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Civil Society Engagement eNewsletter - April 2012

1. Civil Society Policy Forum @ World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings
2. World Bank Launches Global Partnership on Social Accountability
3. Spring Meetings - 5 Questions in 5 Minutes
4. Open Access Policy; Open Knowledge Repository
5. Governance and Anti-corruption Remain Integral to World Bank’s Work
6. AusAid Report Recognizes World Bank as Leader in Transparency and for Contribution to Multilateral System
7. The World Bank Partners With CSOs to Launch a Global Legal Empowerment Network
8. Opening up Data on World Bank Trust Funds
9. Road Safety: How We Can Jointly Support the Decade of Action
10. The Bank Brings Southern Youth Leaders to High Level Meetings with EU and Global Players in Brussels

REGIONAL NEWS AND PROJECTS
ON THE BLOGS 
 

MAIN STORIES

1. Civil Society Policy Forum @ World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings:
An unprecedented number of 450 CSO/youth leaders and academics from around the World are expected to participate in this year’s Spring Meetings of the World Bank and the IMF scheduled from April 18 through April 21. Highlight of the Civil Society Program will be a roundtable with Executive Directors and a high level session with Bank President Robert Zoellick on social accountability. Some 45 policy sessions are being held on a wide variety of topics including: jobs, safety nets, energy access, and climate change. To those who are already accredited to attend, we welcome you and for others, who might not be able to attend, you can view sessions online and also share your thoughts using the following hashtags; #wblive and #wbcso. More… 


2. World Bank Launches Global Partnership on Social Accountability
The World Bank Board of Executive Directors has aproved in principle the creation of a Global Partnership for Social Accountability (GPSA). The GPSA is a new mechanism to scale up and support social accountability by beneficiary groups and civil society organizations (CSOs) in developing countries. Speaking on this historic initiative, the outgoing World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick said that “the Bank understands now more than ever that citizen voice and the engagement of project beneficiaries are crucial for lasting development results.” The Bank’s Board will review operational details of the proposed Partnership in June 2012. More...

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3. Spring Meetings - 5 Questions in 5 Minutes
During this year's World Bank and International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings from April 18 to 21, leaders from government, private sector, and civil society will be answering questions put forth by the public in live webcast interviews. This is an innovative way by the External Affairs Department of the World Bank to bring the Spring Meetings to global citizens’ participation. Ask a question now for a leader's interview and check back frequently as we continue to add more people to the schedule. Go here to participate.


4. Open Access Policy; Open Knowledge Repository
The World Bank recently announced that it will implement a new Open Access policy for its research outputs and knowledge products, effective July 1, 2012. The new policy comes just two years after the institution launched its epic Access to Information Policy which has increased access to information at the World Bank and is making its research as widely available as possible. As the first phase of this policy, the Bank on April 10, 2012 launched a new Open Knowledge Repository and adopted a set of Creative Commons copyright licenses. The new Open Access policy, which will be rolled out in phases in the coming year, formalizes the Bank’s practice of making research and knowledge freely available online. Now anybody is free to use, re-use and redistribute most of the Bank's knowledge products and research outputs for commercial or non-commercial purposes. More…

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5. Governance and Anti-corruption Remain Integral to World Bank’s Work
The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors recently endorsed the institution’s updated governance and anti-corruption (GAC 2) strategy and implementation plan as an integral part of the work to improve development effectiveness, reduce poverty, and promote economic growth. Building on the successes and lessons learned from the 2007 GAC strategy, GAC 2 will focus on increasing and systematizing governance and anti-corruption work in country and sector programs; strengthening country institutions; better measuring results from programs and policies; managing risks; supporting governance in global initiatives; and improving the organization of the Bank’s internal resources for governance work. More…


6. AusAid Report Recognizes World Bank as Leader in Transparency and for Contribution to Multilateral System
An Australian Multilateral Assessment launched on March 30th ranked the World Bank Group as a leading organization by criteria analyzing results, relevance, and organizational behavior as compared to 42 multilateral development organizations reviewed in the report. The World Bank Group was ranked the most effective organization in three out of the seven criteria, including: transparency and accountability (WB); strategic management and performance (IFC); and contribution to the wider multilateral development system (WB). Overall, the World Bank was ranked 'very strong' or 'strong' in six out of seven criteria, including delivering results on poverty and sustainable development; alignment with Australia’s aid priorities and, cost and value consciousness. More…

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7. The World Bank Partners With CSOs to Launch a Global Legal Empowerment Network
The Bank joined a number of CSOs to recently launch the Global Legal Empowerment Network. It was established to foster dialogue, share tools, and ultimately a movement for legal empowerment worldwide. It brings together development agency staff, community paralegals, concerned citizens, NGO representatives, public interest lawyers, journalists, and government officials. The Network aims to help practitioners learn from one another and build a broader, stronger movement for legal empowerment. This initiative complements existing World Bank work around Demand for Good Governance (DFGG) and social accountability. Legal empowerment can play an important role in improving service outcomes, promoting equitable development, and securing remedies for breaches of service. More…


8. Opening up Data on World Bank Trust Funds
As part of its continued efforts on Open Development, the World Bank now has made available new datasets on the important role played by Bank-managed trust funds on the Open Finances website (finances.worldbank.org). The World Bank Group portfolio consists of various types of trust funds which have different roles and purposes. As of June 30, 2011, the Bank Group held $29.1 billion of funds in trust. Making this information public means that users can now explore the diversity of donors who contribute to trust funds, the recipients of these funds, the development challenges addressed by the funds, and monetary contribution/ disbursement amounts. The website makes it easy to use, reuse, and share data, including tailored visualizations that users can create through filters and easily share with social networks. More… 

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9. Road Safety: How We Can Jointly Support the Decade of Action
Road crashes are the leading cause of death worldwide for youth aged 10-24. Of the 1.3 million killed on the world’s roads each year, 90 percent are in developing countries. Nearly half of those dying on the world’s roads are “vulnerable road users”: pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists. Another 50 million are injured and sometimes permanently disabled, limiting their productive years and quality of life. This epidemic is an urgent development and public health concern to which the UN responded by launching the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020. In addition, multilateral development banks, including the World Bank, have declared road safety a priority investment area for their client countries. Civil society organizations have an important advocacy and operational role to play in supporting the Decade, as shown by the recent creation of a global alliance of road safety NGOs. This dialogue with CSOs convened by Safe Kids Worldwide and the World Bank’s Global Road Safety Facility (GRSF) will update participants on civil society engagement with road safety and explore how CSOs can get involved. More…


10. The Bank Brings Southern Youth Leaders to High Level Meetings with EU and Global Players in Brussels
The World Bank External Affairs Europe Office sponsored six young leaders from the Global South (Kenya, Egypt, Tunisia, Nepal, Mexico and Togo) to participate in the German Marshall Fund (GMF)’s Young Professional Summit, and high level meetings with the Bank’s EU partners on 23-26 March in Brussels. The Young Professionals Summit (YPS), an offshoot of the prestigious Brussels Forum organized annually by GMF, provides an opportunity for discussion between young professionals and leading figures in global politics. The six leaders joined about 60 other young professionals over two days to discuss amongst others the ‘Rising Influence Of Developing Countries’, ‘the Future for Democracy in the Middle East’, ‘Sustainability and the Oil And Gas Industry’, etc. More...

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REGIONAL NEWS AND PROJECTS

AFRICA


Nigeria Partners with World Bank for a Result Based Healthcare Financing
With the Millennium Development Goals falling due in 2015, three Nigerian states—Adamawa, Nasarawa and Ondo—are rolling out major healthcare improvements with the support of the World Bank and other partners. As a result, over 9 million people, of whom 3.8 million are women aged 15-49 and children under age five, could gain access to better quality health services. The World Bank Board has approved financing of US$150 million for the Nigeria State Health Investment Project, which will address this challenge by rewarding health workers and institutions that perform well, boosting performance management and accountability, and encouraging innovation. More…


EAST ASIA AND THE PACIFIC

China Aims for Soft Landing, Says World Bank
A new World Bank report projects GDP growth in China will be 8.2 percent in 2012 and 8.6
percent in 2013. The China Quarterly Update, released on April 12, says that the prospects for a gradual adjustment of growth remain high. In his remarks at this projection, the World Bank Lead Economist for China Ardo Hansson, said that “China’s gradual slowdown is expected to continue into 2012, as consumption growth slows somewhat, investment growth decelerates more pronouncedly and external demand remains weak..." More...

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EUROPE AND CENTRAL ASIA

World Bank Supports Energy Efficiency Investments in Public Facilities of Armenia
The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors on March 27th approved a US$1.82 million grant from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Trust Fund for the Energy Efficiency Project for Armenia. The project will help to reduce energy consumption of social and other public facilities. This project will support energy efficiency investments in schools, kindergartens, hospitals, administrative buildings, and street lighting and will reduce energy consumption of retrofitted public and social facilities as well as CO2 emissions. More…


LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN

Mexico: Strengthening Social Resilience to Climate Change
Recently the World Bank (WB) Board of Executive Directors approved a US$300.75 million Development Policy Loan today to support the institutionalization of policies aimed at strengthening social resilience to extreme situations in Mexico. This partnership will promote State-level climate change action planning; disaster risk reduction and the implementation of land development activities, especially at the municipal level; and community-level sustainable forest management. The initiative will focus in particular on Mexico's neediest and under-served communities, representing the first time the WB develops a program whose central, explicit theme is reducing the social impact, particularly among the most vulnerable, from climate change effects. More…

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MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Open Government and Access to Information Workshop in Tunisia.
Experts and policy makers gathered in Tunis on March 28 and 29 to raise awareness on Tunisia’s access to information law passed in May 2011. The Open Government and Access to Information event, sponsored by the Tunisian Government, the World Bank and the European Commission, had representatives from all governments and CSOs of the Middle East and North Africa region, the media and international experts and practitioners. The workshop also focused on the new obligations of public administrators and the importance of sharing experiences internationally and learning from how other countries have managed implementation and institutional implications. This is an important first step towards what is increasingly becoming known as Open-Gov in Tunisia. More...


SOUTH ASIA

India’s Industry Leaders Joined Efforts to Protect Biodiversity
The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) recently hosted a strategy session with World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick at which they pledged to join efforts by the Indian Government, Global Tiger Initiative, WWF India, and the World Bank Group to protect natural habitats for wild tigers and conserve India’s threatened biodiversity. Speaking at the event Mr. Zoellick said that environmental sustainability is rapidly emerging as a key challenge for India and action to bring industry and others together helps illustrate that development need not be at the expense of conservation. More…

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ON THE BLOGS

Politically-filtered Views on Progress Against Poverty
Like all fields of socio-economic measurement, there is scope for debate on how best to assess development progress, Martin Ravallion of the Development Economics Department of the World Bank said in his recent blog. There is often much to be learnt from such debate, he went on. But the debates are not always politically neutral. Some observers chose only to look critically at data and methods when the results diverge from their political priors. And some try to undermine evidence that does not fit their priors by questioning the motives of those producing that evidence. A generous interpretation might construe this as some “postmodern” approach to data, but on closer inspection it often looks more like a debating ploy to make up for weak substantive arguments. Read the full blog… 

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This Newsletter is produced by the Civil Society Team of the World Bank (WB) in collaboration with other WB units. The 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. Please share your comments on the Newsletter with us: civilsociety@worldbank.org. All past issues of the Newsletter can be found at here. To unsubscribe click here.




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