Meeting with UK Executive Director to the WB and IMF, Tom Scholar

14 September 2004

8 October 2004 | Minutes

Meeting with UK Executive Director to the WB and IMF, Tom Scholar, Annual Meetings 2004, 14 September

Attending: Gwen Barry (CAFOD), Belinda Calaguas (WaterAid), Lucy de las Casas (Oneworld Trust), Hannah Ellis (FoE), Romilly Greenhill (ActionAid), Jesse Griffiths (RSPB), Caroline Pearce (JDC), Anna Thomas (Christian Aid), James Leaton (WWF), Jeff Powell (BWP)

Tom Scholar:

  • aid volume and financing: IFF, discussion has moved from ‘should there be more aid’ to ‘how’
  • debt: concern over post-HIPC completion debt rise; debt sustainability framework will be key to loans/grants decisions; 100% multilateral debt cancellation must be new resources and not prejudice future IMF/WB lending
  • voice: not going to get a decision now; however Manuel is keen to deliver before term expires as DC chair end 05
  • annual meetings: frustration over compression to 2 days due to US security concerns; need to work with US authorities to ensure that future meetings are full length

Action Aid: UK paper on conditionality doesnt sufficiently address IFIs role. Likelihood of debt deal?

'the UK had a better position on the EIR as a result of consultation with Civil Society Organisations'

TS: Surprised that board endorsed the IEO/OED evaluations of the PRSP. Management doesn’t have an implementation strategy. Hope for ministerial backing at the annual meetings to give impetus to the work programme.

Agreement on debt likely at spring meetings. Many issues still to be worked on such as equity between HIPCs and non-HIPCs.

DfID: IDA XIV replenishment discussions will touch on this. Option to reform prior actions. Joint staff assessments – World Bank paper to be released next week, then DFID will respond.

FOEI, WWF, BWP: Questions on extractive industries review (EIR) followup, IFC safeguard review (process and substantive concerns), and harmonisation of World Bank safeguards with country systems.

TS: UK had a better position on EIR as a result of consultation with CSOs. (Scholar thought that the UK had made its position on EIR public in parliament a week before the board vote – NGOs present did not believe this to be the case.) Implementation of EIR is key – we will only know by what is done in particular projects. Board has requested an annual report on implementation – want nuts and bolts on a project level. UK needs to think about how our climate change policy fits with work with IFIs.

Want to go through safeguard policy review with IFC.

Board was worried that Mexico pilot project on country systems was going ahead without proper oversight. Goal is to make World Bank a better partner to do business with. Must examine the net effect of the accretion of safeguards.

Anna: HIV/AIDS not being mainstreamed into WB/IMF work.

TS: Important that poverty and social impact assessments (PSIA) incorporate this. There has been a recognition by the Fund in article IV consultations of the impact of infection rates – they need to incorporate others’ analysis into their work.

WaterAid: Can UK support ‘pragmatic results orientation’ in water and sanitation sector board against the orthodoxy of privatisation?

TS: What does ‘pragmatic results orientation’ really mean? UK position is one of pragmatism. Infrastructure is getting a lot of attention at the board. Some shareholders have an instinctive attraction to privatisation. (Asked for names of WB team working on public sector reform.)