IFI governance


CSO roundtable with World Bank Group Executive Directors

4 October 2016

4 October 2016 | Minutes

Merza Hasan, Executive Director (ED) and Dean of the Board at the World Bank Group
Alex Sardar, CIVICUS

Merza Hasan, Dean of the Board of Executive Directors

  • Before I give the floor to Alex. Let me talk about the changing environment and the development Agenda; it is a challenge how to deliver an inclusive development agenda.
  • Forward Look; where we can allocate our resources in an efficient way and where we can have a developmental impact. In our thinking, how to really bring the private sector into this and bring trillions into development. We want a bigger bank, we want a bank who is financially sustainable.
  • Our procurement framework was improved, reform and improvement of our safeguards, which will be implemented in early 2018. In the interim we need to prepare ourselves and our clients. This is the first time we had 4 years of analysis and consultations with all stakeholders.

Alex Sardar, CIVICUS

  • This annual meetings we have the largest number of delegates from civil society; 1173 out of 4000 delegates. In the context of the first year of the SDGs, we are experiencing an unprecedented attack on civil engagement and civil society. 109 countries are categorized as closed and closing civil society spaces. That makes this session more significant.

1) Safeguards implementations
Q. How can the bank do more to strengthen the economic governance?

Q. Request EDs to stop water privatisations and stop US ED to promote this privatisation. What are the EDs doing to address this issue?

Q. Stakeholder engagements, with closing civil society space, how can the bank ensure the proper implementation of projects and safeguards in all countries?

A. Subhash Chandra Garg, ED for Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Sri Lanka: subnational and grassroots are the focus of the bank.

A. Matthew McGuire, ED for the US: in case of conflict of interest, we deal with them case by case. The US responds to requests by countries to help with solutions.

A. ED: practical commitment, we need to put it in the field now, government and bank conversation are necessary. We will continue to have this type of engagements, continue the exchange. In our civil society bank dialogue, lets keep the countries that are benefiting from the bank engagements at a core. Need to find a balance in which we can engage in a constructive approach.

A. Melanie Robinson, ED for the UK: balancing the need to get resources to countries, whilst serving the same source of our client base. In the context in IDA and double resources for SCS, that we have a good offer for middle income countries. Really build capacity in the interim when countries move from IDA to a middle income country. In the appropriate way for their level of income.

2) PPPs, Infrastructure, climate finance
Q. How can the bank ensure that in PPP projects the safeguards standards are respected and how can we ensure accountability?

Q. The Inga-dam project, where is the Bank with this?

Q. from Cameroon, is there help from the bank for procurement and to build up capacity of the country for sustainability?

Q. from Indonesia, the first WB & AIIB joint project is a slum upgrading in many cities in Indonesia, which will likely lead to social upheaving. This was initially rated as an A project (most risky), then it was downgraded to B (less risky), why? Will this project be implemented under the current safeguards?

A. ED: the bank really believes in education for all, learning for all. The Bank is investing its largest part in public education 90%, small part also goes into private education. BIA (Kenya and Uganda). we need to build up capacity of the country.

A. Patrizio Pagano, ED for Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Philippines, Suriname, and Trinidad & Tobago: in order to be efficient, we have best practice.

A. Peter Larose, ED for Africa Group 1 Constituency (AFG1): There is an African minister taskforce, reporting quarterly on the Inga-dam.

A. Franciscus Godts, ED for Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Czech Republic, Hungary, Kosovo, Luxembourg, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, and Turkey: if you lower your criteria, it is impossible for the bank to monitor it.

3) Financial Intermediaries, tax flows
Q. from Peru, what would be the role what the WB assigned for institutions fighting illigimate financial flows?

Q. question about insurance, what can the bank do for small global farmers to have access to insurance?

Q. from Egypt, there are lots of reforms in Egypt, there is no enforcement on any engagement with civil society. How will the bank ensure engagement?

A. Frank Heemskerk, ED for Armenia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Georgia, Israel, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, The Netherlands, Romania and Ukraine: on Egypt, targeting income support to the lower incomes, working on tax reforms. The WB cannot and should not tell countries what to do, there should be a request from the client. If there is a need, we are working with governments to reduce energy subsidies and focus on income support.

A. Susan Ulbaek, ED for Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden: it is an opportunity to get your economy green, climate change is not just a threat.

A. Matthew McGuire: technological innovations, we are looking for those novel ones we can role out. Where the bank can play a role the market can’t play.

A. Jason Allford, Alternate ED for Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Cambodia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Mongolia, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu: World bank is rolling out PEF and natural disaster insurance. On small holder farmers, we should make sure its sustainable, public and private insurance in Australia, definitely a direction the bank is heading in.

4) internal processes, CSO, forward look, presidential elections
Q. What initiatives is the Bank taking to engage CSOs in fighting corruption?

Q. for projects in the pipeline, the need to increase the engagement of CSOs, compliance. What is your role of commitment to communities of projects that are in the pipeline?

Q. from Indonesia, problems with the national slum upgrading project and meeting the EDs, how can we meet the EDs representing Indonesia?

A. Frank Heemskerk: I am much more concerned about corruption outside our projects. Some times things go wrong, we investigate them and bring them to the accountability body. We don’t see where money goes in private investments, governments etc. A lot of technical institutional work the WB is doing we are making it a lot more difficult.

A. Matthew McGuire: anything that is sent to our offices we look into. Human rights are not mentioned in safeguards, we don’t use the lingo, but they really are mentioned. Gender equity is mentioned a lot, labour rights etc. The more open a society is the more successful it is to grow its economy.

A. Franciscus Godts: civil society has to be strong and be consistent and get the information. Go out there to local bank branches and get it. The information provided/shared by the bank is so much better than 10 years ago.