Highlights: Meeting of UK NGOs with UK Alternate Executive Director to the World Bank

5 September 2008 meeting with Caroline Sergaent

9 October 2008 | Minutes

5 September 2008

Present: Caroline Sergeant (UK AED WB), Mita Patel (Economist, IFID), Carl Kalapesi (Economist, DFID), Gerry Duffy (Climate advisor, IFID), Siobhan Stanger, (Climate Team, DFID), Jason (Policy Advisor WB, IFID)

NGOs: Anna Marriot (Oxfam), Maria Arce (Practical Action), Mel Evans (Plan B), George Akalonu (Dream Africa), Marjorielyn R Campbell (Dream Africa), Peter Chowla (BWP)

1.  Health Nutrition and Population

Questions on the process and strategy led by Anna; Caroline response:

  • WB has done well on partnership side of the new stregy but not so well on implementation of the strengthening health systems side
  • The Update to the board was scheduled for September but will likely be October (probably end of month). The WB has failed on implementation of the strategy because the HNP team claims there is no money to hire the right staff and role out the strategy
  • Part of the problem is allocation of money since countries want IDA funds to go to productive investments while bilateral ODA to fund health; but Bank wants some of IDA funds to do health work. CS says IDA increase means there is plenty of money and the Bank should get on with it
  • No knowledge of progress on IEG evaluation
  • The WB may need to design new instruments or trust funds to finance the health systems strengthening
  • Resistance in the WB to the publicly-funded health systems approach is getting worn down, progress is being made
  • WHO is going to do country examples of where the health systems approach has been successful to convince WB staff/donors/other countries
  • On user fees – WB needs to be more proactive and we need to know where WB staff in the field are resisting the elimination of user fees; SoS may focus on this during AM in Washington
  • On CSDH – Caroline had not seen it, encouraged CSDH authors to formally request a response from the WB

2. World Bank response to food crisis

Questions initiated by George.

CS and CK response:

  • Reject the idea that UK is not doing enough, WB is moving fast, UK pushes, them, long list of countries with new funds to cope
  • Some worry that commitment was streamlined by dispersement is not going quick enough

Question about long-term strategy and reflection on how the IAASTD findings will inform it by Maria.

CS, GD and CK responses:

  • Zoellick has picked out key WDR recommendation for small-holder agriculture and is pushing for $6 billion in implementation funds over next 2-3 years
  • DFID initiated a research programme, ensured coordinated response at all multilateral agencies such as ADB, ADF, IDA, AFDB
  • Demurred on question about trade liberalisation – said it must be addressed within Doha/WTO
  • WB is pushing tariff reductions and limits on subsidies to ease pressure on budgets
  • Claim that the WB is learning from the example in Malawi on how subsidies can be used well

Follow-up: Peter says that NGOs are looking for DFID to ensure IAASTD findings are taken up in the upcoming renewal of the rural development strategy.

3. Climate change

a. On the Strategic Framework for Climate Change (SFCC):

CS, GD and MP:

  • Emphasis on how such a great development this is and how it is so much better than 2 years ago.
  • Wanted to pick battles within the WB board and let political issues get decided at UNFCCC
  • IFC is thinking about how to integrate into the SFCCD, but remember that IFI money is very little compared to total investment in fossil fuels
  • On monitoring frameworks: CS is wary of elaborate frameworks driven by the WB. Need country capacity to monitor
  • The SFCCD draft 2 covers most of the NGO concerns, make sure NGOs feed into global consultations

b. On Climate Investment Funds (CIFs):

CS and SS:

  • We won’t dictate LIC vs MIC representation on trust fund committee
  • We can’t dictate technology choice either

4. World Bank governance reform

CS and CK:

  • DFID is drafting a response to the global letter, they agree fully on leadership selection, less convinced on need for fewer Europeans at the board
  • CS thinks we need a fundamental rethink of global governance and until we have that you can’t expect anything more than small changes
  • DFID knows our demand on parity voting, the key meeting will be the Development Committee deputies meeting in Mexico next week. Sally Taylor to attend for the UK

5.  HMG Updates

CS:  Treasury has appointed Stuart James as the new alternate ED, he starts Sept 16. He used to be responsible for EIB at the Treasury. He will likely focus more on IFC and finance side. Caroline finishes end September.