Published on Voices

A seat at the table: WBG EDs and CSO discuss investing in human capital.

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At the Spring Meetings of the World Bank and IMF Board of Governors, civil society get to engage directly with the World Bank’s Executive Directors (EDs). This year, I was honored to co-chair the CSO-ED Roundtable with Mr. Herve de Villeroche, Co-Dean of the World Bank Board and Executive Director for France.
I came to the Spring Meetings in my role as Chief Government Officer for Teach For All, a global network of 48 independent civil society organizations developing collective leadership to ensure all children can fulfill their potential. As moderator, I represented my CSO peers and noted during my opening remarks the “crucial partnership and dialogue needed between CSOs and the communities they represent at the highest level of leadership in our shared ecosystem.”

Mr. de Villeroche agreed. “This event provides a wonderful opportunity for us to engage directly and exchange ideas with our CSO partners,” he said, adding “it is only through successful partnerships that we will achieve the Bank Group’s ambitious goals of ending poverty and boosting shared prosperity for the most vulnerable populations.”
Over 1,000 CSO partners from around the globe were consulted in the weeks prior to the discussion to gather input.   Eight overarching themes framed the discussion:  1) Health; 2) Education and Workforce Development; 3) Accountability, Good Governance, and the Role of CSOs; 4) Gender and Sexuality; 5) Disability and Inclusion; 6) Environment and Climate Change; and 7) Democracy, Civic Engagement, and Human Rights.
During the roundtable, EDs and CSOs acknowledged the crucial partnership and dialogue needed between CSOs and the communities they represent. Some talked about the role of civil society in holding their governments and leaders accountable, and the key role of citizen engagement to tackle endemic corruption.
Talking about youth and workforce development, there was consensus that the momentum sparked by the 2018 World Development Report on Learning to Realize Education’s Promise had greatly advanced the conversation around the need to invest more in human capital developing leadership capacity within the education system, not only in schools, but in communities and the workplace as well.
“Investments in human capital, from education to health to gender equality, will provide greater opportunities for all,” said Otaviano Canuto, Executive Director representing Brazil, Columbia, Haiti, the Philippines, Trinidad and Tobago, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic, during the event.
I found the range and thoughtfulness of the interventions shared impressive revealing what our community strives to achieve every day.  As CSO representatives, we know we are at a critical juncture where we must forge stronger partnership between communities and institutions, coordinate our interventions and understand our shared responsibility.
I am confident that the partnership between CSOs globally and the World Bank Group will continue to grow and develop in the lead up to the 2018 Annual Meetings, which will focus on building human capital and resilience.


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