Andrew Puddephatt’s Exploring the Role of Civil Society in the Formulation and Adoption of Access to Information Laws defines the main contours of Access to Information (ATI) movements in 5 countries (Bulgaria, India, Mexico, South Africa and the United Kingdom). In Bulgaria, ATI was established by an environmental eco-glasnost movement that emerged in a post-Communist society (glastnost meaning transparency). In India, the ATI movement was embedded in a larger, anti-corruption movement led by the rural poor communities. In Mexico, a group of social activists and experts from academia and media conducted a targeted campaign for ATI just as Mexico was joining the OECD, NAFTA, and the WTO. The campaign for ATI in South Africa grew out of a post-apartheid civil society which recognized that information (or the systemic denial of it) was a key factor in perpetuating racial, social and economic inequality. The movement for ATI in the United Kingdom was spearheaded by a specialist NGO that capitalized on a government in the process of implementing broader constitutional reforms.
The World Region
We started distribution of the World Bank Annual Report 2009 this morning at the Annual Meetings in Istanbul. The free publication, outlining the Bank's activities in fiscal year 2008, is available for journalists, government officials, civil society organizations, academic and public libraries — and anyone else interested in learning more about the Bank and what it does.
The report summarizes the Bank Group’s commitments and approved projects during the recently completed fiscal year, and also includes a CD with complete financial information and a slideshow summarizing the regional, sectoral, and thematical categorization of funding.
I had a chance to work with the team that was preparing the Annual Report this year. Our goal was to put together a colorful and easy-to-read summary of the Bank’s development activities for everyone who is interested. Photos from the project sites and personal stories about recent Bank Group projects from all around the world are featured in this year’s report. All six of the Bank’s regions are presented with a regional snapshot as well as the summaries of funding operations taking place.
This year, the Annual Report 2009 website has been enhanced in terms of design, online content, and interactivity. The site includes interesting videos about recent projects taking place in the field. The PDF version of the Annual Report is downloadable in 8 different languages from the website. You can also view the whole ‘Year in Review’ with our interactive widget.
At a Program of Seminars session Monday on “Greening Recovery, Seizing Opportunities,” more than 300 people turned out to hear experts such as Nobel laureate Joe Stiglitz and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner outline how “green” investments are being used as parts of economic stimulus packages.
They were joined by Luciano Coutinho (President, BNDES – Brazilian Development Bank), Yoon-Dae Euh (Chairman, Korean Presidential Council on Nation Branding and Chairman, Steering Committee, Korean Investment Corporation), and Hasan Zuhuri Sarikaya (Undersecretary, Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Turkey).
For Stiglitz, the principal question now in responding to the financial and economic crisis is how to increase global aggregate demand. Instead of increasing consumption, he said, more funding should go to increase investment – particularly green investment.
The World Bank is pursuing an ambitious program of reform to enable the institution to become more efficient and effective while also gaining more legitimacy among the developing countries that it serves, Bank President Robert Zoellick said today.
In a speech at the start of the World Bank-IMF annual meetings, Zoellick said the World Bank’s reforms would focus on improving development effectiveness, promoting accountability and good governance, and continuing to increase cost efficiency.
“To serve the changing global economy, the world needs agile, nimble, competent, and accountable institutions,” Zoellick told the meeting of the Board of Governors of the World Bank Group. “The World Bank Group will improve its legitimacy, efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability, and further expand its cooperation with the UN, the IMF, the other Multilateral Development Banks, donors, civil society, and foundations which have become increasingly important development actors.”
The joint World Bank-IMF advisory body, known as the Development Committee, committed to the G20’s call for more resources for the Bank to help developing countries respond to the global economic crisis.
Concluding its first day of talks on the Bank’s work and impact at the 2009 annual meetings, the committee expressed support for a general capital increase, a multibillion multilateral food trust fund, and a new crisis facility for the world’s 79 poorest countries.
The Development Committee also agreed to “voice” reform to ensure developing countries get a bigger say in how the institution is run—an increase of at least 3 percentage points in voting power, in addition to the 1.46 percent already agreed. This would give them a share next year of at least 47 percent.
In a statement issued Monday, the Development Committee set a definite decision point for shareholders for Spring 2010 on IBRD and IFC capital needs and “committed to ensure that the World Bank Group has sufficient resources to meet future development challenges.”
The committee noted the Bank’s “vigorous response” to the crisis, including a tripling of IBRD commitments to $33 billion this year and IDA reaching a historic level of $14 billion. They also said that IFC, which has invested $10.5 billion and mobilized an additional $4 billion through new initiatives, “combined strong innovation with effective resource mobilization.”
The global financial crisis may be easing, but it is far from over, according to the World Bank’s chief economist. The World Bank is holding its annual meetings in Istanbul, Turkey, and those meetings prompted an assessment of the global economy from Justin Lin.
Lin is the World Bank’s chief economist, and he says the situation may be improving, but the financial crisis of 2008-2009 “has left a scar”. He warns that it will be years before developing economies bounce back.
Lin, meeting with other leading economists at the Council of Chief Economists Roundtable in Turkey, reminded them that the world needs to be ready for the challenge of fixing the damage left by the crisis.
For example, Lin says, the residue from the financial crisis will be apparent for years, with unemployment high and consumption low. He says that India will bounce back with an 8 percent growth rate, but the country was roaring along at 10 percent before the crisis. Ethiopia, he says, will come back at 7 to five percent, and but it was showing what he called “high” rates of growth of 11 percent before last fall.
"There are many approaches to evaluating public health communication programs, all of them struggling to resolve the tension between making strong inferences and making sure that an intervention has gotten a fair test. There will always be some way to question the inferences made or the generality of the results to other contexts. That does not take away from the legitimacy of the evaluations. The fair question for them is whether they have gone reasonably down the path toward reducing uncertainty. A valuable study is one that can usefully inform the policy community about whether the intervention approach is worthy of support, without promising that there is no risk of a mistake. A study is valuable if future judgments about programs are better made taking this information into account than remaining ignorant of it."
This year's World Bank World Development Report focuses on climate change and its effects on international development. The report emphasizes that developing countries are the most vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change, and that a “climate-smart” world is possible if we act now, act together, and act differently.
Yesterday at the Annual Meetings in Istanbul, climate change experts addressed some of the issues from the World Development Report. World Bank Chief Economist Justin Lin, Norwegian State Secretary for International Development H.E. Hakon Gulbrandsen, and WDR Co-Director Marianne Fay spoke about the impact of the changing climate, re-iterating that developing countries will face 75 to 80 percent of the potential damage from global climate change.
To find out more, watch the full webcast of the press conference, or visit the WDR 2010 website. To learn more about the World Bank's work on the topic, visit the new Climate Change beta site or the climate change blog, Development in a Changing Climate.
From now on, there will be need to be a more nuanced relationship between public and private sectors to sustain growth, and regional sources of growth will become more diversified. These are two of the conclusions of MIGA's discussion panel on the post crisis outlook held on October 4 in Istanbul.
A panel of international experts, including the Colombian Minister of Finance Mr. Oscar Ivan Zuluage, MIGA's Executive Vice-President Izumi Kobayashi, and Nick Rouse, Managing Director of Frontier Markets Fund Managers, agreed on some aspects of the vision going forward, but had differing views on others.
Taking on a more proactive, energetic role, public authorities worldwide have played a large role in limiting the downside of last year's financial crisis, they agreed. In Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the International Financial Institutions Initiative (in which MIGA participated) to support recapitalization of these countries' banks drew mention as one example of this type of successful multilateral intervention.
It’s good to see the G-20 assuming a more permanent structure and to note that their influence in the global financial architecture isn’t a blip in history to deal with the current economic crisis.
But at the same time, it’s very important to note that the G-20 doesn’t include the poorest countries. The G-186 brings the poorest voices to the table. And to really be part of the global recovery, which all countries must do for this to succeed, those countries hardest hit will need additional resources. Otherwise, we can forget full recovery.
Another essential ingredient of the recovery is to make sure we do not forget the human aspects of the crisis. We can’t look at recovery in purely numerical terms as the world did during East Asia’s financial meltdown in the late ‘90s. This has a punishing effect on employment, on lives. The world can’t fall into this trap again.