The World Bank has established an East Asia Crisis working group to tackle some of the social aspects of the financial crisis. Stephen Commins from World Vision will be working with the group as a World Bank staff member for 6 months, with David De Ferranti, Jacques van de Gaarg, Kathryn Marshall, Caroline Robb, John Clarke, and Michael Walton.
Some consultations have been held with NGOs in Washington and Indonesia, and with union representatives from Public Services International, and more consultations are planned with Asian unions and NGOs.
The EAC group wants to help develop links between civil society and governments by involving civil society groups in programme and project design, preparation and implementation. In particular, the Bank wants to encourage public debate during the preparation of Country Assistance Strategies. It is improving its information dissemination and helping to develop economic literacy amongst civil society. The Bank is also concerned that governments in the region do not have the resources, institutional capacity or knowledge to deal with the huge social impacts of the crisis. In Indonesia the EAC group will examine ways in which civil society can help identify needs and supplement the government provision of social services through:
- consultations with NGOs to determine what projects are needed and where;
- reliance on local NGOs for providing microlevel data;
- reliance on NGOs to provide some services/input financed by the government;
- use of “self-monitoring techniques” to determine whether projects are reaching the intended beneficiaries.
World Bank projects include food-for-work programmes and an education project to provide money to poor schools and students to try to limit drop-out rates. It is also revamping its project portfolio with a view to diverting financial savings into additional import support.
Contact: Steve Commins, email@example.com