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2010 Annual Meetings: Milestone for Civil Society Participation

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CSO Townhall with WB President

Reflecting the theme of promoting greater openness, the recently concluded 2010 World Bank / IMF Annual Meetings (AMs) signified an important milestone for civil society participation.  Not only was it the largest gathering of CSOs in a Washington-based AMs, but CSO leaders were invited for the first time to participate in the official Opening Plenary.  CSOs also organized numerous policy sessions on a wide range of topics, from environmental safeguards and energy strategy to health effectiveness. 

A total of 400 civil society representatives from over 62 countries attended the AMs (see list of accredited participants). As in past years, the Bank and Fund also sponsored CSO representatives from developing countries to attend in order to ensure that Southern voices and perspectives were adequately represented. They were selected from a pool of nominations generated by Bank and Fund country offices and several policy advocacy CSOs. The 37 CSO Fellows came from 32 countries and represented a variety of organizations (i.e. NGOs, trade unions, think-thanks, and faith-based groups) and thematic areas (education, environment, youth, economic development, and governance). (see list of CSO Fellows)

Policy Forum PosterCSO representatives also participated actively and/or hosted a number of policy  sessions during the Civil Society Policy Forum (CS Forum) which was held from October 6 – 10 and comprised 50 policy dialogue sessions. The sessions which attracted the most attention were related to the: WB’s safeguard policies (including free, prior, and informed consent) and energy / environment strategies review; IFC’s sustainability framework and agribusiness policies reviews; and the IMF’s Taxing Financial Transactions paper. For session summaries, participants lists, and presentations visit the online CS Forum schedule. CSO representatives also held numerous bilateral meetings with Bank and Fund Executive Directors, senior managers (Vice Presidents and Directors), and regional staff.   CSOs also participated as speakers in the Program of Seminars and in the Open Forum, which was a live online discussion via video streaming, blogs, and tweets on development issues involving several thousand participants worldwide. 

CSO Townhall 2As usual, the highlight of the CS Forum was the CSO Townhall with IMF Managing Director Strauss-Khan and WBG President, Robert Zoellick.  The townhall was chaired by Jo Marie Griesgraber of New Rules Coalition, and followed a new format in which the floor was first provided to two CSO discussants – Dickson Khainga of Kenya and Bishop David Niringiye of Uganda – who framed the issues for two senior managers to respond.  The format generated an  interactive and substantive exchange on a variety of topics which included IFI governance reform, post-conflict reconstruction, and gender equality.  (see tape and transcript).

EXTVP Hosting CSO ReceptionThe most important event for civil society participation, however, was the invitation extended to 25 CSO leaders to attend the Opening Plenary of the Annual Meetings.  This is the most formal event of the Annual Meetings and is headlined by the Finance Ministers of 187 member countries. The format of this year’s Opening Plenary was revised and shortened, featuring only three keynote speeches. Mr. Zoellick delivered a power point on the state of global development and what steps the Bank is taking to help restart economic development and intensify poverty reduction efforts. 

2010 AMS Photo Gallery  
CS Forum Schedule 
CS Townhall video and transcript
Lists of accredited CSO participants  and fellows  
2010 Annual Meetings General Information for CSO 
CSOs @ AMs Video 
CSOs Evaluate 2010 Annual Meetings Civil Society Policy Forum 

Last updated: 2011-02-16

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