Highlights of meeting between Tom Scholar and UK NGOS

June 2005

28 June 2005 | Minutes


Tom Scholar- UK Executive Director to the World Bank and IMF; Caroline Sargeant- Alternate ED to the World Bank; Justin Williams- DfID-International Financial Institutions Department (IFID); Sally Taylor- DfID-Deputy Head IFID.

"UK's position on conditionality is at one end of the spectrum"

NGOs: Henry Northover- CAFOD; Dragan Nastic- BOND; Lucy Mulvagh- Forest Peoples Programme; Dominic Kemps and Naomi Foxwood- Interact Worldwide; Romilly Greenhill- ActionAid; Lucy Baker-BWP; Jeff Powell-BWP; Simon Counsell- Rainforest Foundation; Trisha Rogers- Jubilee Debt Campaign.

UK ED update on recent/upcoming issues (T.S)

  • Is encouraged by Wolfowitz’s recent comments on Africa
  • Work plan over next few months includes: G8; MDG + 5; WB/IMF annual meetings; Africa Action plan.
  • Annual meetings will look at: G8 debt proposal; Bank’s contribution to climate change; Aid volumes and IFF; aid effectiveness; conditionality / PRSP review; WB support for Doha
  • Timeline for Africa Action plan? This was called for in April. He hopes that there will be a statement of direction of this by the time Wolfowitz gets to Gleneagles.

Conditionality (R.G)

  • Concerns that the WB conditionality review might get watered down by shareholders on the board. UK NGOs would like it to be more of a reflection of the UK conditionality position.
  • On transparency: want to have opportunity for consultation on the draft
  • T.S: UK’s position on conditionality is at one end of the spectrum. Hard to bring everyone to this end.
  • First briefing on the outline of the conditionality review will take place over the next few weeks. Then a technical briefing to the whole board will take place before it goes to CODE.
  • The UK’s position is supported by the Nordics and Dutch and Canadians; Germans and French we won’t know until we see the paper
  • On transparency- he would like policy papers to get published ahead of board discussion. This is being done on a pilot basis, but not on the conditionality review.
  • Likely result is a compromise, then a desire on both sides to review progress in light of changes.
  • On aid effectiveness- the UK has a strong commitment to improving this.


  • H.N:a. G7 finance minister’s agreement on HIPC follow-up. When will this take place?
  • b.They have corruption and transparency concerns, above and beyond PRGF arrangements
  • c. Are ‘other’ countries post-completion or post decision-point countries?
  • R.G: How to get the recently announced deal through the IMF board?
  • T.R: Delivery of G8 commitments- how to go further for non-HIPC countries?
  • T.S: Proposal needs to be agreed by Fund and Bank. Proposals need thorough analysis and discussion with other shareholders. G8 would provide 77 per cent of the costs, therefore the others would need to put up 33 per cent, as took place with HIPC in 1999. The arrangements won’t be completed by Gleneagles, more likely to be agreed by the annual meetings. Deadline is end September. On eligibility? Countries will qualify at completion point.
  • T.S On corruption and transparency: Experience with HIPC public expenditure tracking exercise. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, – step up and have WB and IMF look at private companies as well.

Reproductive health (D.K)

  • An evaluation at the World Bank took place in early 2005 on the small grants scheme within the development grants facility which has made small grants available for capacity building of reproductive health NGOs in the South. They understand that this fund is now under threat and a report is to be submitted to next WB board meeting.
  • Southern NGOs have benefited significantly from this capacity building- has also enabled them to mobilise resources from elsewhere.
  • Furthermore, the position of Reproductive Health Specialist, based in the Department of Health, Nutrition and Population at the WB in Washington, currently held by Elizabeth Lulé is up in a year’s time, Interact Worldwide is calling for the retention of her position, and a commitment to raise profile of health/education issues.
  • C.S: Have asked bank staff to do a briefing on key priorities in the health sector. There was recently a one day session on health within the Bank. This issue is within her watching brief. These issues need to be reflected at the country level in strategies etc Agencies should push for them to be included in PRSs etc. In July there will be a high level dialogue between WHO and the Bank which UK is supporting.
  • T.S: Look forward to Interaction letter and will respond. Wolfowitz has also said that gender will be a priority.

IFC Safeguard Review (L.B)

  • IFC process currently in limbo. It is hard to make comment without the release of the drafts before CODE. NGOs do not know to what extent their concerns have been taken into account.
  • General concerns still stand e.g Failure to reflect commitments of WBG’s response to EIR in the performance standards; Need for independent environmental impact assessments; level of discretion allowed to the client; weakening from current WB group safeguard policies; Financial intermediaries.
  • Current process concerns: That IFC’s commitment to releasing its revised policy at the same time as it goes to CODE will not be carried out. That the CODE, currently planned for July will be postponed. This will allow for a shorter consultation timeline as the board date for approval is in October.
  • DfID’s position paper?
  • T.S: NGO concerns are UKdel’s concerns. They are supportive of move to principled based approach, concerned about ambiguities, lack of consistency with international standards etc.
  • Expects the draft to be taken to CODE in late July. UK is supportive of disclosure at time of presentation to CODE. When UK position paper from Sec of State is public, they will make their views on it known.

Indigenous Peoples Policy (L.M)

  • Major concern that Bank procedures (B.P) not distributed for consultation in the same way that the operational policy (O.P) was. Concerned that this may set a precedent – instead of consultation on both BP and OP, board would be asked to approve a ‘cover note’ allowing management to then amend the OP/BP on a continuing basis.
  • Indigenous dismay that their needs haven’t been adequately dealt with. Lack of clarity on “Broad Community Support” and “Free Prior and Informed Consultation”.
  • On land rights- problem with relying only on the borrower. Accountability does not rest with the Bank.
  • T.S: Due to time constraints and lack of in depth knowledge on this issue, will follow up separately and get back to FPP. Not aware of new procedure for approving OP/BP.

World Bank’s Forest Policy (S.C)

  • 1993- Safeguard on forest policy introduced. In 2002 that policy was revised. With exception of WWF, all NGOs were concerned about it.
  • Referred to recent inter-agency report: Broken Promises: How World Bank Group policies fail to protect forests and forest peoples’ rights. Finding that WB has broken promises to follow up on every single one of its commitments made in 2002 process.
  • NGOs are calling for an independent and high level review of Bank’s operational forest policy.
  • Follow up to query made at last BWI-UK meeting on Congo.
  • T.S: Query is currently with the desk officer on Congo. If a commitment was made by Bank for a 3 year review of the new forestry policy, then that “ought to happen”.

Governance (J.P)

  • Presidential selection- board meeting to discuss?
  • T.S: Many countries only want to look at issues such as basic votes; seats; IMF quota as a package. Can only go at the pace of the slowest. Developing countries need to take the lead. Fund has already done the research, just need political will.
  • J.P: 12th quota review – commitment made to review quota allocation in light of changes in world economy. Everyone is contributing to this issue e.g Helsinki Process, Center for Global Development, Commission for Africa, etc. Fund research is just one of the many voices and only relates to one specific question.
  • C.S: For this reason, need countries to pressure the Bank for things it has signed up to. Suggestions that NGOs get country governments to articulate what to expect from the IFIs. Ie. Are countries holding WB accountable on Rome commitments?