|The purpose of the roundtable was to promote dialogue between IMF and WBG Executive Directors and civil society representatives accredited to the Annual Meetings. The CSO Roundtable was chaired by the Executive Directors of Kuwait and Dean of the Board, Merza Hasan, and Japan, Hideaki Suzuki, and had three CSO Discussants: Masaki Inaba (Executive Director Ugoku Ugokasu GCAP Japan), Emele Duituturaga (Executive Secretary, Pacific Islands Association of Non-Governmental Organisations / PIANGO), and Milwida Guevara (President, Synergia Foundation Phillipines).
In addition to the World Bank Executive Directors from Kuwait and Japan, the EDs from the following countries participated: Brazil (Rogerio Studart), United Kingdom (Gwendolen Lucy Hines), Italy (Piero Cipollone), and Mexico (Juan Jose Bravo). Some 80 representatives from a wide array of CSOs from throughout the world participated. The meeting was quite interactive exceeding its scheduled length by half an hour, and covered a number of key topics.Mr. Suzuki began the meeting by welcoming participants to Japan and noting that one of the things he has learned since becoming ED a few months earlier is how important engaging civil society has become for the Bank. He next invited the three CSO discussants to make initial remarks. Mr. Inaba noted that despite Japan being an industrialized country, it has undergone two “lost decades” which has led to growing levels of poverty with a number of serious consequences including rising levels of suicide. He called on the Fund and Bank to provide advice which would lead greater job creation and narrowing of the income gap. Ms. Duituturaga spoke next and raised a number of questions for the EDs including how the Bank is responding to the Arab Spring and other citizen’s movements, and how will EDs support the Bank President’s new anti-poverty and social accountability agenda. Ms. Guevara noted that her task was to make remarks related to the IMF’s work which she was quite familiar with, having been a government counterpart of the Fund in her native Philippines. She noted that while the Fund is definitely more open today, it could still benefit from engaging civil society more intensely. These initial remarks were followed by a general discussion chaired by Mr. Hasan which involved many questions posed by CSO representatives and responses from the EDs. Before beginning the discussion he noted how important it is for the Bank to engage civil society and how much he and his colleagues valued this opportunity to exchange views. The major issues raised during the discussion were: what is being done to reduce the spillover impacts of Eurozone crisis on developing countries; findings from the World Development Report on jobs, and what the Bank is doing to promote youth employment; decreasing leverage and reduced role of the World Bank in addressing global problems; challenges of addressing corruption in Bank-supported countries; Bank efforts to strengthen gender equity; and ways to strengthen CSO relations with Executive Directors going forward.
For a complete record of the discussion please see the transcript.