The Humanitarian Times

May 10, 2000

Special World Bank Edition

 

- POLIO ERADICATION IN INDIA TO BE SUPPORTED BY $143M WORLD BANK LOAN for vaccine purchase, immunizations, & social mobilization, to achieve eradication by 2001. India has the world's largest share of polio.

- ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK ANNUAL MEETING RECEIVED HIGHEST PROFILE yet, following recent public scrutiny of the WTO & World Bank. The Manila AsDB meeting ended this Monday. While Japan & the US support replenishment of the Asian Development Fund (a confessional lending mechanism, currently $6.3B), the 2 donors disagree over the need for an AsDB study of resource needs. Japan pledged $100M for the AsDB's new focus on poverty reduction. SE & E Asian countries agreed on an expanded currency swap - "the Chiang Mai Initiative", to mitigate financial crises caused by speculative surges. Proposals to provide aid to & observer status for North Korea were rejected by the Asian Development Bank.

- BANK INSPECTION PANEL FINDS $160M TIBET PROJ. NOT COMPLIANT with World Bank standards, as the proposed loan to China which would not protect local Tibetans or the natural environment in the course of resettling Chinese farmers in Tibetan territory. Tibetan groups view the China plan as a thinly-veiled effort to undermine their culture & political integrity.

- WORLD BANK TRAINING - "THE TRANSITION FROM WAR TO PEACE" MAY 23 & 24 will include peace-building, economics of reconstruction, external partnerships, innovative financial mechanisms, application of knowledge management, trust funds, demobilization-disarmament, repatriation & social trust. Contact: eheffernatworldbank.org.

- $300M FOR BOSNIA POST-CONFLICT RECONSTRUCTION PROJECTED TO MID-2002, of Bank loans, depending on performance by local authorities, outlined in new Country Assistance Strategy going for Bank Board review. Country Dir. C Poortman was quoted by Reuters saying "We are getting out of the business of bricks & mortar & power systems, & we are now more involved in the institutional side, the reform side," including governance & social safety nets.

- CHINA DEVT BANK QUESTIONED OVER THREE GORGES DAM BY ACTIVISTS who brought a shareholder resolution to Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, which underwrites bond issues for the 3 Gorges Dam.

- FORTUNE MAGAZINE VIEWS THE D.C. ANTI-BANK PROTESTS AS A BEGINNING of a needed, growing discussion on how the global economy will be governed, what powers should reside with states, what tradeoffs will occur between efficiency & equality, in its May 15 edition: "The world's financial & corporate elites would do well to listen up." It quotes the Meltzer Congr. report, that "studies of IMF lending have failed to find any link between IMF involvement & increases in income."

- ELECTRONIC CONFERENCE: "GLOBALIZATION, DEVELOPMENT & POVERTY" is co-hosted this month by the Panos Institute (London) & the World Bank. See: www.worldbank.org/devforum

- J. STIGLITZ CONTINUES CRITICISM OF THE IMF ROLE IN FINANCIAL CRISES: at the UCLA campus this week he lectured that IMF policies have not brought stability. Citing the IMF's approach to the financial crisis in Thailand -- to increase taxes & decrease spending, Stiglitz said it's "unambiguously clear that the policy was just wrong." He also spoke cbout!t`e increasing poverty & decreasing production in Russian, where, he recommends, tax & credit laws need to be better enforced.

_______________________________________________________________________

RECENT WORLD BANK LITERATURE ON CRISES

 

- W. BANK'S POST-CONFLICT UNIT (PCU) PRODUCED A STREAM OF REPORTS on the progress in understanding special aspects of recovery from complex emergencies. "From Civil War to Civil Society: The Transition From War to Peace in Guatemala & Liberia" summarizes a 1997 meeting convened with the Carter Center in Atlanta which concludes that to overcome mistrust, a peace accord needs to propose a security framework: "to minimize discontent, maintain momentum & reach the largest common denominator, the process needs to be comprehensive, transparent & inclusive." The 1996 "Transition from War to Peace in Sub-Saharan Africa" provides lessons on demobilization & reintegration now critical for countries like Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, Rwanda & Congo.

1999's "The Nexus Between Economic Management & Civil Societies in Countries Emerging from War in Southern Africa" based on a workshop, emphasizes inclusiveness in post-conflict development, partnerships in the World Bank's work & the challenges for the Bank to overcome its own rigid structures. In 1998 the Bank hosted a conference in Paris among transition donors, summarized in the PCU's "Conflict Prevention & Post-Conflict Reconstruction." The Sept. 1999 "Security Poverty Reduction & Sustainable Development" summarizes a joint consultation with the Belgian Govt that looked at arms trade, the role of business, disarmament, & security sector reform.

- "LEARNING FROM THE W. BANK'S EXPERIENCE OF NATURAL DISASTER RELATED Assistance" by Roy Gilbert & Alcira Kreimer (1999 World Bank: Disaster Management Facility) aggregates data on disaster impacts & costs by type & concludes "Mitigating the effects of disasters should be at the heart of planning the development of countries at-risk... Successful disaster mitigation can bring substantial economic benefits. Given the recurrent nature of disasters & improved methods for forecasting - especially storms, flooding & droughts - the failure to allocate resources to disaster prevention in developing countries is economically irrational & politically unwise."

_______________________________________________________________________

May 10, 2000 The Humanitarian Times

The Humanitarian Times is a independent, non-profit news publication.

For a free subscription, write: Htimesatmsn.com