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Annual Meetings get underway

Angie Gentile's picture

Istanbul Congress Center. Photo credit: Simone D. McCourtie/World BankThe buzz is building in Istanbul, our beautiful host city, as delegates, press and CSOs from around the world begin pouring in for the 2009 joint Annual Meetings of the World Bank and IMF.

The press room opened Monday, providing temporary work quarters for the more than 1,200 registered media who are covering the events over the next week for news outlets large and small.

They are joined by representatives from civil society organizations here to take part in a Civil Society Policy Forum being held from October 2-7. The event is jointly organized by the World Bank Group and IMF civil society teams. The forum will bring together Bank and Fund staff, CSO representatives, including from Oxfam, Civicus and Africa Monitor, to name a few, along with government officials, academics, and others to exchange views on a variety of topics ranging from the global economic crisis and climate change, to governance reform. Bank President Robert B. Zoellick and Fund Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn will co-host a CSO townhall meeting Friday afternoon.

Annual Meetings Press Room. Photo credit: Sameer Vasta/World BankThe IMF today launched its twice-yearly World Economic Outlook, affirming that a recovery is underway but likely to be slow. “After a deep recession, global economic growth has turned positive, driven by wide-ranging, coordinated public intervention that has supported demand and reduced uncertainty and systemic risk in financial markets,” the Fund said.

World Bank President Robert Zoellick takes to the podium tomorrow morning for his annual pre-meetings press conference, followed by a panel appearance in a debate entitled, “What Now? The World Beyond Crisis?” The debate--televised by France 24--features government officials and development experts from around the world. If you have a question about the crisis, this is your chance to submit a question directly to the panel experts. Enter your questions on our online chat, Speak Out, and we will pass them on.

There's a lot on the agenda over the next few days, including the Program of Seminars, which offers a plethora of sessions grouped around the topics of "World Economy Under Stress," "Country and Regional Issues," and "Beyond the Crisis." And that's all before the official meetings even begin. Stay tuned!