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Civil Society Engagement eNewsletter - March 2009

1) On-Line Accreditation for Spring Meetings Now Open
2) Bank Announces High Level Governance Reform Commission
3) Bank Launches Global Consultation on New Information Disclosure Policy
4) Book Discussion on Alternatives to the Washington Consensus
5) Board Reviews IIP Report on Albanian Coastal Zone Management Project
6) Bank Seeks Feedback on Development Policy Review
7) Bank joins Partnership to Support Eastern Europe
8) Bank Approves First Fast Track Grants to Credit Strapped Countries
9) Bank Accelerating Gaza Recovery and Reconstruction Efforts
10) IFC to Support Construction of Chile’s First Large Wind Farm
11) Diaspora Critical to Africa’s Resilience, Region Vice President Says
12) Japan Launches Trade Finance Initiative in Cooperation with IFC
13) Study Reveals Strategies for Moving Out of Poverty  
 

*REGIONS
*JOBS / SCHOLARSHIPS
*EVENTS/WEBSITES & BLOGS
*DOCUMENTS / REPORTS
*NEW DISCLOSURE DOCUMENTS 


1) On-Line Accreditation for Spring Meetings Now Open

The on-line accreditation for Civil Society Representatives to attend the 2009 World Bank and International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings opened on March 16.  The Spring Meetings are scheduled for April 25-26, 2009 in Washington.  As in previous years, the Civil Society Policy Forum will be held between April 23 and April 26, 2009.  The Forum will include some 20 policy dialogue sessions on such issues as the financial crisis, food security, information disclosure, and climate change, as well as a briefing session with the heads of the Bank and Fund. An Orientation Session on the Bank and Fund origins, structure, and programs, will be held on April 22. The deadline for submitting requests for accreditation is Friday, April 10.   More... 

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2) Bank Announces High Level Governance Reform Commission

The World Bank today announced the membership of an independent, high-level commission tasked with making recommendations on how the institution is governed so that it can better fulfill its mission of overcoming global poverty. The Commission was created by World Bank Group President, Robert B. Zoellick in October 2008 to focus on the modernization of World Bank Group governance so the World Bank Group can operate more dynamically, effectively, efficiently, and legitimately in a transformed global political economy. The 12 members of the Commission, chaired by former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo, have all held or hold senior positions at an international level and are drawn from developed and developing countries.  More… 


3)  Bank Launches Global Consultation on New Information Disclosure Policy

The World Bank has launched a comprehensive review of its disclosure policy to ensure that the core approach is well aligned with its values and priorities.  It proposes to shift its approach to disclosure—from today’s policy, which spells out what information the Bank discloses (a “positive list”), to one under which the Bank would disclose any information in its possession that is not on a list of exceptions.   An external consultation process is now underway on the proposed policy changes, and the Bank is soliciting the views on the approach paper from a wide range of stakeholders, including civil society.  You may provide comments by clicking on the “Submit Comment” button below, or by sending an e-mail to disclosure_consultations@worldbank.org.  The comment period will close on May 8, 2009.  More 

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4) Book Discussion on Alternatives to the Washington Consensus

Infoshop and the Civil Society Team hosted this discussion on the book “Development Redefined: How the Market Met its Match”, recently published by John Cavanagh Director of the Institute for Policy Studies) and Robin Broad (Professor of International Development at American University) which argues that the ’Washington Consensus' is dead and calls for people-centered development models.  Discussants Hassan Zaman (World Bank) and Rick Rowden (CSO Researcher) contributed to what was a stimulating debate.   The book provides a useful retrospective of development trends over the past 30 years, and frames well the underlying challenges facing our planet. More…



 
5) Board Reviews IIP Report on Albanian Coastal Zone Management Project

The Bank’s Board of Executive Directors considered a Management Report and Action Plan that responds to an Independent Inspection Panel investigation of the Integrated Coastal Zone Management and Clean-Up Project in Albania. The Management Report acknowledges serious errors in project preparation and supervision, along with errors in communication with the Board of the Bank, and presents an Action Plan for addressing those issues identified by the Panel. Under the Action Plan, a series of measures will be undertaken by the Bank including: a case-by-case legal review of the April 2007 demolitions in the project area, the appointment of an Independent Observer to monitor the legal review and report back to the Bank, and the payment of legal aid for the review of each of the Requesters’ claims. More… 

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6)  Bank Seeks Feedback on Development Policy Review

The Bank is conducting a retrospective review of its development policy operations (DPOs) approved between March 2006 and June 2008 and is seeking feedback from stakeholders.  The Bank carries out reviews of its development policy operations on a regular basis with the last retrospective having been concluded in July 2006. The main objective of the 2009 Development Policy Lending Retrospective is to assess the effectiveness of Bank development policy operations in supporting the design and implementation of a borrower’s medium-term development policy agenda. The retrospective will also discuss emerging issues arising from the experience with policy-based lending, and report on the implementation of the good practice principles on conditionality. More…


7)  Bank joins Partnership to Support Eastern Europe

The largest multilateral investors and lenders in Eastern Europe - EBRD, EIB Group, and  World Bank Group - have pledged to provide up to €24.5 billion to support the banking sectors in the region and to fund lending to businesses hit by the global economic crisis. This initiative complements national crisis responses and will deploy rapid, large-scale, and coordinated financial assistance from the International Financial Institutions to support lending to the real economy through private banking groups, in particular to small and medium-sized enterprises. The financial support will include equity and debt finance, credit lines, and political risk insurance. The response takes into account the different macroeconomic circumstances in and financial pressures on countries in Eastern Europe, acknowledging the diversity of challenges stemming from the global financial retrenchment. More… 

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8)  Bank Approves First Fast Track Grants to Credit Strapped Countries

Armenia had a strong growth record and rapidly falling poverty rates before the global economic crisis hit. Now, as growth falls and unemployment rises, the country is getting $35 million in expedited funding to create some 280,000 job days of employment in rural areas. Armenia is one of the first two countries to benefit from a new $2 billion fund created by the Bank last December to speed assistance to developing countries trying to cope with the financial crisis. A US$100 million grant was also approved for Democratic Republic of Congo last week. The Bank created the Financial Crisis Response Fast Track Facility to accelerate delivery of US$2 billion in grants and long-term, interest-free loans from the Bank’s US$42 billion fund for the world’s poorest countries. More…

9)  Bank Accelerating Gaza Recovery and Reconstruction Efforts

 The Bank’s Managing Director Juan Jose Daboub conducted a fact-finding mission to the Gaza Strip, the most senior Bank executive to visit the territory since 2005. After touring devastated urban and agricultural areas and meeting local residents, Daboub assessed the damage to the Bank-supported North Gaza sewage treatment plant. He concluded his visit with a series of meetings with civil servants, NGO officials, and business leaders to discuss recovery and reconstruction needs and modalities, including access issues. The Bank also published a report titled “Fund Channeling Options for Early Recovery and Beyond: the World Bank Perspective” which is geared to helping donor agencies select the most effective instruments for providing financial support to Gaza recovery and reconstruction. More… 

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10)  IFC to Support Construction of Chile’s First Large Wind Farm

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) signed an agreement to invest US$61.5 million for the construction of the Totoral Wind Farm, advancing the development of renewable energy in Chile. The 46-megawatt wind project will support the country’s objectives of promoting clean energy and diversifying its energy mix with a variety of renewable energy technologies. The Totoral Wind Farm, situated 300 kilometers north of Santiago, will consist of 23 two-megawatt Vestas wind turbines. The project is expected to generate an average of 110 gigawatt hours per year of electricity for the Chilean central grid, relieving the significant supply constraints the country is experiencing. By increasing renewable energy generation, the Totoral Wind Farm will help reduce environmental pollution and improve the quality of life in the country. More…


11)  Diaspora Critical to Africa’s Resilience, Region Vice President Says

The Africa Diaspora has a critical role to play in buffering the effects of the global financial crisis, the World Bank’s Africa Region Vice President, Obiageli Ezekwesili, said in a keynote address to Howard University’s Second Annual African Business Conference on Saturday. The two-day conference was attended by more than 350 students and entrepreneurs with an interest in business opportunities in Africa. Pointing to the significant presence of the Diaspora in North America, she told the audience that Africans living abroad represent “a vast pool of financial and intellectual resources for the 800 million people on the continent.” More… 

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12)  Japan Launches Trade Finance Initiative in Cooperation with IFC

The Japanese government has launched a US$1.0 billion trade finance facilitation initiative to be developed in close cooperation with IFC and the Asian Development Bank. The initiative, announced by Japan’s Finance Minister Shoichi Nakagawa after a meeting of G7 finance ministers, will help importers and exporters in developing countries and support continued trade flows during the current economic crisis. Japan’s commitment to the new trade finance initiative follows a $2 billion contribution made through Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) to IFC’s Bank Recapitalization Fund announced earlier this month. More…


13)  Study Reveals Strategies for Moving Out of Poverty

A Bank study in which some 60,000 people were interviewed in 15 countries looks at how and why some people manage to escape poverty. “Moving Out of Poverty: Success from the Bottom Up,” like its ground-breaking 2000 predecessor Voices of the Poor, paints a detailed picture of the constraints poor people face in trying to escape poverty. The study finds that even in desperately poor or conflict-affected places, people retain the initiative to survive and get ahead. But the study of 500 communities in Asia, Africa and Latin America also concludes that people need opportunity, such as access to jobs and markets, to move out of poverty. The Bank estimates more than 100 million people became poor when food and fuel prices skyrocketed last year. Some 53 million more people are being trapped in poverty as the financial crisis spreads around the world. More… 

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REGIONAL NEWS AND PROJECTS 
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AFRICA

Ghana to Receive US $1.2 Billion in Interest-Free Loans from World Bank


The Bank will provide up to US$1.2 billion in interest-free loans to Ghana over the next three years, and has launched a landmark initiative that challenges civil society organizations and other citizens’ groups to help deepen transparency and accountability by monitoring the implementation of Bank-funded projects in the country. The priority sectors for this future lending are water and sanitation, agriculture and fisheries, energy, natural resource management, transport and budget support. The Bank, which is one of Ghana’s leading development partners, indicated its readiness to assist the newly-elected Ghanaian government in any way possible to minimize the impact of the global economic crisis. More… 

Ethiopian Movie Wins World Bank-UN Prize at Panafrican Film Festival


The film “Teza,” by Ethiopian filmmaker Haile Gerima won the special World Bank-United Nations joint prize for taking the fight against poverty to the big screen. The  prize was awarded at the end of the week-long biannual FESPACO film awards in Ouagadougou, capital of Burkina Faso. The film begins in the early 1970s when Anberber, the movie’s main character, leaves his village of Minzero to study in Germany. When he comes back to Ethiopia in 1990 he finds a changed country.  What happened to him through the years? The contemporary realities of Ethiopia are depicted through the adventures of Anberber, his dreams, disillusion, drama, hopes. More…

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EAST ASIA AND THE PACIFIC 

Unique Loan to Help Indonesia Avoid Financial Crisis

After years of remarkable political reform, strong economic growth, and investment in public institutions, Indonesia was well positioned to weather most external shocks. But as the scale of the global financial crisis grew, it became clear that no country was totally sheltered from its impacts, with Indonesia no exception. To support Indonesia in its effort to face the worsening economic turmoil, the Bank announced a US$2 billion standby loan for Indonesia. The financing, called a Public Expenditure Support Facility with a deferred drawdown option is meant to act as insurance for the country, rather than simply a cheaper source of financing. The facility, which is the largest loan ever granted to Indonesia by the Bank, is unique for its precautionary and leveraging features, said Joachim von Amsberg, the Bank’s country director for Indonesia. More…

Lighting up Remote Villages in Laos 

Providing electricity to 90% of households nation-wide by 2020 is one of the Laotian government’s key poverty reduction goals. The Power to the Poor Project (P2P) is providing support to the targeted poor and women-headed households that are unable to finance the initial cost of connection to the grid. The project will empower the beneficiaries to improve their quality of life and access to information, generate more income, and allow children to do homework at night.  The P2P project, co-financed by the Bank and Ausaid, is designed to demonstrate the practicality of providing financial support to households which would otherwise be unable to pay the initial cost of a grid connection. Read more… 

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EUROPE AND CENTRAL ASIA

Supporting Albania’s Electricity Distribution Company to Improve Power Supply

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) advised the government of Albania on the privatization of the Electricity Distribution Company of Albania (OSSH), which will help increase the supply of electricity in the country. The government of Albania signed a contract for the sale of 76 percent of the shares of OSSH to Czech power utility CEZ. IFC advised the government on the unbundling of the company, structuring the transaction, and executing an open, transparent and competitive bidding process. CEZ was selected as the winning bidder in October 2008. The decision was confirmed by the government after further consultations. The value of the contract is €102 million. Read more…

Bank Continues Energy Sector Support for Ukraine 

The government of Ukraine and the Bank officially launched the implementation of the Ukraine Power Transmission Project. The Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved a US$ 200 million loan for this project in August 2007. The main objective of the Power Transmission Project is to improve the security, reliability, efficiency and stability of electricity supply through the rehabilitation of transmission substations and the strengthening of the power transmission network. The project is also geared to improve the institutional capacity and technical capabilities of the transmission system operator, UkrEnergo, so that it can assure secure and reliable operation of the high voltage power grid, and, therefore, facilitate unimpeded operation and opening up of the electricity market. This is the second project financed by the Bank as part of a sector-wide long-term energy program, which also includes extensive technical assistance to the National Energy Regulatory Commission and the Ministry of Fuel and Energy. Read more… 

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LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN

Large Environmental and Climate Change Loan Approved in Brazil

The Bank recently approved the Sustainable Environmental Management (SEM) Development Policy Loan (DPL).  The US$1.3 billion loan is geared to supporting the government of Brazil’s efforts to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the Brazilian environmental management system; and, further integrate principles of environmentally sustainable development in the development agenda of key sectors. The SEM DPL will also address climate change concerns at both the inter-sectoral level and within the targeted sectors (natural resources, water, sanitation, and energy). More...

Bank Executive Directors visit Honduras 

A delegation of seven World Bank executive directors visited Honduras in early March today to see firsthand the programs and projects implemented by the government and the private sector with Bank funding. During their visit, the delegates met with President Manuel Zelaya Rosales, government officials, business leaders, and civil society repersentatives. They visited the Land Management and Disaster Mitigation project in Tegucigalpa, as well as the “My First Job” project and an agribusiness food preparation company in the city of San Pedro Sula.  More…

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MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

New CAS for Yemen Features Strong Collaboration between IDA and IFC

The Bank’s country office in Yemen is organizing a number of consultative meetings to discuss the proposed new Joint International Development Association (IDA) – International Finance Corporation (IFC) Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) for 2010-2013. Stakeholders being invited will include representatives from civil society organizations, donor agencies, government officials, private sector, youth groups, and media. The consultative meetings are part of the Bank’s process to develop its country assistance strategy based on the participation and views of a wide range of public constituencies while drawing on lessons from the previous CAS. The meetings will be held in Sana’a and Aden and the Bank is looking forward to listen to participants’ views and recommendations. More… 


Managing Director Encouraged by Libya's Transition Vision

The Bank’s Managing Director Juan Jose Daboub completed his first visit to Libya where he said that the country has embarked on a critical transition to modernize its institutional and economic organization. “We are encouraged by the government's dedication to the transition agenda and look forward to support their efforts with a strengthened program and presence in the country," he said. During his meetings with the local and national authorities Daboub emphasized the importance of the ongoing program of modernization, and commended the government for its strong commitment to reduce its dependence on oil revenues by diversifying sources of growth. He also encouraged the Government to move forward with its transition program, and increase trade integration, and further infrastructure investments to strengthen the role of Libya in the region. More… 

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SOUTH ASIA

Bank Pledges Continued Support for Bangladesh's Development Efforts

Well targeted and smart safety nets which reach poor people will be critical to helping the poorest citizens of Bangladesh as the global financial crisis takes effect in the months ahead. This was a key message from Ms. Isabel Guerrero, World Bank Vice President for South Asia, as she concluded a three day visit today and discussions on policy measures to help soften the potential impact of the financial crisis on Bangladesh. She confirmed the World Bank's continued strong support to Bangladesh and praised the new government for its emphasis on development and for having a clear vision of their priorities and areas where they want World Bank to support. She also urged to keep up the reform momentum and to accelerate its infrastructure program. More… 

Sri Lanka’s Roads to Development

Just a few years ago, Sri Lanka’s national road network was in poor condition. Uncontrolled roadside development, years of neglect, and poor road maintenance resulted in low travel speeds and poor levels of service. This discouraged long distance traffic and stalled the spread of economic activities and development outside the Colombo Metropolitan area. However, much has improved in a short period of time. In less than three years, the Road Sector Assistance project has improved and completed 420 km of national roads spread across Southern, Central, Sabaragamuwa, North Central, Uva, Eastern, Western and North Western Provinces. The project is on track to meet the goal of reducing highways in poor condition from 52 percent in 2005 to 35 percent by 2011. More… 

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JOBS / SCHOLARSHIPS 

Opening – Bank Scholarships and Fellowships for 2009

The Scholarship Program and the Fellowships Program are vehicles for knowledge sharing and capacity building in the developing world. The Programs provide opportunities for graduate and postgraduate studies leading to masters and doctoral degrees in development-related fields for mid-career professionals from eligible developing countries. More...

Senior Governance Specialist (Bangladesh)

The Governance Specialist for Bangladesh will be based in Dhaka and is to serve as a key member of the Country Management Team as well as the team leader for governance work in the country, providing strategic leadership, supporting the Operations Adviser and sector staff on project design and implementation, and engaging government counterparts to ensure that governance and anticorruption are effectively integrated across the entire country program.  More… 


For a full list of open positions and scholarships, please visit:
http://www.worldbank.org/jobs 

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EVENTS/WEBSITES & BLOGS 

Grant Competition for Climate Adaptation: Apply Now!

The 2009 Development Marketplace (DM) grant competition is seeking innovative solutions addressing Climate Adaptation in three sub-themes. The call for proposals will be open from March 23, 2009 through May 18, 2009. Winning projects will receive a US$ 200,000 grant for implementation over two years. For more information on how to apply and, eligibility and selection criteria visit www.developmentmarketplace.org 

World Bank Engaging Stakeholders Through Development Policy Forum

The World Bank Brussels Office, along with a number of other donors, including DfID and the UN, is partnering Brussels based think tank  - Friends of Europe in organizing  a series of workshops known as the  Development Policy Forum . The Forums bring together about 150 stakeholders (CSOs, civil servants politicians and private sector) to debate topical development issues. Their aim is to raise awareness on development issues; promote debate on topical and interlinked political, economic and social matters; bring together political authorities, members of national, international and European development organisations, commentators and business representatives to discuss and debate development questions. At the last Forum on March 3, participants discussed the issue of 'Saving the MDGs from Global Recession'. The event, which was constituted in the form of a roundtable, included as speakers World Bank Director for Poverty Reduction and Economic Management – Ana Revenga, Eurodad Director – Alex Wilks and UN Brussels Director Antonio Vigilante. It provided an opportunity for an informed discussion with civil society and other stakeholders on advancing the MDGs in the face of the financial crisis.  More... 

Why Support Coal-burning Power Plants?

Justin Lin (Chief Economist for the Bank) notes on the Climate Change blog that “Some readers and activists may question why the World Bank Group funds coal-fired power plants and yet professes to embrace sustainable development. The answer is that there is an urgent need for energy in the poor countries that we serve and indeed in my home country, China. There are roughly 1.6 billion people in developing countries--700 million of whom are in Africa and 550 million in South Asia--who lack access to electricity. Because coal is often cheap and abundant, and the need for electricity is so great, coal plants are going to be built with or without our support. Without our support, it is the cheaper, dirtier type of coal plants that will proliferate.” Join the conversation… 

A fiscal stimulus for Africa?

Shanta Devarajan (Chief Economist for the Africa Region) notes on the Africa Can blog that “there is no question that the global financial and economic crisis is affecting Africa’s economic performance. The IMF’s World Economic Outlook forecasts a GDP growth rate for Africa of 3.5 percent, which is 1.6 percentage points lower than the previous forecast, and 1.9 percentage points below the 2008 growth rate. The growth forecast for primary commodity exporters is even lower. Angola, for instance, is projecting nominal GDP to be 17 percent lower in 2009 compared to 2008.  A growth slowdown in Africa can have serious long-term consequences.” Join the conversation… 

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DOCUMENTS / REPORTS 

The Little Book on External Debt 2009

The Little Data Book on External Debt provides a quick reference for users interested in external debt stocks and flows, major economic aggregates, key debt ratios, and the currency composition of long-term debt for all countries reporting through the Debtor Reporting system. A pocket edition of the Global Development Finance 2009, Volume II: Summary and Country Tables, it contains statistical tables for 135 countries as well as summary tables for regional and income groups. More…

Educating Girls in the 21st Century

Overall primary school enrollments for girls in poor countries jumped from 87 percent in 1990 to 94 percent in 2004, with more girls than ever before now in secondary school, according to a Bank report, “Girls’ Education in the 21st Century: Gender Equality, Empowerment, and Economic Growth.” The business case for continuing to invest in girls’ education is beyond question, even in the face of the global financial and jobless crisis, writes Joy Phumaphi, Bank vice president for Human Development and Danny Leipziger, vice president for Poverty Reduction, in the foreword of the report. The surge in enrollments is the result of the priority given by governments to girls’ schooling over the last 20 years and of the successful reach of scholarships, stipends, conditional cash transfers, female teacher recruitment, free text books for girls, and other gender-related policies. More…



  New Disclosure Documents as of March 19, 2009 

The Disclosure Unit (Public Information Services) is responsible for the implementation and dissemination of documents relating to the World Bank’s disclosure policy. On a regular basis, the Unit releases operational documents to the public through a network of Public Information Centers (PICs) worldwide. For assistance on disclosed documents, please contact one of the PICs at a location near you or the Disclosure Unit at Enquiries.  Here are several examples:

• Project Appraisal Documents
•    Mexico - Mexico Sustainable Rural Development Project
• Environmental Assessments
•    Central African Republic - EFA FTI Catalytic Fund Preparation (French) March 12, 2009 E-210
• Resettlement Instrument Reports 
•    Vietnam - Rural Energy II Project @ March 16, 2009 RP242
• Indigenous People's Plan
•    Honduras - Land Administration Program (Spanish)  IPP65

For free downloads, click on available links below. For those titles where links are not readily available, please check the Documents and Reports database -- full text documents are generally available within 5-6 business days.

 Lending Documents  Other Documents 

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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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