Highlights of BWI-UK network meeting with Caroline Sergeant, 7 February 2008

18 February 2008 | Minutes



  • Cath Long, Rainforest Foundation
  • Lies Craeynest, WWF
  • Maria Arce, Practical Action
  • Sarah Williams, Jubilee Debt Campaign
  • Michael O’Donnell, Save the Children Fund
  • Claire Schouten, TIRI
  • Lucy Baker, Bretton Woods Project
  • Max Lawson, Oxfam

DFID/UK delegation to the World Bank

  • Caroline Sergeant, UK alternate Executive Director to the World Bank
  • Habib Rab: Advisor on World Bank, UK delegation to the World Bank in DC
  • Carl Kalepesi: Economist, DFID
  • Catherine Ablitt-Jones, Policy Analyst, World Bank team, DFID


  • Board discussion on DRC inspection panel
  • Climate change and deforestation
  • Social protection
  • Odious debt, vulture funds, HIPC
  • WB strategic review
  • IDA 15 settlement and accountability
  • New EDs and UK structures

On DRC inspection panel report:

  • C.L: Since the publication of the Inspection Panel report on DRC forestry, there has been no feedback on this, what will the UK do to push for follow up?
  • CS: Inspection Panel produced a comprehensive report that challenged Bank management on safeguards. The board met with DRC groups. Key theme is that the Bank must continue to engage. A balanced approach is needed, DRC authorities to engage. Will monitor and reconsider in 6 months
  • Zoellick pointed out that this has thrown up “reputational risks” for the institution. The Bank may be more risk averse in the future, meaning staff will need to be incentivised to take these risks
  • Bank will continue to face criticism over DRC
  • UK will monitor this closely going forward. The report has shown the value of the Inspection Panel.
  • The report has prompted a board discussion on safeguards and the need to use country systems more proactively

On the World Bank, energy and climate change:

  • L.C: Concern that the recently announced multi-billion climate fund will set up a parallel structure to UN processes such as UNFCCC and may conflict with recently agreed adaptation fund
  • Also concerned about the governance of this, country leadership and private sector actors
  • C.S: Leveraging private sector resources is key, the money needs to be additional
  • Bank is working on a climate and low carbon growth strategy
  • Various European governments met recently in Copenhagen about this. Details of plans and consultation will be launched later this year.
  • The implementation of the clean energy investment framework is still on-going
  • There will be a side event at the spring meetings on the Bali process.
  • M.L: On additionality- will the ETF be counted as ODA?
  • C.K: Yes, additional to aid
  • M.L: Given that the ETF counts towards the UK reaching 0.7 per cent this puts the UK in a difficult position regarding arguing for climate funds to be additional. Other countries such as the Netherlands have said their funds for environmental issues will be in addition to 0.7 per cent.
  • C.K: this was covered as part of CSR
  • M.L: in the CSR it is clear that the ETF will count towards 0.7 per cent for the UK, which leaves the UK in a difficult place in terms of arguing for funds to be additional to aid.
  • C.K: Clean technology fund is still being worked through. The US has provided $2 billion for this
  • M.A: Concern that CEIF will create opportunities for top-down technology transfer that mainly benefits the western private sector rather than genuinely addressing developing countries’ needs on energy poverty and access and therefore limited impact on poverty reduction.
  • C.S: Research and Development is needed. Climate change and energy strategy will try to bring the disparate elements together. Social development group within the bank has done some interesting analytical work on this.
  • H.R: IFC is a key actor, IFC has done a lot of investments in power generation plants on cleaner energy
  • L.B: The IFC has significantly increased its support for fossil fuels in the past year, and “new renewables” accounted for only 4 per cent of the World Bank’s energy portfolio. In addition, the highly contentious Camisea LNG plant in the Peruvian Amazon was approved by the IFC board yesterday. How do they reconcile this approach?
  • C.S: IFC are thinking through a lot of issues and encouraging engagement with frontier markets. Are aware of challenges and social/environmental risks
  • C.S: On sufficient safeguards, the environmental department are looking at this. The group working on the IFC climate change strategy is the same as that who worked on the safeguards. Concerns from NGOs regarding Camisea were fed to the board. They will enforce a strict monitoring. The benefits to Peru will outweigh the social and environmental risks.
  • Evidence from NGOs is always welcome
  • C.L: On climate and impact on poverty, FCPF and avoided deforestation, the Bank is using research that blames poor slash and burn farmers for deforestation. Something needs to be done to address this
  • C.S: Social development in the Bank is grappling with this.

On Social protection models:

  • M.O’D: Welcomed the openness of the Bank to discussing and improving the evidence base on social protection models, and are pleased that SC UK is able to work with the Bank in Africa on this

On odious debt:

  • S.W: What is the status of the paper and process? Feeling that there are some inadequacies on this – both in process and content.
  • C.S: request for a short note listing the issues that have been neglected and they will take this up with the Bank.

On vulture funds:

  • S.W:There is a debt reduction facility at the Bank. The UK is pushing for this to be speeded up and for more funding. JDC would like it to be extended to more countries.
  • C.S: request for more info and will look into it and get back to her

On HIPC process:

  • S.W: All lessons need to be learned re the clearance of arrears and number of pre-conditions that delay entry to HIPC. Liberia still hasn’t reach decision point.
  • C.S: We’re pushing this, will aim to respond quicker, especially for other countries in future. The new Arrears Clearance Framework under IDA-15 may be relevant here.

On strategic review:

  • L.B: Has been very limited information on this. What is the state of the process, public consultation etc?
  • C.S: There are six working groups at the level of managing director. Consultation within the Bank. They draw on cross-Bank expertise. President will present preliminary findings to the board at the end of February. There will be an update at the spring meetings. Once it has been moved forward internally then will share.

On IDA XV replenishment and accountability:

  • M.L: Question of whether UK should be putting money through the Bank. UK were much harder during IDA XIV. Framework was clearer. What are the monitoring and follow-up mechanisms for IDA XI? These are less clear now.
  • C.S: UK has made commitments on country-level effectiveness, specific targets, better quality country directors. PIUs are no longer allowed without specific justification. Commitments have been embedded in job descriptions. They got feedback from country governments on the ground. Refers to IDA deputies report. Combined monitoring efforts with IDA donor colleagues.
  • C.K: A review of PRSC was done that includes conditionality, IEG will include external consultations in 2009

On new EDs and UK structures:

  • LB expressed appreciation on behalf of UK NGOs for the current arrangement for NGOs to meet quarterly with the UK ED. Requested that under the new structure, which will see a separate ED for WB and IMF that quarterly meetings with the WB ED continue, and that meetings with the IMF ED be bi-annual.
  • C.S emphasised UKDel’s on-going commitment to meeting with NGOs and expressed that with the new EDs UKDel would still retain a joint office.