Civil Society Townhall Meeting with Robert Zoellick and Dominique Strauss-Kahn

8 October 2010 | Minutes

7 October 2010

Initial presentations

Dr Dickson Khainga

  • IMF needs to enhance country ownership – dialogue is still one way
  • There is stigma associated with IMF borrowing; structural adjustment is still in our memory
  • We want higher standards of transparency on fiscal and monetary affairs
  • We want more voice and representation given to poor countries within the IMF
  • Global financial crisis – poverty and unemployment still high, we want policy leadership from the IMF to tackle these
  • Fourth Pillar engagement on IMF governance reform – quota formula, double majorities, we want an update

Dominique Strauss-Kahn

  • On employment and poverty crisis – we propose country specific policies now in the aftermath of the crisis. There is no other solution than austerity in some cases, despite it being unfair that the cost is bourne by ordinary people for mistakes made by others. There is an uneven recovery. We need to create growth with jobs, this will reduce poverty; G20 will meet to discuss MAP – we need to create a win-win solution. More complex than stimulus vs austerity; need to differentiate policies based on countries
  • On voice and representation – it is understandable that people think the IMF is an ugly devil. IMF must be legitimate to help alleviate this perception; we are in the middle of shifting votes, discussions also underway on the board. Direction is clear that we are improving representation
  • On participation and dialogue – we are making progress, ie meeting with labour unions. We need to go further, meet with other civil society and country-based organisations. We need to define a process to do this, to help avoid dialogue going one way. For a programme to succeed – there must be broad country ownership

Bishop David Niringiye

  • Good Governance – how is WB committed to and building capacity of local civil society to build accountability of governments?; ie PRSC used with budget support – this can be difficult to monitor and difficult to be accountable. Maybe need more project support
  • Investing in energy and climate change – how much does WB invest in climate change mitigation? And how much in energy access? Maybe need to invest in developing countries R&D for renewable energy
  • Education – why in some countries are education systems producing social disadvantage? The WB does not examine whether education system promotes social equity
  • CSO engagement – how is civil society shaping priorities of the WBG? Do country officers engage actively with CSOs as they develop CASs? Do you assess country officers’ level of taking in CSO ideas and concerns?

Robert Zoellick

  • Good governance and CSOs – CSO is a key partner in the development process, requires country ownership. We now have a Freedom of Information process with an appeals process. Open data initiative – we have put our data out for free, and developing software so that people can use them; Apps for development competition. Open forum for discussion as well. We do engage at the country level on the PRSP, they are public; on DPLs and budget support – these are important for getting money to countries quickly
  • Agree not always appropriate and sometimes use investment projects. We do some funding for CSOs – development marketplace
  • CIFs and GAFSP – CSOs now participate on the steering groups; on emergencies we use CSOs as key partners for relief efforts
  • We launched idea of working with foundations to help fund CSOs. Energy and climate change – we set a record in FY10 on renewable and energy efficiency. 60% of energy spending is renewable/efficiency or transmission. CIFs – leveraged money from others, we engage with CSOs on using these
  • Education – we have to move beyond quantity and into quality. We want to create social opportunity; we need to connect the dots between sectors like conditional cash transfers related to health and education. Nobody knows all the answers, we don’t know all the answers – we need to get the answers from many places


Chebal Gupta – state of the state is really important; what is the initiative from both organisations?

Per Kurowski – bank lending to SMEs is discriminated against, when you speak out against this?

Collins Magalasi – what process in place at IMF to ensure that developing countries get more voice?; What process is place at the WB to support SMEs and informal sector?

Richard Sawati – how can you get local offices to engage with civil society?

(from Phillippines) – for IMF – what is priority promoting growth or taming the deficit?

(on education) – when can WB shift education work to holistic approach, with support for adult learning and high education?

Stefanov from Bulgaria – WB process to source social innovations?

Demba from Senegal – why IFIs don’t work with CSOs, is there lack  of political will or is it distrust?

Ronald Burns – lessons learned over past 10 years in Haiti?

(From Nigeria) – how can WB support skills learning to deal with youth employment?

(Senegal) – How we deal with debt problems in our countries?

(from Indonesia) – What is the strategy of the WB to make CSOs more sustainable financially?

Ahmed from Bangladesh – WB is not taking an active role, Bangla CAS has no clear strategy; what is the role?

Jesse Peterson – when will WB end lending to fossil fuel projects? How can you ensure energy access? And how can we monitor this?

(from Nigeria) – improper execution of projects; how can you get better implement?

Sophie from Burundi – Can you support local banks to be involved in productive ventures?

Hind Capalot (from Syria) – when will IFIs give special attention to post-conflict problem in the middle east?

(From Congo Brazzaville) – How can IFIs help when government is oppressive or corrupt? How can you protect CSOs?

Andres from Chile – what is the aspiration of the WB towards mitigation and adaptation climate finance?

(Parliamentarian from Uganda) – PPP have lots of corruption through secret clauses, what will WB do? On maternal health, how can WB invest?


Dominique Strauss-Kahn

  • Capital requirements for banks – we are looking at discrimination against SMEs, it is about reliability of borrowers; no reason to have systemic bias
  • Governance reform depends on countries – even 2008 reforms are not implemented because of parliamentary ratification; political process is out of our control
  • Local engagement – we do ask missions to engage as much as possible, problem is not meeting it is taking on board CSO opinion; interlocutors are governments, we are not supposed to discuss programmes with other parties during negotiations; we will work on some ways around this
  • As much deficit as sustainable, as much growth as affordable; we need to put efforts on growth – it is very country specific; medium term must have more sustainable public finances; but in short term must work on avoiding collapse of growth
  • Haiti – a lot has been done (ie debt cancellation); emergency support; advice etc
  • Bangladesh – we have different tools like post-catastrophe tools, but on climate change this is WB
  • On Burundi – we don’t got into details of spending and projects, we only set total framework
  • On Congo – we can not set up opposition; we can help protect CSOs, but this goes beyond our role
  • On Iraq – we have facility for fragile states, we need to do more and take this into account more

Robert Zoellick

  • We are taking initiatives on all fronts – IFC on corporate sector, making markets work better
  • We are taking action on Basel – this really impacts on trade finance, I have been speaking on this
  • On SMEs, local banks – at the heart of what we do at WB and IFC; ie credit fund for microcredit providers
  • Also financial inclusion focus of G20 – we are working with them
  • We encourage our offices to do engagement; tell us if it isn’t working; we are even trying to fund CSOs to engage
  • Education – higher education is very important for growth; we are funding centres of excellence in Africa
  • We are working about transition from education to workforce; linking to job-based skills
  • More efficiency needed – use private sector (ie Botswana), technology based learning rather than bricks and mortar
  • On social enterprise – doing competitions at WB Institute, we want to support this
  • Haiti – history has been cruel to Haiti, security issues were a problem, then natural disasters; need combination of approaches; IFC is working, community development; of $5 billion pledged, little delivered and much of it not through the WB – Bank trust fund would have simplified donor reporting
  • On gender – we have done lots in the WB – women appointments, developing country candidate appointments; need to work on your governments as well
  • On CSO funding – we have a trust fund and WBI development marketplace, we cant do it directly; we are looking for other ideas
  • Bangladesh climate change – Bangladesh fin min involved in Bali session
  • On Fossil fuels – we provide access to electricity for people in poor countries; US uses lots of coal too; we do hydro as well to provide electricity access; you cannot make it a choice between lack of electricity and climate change
  • We have a tough anti-corruption unit, we will go after it
  • On post-conflict – next WDR is on conflict; we do lots of work in Iraq as well on refugees
  • On protecting CSOs – work with and meet with parliamentarians; we work on judiciaries as well; can’t do police forces but UN is starting to work on it
  • Secret clauses – our contracts are open, you need to talk to your governments
  • On COP 16 – CIFs have been very effective; governance arrangements are equal; CSOs involved in the governance; 10:1 leverage is really importan
  • Research is also important – ie land use carbon