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Civil Society Engagement eNewsletter - June 2009

1. CSO Participants Assess Usefulness of Spring Meetings CS Policy Forum
2. CSO Observers Sought for Climate Investment Funds (CIF)
3. Bank Consults with CSOs on Urban Strategy
4. Brazilian Economist Named Poverty Reduction Vice President
5. Global Slump Set to Continue, Poor Countries Need More Help
6. Bank Establishes Agriculture Finance Support Facility
7. Fast-Tracking US$500 Million to Better Prepare for Pandemic Flu
8. Report Shows Bank’s Impact on Global Corruption
9. Bank Debars Four for Engaging in Fraud in Bank-Financed Projects
10. Review of IDA Internal Controls
11. Independent Evaluation of IFC's Development Results 2009
12. MIGA Preparing for the Post-Recovery
13. Carbon Finance Key Part of Future Climate Change Fight 

* REGIONS
* WEBSITES & BLOGS
* JOBS
* PUBLICATIONS


1. CSO Participants Assess Usefulness of Spring Meetings CS Policy Forum

The WB and IMF Fund's Civil Society Teams surveyed civil society representatives who attended the 2009 Spring Meetings to ascertain their views on the Civil Society Policy Forum and other events. The majority of those surveyed (72%) stated that their main reason for having attended the Spring Meetings was to “network and share information”. In terms of the usefulness of events organized, respondents gave the highest marks to the “policy dialogue sessions” (80%) followed by the reception with Messrss. Zoellick and Strauss-Kahn. In terms of overall quality of the CS Forum 80% of respondents rated them as good and very good. Recommendations to improve the Forum included allocating more time for discussion, provide more opportunities for CSO representatives to be speakers and moderators, and presence of more Bank staff. More

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2. CSO Observers Sought for Climate Investment Funds (CIF)

The Bank’s Environmental Department is seeking civil society representatives to serve as observers on two Climate Investment Fund (CIF) Trust Fund Committees. The Bank has contracted a leading public policy dispute resolution organization, RESOLVE, to manage this self-selection process. The CIFs, which are managed by the World Bank and implemented jointly with the Regional Development Banks, were established through an inclusive and consultative process in support of the Bali Action Plan and approved by the World Bank Board in July 2008. Application forms, criteria, and instructions for the observer seats are available on the RESOLVE website (www.resolv.org/cif). Application instructions and criteria will be posted in Arabic, Bengali, Cambodian/Khmer, French, Nepali, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Tajik, and Turkish during the week of June 15. Completed applications are due by Wednesday, July 15. More


3. Bank Consultation Meeting with CSOs on Urban

The World Bank is in the process of preparing a new Urban and Local Government Strategy and launched a series of regional and institutional consultations beginning in January 2009. Consultations have taken place through face-to-face meetings, video-conferencing, and using a specially-designed interactive website for the Urban Strategy (www.wburbanstrategy.org). InterAction hosted a lunch meeting on June 9, 2009 between the World Bank’s Urban Strategy Team and US-based CSOs and research centers to discuss the draft strategy analysis and recommendations. Participants included representatives from the Urban Institute, Habitat for Humanity, Global Urban Development, International Trade Union Confederations, International Housing Coalition, and Heinrich Boell Foundation. Visit the Urban Team’s website for a summary not of the discussion. More…

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4. Brazilian Economist Named Poverty Reduction Vice President

Otaviano Canuto was appointed on May 4 as Vice President for the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network (PREM), which coordinates the Bank’s policies on poverty reduction, debt, trade, gender, and other related areas. Otaviano brings a distinguished set of skills to this position from academia and government at both the national and international levels. A Brazilian national and macroeconomist, Otaviano was previously Vice President for Countries at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in Washington, DC. Before that he served for three years as World Bank Executive Director representing Brazil, and was Vice-Minister of International Affairs, in the Brazilian Ministry of Finance. Otaviano is the author of numerous academic articles and books and holds a doctorate in economics from State University of Campinas (UNICAMP) and a Master of Arts in Economics from Concordia University, Montreal. More..


5. Global Slump Set to Continue, Poor Countries Need More Help

Bank President Robert B. Zoellick has said the world economy is set to contract this year by more than previously estimated, and poor countries will continue to be hit hard by multiple waves of economic stress. Even with the stabilization of financial markets in many developed economies, unemployment and under-utilization of capacity continue to rise, putting downward pressure on the global economy. According to the latest Bank estimates, the global economy will decline this year by close to 3 percent, a significant revision from a previous estimate of 1.7 percent. According to revised Bank estimates, the overall financing gap for developing countries will be between US$350 billion to US$635 billion in 2009, down somewhat from earlier estimates due to improved current account outturns, but still huge amounts. Read more… 

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6. Bank Establishes Agriculture Finance Support Facility

In recognition of the financial crisis hitting the poorest the hardest, the Bank announced a new venture to support the expansion of rural finance in the developing world. The Bank will establish the Agriculture Finance Support Facility through a US$20 million Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation contribution. The Facility will support grants to bank and non-bank institutions so they can provide increased access to credit and insurance for rural producers in developing countries. Even before the financial crisis, most of the over 1 billion smallholder farmers worldwide and many of the rural entrepreneurs of the developing world had little to no access to financial services. Since the financial crisis, access to these needed services has become even more strained. Read more…


7. Fast-Tracking US$500 Million to Better Prepare for Pandemic Flu

The World Bank today approved ‘fast-track’ status for US $500 million dollars to help countries finance emergency operations to prevent and control outbreaks of Influenza A (H1N1). The money will top up an existing US$500 million credit line set up in January 2006 to minimize the threat posed to people by the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus H5N1, especially in the poorest countries. Fifty-seven countries used the credit line to finance avian influenza control and human pandemic preparedness operations with a total commitment value of US $421 million. The Bank’s decision will expand the credit line to allow the Bank to ‘fast-track’ emergency H1N1 financing to low and middle-income countries to buy drugs, medical equipment and supplies, to pay for hospital care and public information campaigns, to strengthen human and livestock health surveillance, and help to blunt the economic and social costs associated with pandemic flu. Read more…

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8. Report Shows Bank’s Impact on Global Corruption

The Bank’s Integrity Vice Presidency (INT) made significant headway in the fight against corruption during Fiscal Year 2008, a new report released by the Bank says. INT closed 243 investigations and completed a large-scale review of projects in India’s health sector while simultaneously implementing the 18 recommendations of the Independent Review Panel headed by former US Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker. According to the report, “Protecting Development’s Potential: Fiscal Year 2008 Annual Integrity Report,” the implementation of the recommendations already has begun to dramatically improve the unit’s value to the Bank and the Bank’s ability to ensure that funds reach their intended beneficiaries. Read more…


9. Bank Debars Four for Engaging in Fraud in Bank-Financed Projects

The Bank announced that it has debarred a Ukrainian non-governmental organization, a Turkish firm, and two individuals for having engaged in fraud in relation to Bank-financed projects. The debarments, which resulted from investigations by the Bank’s Integrity Department (INT), are part of the Bank’s broader anti-corruption agenda. Leonard McCarthy, Vice President for Integrity said, “The outcomes of these cases demonstrate that the Bank is making significant strides in addressing fraud and corruption, which is especially important given the current economic crisis.” The Ukrainian Centre for International Integration (UCII) is ineligible to be awarded a contract under a Bank Group-financed operation for a period of two years, and its former Executive Director, Natalia Yasko, is debarred for a period of three years. Read more…

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10. Review of IDA Internal Controls

The key purpose of the International Development Agency's (IDA) internal control system is to assure its stakeholders that IDA complies with its articles and policies, and that the funds it provides for development purposes are used as intended and show measurable results. This evaluation is the first of its kind done by any international development finance institution. It was carried out over several stages through a detailed management self-assessment, a review by the Bank’s Internal Auditing Department (IAD), and a comprehensive independent evaluation by IEG. A senior outside advisory panel has validated IEG’s approach and its conclusions. Read more…


11. Independent Evaluation of IFC's Development Results 2009

This annual flagship report of the Independent Evaluation Group, reviews International Finance Corporation’s effectiveness in supporting private sector development and its contributions to economic growth, poverty reduction, and sustainable development. This year's report provides a first global review of IFC's advisory services to private firms and governments, such as customized training or advice on investment promotion and policy. IFC's advisory portfolio has grown tenfold to nearly $1 billion in the last seven years. The substantial growth raises important questions related to the appropriate balance of advisory and investment services to ensure maximum development impact. Read more...

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12. MIGA Preparing for the Post-Recovery

The global economic crisis remains a challenge that continues to adversely impact the lives of millions of people, their jobs and livelihoods. But, economists are beginning to talk about the possibility of a turn-around starting next year. As everyone continues to move forward through the uncertainty, the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) is proactively positioning for the recovery it expects will take place -- enhancing its flexibility and effectiveness. MIGA has supported joint initiatives and programs for Eastern Europe, Africa, and Latin America to help economies in these regions emerge from the current turmoil. MIGA recently adopted changes to its operational regulations in order to respond to the crisis more flexibly and to meet rapidly changing market conditions. Read more…


13. Carbon Finance Key Part of Future Climate Change Fight

The Bank’s State and Trends of the Carbon Market Report 2009 reveals the market doubled to $126 billion. Not as welcome is the news that the value of transactions financing actual project-based emission reductions fell 12 percent to an estimated $6.5 billion in 2008. The drop was the result of a complex set of factors related to difficulty obtaining financing for climate-friendly projects during the financial crisis, regulatory delays and uncertainty surrounding the future of the market under a new global climate change agreement expected to take effect in 2012. As delegates from 120 countries gathered at Carbon Expo 2009 in Barcelona, discussions focused on potential growth in both the carbon market and on-the-ground measures to combat climate change. Read more…

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REGIONAL NEWS AND PROJECTS

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AFRICA


New Private Equity Fund to Strengthen Health Care in Africa

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the African Development Bank, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the German development finance institution DEG announced that they have created a new private equity fund that will invest in Africa’s health sector. The Health in Africa Fund will invest in small- and medium-sized companies in sub-Saharan Africa, such as health clinics and diagnostic centers, with the goal of helping low-income Africans gain access to affordable, high-quality health services. The fund will help implement key recommendations of IFC’s report, ‘The Business of Health in Africa: Partnering with the Private Sector to Improve People’s Lives,’ which found that the private sector already delivers about half of all health-related goods and services in Africa, and that greater investment in private health companies could have major health and economic benefits for low-income Africans. Read more…

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EAST ASIA AND THE PACIFIC


Indonesia’s Empowerment of Female Heads of Households is Best Practice

The international community is turning to Indonesia to learn how to create and implement successful poverty reduction programs led by female heads of households. Development practitioners and policymakers in Asian countries like India, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, and Vietnam were connected through Video Conference, to learn from the Indonesian experience in a regional workshop entitled “Change through Empowerment – The Journey of Female Heads of Households in Indonesia”. The success stories shared were from projects facilitated by the Female Heads of Households Empowerment Program. The program evolved from the idea to document the lives of widows in conflict areas, and give them access to resources in order to help them overcome their economic problems and trauma. This program has been fully supported by grants from the Japan Social Development Fund through the Bank. Read more...

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EUROPE AND CENTRAL ASIA


Region is Facing Significant Climate Change Threats

The Bank warned that the impact of climate change in the Europe and Central Asia Region will be more significant than expected due to a lingering post-Soviet legacy of environmental mismanagement and the poor state of much of the Region’s infrastructure, leaving the countries poorly prepared to adapt. “Europe and Central Asia suffers from an ‘adaptation deficit’ that is already challenged by recent climate variability,” said Marianne Fay, Director of the Bank’s World Development Report 2010, and author of the new report ‘Adapting to Climate Change in Europe and Central Asia’, “which will only worsen with the consequences of projected trends in climate in the coming decades.” Launched during the Bonn Climate Change Talks, the report says that, contrary to popular perception, the Region is significantly threatened by climate change and is already experiencing the consequences: increasing variability, warmer temperatures, changing hydrology, and more extremes. Read more…

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LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN


Fast-track Recovery from Crisis Likely for Latin America

Latin America is likely to bounce back from its economic troubles faster than other regions because of its sound economic fundamentals and better preparedness to fight a global financial crisis, said the Bank’s regional Chief Economist, Augusto de la Torre. Although the region has been impacted by the global economic meltdown and its growth projections for 2009 have declined by an estimated 0.7 percent of GDP, Latin America is better positioned to successfully overcome economic challenges, return to its growth path and continue to attract foreign investment, de la Torre said in a presentation of regional economic projections in Washington, DC. De la Torre linked Latin America´s “bounce back” with that of industrialized countries. The benefits to the region from a fast recovery -he said- depend on how quickly the center recovers, but that growth likely will rebound as the region has not borrowed, and managed to save during good times. Read more…

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MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA


Egypt Hosts the Second MENA Carbon Forum

The latest carbon market developments and the future of carbon finance in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region were discussed during the second edition of the MENA Carbon Forum which was held in Cairo last month. The forum was hosted by the government of Egypt and co-organized by the World Bank Carbon Finance-Assist Program, in partnership other development agencies and the Bank's Global Gas Flaring Reduction (GGFR) Initiative. The second edition of the MENA carbon forum in Egypt built on the success of the first event in Morocco. The two-day forum brought together the regional stakeholders that are active in the carbon market: project owners and developers, CDM governance bodies, financial institutions, carbon market buyers and intermediaries, and service providers. Read more…

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SOUTH ASIA

Is There a Need for Counter-cyclical Fiscal Policy?

The ongoing global financial crisis has significantly reduced South Asia’s growth prospects for 2009-10. “The initial fear of high inflation has now been replaced by declining growth and the ensuing impact on South Asia’s poor,” said Ejaz Ghani, the Bank’s Economic Advisor for South Asia Region. The poorest segment is more vulnerable to economic downturns. “Unlike developed economies, South Asian countries do not have automatic stabilizers or social safety nets that take effect to minimize adverse effects during economic slowdowns,” he added. Thus the question South Asian policymakers must consider is how to use discretionary fiscal measures to boost demand and protect growth, consistent with medium-term macroeconomic stability. “Given the high levels of public debt, the options are limited for most South Asian countries.” In developed countries, discretionary fiscal policies have typically been counter-cyclical - that is, taxes are cut and spending increased during downturns to promote economic recovery and growth. Read more…

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WEBSITES & BLOGS

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Why Aid to Africa Must Increase

Shanta notes on the Africa Can blog that “In rich countries, when economic growth declines by three or four percentage points, people lose their jobs and possibly their houses, but they regain them when the economy rebounds. In poor African countries, children get pulled out of school—and miss out on becoming productive adults. In some cases, children die before they have a chance to go to school. If the current growth collapse is typical of the ones Africa has experienced in the past, an additional 700,000 African children may die before their first birthday. In short, the effects of the global recession on Africa will be permanent. So the idea that aid may be threatened because of the recession in rich countries seems to have the logic backwards.” Join the conversation…

Are Mobile Phones Better Learning Tools than Computers? 

Blogger Michael Trucano informs us on the EduTech blog that InfoDev and UNESCO have teamed up to sponsor a series of monthly on-line discussions on low-cost ICT initiatives for educational systems in developing countries. The debate for June is titled “Mobile Phones: Better Learning Tools than Computers? To help get things started, Dr. Robert Kozma has staked out a position that "Computers are More Capable than Mobile Phones", while I counter that "Phones Are a Real Alternative to Computers". Moderating the discussion is Wayan Vota, the creator of the independent OLPCnews.com site. Join the conversation…

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JOBS

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Social Development Specialist - Jakarta, Indonesia

The World Bank’s Social Development Department in Indonesia seeks a Social Development Specialist who will provide technical advice to the Conflict and Development program coordinator and to several rural development project teams in order to up-scale and mainstream conflict resolution work. This unit manages a challenging mix of community development operations, analytical tasks, and policy dialogue. More…

Senior Human Development Specialist - Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire

The Africa Human Development Sector Unit (AFTH2) of the World Bank seeks a HD Sector Lead Specialist. The incumbent will be an International Hire located in the World Bank’s Abidjan Office and primarily responsible for programs in the Western Africa Region, but also may be called upon to provide support in his/her area of sector expertise throughout the region. More… 

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

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PUBLICATIONS

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Agricultural Land Redistribution

Despite 250 years of land reform all over the world, important land inequalities remain, especially in Latin America and Southern Africa. While in these countries, there is near consensus on the need for redistribution, much controversy persists around how to redistribute land peacefully and legally, often blocking progress on implementation. This book subtitled “Towards Greater Consensus on the ‘How’“ focuses on the "how" of land redistribution in order to forge greater consensus among land reform practitioners and enable them to make better choices on the mechanisms of land reform. Reviews and case studies describe and analyze the alternative implementation options. Read more...


Climate Change and the World Bank Group Phase: Phase I: An Evaluation of World Bank Win-Win Energy Policy Reforms

Climate change threatens to derail development, even as development pumps ever-greater quantities of carbon dioxide into an atmosphere already polluted with two centuries of Western emissions. This evaluation edited by John Redwood III and Jouni Eerikainen assesses the Bank's experience with key win-win policies in the energy sector. For more information and/or to order now 

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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