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Civil Society Engagement eNewsletter - May 2009

1. Spring Meetings Attract Increased Number of CSO Representatives
2. Inspection Panel Seeking Applications for New Member - – May 25 Deadline
3. Bank Seeking Views on New Urban Development Strategy
4. Support for México's Fight against Influenza Outbreak
5. Board Approves Largest Ever IBRD Investment Loan
6. Bank and UNODC Release Guide to Recover Looted Fund
7. Bank Africa Vice President says Next G-20 Summit must Focus on Development 
8. IFC Launches Asset Management Company
9. Global Monitoring Report: Financial Crisis Undermining MDGs
10. Financial Crisis Leads Bank to Triple Protection for the Vulnerable 
11. Global Education Initiative Faces US$1.2 Billion Financing Gap 
12. Environmental Activist Wangari Maathai Speaks at the Bank on Need for Environmental Protection

REGIONAL NEWS AND PROJECTS
EVENTS/WEBSITES/BLOGS
PUBLICATIONS 
 


1 - Spring Meetings Attract Increased Number of CSO Representatives

Civil Society presence at the IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings was the largest ever. Some 300 CSO representatives (a 36% increase over 2008) from 30 countries participated. Participants included policy activist, researchers, and CEOs. As in past Spring Meetings, the Civil Society Teams of the Bank and Fund organized the Civil Society Policy Forum which was held on from April 23 – 26. The Forum was composed of 25 policy sessions on a wide range of topics including debt sustainability, food crisis, African development, and climate change. These sessions were organized by different Bank, Fund, and IFC units, or jointly with CSOs such the Bank Information Center (BIC), Action Aid, EURODAD, Center for Environmental Law (CIEL), CARE, and Center of Concern.  For summary notes, participants lists, presentations, and photos of many of the session please visit the Civil Society website .

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2 - Inspection Panel Seeking Applications for New Member – May 25 Deadline

The World Bank is inviting applications for the position of Inspection Panel Member. The Panel Members are responsible for the general operations of the Panel, and for carrying out the Panel responsibilities according to its mandate. Panel Members participate in actions and decision-making of the Panel in processing Requests for Inspection which includes: engaging in research, fact-finding and an independent investigation of whether the Bank has complied with its operational policies and procedures; preparing independent assessment and conclusions to the Board; and participating in field visits and outreach activities. The World Bank Group is committed to achieving diversity in terms of gender, nationality, culture and educational background. Individuals with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated in the strictest confidence. Interested candidates may view the complete vacancy announcement and apply online at www.inspectionpanel.org 


3. Bank Seeking Views on New Urban Development Strategy

The World Bank’s Urban Development Team is drafting a new urban development strategy focused on how best to address urban challenges and opportunities over the next decade, and is seeking the views and comments from a wide range of stakeholders. The draft Urban Strategy Concept Note shows that poverty is urbanizing, with the poor now comprising about one third of all urban residents. As the impacts of the financial crisis unfold, urban poverty is expected to rise further. The paper also examines the role of cities as platforms for rapid urbanization, and catalysts for economic growth. Please visit the urban strategy website and share your views. For more information send any written feedback or questions you have until May 31, 2009 to: Dina Elnaggar, Senior Communications Officer (Delnaggar@worldbank.org)

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4. Support for México's Fight against Influenza Outbreak


The Bank is assembling money and manpower and drawing from its vast public health experience to help Mexico combat the spread of influenza. Bank President Robert Zoellick announced earlier that the Bank would provide a US$205 million credit for the Mexican government and send experts to the region in response to the flu outbreak in Mexico. Bank officials said that US$25 million of an ongoing health project in Mexico will be immediately re-oriented to provide drugs and equipment to offset the impact of the disease. An additional US$180 million from the Global Avian Flu Fund will be devoted to strategic actions, including prevention facilities to ensure an efficient response. More...


5. Board Approves Largest Ever IBRD Investment Loan


The Board approved last week a $2.125 billion loan for the Kazakhstan South-West Roads Project. This project will help upgrade the trade route linking China to Russia and Western Europe through Kazakhstan, bringing a helpful economic stimulus to some of Kazakhstan’s poorest provinces. The project will boost Kazakhstan’s competitiveness and bring significant economic benefits to the country, as well as to Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Much of the road network in Kazakhstan was constructed during the Soviet era and has significantly deteriorated since then due to lack of adequate maintenance. More…

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6. Bank and UNODC Release Guide to Recover Looted Funds

The Bank and the United Nations Office against Drugs and Crime (UNODC) released a new guide to help countries recover looted funds even when there has not been a conviction for the crime. The publication, Stolen Asset Recovery: A Good Practices Guide for Non-Conviction Based Asset Forfeiture was produced under the auspices of the Bank’s and UNODC’s Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative (StAR), as part of its overall efforts to end impunity for corruption worldwide. NCB is often the only option that governments can use when the corrupt official or the person paying the bribe is dead, has fled the jurisdiction, is immune from prosecution, or is too powerful to prosecute—all common in cases of grand corruption. More... 


7. Bank Africa Vice President says Next G-20 Summit Must Focus on Development 


The Bank’s Vice President for the Africa Region Obiageli Ezekwesili says the next G-20 summit should focus on financing development if the negative impact of the global economic crisis on Africa is to be minimized. Even before the crisis affects Africa’s relatively sound financial sector, it already dangles the specter of political instability, social unrest, and could unleash a major humanitarian disaster on the “world’s last development frontier”, Ezekwesili told participants at a conference in Washington. Her remarks came in a keynote address delivered at the inauguration of the 2009 Annual Conference organized by the Washington-based Society for International Development on the theme “Finding Common Ground on Foreign Aid”. More... 

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8. IFC Launches Asset Management Company

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has taken a historic step to maximize its ability to mobilize capital to address the effects of the global financial crisis and serve longer-term development needs, setting up a subsidiary that for the first time will serve as a fund manager of third-party capital. The subsidiary, IFC Asset Management Company, LLC, announced that it has appointed Gavin Wilson as its first chief executive officer. Wilson, a British national, is currently a Managing Director in the Investment Banking Division at Goldman Sachs in London, where he has worked for the last 13 years. The launch of the subsidiary is a significant step for IFC, the largest multilateral financial institution investing in private enterprises in emerging markets, and follows an announcement last year by Bank President Robert Zoellick of a “one percent solution” for sovereign funds, which called on them to invest one percent of their holdings in equity in sub-Saharan Africa. More... 


9. Global Monitoring Report: Financial Crisis Undermining MDGs

An IMF-Bank report says the global financial crisis is imperiling attainment of the 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and creating an emergency for development. Most of the eight globally agreed goals are unlikely to be met, including those related to hunger, child and maternal mortality, education, and progress in combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other major diseases. The Global Monitoring Report 2009: A Development Emergency warns that, although the first goal of halving extreme poverty by 2015 from its 1990 level is still reachable based on current projections, risks abound. New estimates show that more than half of all developing countries could experience a rise in the number of extreme poor in 2009. More... 

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10. Financial Crisis Leads Bank to Triple Protection for the Vulnerable 

The Bank announced that its investments in safety nets and other social protection programs in health and education are projected to triple to US$12 billion over the next two years in order to protect the most vulnerable people from the worst effects of the global economic crisis. As part of this step-up in support, the Bank is increasing its fast track facility for the food price crisis to US$2 billion from US$1.2 billion to further help countries with the on-going food crisis. The Bank’s response reflects increasing concern that the current economic climate is pushing more people in the developing world into poverty, facing hunger and likely cut-backs in health, education, and other social programs. More... 


11. Global Education Initiative Faces US$1.2 Billion Financing Gap

A global push to enroll children in school faces an immediate financing gap of some $1.2 billion—a situation that threatens the goal of universal education by 2015, say backers of the Education for All-Fast Track Initiative (EFA-FTI). Supporters from 34 countries endorsed a campaign April 25 during the World Bank-IMF Spring Meetings to mobilize resources for the program, an international partnership set up in 2002 to provide all boys and girls in developing countries a complete primary school education by 2015. Some 37 low-income countries are endorsed by the EFA – FTI and most of them are counting on financial support for education so more children can go to school. Another 10 countries hope to join the partnership before the end of 2010 and send millions of out-of-school children to primary school. More... 

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12. Environmental Activist Wangari Maathai Speaks at the Bank on Need for Environmental Protection

Greenbelt Movement founder, 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Winner, politician, and environmental activist Wangari Maathai recently made a stop at the Bank headquarters in Washington DC to give talk on the dangerous consequences of environmental degradation. She urged the World Bank to use its influence with policy makers to help reverse disaster courting policies adopted by some African countries. Maathai was joined by Bruce Babbitt, Chairman of the World Wildlife Fund, in an installment of the Distinguished Seminar Series, co-sponsored by the InfoShop and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) and moderated by Apurva Sanghi, Bank Senior Economist.  Professor Maathai was on a tour of the United States to promote her book Challenges of Africa that analyzes the most egregious bottlenecks to development in Africa, chief among them wanton and shortsighted destruction of the environment.  More... 

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REGIONAL NEWS AND PROJECTS

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AFRICA

Bank Challenges CSOs to Advance Development across Africa


The Bank has challenged civil society organizations (CSOs) in Africa to build the solid coalitions and partnerships that are needed to hold governments, development partners, and donors accountable for delivering on the promise of development. The challenge was issued during a video conference, which enabled more than 200 leaders of CSOs from 18 Sub-Saharan African countries to link to each other and to Bank headquarters in Washington, DC. The conference was the final session of day-long seminars held separately in each of the countries. The seminars focused on introducing CSOs to the way the Bank works and on encouraging them to get more involved in monitoring the implementation of Bank-funded programs to ensure the programs deliver results to Africans. More... 

 

Bank Doubles Lending to Nigeria to Strengthen Fight against Malaria

The World Bank will provide an additional US$300 million in International Development Association (IDA) funding to expand Nigeria’s efforts to control malaria. Managing Director Ngozi N. Okonjo-Iweala made the announcement at the One World against Malaria Summit in Washington, DC. This new financing is in response to a request from the Government of Nigeria as it seeks to accelerate progress toward the ambitious target set last year by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. The aggressive target, established last year on World Malaria Day, calls for everyone who needs malaria protection to have it by the end of 2010. US$100 million of the $300 million request is on a fast track for consideration by the Bank’s Board of Executive Directors in June 2009. The new support will help close remaining gaps for net distribution, malaria treatment, diagnostics, awareness-raising, behavior change communication, and engagement of grassroots organizations in the fight. More...

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EAST ASIA AND THE PACIFIC

Agreement to Modernize Vietnam’s Finance Sector

The State Bank of Vietnam and the Bank signed a concessional credit of close to US$60 million for the modernization of Vietnam’s Finance sector. The credit for Vietnam’s Finance Sector Modernization and Information Management System Project comes from the International Development Association (IDA), the Bank’s concessional lending arm. The funds will assist the State Bank of Vietnam, the Credit Information Center, and the Deposit Insurance of Vietnam to reform and modernize the financial sector by improving delivery of their main functions in line with international standards. The IDA credit will finance technical assistance for their functional strengthening, capacity building, and business process re-engineering. And a major portion of the US$60 million will be used to build modern, centralized information and communications technology (ICT) platform to support the State Bank of Vietnam’s evolving role as a central bank. Read more... 

 

Knowledge for Development Center Provides Access to Persons with Disabilities


The Knowledge for Development Center (KDC) in Central Philippine University (CPU), Iloilo is now open to persons with disabilities. Recently equipped with modern adaptive equipment and facilities, CPU KDC is now more accessible to the blind and visually impaired. Aside from the free use of these facilities, CPU KDC will also offer training on the use of assistive devices, as well as outreach activities to help educators assist PWDs on the use of these devices and become more sensitive to their needs. Disability affects the lives of more than 650 million people globally, the majority of who live in developing countries. This makes it essential that disabled people be included in development efforts in order to improve the economic and human welfare of millions of poor people in the developing world. Disabled people are often excluded from school and the workplace and are forced to depend on others in the family and community for physical and economic support. More... 

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EUROPE AND CENTRAL ASIA

Global Crisis Pushing Almost 35 Million People Back Into Poverty


After enjoying a decade of strong growth and poverty reduction, the countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia (ECA) are now seeing the global economic and financial crisis push almost 35 million people back into poverty and vulnerability, or about one-third of the people that had escaped from it over the last ten years, the Bank said at its regular regional economic briefing at the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings. Nearly 90 million of the Region’s 480 million people – about 18 percent of the population – have moved out of poverty and vulnerability since 1999. But these gains are at risk as a result of the financial crisis. More... 

Implementation of Inspections and Licensing Reforms Reviewed in Tajikistan


On May 4, the Bank’s Private Sector Development team and the State Committee on Investment and State Property Management of the Republic of Tajikistan (SCISPM) conducted a meeting to discuss the main findings and recommendations of a report by the international consulting firm Jacobs & Associates “Assessment of the Implementation of Inspections and Licensing Reforms in Tajikistan”. The report, a so-called compliance review, monitored the progress in implementing the Law on Licensing (2004) and the Law on Inspections (2006) in four state bodies. It found that implementation of licensing reforms has made significant progress since the adoption of the new law, while reforms in the field of inspections were still at an early stage of implementation. More... 

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LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN

Bank Approves New Strategic Partnership with Paraguay


The Bank’s Executive Board of Directors on May 5, announced a New Strategic Partnership with Paraguay with US$500 million in assistance for 2009-2013. These funds will be used to reduce poverty, foster economic growth and improve governance. The Board also approved a US$100 million Public Sector Policy Development Loan to minimize the impact of the global economic crisis while improving fiscal performance. Paraguay faces critical challenges in terms of social inclusion and governance. Poverty, traditionally endemic in rural areas, now is also present in urban settings. The country has the fourth highest income inequality rate in Latin America, while land concentration tops the list worldwide. Furthermore, multiple public opinion surveys have found that most Paraguayans do not trust the government, and consider it corrupt. More... 

 

State of the Cities Report Proposal Approved by Cities Alliance 


The Cities Alliance has approved a proposal to co-finance a Brazil State of the Cities Report which will provide an analysis of the living conditions of a sample of 400 Brazilian municipalities out of total of more than 5500. Brazil has urbanized rapidly over the past few decades. According to a 2000 census, over 80 percent of the population lives in urban areas. However, much of this urbanization has been unequal; population has grown around state capitals and neighboring municipalities of larger metropolitan areas, while other regions have experienced negative growth rates. The result has been pockets of poverty with increased social exclusion and environmental hazards. The Cities report will provide the opportunity to analyze the country’s socially diverse urban areas and identify issues for public debate that can be used to reinforce the national urban agenda and policy strategies set by local authorities. More...

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MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Towards a Palestinian Land Management Reform Program


Secure land tenure and property rights have taken on greater historical and cultural significance for Palestinians in recent years. The Palestinian Authority emphasized land management and surveying as its top priority in its Palestinian Reform and Development Plan (PRDP). Implementation of this key PRDP priority is being done under a program called the “Land Administration Program”, which aims to enhance economic growth by developing, within a framework of laws, an efficient and trusted system of land registration and cadastre that would establish private land rights for citizens and businesses. Long term donor support for this Program aims to increase the confidence of Palestinians in the security of titles, enable an increase in the number of formal transactions as well as collateralized lending, enhance local revenues from land and property related fees and taxes, and support the establishment of a strategy for Public Land Management. More... 

 

Impact of the Global Financial Crisis on Region's Economies


Although financial systems in MENA countries have not been highly vulnerable to the crisis so far due to their limited integration with global financial institutions, the impact of the global recession on the real economy can be significant in many MENA countries. It is expected that the crisis will cause an increase in poverty in MENA. With a significant number of people living above or close to the poverty line, the sensitivity of poverty to external shocks is high. The Bank’s knowledge resources are being mobilized to support our client countries in their efforts to monitor economic and social development, review scenarios and policy options, design policy responses, and implement reforms in these critical times. Read more… 

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SOUTH ASIA


Afghanistan, Pakistan Pledge Support for Electricity Trade Project with Central Asia


President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan and President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan on May 8, issued a joint statement pledging their support for a proposed US$680 million regional electricity transmission project that would supply summer surplus power from Tajikistan and the Kyrgyz Republic to the Afghan capital of Kabul and the north west of Pakistan. The joint statement on the Central Asia South Asia Electricity Transmission and Trade Project (CASA 1000) was issued after a meeting in Washington with Bank President Robert B. Zoellick. This is the first phase of a program to create a regional electricity market by facilitating electricity trade between the energy-resource rich countries of Central Asia, and the energy-deficit countries of Afghanistan and Pakistan in South Asia. More... 

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EVENTS/WEBSITES & BLOGS

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Wrapping up the 2009 Spring Meetings

Sameer Vasta notes on the Spring Meetings blog that “The 2009 Spring Meetings have now come to a close. We hope that you enjoyed getting a quick look at some of the events and announcements coming out of this year's Meetings, and that this blog was a useful way to get quick snippets of information and insight from this past weekend's proceedings. This blog will stay live in its current state until the next round of World Bank meetings, most probably the Annual Meetings taking place this fall. Until then, feel free to go through the archives, or click through the daily highlights to get targeted information about some of the big events and announcements that took place.” More... 

 

World Bank Launches Online Youth Forum

Youthink! is the World Bank’s Webby Award-winning website for young people. The site’s goals are to inform young people about development issues, and inspire them to get involved. The site has recently launched a blog, with the goal of bringing fresh voices, ideas and enthusiasm, to the site, and making Youthink! a social platform for youth discussion on development topics. The seven young bloggers chosen for the launch come from a diverse range of backgrounds, offering global points of view through the lens of their uniquely local perspectives. The blog has inspired the Youthink! audience to join in the conversation, and engage in lively debates and discussions with the bloggers on issues like climate change and the financial crisis, and how youth can be involved in creating change. Join the Conversation…

 

Obama’s Trade Policy Test


On the Crisis Talk blog Caroline Freund reports that “A special safeguard case against imported tires from China, initiated by the United Steelworkers (USW), was announced this week. Under China's WTO accession agreement, members are permitted special safeguards until 2013. This is the first such case filed under the new administration. The U.S. International Trade Commission has 60 days to rule on the petition and make a recommendation. If it rules in favor, President Obama will have 90 days to decide on a remedy. During the previous administration, six special safeguard cases were filed, four went to President Bush, but none were acted on. Bush cited standard free trade principles in declining to act.” Join the conversation… 

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PUBLICATIONS/PODCAST

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Social Safety Nets: Lessons from Rich and Poor Countries


As the global recession threatens to hamstring the pace of poverty reduction everywhere, many countries—both rich and poor—hope to cushion the blow through a fiscal stimulus. Some of the questions that governments are trying to grapple with include the size of such stimulus packages, the types of spending they should consist of, and the channels through which they might work most efficiently. Martin Ravallion, Director of the Bank’s Development Research Group, and an expert on global poverty, emphasizes that there are many reasons why a stimulus that favors poorer people is more likely to have a stronger impact than one that does not. More... 

 

Building Citizenship through Social Guarantees


This book examines the validity of a social guarantees approach as a framework for evaluating, monitoring, and improving the design of social policy. Social guarantees are defined as sets of policy mechanisms that determine citizens’ entitlements related to basic services and ensure their fulfillment on the part of the state. The social guarantee concept gives operational expression to fundamental human rights principles by providing mechanisms for awareness, participation, equity, and redress in the delivery of social policy. In addition, the social guarantees approach responds to an emerging global need for a comprehensive social policy model that can face up to the challenges of inclusive and sustainable globalization. The book, subtitled “New Approaches to Social Policy, Equity and the Realization of Rights” includes analytical case studies from Africa, and the Latin American and Caribbean region. More... 

FOR A FULL LIST of available publications:
http://publications.worldbank.org/ecommerce/ 

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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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