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The World Region

What's on the agenda?

Nina Vucenik's picture

Augustin Carstens, Development Committee Chair, Finance Minister, MexicoThe Development Committee is scheduled to meet on Monday, October 5.

The committee is a forum of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund that facilitates intergovernmental consensus-building on development issues. Its mandate is to advise the Boards of Governors of the Bank and the Fund on critical development issues and on the financial resources required to promote economic development in developing countries.

At their meeting, the Development Committee will review the Bank's financial capacity to provide assistance to countries coping with the economic crisis and beyond, and discuss the issue of "voice" (ensuring people from all parts of the world have a say in key issues that affect them).

Archbishop Ndungane: ‘We should be intentional about what CSOs are saying’

Angie Gentile's picture

Archbishop Winston Njongonkulu Ndungane, World Bank-IMF Annual Meetings, Istanbul. Photo credit: Simone D. McCourtie/World BankYesterday I caught up with the stately Archbishop Winston Njongonkulu Ndungane, who is attending the Civil Society Forum here in Istanbul. The Archbishop carved out some time to meet before heading off to head a CSO Townhall meeting featuring Bank President Zoellick and IMF Chief Strauss-Kahn.

Archbishop Ndungane is the founder and president of African Monitor, an independent pan-African nonprofit whose main objective is to monitor aid flows, what African governments do with the money, and what impact it has.

 African Monitor holds poverty hearings through which they seek to magnify voices. “We pride ourselves in having the confidence of people on the ground—the voice of people—and taking those voices to the corridors of power,” the Archbishop told me.

Archbishop Ndungane talked about linking up the creative and innovative minds of CSOs with the World Bank on today’s key issues—hunger, climate change, financial crisis. He emphasized the need to develop mechanisms for translating ideas into action.

Taking the temperature of the financial world

James Bond's picture

Global attention is mounting about this year's Annual Meetings of the Bank and the Fund in Turkey. From Egypt, where I am on MIGA business on my way to Turkey, the discussion is around whether the meetings will advance the G20 communiqué in terms of substance and specific implementation measures.

Traffic in Instanbul, Turkey. Photo: Simone D. McCourtie / World Bank I spent two days earlier in the week with global private equity investors. Their anxiety mostly revolves around how financial sector regulation will evolve over the coming months. They feel the cold wind of oversight, and the discussion revolves around two competing plans for financial regulation, one emanating from Brussels and the other from Washington. But everyone accepts that an overhaul of financial sector regulation is the unfinished business from last year's financial crisis, even though views differ on the extent and content of the changes needed. My own concerns are whether the world's piecemeal international governance system will enable a coherent global regulatory structure to emerge from the wreckage of last year's financial meltdown.

In Istanbul I'm looking forward to taking the temperature of the financial world. I hope and expect the meetings to be more subdued than in past years, because we have some serious business to do; and many players who were around at the Singapore meetings are no longer with us (Lehman, Bear Stearns, Merrill, AIG...).

It's a new world.

Zoellick: Protection for most vulnerable must be permanent part of financial architecture

Angie Gentile's picture

World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick. 2009 Annual Meetings, Istanbul, Turkey. Photo credit: Simone D. McCourtie/World BankBank President Robert Zoellick told an overflowing room of journalists this morning that these annual meetings come at an important time for the work of the Bank Group and its members.

“The G-20 summit last week provided clear markers for the work of the World Bank. But more than 160 countries were not at the G-20 table,” he said. “These meetings can therefore ensure that the voices of the poorest are heard and recognized. This is the G-186.”

Zoellick began his remarks by expressing his sympathy for the people of Indonesia, the Philippines, Samoa and Tonga and others in the region, who have been battered by a series of cataclysmic natural disasters.

The Bank’s President told reporters that developing countries are still suffering from the global economic crisis, and it is important for the G20 to scale up support. He said the meetings offer a platform to follow up on the proposal for a crisis facility for low-income countries—critical to ensuring that protection for the most vulnerable becomes a permanent part of the world’s financial architecture.

Public service announcements showcase Bank’s work

Nina Vucenik's picture

Our work spans many fields of development—with the ultimate goal of helping poor people lift themselves out of poverty, improve their lives and, in general, have a chance at a more productive and fulfilling life.

Some key areas of our work focus on helping children get a good start in life by making sure they're healthy and can go to school, creating jobs opportunities for youth and working-age adults, and on a broader level enabling a country's economic growth.

Here are several public services announcements we prepared for the meetings. They’re being shown around the Istanbul Conference Center and are airing in news outlets around the world, including TRT, CNN Turk, and CNBC Europe.

Deserving the Chance to Succeed

Ask your question and join the debate on 'What Now? The World Beyond the Crisis'

Nina Vucenik's picture

How should the world look after the global financial and economic crisis?

A special high-level panel will discuss the world post the global economic crisis on Friday, October 2, in Istanbul during the Annual Meetings.

The panel will feature Robert B. Zoellick, Bank Group President; H. E. Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Minister of Finance, Indonesia; H.E. Mahmoud Mohieldin, Minister of Investment, Egypt; Ms. Eleni Gabre-Madhin, CEO, Ethiopian Commodity Exchange; and Professor Paul Collier, Department of Economics, University of Oxford.

The debate will be recorded on Friday, October 2, and will be broadcast over the next two days on France 24.

The panel is taking questions from people from around the world. If you have any questions for the panelists, you can ask them directly through Speak Out, our online chat, and we will pass them on.

 

Lessons from Latin America’s experience with H1N1

Sameer Vasta's picture

Laboratory tests on the flu.

The World Bank announced earlier this year that it would back Mexico’s fight against Influenza A (H1N1) with $205 million in fast-disbursing funds. Since then it has supported more than a dozen countries in Latin America in their efforts to control the effects of the virus.

Latin America’s experience with the H1N1 virus in the last six months has revealed that early, aggressive and honest communication with the public and a strong public health surveillance system are critical in mounting an effective response to the virus.

Keith Hansen, World Bank Health Expert for Latin America and the Caribbean, recently spoke about the Bank's work in the region:

"Epidemics can be very costly for the economy, for business, and this is why it’s worth investing a great deal to strengthen and maintain good surveillance and public health control measures. Also, the economy is not the measure of all things. The fundamental issue is that people’s lives, health, productivity and happiness are all at stake. Epidemics aren’t entirely preventable but they can be minimized, and that’s the role of a good public health system, and partners, such as the Bank, can support this."

In the upcoming week, Keith Hansen will post a few videoblog entries here on the Meetings Center, explaining more about the virus, the Bank's work, and some of the issues being discussed at the Meetings.

If you have any questions for Keith Hansen, you can ask him directly at our Speak Out online chat on health systems.

After the Crisis—World Bank President lays out vision for new global system

Angie Gentile's picture

Zoellick SAIS speech, After the CrisisOn the eve of the 2009 World Bank-IMF Annual Meetings, Bank President Robert Zoellick called on world leaders to reshape the multilateral system and forge a “responsible globalization”—one that would encourage balanced global growth and financial stability, embrace global efforts to counter climate change, and advance opportunity for the poorest.

“Coming out of this crisis, we have an opportunity to reshape our policies, architecture, and institutions,” Zoellick said, speaking at the DC-based Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of the Johns Hopkins University.

“As agreed in Pittsburgh last week, the G-20 should become the premier forum for international economic cooperation among the advanced industrialized countries and rising powers. But it cannot be a stand-alone committee,” the Bank’s president noted.

In a speech laden with historical references, he spoke of the legacy of institutions established to deal with the global economy some 60 years ago and how the economic crisis is contributing to a changing multilateral global architecture.

"Bretton Woods is being overhauled before our eyes," Zoellick said.

The crisis has underscored the growing importance of the large emerging economies. “The current assumption is that the post-crisis political economy will reflect the rising influence of China, probably of India, and of other large emerging economies,” Zoellick said. “[T]he Greenback’s fortunes will depend heavily on U.S. choices.”

Annual Meetings History

Sameer Vasta's picture

 A bit of Annual Meetings trivia:

  • The first Annual Meetings were held on a boat on the Potomac River, with only a few dozen people in attendance. The purpose of the first Meetings was to inform shareholding countries of the Bank's work over the past year and to share the Annual Report.
  • The last time the Meetings were held in Istanbul was in 1952, when they were held on a boat on the Bosphorus.
  • This year's Meetings will be held at the Istanbul Congress Center, with several thousand people expected to attend. The 2009 Annual Meetings is a multi-faceted event with seminars, speeches, press conferences, as well as G7-8/G24 meetings.
  • About 800 representatives from civil society organizations and 700 registered journalists are expected to attend this year's Meetings.

Annual Meetings in the past were held on a boat.

Wrapping up the 2009 Spring Meetings.

Sameer Vasta's picture

April 26 2009 - Washington DC. World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings 2009. Development Committee Meeting. Photo: © Simone D. McCourtie / World Bank

The 2009 Spring Meetings have now come to a close. We hope that you enjoyed getting a quick look at some of the events and announcements coming out of this year's Meetings, and that this blog was a useful way to get quick snippets of information and insight from this past weekend's proceedings.

April 26 2009 - Washington DC. World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings 2009. Development Committee Meeting. Robert B. Zoellick, World Bank President; Dominiqu Strauss Kahn, Managing Director. International Monetary Fund. Photo: © Simone D. McCourtie / World Bank This blog will stay live in its current state (as will the Spanish version) until the next round of World Bank meetings, most probably the Annual Meetings taking place this fall. Until then, feel free to go through the archives, or click through the daily highlights (in the sidebar to your right) to get targeted information about some of the big events and announcements that took place.

I also encourage you to visit our Videos section on the blog, where you'll be able to find all the short interviews we did with some of the people attending the Spring Meetings, asking them about the Bank's role in the current financial crisis. Feel free to embed those videos on your own sites if you find them interesting — and if you can, let us know when you do!

I'll sign off now, but if you have any questions or feedback about the blog and why we decided to pilot it for this set of Meetings, feel free to use the contact form or leave us a comment. Thanks!

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