Bolivia is the first country to have produced an Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP), which has qualified it for the enhanced HIPC Initiative debt relief. Uganda and Mauritania were also granted enhanced HIPC debt relief on the basis of their existing poverty reduction initiatives. Mozambique, Senegal and Tanzania are all preparing Interim PRSPs and are expected to be the next countries to reach HIPC decision points.
The Bolivian government plans to formulate its full PRSP by June and has launched another national dialogue with civil society to develop a Plan of Action Against Poverty. The Church was asked to lead civil society input into this process but has declined because it is organising a similar consultation process with the Jubilee 2000 campaign. NGOs are sceptical that the government will effectively consult with civil society or take heed of their concerns and expect that previous poor experiences with government consultations will discourage people from taking part.
As an alternative, Jubilee 2000, working from the grass roots up, is launching forums in all nine regions focusing on human rights, macroeconomics, health, education, land and employment. Between the 24-28th April 2000, the process will conclude with a National Forum in La Paz where all regions will come together to present civil society’s proposals. This will form the basis of a document that will be given to the government. The Jubilee 2000 initiative also hopes to create widespread awareness of the issue of debt.
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The Bank’s NGO/Civil Society Unit has launched a special link for civil society on the PRSP. It will provide timely, accessible information and aims at facilitating civil society participation in the formulation and implementation of the PRSP. See: www.worldbank.org/ngos.