  Development Marketplace 2009: Climate Change Adaptation
Next year’s Development Marketplace global competition aims to stimulate innovative technologies and approaches on climate change adaptation. The World Bank and its partners will bring the 100 most promising innovators to Washington DC in November 2009 to compete for 20-30 grants and participate in a series of knowledge sharing sessions. The call for proposals will open for submissions in late January 2009. Stay tuned and check the Development Marketplace website for more information including eligibility requirements, selection criteria and maximum grant size. More... DM Blog

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JOBS / SCHOLARSHIPS
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Graduate Scholarships for Mid-Career Professionals from Developing Countries
The government of Japan and the World Bank are offering scholarships to mid career professionals from developing countries. This program offers three study scholarships for master’s level work in disciplines related to development at 36 universities. The opportunities are for mid-career professionals, from government/public service, private sector and civil society. Selected candidates are expected to return to their home countries on completion of the programs. For more information on the scholarships being offered, eligibility criteria, how to apply, please visit the scholarships websiteApply Online

Economist/Monitoring & Evaluation Specialist
The Social Protection unit of the Human Development Network (HDNSP) is recruiting an Economist/M&E Specialist with strong microeconomic and data skills, particularly as they apply to social protection, as well as practical experience with monitoring and evaluation of projects and sectoral results monitoring systems.  The successful candidate will have a proven track record of producing high quality analytical work and in translating the results of this work into viable policy advice and lending. More...

IFC Summer Internship Program
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) hires summer interns each year for a minimum period of four weeks to work on discrete projects in Washington, DC or in one of IFC’s country or regional offices. IFC’s summer internships are paid positions. The program is very competitive, attracting about 900 applications each year, from which 30-40 candidates are selected. Following a thorough evaluation process at the conclusion of the internship, a select set of summer interns are invited to interview for the Global Transaction Team Program and other full-time opportunities. Summer Interns are assigned to an industry, regional or service department within IFC. Assignments cover various areas of work, such as sector-specific business development, investment proposal review, financial modeling and analysis, advisory services strategy, and ex-post investment project evaluation. The assignment depends on the needs of the department and the particular fit for the candidate. More...
For a full list of open positions and scholarships: http://www.worldbank.org/jobs

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REGIONS
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AFRICA

World Bank Report Highlights African Youth Employment Issues
The World Bank has called on African countries to adopt a range of actions to help deal with the youth employment challenge it is facing. According to the Bank’s recently released African Development Indicators (ADI) 2008/09, a job-seeking African youth—typically a poor, out–of–school female living in a rural area—will likely face increasingly greater challenges in securing employment on the continent. Arguing for a multi-sectoral approach, the report, titled “Youth and Employment in Africa—The Potential, the Problem, the Promise”—suggests several key areas to begin tackling the employment issue, including expanding job and education alternatives in the rural areas; encouraging and supporting entrepreneurship; improving the access and quality of skills formation; and addressing demographic issues. More...

Togo Qualifies for the Enhanced HIPC Debt Relief Initiative
The Bank's International Development Association (IDA) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have determined that Togo qualifies for debt relief under the enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative, enabling it to reach the decision point under the Initiative. Togo will receive interim debt relief from certain creditors, but in order to qualify for irrevocable debt relief at the completion point, Togo will be implementing a broad set of reforms. In particular, Togo is expected to prepare its full Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper and satisfactorily implement it for at least one year, and maintain macroeconomic stability as evidenced by satisfactory performance under the economic program supported by an arrangement under the IMF's Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility. More...

Revolutionizing Nigerian Agriculture through Commercial Development
For many years, agriculture in Nigeria has been characterized by subsistence farming, “cutlass and hoe agriculture” according to some experts. Realizing the futility of relying on subsistence agriculture to address the current food crisis, however, and in an attempt to lure investors to this sector, the Nigerian Government has asked the Bank for assistance in raising the level of farming to commercial standards. The government hopes the program will attract university graduates to the sector by showing it as a profitable venture. The Bank has responded with the proposed US$150 million Commercial Agriculture Development Project to be piloted in five states. The project will be presented to the Bank’s Board of Executive Directors on January 15. More...

EAST ASIA AND THE PACIFIC

New Report Gives South Pacific Youth a Voice
Young people across the Pacific have been given the opportunity to voice their opinions and concerns on social, cultural and political issues in a new report commissioned by the World Bank. The very real prospect of being marginalized by their community ranks at the top of a list of fears many youth across the region are experiencing. The report titled “Giving South Pacific Youth a Voice” surveyed young people throughout six Pacific nations to gain an understanding of the changes they themselves wanted to see in their communities in order to make some practical recommendations to help implement these changes. More...

Demand for Good Governance (DFGG) Project for Cambodia Approved – US$20 million to enhance the demand for good governance in priority reform areas by strengthening institutions, supporting partnerships, and sharing lessons. The state and non-state institutions and partnerships supported will be those that promote, mediate, respond to, or monitor DFGG. The project will finance the following three components: Support to State Institutions; Support to Non-state Institutions; and Coordination and Learning. More... 

EUROPE AND CENTRAL ASIA

Poland and Bank in MOU for Green Investment Scheme
The Polish government and the Bank expanded their collaboration in climate change mitigation by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to enable a Green Investment Scheme (GIS) transaction for 10 million Assigned Amount Units (AAUs). AAUs are emission credits that can be traded under Article 17 of the Kyoto Protocol. Under the GIS, the revenues from the sale of AAUs will be invested in activities leading to greenhouse gas emissions reductions and other benefits. Poland is finalizing the design and legal framework of the GIS. Poland has a surplus of AAUs as greenhouse gas emissions have decreased since early 1990’s which is estimated up to 500 million AAUs, depending on assumptions of economic growth. More...

Expanding Access to Finance for Smaller Enterprises and Agribusiness in Romania
The International Finance Corporation (IFC), announced it will provide a local-currency loan equivalent to up to €10 million to ATE Bank Romania S.A., enabling the bank to extend loans to micro, small, and medium enterprises, with a particular focus on the country’s agribusiness sector. The global liquidity crisis has hindered access to finance for many MSMEs around the world. IFC’s seven-year senior loan is designed to provide local currency term funding to ATE for on-lending to MSMEs and agribusiness sectors in Romania. The bank expects to provide more than $400 million to MSME clients through 8,000 loans, and more than $70 million to agribusiness clients through 680 loans, by the end of 2013. More...

LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN

Latin American Solutions to the Climate and Financial Crises
A new World Bank study concludes that the experience of Latin America offers innovative solutions to avert a climate crisis. The report says that while the region is suffering the impact of climate change, it is not a main source of emissions, thanks to its clean energy matrix and its innovative policies to promote low carbon growth. According to the report, Latin America, the most biodiverse region in the world, and is in a unique position to lead middle income countries to be part of the global solution needed to move the world towards a low carbon path. The region has piloted new technologies and approaches to reduce emissions, and if it moves ‘ahead of the pack,’ it could take advantage of international cost-sharing mechanisms for deploying low-carbon technologies and build new comparative advantages,” says Pablo Fajnzylber, one of the authors of the report. More...

Contest with Focus on ‘Boys at Risk’ in the Caribbean
The Bank and the Commonwealth Secretariat launched a regional contest to identify, recognize and promote initiatives that have demonstrated success in engaging youth-at-risk in the Caribbean. Any national or regional stakeholder in any Bank / Commonwealth Caribbean member country can submit application(s) for one or more projects or initiatives that are currently ongoing or finalized after the year 2000. Governmental ministries and offices, schools, universities, projects, NGOs and stakeholders from the private sector can participate. Electronic application forms are available at www.worldbank.org/lacgender and must be submitted to youthcaribbean@worldbank.org by January 20, 2009. More...

SOUTH ASIA

Can South Asia Achieve both High and Inclusive Growth?
During the 1990s, South Asia’s economies grew rapidly at an average of 6 percent annually. This accelerated to 6.5 percent during 2000-2007, with India approaching near double-digit growth. In comparison, from 1960 to 1980, South Asia grew at only 3.7 percent per year. South Asia’s prospects changed in the 1980s as it adopted pro-growth policies. It opened up markets to international competition, replaced the public sector with the private sector as the engine of growth, and improved macroeconomic management. The results were impressive but while there is much to celebrate, growth has been accompanied by rising inequality. More...

Raising Standards in Bangladesh's Garments Industry
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) was recently honored by the Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association for helping improve labor conditions for more than 2.4 million people who work in the country's garments industry. For five years, IFC has worked with the association to implement audits of fire drills, worker safety, and child-labor monitoring in Bangladesh's ready-made garments sector, where most workers are women. So far 1,240 factories have been audited and by the end of the year, all remaining factories will be covered. IFC also designed and implemented at several factories the Productivity Improvement Program, which addressed the need for local service providers who can help garment factories become more efficient and competitive. More...

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Bank-Parliamentary Partnership Breaks Reform Taboos
The Bank has launched a series of technical seminars with the Parliament of Lebanon in a partnership that seeks to provide legislators with the most up-to-date economic and sector analyses as well as global best practices in areas targeted for reform under the country’s economic development program. The first workshop was organized with Parliament’s Committee for Public Works, Energy and Water and it focused on electricity, a sector that is draining the budget with subsidies in excess of US$1 billion and providing citizens with unreliable and poor quality supplies that have to be supplemented with costly private generation. More...

Doing Business in the Arab World 2009
Doing business is becoming easier in most parts of the Arab world, according to a new IFC- Bank report that examines the business regulatory environment of 20 Arab economies. Doing Business in the Arab World 2009 compares the ease of operating a private business, benchmarks regulations, and identifies reforms and global good practices. It finds that over the past five years, the most popular reform in the Arab World has been in business start-ups. Getting credit information was the second-most-popular reform, followed by improvement in trade across borders. More...

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WEBSITES / BLOGS
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Industry Speaks on the Financial Crisis

Paulina Ibarra reports that CGAP’s Virtual Conference on the Financial Crisis welcomed over 600 multilateral financial institutions (MFI) managers, central bankers, investors and advisers from 34 countries. The hundreds of entries submitted provided a vivid and powerful report on how the financial crisis is impacting microfinance institutions and their poor clients. MFI managers from Mongolia, India, Rwanda, Mali and Pakistan reported on clients hurt by inflation and early signals of economic downturn: job losses in the US and Europe have already meant fewer remittances from relatives abroad. More...

Impact of Crisis on Africa’s Financial Sector
Writing in the Crisis Talk blog, Samuel Munzele Maimbo paints a dire picture for Africa's financial sector: "As the immediate crisis faced in the last couple of months subsides, and policymakers begin to consider the longer term impact of the crisis in Africa, an emerging view is that the impact on the financial sector in Africa may actually be more significant and longer lasting than first assumed, and the impact on the non-financial sector in Africa will be more notable than has been the case in developed countries." More...

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PUBLICATIONS
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Protecting the Poor and Economic Growth amid the Crisis
This new Bank report says protecting the poor and the vulnerable while at the same time removing constraints to economic growth and productivity will be a priority to overcome the financial crisis and resume sustained growth. According to the “Weathering the Storm: Economic Policy Responses to the Financial Crisis”, interventions such as the conditional cash-transfer programs in Mexico and Brazil, are cost-effective and can cost less than one percent of GDP. For many developing countries, spending on targeted safety nets is a smart investment since the effects of malnutrition in children last a lifetime. The global economy is forecast to grow by only 1 percent, with growth in high income countries expected to go from 2.5 percent in 2007 to a contraction of 0.1 percent in 2009, and developing country growth expected to fall from 7.9 percent in 2007 to 4.5 percent in 2009. The Bank estimates each 1 percent drop in growth could trap another 20 million people in poverty. More...

Development Economics through the Decades: A Critical Look at Thirty Years of the World Development Report
Since 1978, the World Bank's annual World Development Report (WDR) has provided in-depth analysis and policy recommendations on a specific and important aspect of international development from agriculture, the role of the state, economic growth, and labor to infrastructure, health, the environment, and poverty. In this essay, Shahid Yusuf examines the last 30 years of development economics, viewed through the WDRs. The book examines the coverage of the WDRs, reflecting on the key development themes synthesized by these reports and assessing how the research they present has contributed to policy making and development thought. The book then looks ahead and points to some of the big challenges that the World Bank may explore through future WDRs. More...

Making Connections: Putting Social Policy at the Heart of Infrastructure Development
In most developing countries, the mixed record of state effectiveness, market imperfections, and persistent structural inequities has undermined the effectiveness of social policy. This book’s objective is to provide advice enabling policy makers to integrate social policy goals as explicit elements of utility reforms. It examines issues and approaches to extend the boundaries of social policy beyond conventional social services toward more developmental policies and institutions for improving equality of opportunity and social justice in developing country contexts. This book focuses on three inter-related mechanisms—policy and institutional design options, innovations in regulation and contracts, and the role of stakeholders in utility governance—to improve access, affordability and sustainability of water and electricity services. 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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