The LHI was launched at a Roundtable hosted by the World Bank at its headquarters in Washington, DC on 19-20 February, 2008. The Roundtable brought together General Counsels, directors, senior advisers and other high level legal and policy representatives from IFIs, major bilateral aid agencies and UN agencies.
The Roundtable focused largely on how the LHI could facilitate the use of shared model documentation and related operational guidance in jointly financed development programs, but also discussed the related issues of how legal means could be used to facilitate the efficient operation of multi-donor trust funds (MDTFs), enhance the use of country systems in joint operations, and further harmonize approaches to combat fraud and corruption in operations. LHI participants also learned about how the framework accord, known as the Fiduciary Principles Accord, was being developed by the UN and the World Bank for working together in emergencies and other operationally challenging situations, as well as harmonization efforts in private sector operations of IFIs.
The main immediate outcome of the Roundtable was an Action Plan that set out concrete steps in each of the key areas discussed, including some initial activities such as the setting up of a "rapid response mechanism" to facilitate the quick resolution of legal and policy issues arising in the use of shared model documents and MDTFs. The LHI Action Plan includes longer term goals, such as developing proposals on handling fraud and corruption issues in the context of pooled financing and other joint operations. The Action Plan also calls for the creation of an LHI community of practice, including the establishment of an LHI website.
A second Roundtable is planned for Spring 2009.