1) Civil Society Policy Forum to be Held During Upcoming Spring Meetings
2). Bank and CSOs Discuss the Financial and Food Crises
3). New Executive Vice President for MIGA’s Interest in Meeting with CSOs
4). Grant Competition for Climate Adaptation: Apply Now!
5). Zoellick Says Financial Crisis is Hurting Developing Countries
6). Bank Updates Global Economic Forecasts
7). Increasing Support for Trade Facilitation in Poor Countries
8). Bank Provides Financial Platform for Pilot Vaccine Program
9). Progress on Inspection Panel Action Plan
10). New Model for Proactive Lending
11). Côte d'Ivoire Reaches Decision Point under HIPC Debt Relief Initiative
*EVENTS/WEBSITES & BLOGS
1. Civil Society Policy Forum to be Held During Upcoming Spring Meetings
The 2009 Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank will be held over the weekend of April 25 - 26 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 held between April 23 and April 26, 2009. The Forum will comprise some 25 policy dialogue sessions proposed by the Bank, Fund, and CSOs to discuss such issues as the financial crisis, climate change, information disclosure, health, and debt. There will also be a reception with IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Khan and WB President Robert Zoellick. More
2. Bank and CSOs Discuss the Financial and Food Crises
Nearly 30 civil society representatives joined the President of the World Bank, and senior managers of the IMF and UN agencies to discuss and coordinate efforts to address the global financial and food crises in advance of the G-20 Summit in London. This was the fourth high level dialogue session between the Bank and CSOs on the global crises since last year. The roundtable, held on March 26, was co-chaired by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (Bank Managing Director) and David Beckmann (CEO for Bread for the World). Bank and CSO speakers agreed that the crisis will have increasingly negative impacts on low-income countries, and agreed that rich countries need to channel some of their stimulus financing to developing countries. There were, however, differing views on the underlying causes of the crisis and on what structural governance reforms are needed. More...
3. New Executive Vice President for MIGA’s Interest in Meeting with CSOs
Ms. Izumi Kobayashi joined the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) as Executive Vice President in late 2008. She came to MIGA from Merrill Lynch in Tokyo, where she was President and Representative Director. Ms. Kobayashi would like to continue the tradition of dialogue with CSOs by inviting them to meet with her and MIGA Senior Managers during the World Bank Spring Meetings to discuss agency business. Accredited CSOs wishing to meet with MIGA Senior Management during the Spring Meetings may send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, indicating the topic/s for discussion. This will help MIGA ensure the appropriate staff member is available. Depending on the level of interest, MIGA will organize a group session, or individual meetings.
4. Grant Competition for Climate Adaptation: Apply Now!
The Development Marketplace is a competitive grant program administered by the World Bank. The 2009 global competition is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and additional DM partners. The 2009 Development Marketplace (DM) grant competition is seeking innovative solutions addressing Climate Adaptation in three sub-themes. The call for proposals opened on March 23 and will be accepted 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
5. Zoellick Says Financial Crisis is Hurting Developing Countries
Bank President Zoellick said the crisis is hurting developing countries and the G-20 countries must restore confidence, as the new Bank forecast sees sharp slowdown in growth, putting the poor at risk. Speaking at a Thomson Reuters Newsmaker in London on April 2 ahead of the G20 Summit, Zoellick said there would be a sharp slowdown in economic growth in the developing world this year, putting more poor people at risk, and the Group of 20 must not shrink from combining ideas and actions to restore confidence in the world economy. “This is not a moment for complacency. It is not a time for narrow nationalist or even regional responses. The one certitude we can draw from events over the past year is our inability to predict what is to come, and how it may trigger other unexpected events,” Zoellick said. Read more…
6. Bank Updates Global Economic Forecasts
Rich countries across the world are in simultaneous recession, with their output falling sharply in the last quarter of 2008. And of the 16 developing countries that have quarterly data available, 15 have shown a fourth-quarter GDP decline. As heads of governments convened in London for the G-20 summit, the Bank sharply marked down its November 2008 forecast of 4.4 percent GDP growth in the developing world in 2009 to 2.1 percent, noting that there may be a weak recovery in 2010. However, the pace and timing of recovery remain highly uncertain. Global GDP growth, after a robust eight-year stretch, is now set to contract by 1.7 percent this year, the Bank predicts. This is a historic contraction, with world output set to decline for the first time since World War II. The investment banking collapse last year and the ensuing credit crunch were followed by a sharp decline in industrial production across the world, especially in economies specializing in investment goods. Read more…
7. Increasing Support for Trade Facilitation in Poor Countries
The Bank launched a US$40 million multi-donor trust fund to help countries improve their competitiveness and reduce trading costs through measures such as improving infrastructure, transport logistics and customs procedures. Due to the global recession, volumes of trade in goods and services are expected to drop 6.1 percent in 2009, with a significantly sharper contraction in trade volumes of manufacturing products, according to Bank data. The TFF, with US$40 million in funding over the next four years, will complement ongoing Bank support for trade-led economic growth. Bank trade lending amounted to US$1.4 billion in Fiscal Year 2008 in support to trade-related infrastructure, regional integration, export development and competitiveness and trade facilitation. Read more…
8. Bank Provides Financial Platform for Pilot Vaccine Program
The Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved a financial platform for a pilot vaccine program that will benefit millions of children in the developing world. The Advance Market Commitment (AMC) pilot will help accelerate the creation of a viable market for pneumococcal vaccines by providing up-front financing for incremental costs of vaccine production to meet demand from developing countries. An AMC is a commitment to finance the future purchase, up to a pre-determined price, of a vaccine needed in developing countries. It is estimated that AMC funds will help immunize nearly 700 million infants, directly preventing about 2.8 million deaths through 2020. In addition, it is estimated that the accelerated introduction of pneumococcal vaccines will prevent another 4.9 million deaths. Read more…
9. Progress on Inspection Panel Action Plan
In 2005, Congolese Pygmy communities who felt they were being harmed by forest reforms supported by the Bank under the Emergency Recovery Support Project and the Transitional Support Economic Recovery Operation requested an Inspection Panel investigation into these projects. More specifically, these communities claimed that forest sector reforms were taking place without adequate consultation and that they would lead to violations of the Pygmies’ rights to occupy, manage and use their ancestral lands according to their traditional practices. The work of the Inspection Panel ended on January 10, 2008, when the Board concluded that the Bank had failed to comply with its policies on Environmental Assessment and Indigenous Peoples, and approved an Action Plan designed jointly by the Africa Region and the Inspection Panel. Read more...
10. New Model for Proactive Lending.
On March 3 the Bank Board approved one of the largest-ever financing operations to a single country––Indonesia––to assist its efforts to weather the storm of the financial crisis. The $2 billion Public Expenditure Support Facility, with a deferred drawdown option, is structured to allow the government to use it if market conditions and access to credit deteriorates. The loan is part of an overall $5.5 billion contingency financing facility that will include $1.5 billion from Japan and $1 billion each from Australia and the Asian Development Bank. More...
11. Côte d'Ivoire Reaches Decision Point under HIPC Debt Relief Initiative
The Bank's International Development Association and the IMF have agreed that the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire qualifies for debt relief under the enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative, enabling it to reach the decision point under the Initiative. Côte d'Ivoire will receive interim debt relief from certain creditors, but in order to qualify for irrevocable debt relief at the completion point, Côte d'Ivoire will be implementing a broad set of reforms. In particular, Côte d'Ivoire has adopted a Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) in 2009 and has established a track record of policy performance under the economic programs supported by the IMF's Emergency Post-Conflict Assistance. In order to reach the completion point, Côte d’Ivoire will have to implement the PRS for at least one year and maintain macroeconomic stability. Read more…
REGIONAL NEWS AND PROJECTS
Bank to Provide US$500m to Boost Trade, Competitiveness
The Bank has said it is prepared to approve an additional US$360 million over the next three years for a total of US$500 million in support of Africa’s North-South Corridor (NSC) program. On Monday in Lusaka, the Bank’s Vice President for Africa, Obiageli Ezekwesili told a conference attended by several African heads of state that the Bank has already approved US$140 million in support of the core investment requirements of the Corridor, and is prepared to commit the additional funding over the coming three years. The remaining US$500 million will be for non-core projects that are complementary to the NSC. Core Corridor projects already being funded by the World Bank include the Tanzania Integrated Transport Project, and the Zambia Roads Rehabilitation and Maintenance Project. Read more…
Forest and Nature Conservation Project Approved in DRC
A US$70 million project has just been approved for the Democratic Republic of Congo to enhance the capacity of the Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Tourism (MECNT) and the Congolese Nature Conservation Institute (ICCN), and increase collaboration among government institutions, civil society, and other stakeholders in order to manage forests sustainably and equitably for multiple uses in pilot provinces. Project components include: institutional strengthening of MECNT; community participation in forest management; and management of protected areas and support to ICCN. The project will also help support a US$250 million multi-donor national forest and conservation program prepared by the government and its development partners, including the World Bank. Read more...
EAST ASIA AND THE PACIFIC
New Country Assistance Strategy for the Philippines
The Bank announced that it has completed consultations with the representatives of the Philippine government on the Bank’s emerging Country Assistance Strategy (CAS), the framework that guides the Bank’s program of assistance for the Philippines. The proposed new CAS is scheduled to be discussed by the Bank’s Board of Executive Directors in April, and will cover the period July 2009 to June 2012. Anchored in the government’s Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP) 2004-2010, the proposed CAS puts greater emphasis on poverty alleviation and good governance. Its overall goal is to support the Government in achieving inclusive growth by pursuing the following strategic objectives: stable macro economy; improved investment climate; better public service delivery; and reduced vulnerabilities. Read more…
Bank Report urges Broadening of China's Poverty Reduction Agenda
The Bank poverty assessment report for China brought together findings from multi-year analytical work undertaken by the Bank on a policy-oriented assessment of poverty and inequality in China. A distinguishing feature of the report is its effort to establish key underlying facts using large-sample, and in most cases, nationally-representative data, and to provide empirically-grounded analyses supplemented with in-depth qualitative work. A central thesis of the report, titled "From Poor Areas to Poor People: China's Evolving Poverty Reduction Agenda", is that while China's record of poverty reduction and growth over the last quarter century has been enviable with the poverty headcount rate falling from 65% of the population in 1981 to 4% in 2007 and more than half a billion people lifted out of poverty over this period, the task of poverty reduction continues and in some respects has become harder. Read more…
EUROPE AND CENTRAL ASIA
Additional Financing for Albania’s Social Services Delivery Project
Albania and the Bank signed a credit agreement for an Additional Loan on Social Services Delivery Project, totaling US$ 5 million. This financing is targeted at making improvements in the efficiency and the effectiveness of the Albanian pension system by improving pension system administration, supporting institutional strengthening, including improved capacity for pension policy development and improving public understanding of the pension system. To date, the original credit has supported service delivery in 43 day care centers, offering services under newly developed service standards and policies to more than 25,000 beneficiaries from vulnerable groups. In addition, 13 residential care centers were supported to improve service delivery. Finally, the credit established the legal and strategic framework in the social care area and strengthened capacity at central and local government levels. Read more…
Bank Offices in Central Asia Open Doors to Youth
The Bank’s Central Asia Regional Office in Almaty (Kazakhstan) and the Country Offices in Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan), Dushanbe (Tajikistan), and Tashkent (Uzbekistan) hosted the fourth regional Central Asia Youth Open House. This year the event was devoted to the theme of regional integration in Central Asia and organized in line with the topics of the World Development Report 2009, one of the Bank’s major annual publications. More than 140 young people representing universities (students and young staff) and youth organizations gathered in the World Bank offices in Central Asia. The agenda of the Youth Open House was tailored to the interests of young people and developed so that young people could learn, share, discuss, and have fun. Read more…
LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN
New Development Policy Loan in Peru Aims to Strengthen Health Accountability
A US$330 million loan – Results and Accountability (REACT) Development Policy Loan – has just been approved to support the government of Peru in strengthening the accountability framework and improving results in health, nutrition and education. The Peru REACT DPL series is supporting actions in primary education, health and nutrition to define standards and set goals for the outcomes which families should expect for their children, and is expected to lead to improved outcomes in second grade literacy; increased access to institutional birth services; and increased coverage of individualized growth monitoring and counseling services for children under 24 months of age in areas with a high incidence of chronic malnutrition, leading to better nutrition outcomes. Read more…
Fund to Help Strengthen Paraguayan Bank System
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) Recapitalization Fund will make its inaugural investment of $20 million in Paraguay's Banco Continental, which will help strengthen one of the country's leading financial institutions and ensure continued lending to small and medium enterprises. The fund, a key IFC initiative aimed at helping mitigate the effects of the global financial crisis, will invest in Banco Continental's preferred stock, which is part of the bank's Tier 1 Capital. Banco Continental is the largest locally owned financial institution in Paraguay. The bank provides commercial lending products and services to small and medium enterprises and corporate client. Banco Continental serves more than 62,000 customers through a network of 31 branches. Read more…
MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
First Municipal Solid Waste Sector Development Policy Loan in Morocco
The Bank approved a Municipal Solid Waste Sector Development Policy Loan as the first Development Policy Loan (DPL) in the solid waste sector Bank wide and the first Bank project in solid waste sector in Morocco. An operation built on clear demand and two years of preparation to support Morocco in its effort for the reform and the development of municipal solid waste sector with focus on governance, sustainability, and environment and social dimensions. It is a very unique experience using a holistic and programmatic approach and can lend itself feasible to other urban economies particularly middle income countries seeking an environmental branding for global integration. Morocco produces about 5 million tons of municipal waste per year and could reach 6.2 million tons in 2020 and the contribution of poor SWM to the cost of environmental degradation is estimated to 0.5% of GDP. Read more…
Bank Delegation Considers Iraq’s Investment Potential
Representatives of the Bank’s board and senior management are visiting Iraq next week to discuss the country’s investment potential and underscore the Group’s commitment to assisting in its sustainable economic recovery. “A key element of the World Bank Group’s strategy in Iraq is to enable private sector development as the driver of job creation” says Daniela Gressani, the Bank’s Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa Region. The team will meet with business leaders and government officials as well as Iraq’s National Investment Commission, which has been established to promote investment into the country. Read more…
Building Legitimacy of Government is Key to Security in Afghanistan
Bank Managing Director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala told the International Conference on Afghanistan in The Hague that building the legitimacy, capacity, and credibility of the state is vital to foster peace and development in Afghanistan and needs to top the agenda of the international community. Okonjo-Iweala said the gap between the expectations of the Afghan people and the ability of their government to deliver services is widening rather than narrowing. Afghanistan’s leadership had a vision for national programs from the start, for providing basic health services, education, rural infrastructure, and microfinance, said Okonjo-Iweala. She pointed to the doubling of functioning health care facilities, the decline in infant mortality, and the six-fold increase of children in school, now numbering 6 million, 35 percent of them girls. Read more…
Updated Poverty Maps Help Targeted Policy Intervention for Poverty Reduction
The Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics and the World Bank, in collaboration with the World Food Program (WFP), updated the Poverty Maps for Bangladesh. The new generation of poverty maps is based on the Household Income and Expenditure Survey of 2005 and the Population Census of 2001. The updating exercise was financially supported by the UK’s Department for International Development. Bangladesh has experienced significant poverty reduction over the past two decades. The poverty incidence declined from 57 percent at the beginning of the 1990s to 40 percent in 2005. However, a closer look to the recent reduction in the national poverty rate shows uneven progress amongst different areas and communities. In fact, there remain many areas where the incidence of poverty is far larger than the national figures would suggest. Read more…
EVENTS/WEBSITES & BLOGS
No, really… Where Should We Start?
Laura Brix observes in the CGAP blog: “I had a coworker at the FDIC who used to say “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.” I felt a little like the one-eyed man while on a consumer protection policy diagnostic in Cambodia, mainly because the words ‘Cambodia’ and ‘consumer protection’ do not often occur in the same sentence. Talk about a nearly clean slate–it was hard not to be the most knowledgeable person on the subject in most of the meetings. Then, my colleague at IFC asked me quite sincerely “So, where would you suggest Cambodia start?” and after unleashing some excruciatingly vague principles like “transactions should be transparent,” and “customers should not be sold unsuitable products,” and “clients should have adequate recourse,” I was not feeling quite so good about myself. Join the conversation…
The Social Dimensions of Climate Change
Climate change is arguably the most profound challenge facing the international community in the 21st century. Tremendous strides have been made over recent years in improving scientific understanding of the human processes driving climate change, but much less understood is how these dynamics in the physical environment interact with socio-economic systems. This book brings together the work of prominent researchers and practitioners who take stock of the latest knowledge on the social dimensions of climate change. Read more…
Review Calls for Action to Protect the Marine Environment
Properly valuing coastal and marine ecosystem services is critical to sustainable development, according to the Bank publication “Environment Matters 2008.” Titled: “Valuing Coastal and Marine Ecosystem Services”, the review argues that while we recognize that the ocean provides vast quantities of food, offers enormous recreational values, and stores carbon – what is a critical service in an era of climate change – these services so vital for humankind have been treated as “free goods,” and the ecosystems that provide them are rapidly deteriorating through overuse, pollution, and physical destruction. Valuation of indirect ecosystem services such as the regulating role of coastal and marine resources in providing habitat for fish, as a receptor for wastewater, or to control beach erosion, is weak. Read more…
FOR A FULL LIST of available publications:
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: email@example.com. All past issues of the Newsletter can be found on the WB site on Civil Society Engagement at: http://www.worldbank.org/civilsociety