|From the cherry tree flower on the CSO Program poster to the enthusiastic Japanese student volunteers scurrying about the CSO Center, the civil society events at the 2012 Annual Meetings definitely had the feel of Japan. Continuing the ascending trends of recent years, more CSO representatives participated in these meetings than ever before. A total of 630 CSO representatives (see participant’s list) from NGOs, labor unions, youth groups, faith-based organizations, foundations, and others participated. The Bank and Fund also sponsored the largest number ever of CSO / Youth Leaders and Academics to travel to Tokyo to ensure that Southern voices and perspectives were represented. A total of 56 participants from 45 developing countries (see sponsored list) participated in a weeklong schedule of events which began with an orientation session on the Fund and Bank and including attendance at the Opening Plenary of the Annual Meetings with the presence of Crown Prince Naruhito. The Civil Society Policy Forum also had the largest number of sessions to date (60) on a wide range of topics including: global health; social and environmental safeguards; disaster recovery and resilience; youth employment; post-MDGs agenda; debt re-structuring; land management; nuclear energy; and food security. (see detailed schedule). The great majority of sessions were organized by CSOs separately or jointly with the Bank and Fund, and included over 250 panelists. Six Bank Vice Presidents and other senior managers participated in policy sessions or convened bilateral meetings with CSOs throughout the week. It should be noted that CSO representatives from a number of well know CSOs – Oxfam, International Trade Union Confederation, Heartlife – were panelists on many of the Program of Seminars high-level sessions on such topics as jobs and health care.
The highlight of the CS Forum was a CSO Roundtable with Executive Directors and a CSO Townhall with the heads of the Bank and IMF. The CSO Roundtable was chaired by the Executive Directors of Japan and Kuwait and had three CSO Discussants. The meeting was quite interactive exceeding its scheduled length by half an hour, and covered a number of key topics including reducing spillover impacts of Eurozone crisis on developing countries, scope of the safeguards review, and challenges of addressing corruption. (see summary note)The CSO Townhall with IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim was chaired by Katsuji Imata (Acting Secretary General of Civicus) and had two CSO Discussants. The Townhall was attended by some 250 CSO representatives and focused on global economic recovery, need to strengthen the civil society sector, key role of promoting gender equity, and universal health care, (see summary note). Mr. Kim also announced a bold Bank initiative called “WhatWillItTake” geared to eradicating poverty. He cited Martin Luther King on the need to “bend the arc of history” and go beyond dreaming of a world free of poverty to achieving it. The campaign was manifested through “End Poverty” T-shirts worn by many participants and an “Ideas Wall” which received hundreds of comments and recommendations for ending poverty. Incorporating the successful experiences of Annual Meetings held in Singapore (2006) and Istanbul (2009), the Bank and Fund Civil Society Teams convened a CSO Planning Group (see Planning Group list) composed of 17 CSO and Youth Leaders to help plan the CSO Program. The Group held several conference calls and email exchanges over the months leading up to the Annual Meetings to discuss the format and content of key CSO Program sessions and organize their own policy sessions.
Likewise, Japanese civil society mobilized heavily to participate in the Annual Meetings. Representatives of major Japanese networks (i.e. JANIC, JACSES) and organizations (i.e. Oxfam, World Vision, Plan) spent a year preparing for the Annual Meetings by having their representatives attend the previous Annual Meetings held in Washington and forming a local planning group which met regularly to discuss session proposals. These planning efforts resulted in large Japanese presence – nearly half of all CSO participants were Japanese civil society representatives – and Japanese CSOs hosted nearly a third of all the policy sessions. It is clear that this participatory planning process helped engender a high level of civil society participation in the Annual Meetings.
CSO Feedback on 2012 Annual Meetings
CS Policy Forum Schedule, Participants Lists and Presentations
CSO Townhall Summary I Video I Transcript
CSOs/Executive Directors Roundtable Summary
2012 Annual Meetings General Information