Land

Background

Notes of meeting between UK Executive Director to World Bank Susanna Moorehead and UK civil society

18 July 2012

15 August 2012 | Minutes


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Attending:
World Bank – Susanna Moorehead, UK Executive Director
DFID – Siobhan Clifford, Sheila Ahmed
NGOs – Peter Chowla (Bretton Woods Project), Petra Kjell (Bretton Woods Project), Joanne Green (CAFOD), John Garrett (Water Aid), Tom Wallace (ONE), Ben Moxham (TUC), Tom Griffiths (Forest People’s Programme), Ruth Kelley (Oxfam), Monica Stephen (International Alert), Richard Harkinson (London Mining Network), Julia Modern (RESULTS), John Garratt (WaterAid), Lucia Fry (ActionAid)

1. IDA16 mid-term review/IDA17 replenishment

NGOs made the following points:

  • Issues around the IDA spend on basic education should be brought up at the mid-term review. There are concerns about the spending drops in basic education, in particular in Sub-Saharan Africa, where they have been dropping very low. Pledges to increase spending have not been realised in practice.
  • IDA has seen severe drops in countries included in the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), but this shouldn’t replace IDA, it should be additional. GPE is being talked about as World Bank money which is problematic, including a letter to Oxfam from the new Bank Vice President (VP) for Africa.

Susanna Moorehead and officials made the following points:

  • Need to distinguish between IDA more generally and the specific issues raised on education. We have already had lots of meetings with Results UK on IDA funding for primary education.
  • Haven’t seen the VP letter to Oxfam US and agree that the distinction between GPE and IDA investment in primary education is important (the VP is new).
  •  IDA is country led, and Minsters of Finance have limited resources, so substitution may occur.
  • A lot of the issues raised must be dealt with on the GPE side. This is under active consideration, including a consultant looking at governance issues in GPE. Education will most likely be part of the discussion at the IDA Midterm Review, but it is one of many issues that will be discussed.
  • World Bank will not pull out of basic education, but we all need to listen to what client governments are saying, particularly in Africa. It is hard to make a strong case for what you are asking from us, without a better sense of clients’ views.
  • The IDA16 Midterm Review will most likely be in Cote d’Ivoire in November. This will be an early opportunity to indicate UK objectives for the UK is coming from. Due to the eurozone crisis, we won’t be as generous as in the past, but will work this through.
  • The IDA 17 replenishment is tough and more difficult to plan. While working out what to ask for, we also need to think about where we want to see IDA in five years’ time. This replenishment will be particularly significant. We are in transition to a different borrower and donor landscape, and we need to work out what to think about this. There are no answers, we need to work out how to achieve UK development objectives over the medium term. The DFID IDA team is identifying the most important questions and expects to arrange an informal consultation in September.

NGOs followed up with the following points:

  • On water and sanitation, there have been successes in some IDA projects, but the pro poor approach could be improved, including targeting of water points which is not going to the poorest parts of the cities. WB is primarily looking at technical and financial viability, rather than social objectives which should be prioritised. There is an increasing focus on infrastructure – there needs to be a cross cutting approach, including links to agriculture and other sectors
  • IDA 16 had a thematic focus on fragile states, would like an update on the working group and aspects of reform. What will IDA look like post 2025, when many countries will be graduating out of IDA, with the remaining mainly being fragile and conflict-affected states?
  • It is good to see a bottom up definition of the post MDG agenda. IDA could be a great opportunity to align replenishment with a pro poor agenda. The annual meetings in Tokyo represents a good opportunity to raise this, including civil society partnerships

Susanna Moorehead and officials made the following points:

  • Agree with many points on water; projects should also monitor women’s access to water. These issues of targeting the poor are of great concern to the WB Board.
  • Infrastructure projects will involve many other sectors; and the demand from African chairs for infrastructure projects is growing. Cross sectoral issues are indeed tricky. The WB has a strong VP (Rachel Kyte) who is focused on this, in particular post Rio.
  • On fragile states and the background to the IDA 16 Working Group, IDA donors asked for a series of working groups during the IDA 16 replenishment to address issues (fragile states, inclusive growth, results and effectiveness and IDA’s future financial sustainability), which could not best be tackled during the actual replenishment process. The Working Groups are intended to inform the IDA 16 Midterm Review and the subsequent replenishment process. Not clear that the Fragile States Working Group is driving the fragile states agenda; it is better to look to the Nairobi hub (the Global Centre on Conflict, Security and Development), established by Bank management. A lot is going on, but these are not easy problems to fix and there are also concerns about expectation management. WB is paying more attention to these issues, with more staff working on them. Most policy conversations now include the perspective of fragile states. The IDA16 Midterm Review needs to make a balanced assessment, recognising that this is work in progress with room for improvement.
  • Even though the prevailing economic climate is difficult, IDA17 shouldn’t be seen as a ‘glass half full’.  Pressures are not primarily due to the eurozone crisis.  IBRD income is going down and there are other contributory factors on the supply side.  On the demand side, some countries will be graduating.  It is still very early days, and the UK does not yet have a position. There will be strong links with the UN Secretary General’s High Level Panel on Post 2015 (co-chaired by the Prime Minister) and the G8 presidency. IDA 17 will be a priority for the UK, but we do not want to second guess outcomes. Tokyo is rightly where the discussion should start.
  • Would like to know what NGOs think about the future of IDA, would urge NGOs to have views by the Annual Meetings in Tokyo. It would be helpful if NGOs had strategic positions, as to how they would like to see the future of concessional finance evolving.
  • If the current IDA model continues, by 2025 most remaining IDA eligible countries will be fragile states, but IDA is not designed for this. The question has been raised as to whether to tinker with the existing model or do something different for fragile states.
  • Shaila Khan is the new IDA Deputy, supported by IFID’s Richard Teuten and Sheila Ahmed, as well as the UK Delegation to the World Bank and IMF in Washington. DFID has already planned work streams on fragile states, gender, an update to the Multilateral Aid Review (MAR) and graduation from IDA to inform our strategic objectives for the negotiations. We do not know where new donors will come out; this is another issue for the agenda. NGOs need to have a strategic position, rather than organisational priorities, identifying what shape we would like to see. A considered view would be good.
  • There are work streams set up on fragile states, gender, multilateral aid review update comparison, graduation and future priorities (i.e. what is IDA for, where do we want it to go, look like etc)

2. Agriculture and land

NGOs made the following points:

  • A joint campaign is being set up, with Oxfam, ActionAid and others, in response to issues coming from partners with a focus on land rights for small holders, as an issue that is rising on the agenda. Discussions have been held with WB Vice President Rachel Kyte and others at WB, around the way land is dealt with at WB (e.g. land tenure and administration). There are emerging disputes, e.g. around agribusiness and infrastructure, and a need to identify the state of land acquisitions.
  • WB is committed to implementation of the Committee on World Food Security Voluntary Guidelines (VG). There is an increased recognition of free, informed and prior consent (FPIC) for indigenous peoples, for example in the IFC performance standards – are there also options for VGs to include FPIC for other communities?

Susanna Moorehead and officials made the following points:

  • SM met Oxfam in Washington on this issue a few weeks ago. This is an important agenda, linked to food security, agriculture and extractive resources. It’s hard to assess how it impacts of different sectors in the Bank. Rachel Kyte is focused on this.
  • There hasn’t been any discussion on the Responsible Agriculture Indicators at WB board yet, but a discussion on agriculture is set for September. Many EDs are concerned about land reform and property rights, these issues are increasingly coming up at board level, so think it will be more and more important.
  • There is a wide range of views among borrowers on this issue, which needs to be taken into account. Borrowers are not just concerned with smallholder farmers; the debate is more sophisticated than that. We are more likely to come up with solutions benefiting poor people if this is recognised.

NGOs followed up with the following points:

  • We are talking to many different stakeholders, more information will be coming
  • Land acquisitions cuts across many different sectors, including the ‘green economy’. The emerging carbon markets have impact on people’s lands and property rights. Does the UK government aim to issue a position paper for the WB safeguards review, including issues around land grabs, human rights, etc? Will the UK support FPIC and stronger protections for land rights in the Bank’s safeguard policy update and consolidation process? We would also like to share a letter to the new WB president from indigenous peoples. (copy of June 2012 IP sign on letter to Dr Kim letter passed to UK ED)
  • There is firm evidence that biofuels is a major driver of land acquisitions.

Susanna Moorehead and officials made the following points:

  • There are currently no plans to issue a position paper and a paper is not necessarily the best way to approach the review. The UK government is very interested in the safeguards, but it’s phenomenally complex.
  • The IFC performance standards are good and the inclusion of FPIC, but there are lots of detractors.

3. Doing Business rankings

NGOs made the following points:

  • Paying taxes as an indicator of the Doing Business framework means that countries scored higher if corporate taxation rates are lowers.
  • On the employers’ workers index, we understand that it won’t be reincorporated into the DB report right away, which is welcome. The DBR is too blunt of an instrument and we would like the worker protection index used here. The index could be in the World Development Report on jobs, the new social protection strategy and the safeguards review, rather in the DB report.
  • NGOs sent a recent letter to the Secretary of State to call for the rankings to be reviewed, including attention to women and small businesses. With the 10 year anniversary, there is a strong case and support to look at the impact on them

Susanna Moorehead and officials made the following points:

  • It is good to hear some positive views on Doing Business, there aren’t normally many of them. There are lots of elements of disagreements, but overall we think it is a useful tool. It has taken up a lot of the board’s time recently.
  • There was a very fiery meeting at the board last week, with a lot of countries opposing the rankings or taking issue with specific indicators. The new World Bank President, Dr Kim, proposed that Doing Business should be independently reviewed in its tenth year. This will happen in the coming year and will provide a useful space to have these conversations. The UK government will be participating in this. Terms of Reference to be decided, but certain that CSO views will be sought – but there is a question around who is civil society?
  • Regarding the WDR on jobs, a consultation with the ILO is imminent and the “grey cover” report should be available next week.

4. Project: Oyu Tolgoi

NGOs made the following points:

  • Project is part funded by EBRD and IFC. WB has made analysis and assessment through its advisory work. There are major water demands. So far there has already been project development, including workers population influx impacts, but the long withholding of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) means that the company has been and is still actively negotiating displacement agreements, which would have been more transparent if an Environmental and Social Action Plan were in place. This is demoralising the traditional herder communities whom the company is displacing. There are particular concerns around transparency regarding ground water – these reports should be released by WB. There are also broader concerns around local and regional development.

Susanna Moorehead and officials made the following points:

  • This project is likely to continue to be discussed, but the Mongolian government is also a shareholder in this.
  • ESAI is in its final stages of preparation, with possible public release in August or September

NGOs followed up with the following points:

  • If released in September release, then there will be 60 days of dealing with flood of information. Don’t see why it can’t be released straight away, we have been waiting for two years. This is leading to demoralisation of people. The groundwater assessment is ready and should be released now.
  • If the impact is already being felt, then the IFC performance standards should be applied.

Susanna Moorehead and officials made the following points:

  • There are also concerns about releasing the ESAI too early, with other parts coming later. The ESAI is due to be released in August or September. We will look into it further.

5. AOB

NGOs asked for impressions so far on the new World Bank president. Susanna Moorehead responded that it’s early days, but so far Dr Kim has made a very good impression. He is taking the time to listen to what staff and the Board have to say.

Susanna Moorehead asked for current NGO views on WB votes and equity. Wondering why NGOs talk to EU Executive Directors about safeguards, as they are probably more likeminded, with implications for position on votes. She advised not to leave discussion of governance until too late, and said it would be helpful to have constructive dialogue on this.

NGOs responded that the WB’s next round is in 2015, now the focus is on the IMF. There are conversations with southern civil society. Among the NGOs at the meeting, some work more with CSOs others with governments. Difficult to have a shared view, but a process has been started, including what the change of power means. Democratic and transparency principles need to be respected. Need stronger accountability mechanisms so that people affected are in the driving seats, e.g. a pro-poor agenda should be prioritised – ex ante not just ex post.

The incoming UK ED, Gwen Hines, was introduced to the network.