In September the World Bank organised an electronic consultation on its planned poverty World Development Report, due out October 2000. Diverse civil society representatives shared their views on a background document.
Much discussion was on the topic of exclusion. Many contributors wanted this to appear throughout the WDR research programme, especially focussing on why poor people are excluded and whether and how inclusion – in associational life, decision making structures, and political processes – might help them.
Political economy and governance issues were also examined, including corruption, the misuse of public funds, poor rights enforcement, inefficiency, and poor organizational capacity.
Contributors also proposed extending the research to include those living just above a formal poverty line, and also the wealthy whose consumption patterns and socio-economic status may be crucial.
It was suggested that the WDR should acknowledge diverse perspectives on poverty and encourage debate and interpretation, rather than present a didactic theoretical analysis.
There will be a further electronic dialogue starting next January once the annotated outline of the report is available. There will also be a number of meetings with researchers and civil society groups, and a newsletter will be started to take stock and announce future initiatives.
By February the authors will seek comments on a first draft of the report through a website and in meetings. You can sign up through the Bank’s website (www.worldbank.org/poverty) or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the UK a number of academics, NGOs, religious leaders, and government officials are feeding into the poverty report. The Bretton Woods Project has details of many of these.