Annual Meetings 2021: Civil Society Townhall with World Bank Group President David Malpass

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Annual Meetings 2021: Civil Society Townhall with World Bank Group President David Malpass

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How is the World Bank Group focusing on resilient recovery in the post-pandemic era? Every year during the Annual Meetings, the Civil Society Townhall provides an opportunity for civil society representatives to dialogue with the President and Bank leadership.

In the first virtual Civil Society Townhall held on October 12, World Bank Group President David Malpass discussed he Bank’s efforts to protect human capital, address countries’ excessive debt burdens, and facilitate an inclusive, resilient recovery from COVID-19.

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  • Stakeholder Engagement Lead, External and Corporate Relations, World Bank Group

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  • 0:08 [MERCY NIWE] Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for making  
  • 0:12 time to join us today. My name is Mercy Niwe and  I'll be your moderator for this discussion today.  
  • 0:19 As the lead for the World Bank Group stakeholder  engagement, I'm so delighted to convene this  
  • 0:24 important discussion. This town hall and they  just concluded Civil Society Policy Forum,  
  • 0:30 an important part of our annual  meetings here at the bank  
  • 0:34 as their centerpiece of the bank's overall  engagement with the civil society. The bank  
  • 0:39 prioritizes this Frank and engaging dialogues  because they provide an opportunity for better  
  • 0:45 understanding of each other's priorities and have  often helped to unveil areas of common ground.  
  • 0:51 I'm delighted to have with us today the World Bank  Group president David Malpass, who I will invite  
  • 0:58 shortly to make brief opening remarks. We are also  joined today by members of the senior leadership  
  • 1:04 team. We have Anshula Kant, managing director  and chief financial officer. We also have Mamta  
  • 1:10 Murthi, vice president for human development.  I know our CSOs are eager to hear from David,  
  • 1:17 but before I invite him and the senior leadership  team, let me highlight a few housekeeping items.  
  • 1:23 This session is being broadcast live on World  Bank live in English, French, and Spanish.  
  • 1:30 If you're participating through Zoom, please  use a language selector on the toolbar.  
  • 1:35 For those who are viewing through the live stream,  please choose the corresponding language link.  
  • 1:40 Following president Malpass' remarks we'll  open the session for questions and answers.  
  • 1:45 For those who are participating in Zoom, please  submit your questions by using the Q&A function  
  • 1:50 on the toolbar. Many of you were able to send in  advance questions with your RSVP, so we'll plan  
  • 1:57 to alternate those submitted via the Q&A and those  that we received ahead of today's session. I must  
  • 2:04 note that we have received an overwhelming number  of questions. We'll not be able to get to all of  
  • 2:09 them, but we'll make sure we collect them for  follow up. To save time, we will be reading the  
  • 2:15 questions out to allow many participants as people  to ask questions. For the sake of transparency,  
  • 2:21 we'll post the full list of questions received  following the conclusion of the town hall.  
  • 2:27 Note that this session is being recorded. With  that, I would like to open this discussion by  
  • 2:32 putting the first question to Mr. Malpass.  David, once again, thanks for joining us. I  
  • 2:38 understand you have a very packed agenda and  an off-site meeting for you to travel to.  
  • 2:44 We will appreciate you're taking all these  questions, but we know that time will not  
  • 2:49 permit. And thank you for accepting to take  the rest of the call actually in the car as  
  • 2:54 you head out. So thank you so much for that. And  my first question that is coming in from the CSOs,  
  • 3:00 one thing is crisis has underscored is  inequality, both between and within countries.  
  • 3:07 Where we are seeing some recovery, it has been  uneven. To kick off our discussion, David,  
  • 3:13 could you tell us what the World Bank is doing to  ensure an equitable recovery? David, over to you.
  • 3:22 [DAVID MALPASS] To check I'm okay. Hello. Hello Mercy and hello  
  • 3:25 everyone. I'm glad we could do this. I'm sorry, I  have to go to a meeting with Secretary Yellen on  
  • 3:33 climate. So I'm going to do the first part of  this on video and then the rest in the car. I  
  • 3:39 have joining me and Anshula and Mamta also. So  we can bring them in maybe in the next segment.  
  • 3:49 So inequality is a serious problem,  Mercy, and it has various dimensions.  
  • 3:56 One of those is the backward movement  on core development statistics such as  
  • 4:03 the poverty rates that have risen, also the per  capita incomes that are going down, especially in  
  • 4:14 many developing countries. But there's some  backward movement and it adds to inequality  
  • 4:21 in terms of education, in terms of health,  in terms of availability of vaccines.  
  • 4:26 So we're working on those where we can. But you  phrased the question, what are we doing to ensure  
  • 4:33 that there's not backward or that we  lessened the inequality? I have to say,  
  • 4:39 we're not going to be able to do that, inequality  is getting worse. And so this is a huge challenge  
  • 4:45 we're working on. But it's not changing the trend  back into the proper positive direction. Let me  
  • 4:53 mention a couple of statistics and then a couple  aspects of this. The median income per capita for  
  • 5:03 the advanced economies is going up by 5% in 2021.  But for the low-income countries, up by only 0.5%.  
  • 5:15 So it's a 10 times differential, and it's the  opposite of what you want. In order to narrow  
  • 5:22 inequality, we have to have median income go up  more in poor countries than in rich countries.  
  • 5:28 So we're going backward on that. I've talked a  lot about the concentration of wealth and income  
  • 5:34 in the advanced economies, and it's related to  the policies that they're doing. The central banks  
  • 5:41 patently are buying the assets of upper income  and of corporations of governments that are AAA or  
  • 5:49 high rated bonds. And that makes it very hard to  get resources to the developing world that needs  
  • 5:57 to from a different platform. So you're going  to have this odd situation of the central banks  
  • 6:02 borrowing from banks in order to put money  into the upper end of the income schedule,  
  • 6:08 the reverse of what you would actually  want the global financial system to do.  
  • 6:14 And that's true of the huge rise in debt of the  advanced economies that's benefiting oftentimes  
  • 6:21 the people that are already in the formal sector.  So the informal sector is being left behind,  
  • 6:30 women are being left behind by this. I noted  that in my remarks yesterday, our data shows that  
  • 6:36 both in the downturn and now in the recovery, in  both cases, women fall further behind rather than  
  • 6:46 the previous years had seen some advances in those  areas. The vaccine program is concerning because  
  • 6:57 there has been, over the last year, the World  Bank has had a huge funding availability and  
  • 7:03 effort to try to get supply of vaccines into  the developing world. But it hasn't been as  
  • 7:09 successful as I wanted it to be. And the world is  not stepping up in order to allow vaccine doses to  
  • 7:17 go to people in developing countries. So we work  on that every day with the manufacturers, but  
  • 7:23 importantly with the governments of the advanced  economies, which have a lack on the supply of  
  • 7:29 vaccines and. So the important key thing to  do is for them to allow their deliveries,  
  • 7:38 the near-term deliveries to go to developing  countries as a way to get more vaccinations done  
  • 7:45 in developing countries. So those are some key  areas I've mentioned. Maybe finally mercy, the  
  • 7:54 debt buildup. We released data yesterday from the  IDS, which is the international debt statistics of  
  • 7:59 the World Bank, an important report for the world  because it's the spot where the world aggregates  
  • 8:06 its data on debt. And it showed that the debt of  low income countries has gone up 12% in 2020. So  
  • 8:14 rather than going down, which is what we wanted in  our call, I called for foreign Kristalina joined  
  • 8:21 me, a call for a moratorium on debt payments,  debt payments by the poorest countries to  
  • 8:29 their creditors. We did that in March and April  of 2020. But in 2020, the actual data shows an  
  • 8:37 increase of 12% and the debt of the low-income  countries, reaching $860 billion. So this is  
  • 8:44 again a reversal in development that I think  is concerning for the world. Let me stop there.
  • 8:54 [MERCY NIWE] David, thank you so much. Again,  
  • 8:57 you've highlighted the complexities that we  are facing right now. As you can imagine,  
  • 9:03 CSOs on this call listen to the communities on the  ground. And again, urgent action is needed, like  
  • 9:11 you've highlighted. So we have so many questions  that came in and I would like to start with,  
  • 9:17 you alluded to vaccines and you've also talked  about debt. But maybe let's first focus on  
  • 9:25 one of the burning issues that received so many  questions from the CSOs, climate. We received a  
  • 9:31 lot of questions related to the World Bank Group's  approach to sustainable development as part of the  
  • 9:37 pandemic response, especially on climate change.  So I will read just a few questions. And as I  
  • 9:43 said, there are so many questions that  are coming in. But we have Chenwi Elvis,  
  • 9:48 community health and social development from  Cameroon asking, why not issue a massive financing  
  • 9:54 for the fight against climate change? There is  a related question from Indonesia Foundation,  
  • 10:00 Buddhi Magonia from Indonesia. Carbon tax will  hurt low income people. Again, this is on the  
  • 10:07 inclusion agenda, but going back on climate. How  can we help to make the vision of climate action  
  • 10:12 a reality and create renewable energy? So, David,  perhaps you could speak more on what the bank is  
  • 10:20 doing to provide climate finance, address the  carbon tax issue, and support renewable energy.
  • 10:27 [DAVID MALPASS] Good. Thanks. So on climate finance, the  
  • 10:31 World Bank has rapidly expanded its efforts, over  the last years were record financing for the World  
  • 10:38 Bank. And it's in fact among the international  financial institutions, which includes the other  
  • 10:46 multilateral development banks, the IMF, and  so on, the World Bank is more than half of that  
  • 10:52 total. So it's not enough and so we're looking at  ways to make it more, both in the World Bank but  
  • 11:01 also on a global basis by pulling in other sources  of funding. That includes private foundations,  
  • 11:07 for example, that are a very important part of  this mix. Also the corporate world, whether banks  
  • 11:14 or big corporations or middle corporations want to  find ways to buy and be engaged in carbon offsets.  
  • 11:23 This is a way for them to contribute to the effort  to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. So one of the  
  • 11:30 things, so the World Bank has a major climate  change action plan that we released in May. It  
  • 11:37 commits us to 35% of our total funding going to  climate change action, which expands our effort  
  • 11:45 and provides a huge portion. For example, there is  talk of going into the COP26 of $100 billion per  
  • 11:52 year. The World Bank alone, the World Bank will do  one quarter of the global total toward that total.  
  • 12:02 So I want to make that clear, that the World Bank  itself is doing way above what the expectations  
  • 12:11 could be for the World Bank. But we recognize  that's not nearly enough, some people look  
  • 12:17 for hundreds of trillions of dollars, not $100  billion, but $100 trillion, which is 1,000 times  
  • 12:26 as much, which is a huge step up for the world.  And there's no process right now to do that. So  
  • 12:33 I want to mention one more thing. A key part of  this, as we address climate change is, how do  
  • 12:41 you pay for the closing of coal, decommissioning  of coal and of other high greenhouse gas emission  
  • 12:51 facilities when it's going to cost money and lose  money? It's not like it's a bankable project.  
  • 12:58 So we have to get the world mindset to the idea  that there's going to be a flow of funds from  
  • 13:06 people that have it, from the advanced economies,  for example, toward global emitters, the emitters  
  • 13:14 of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. And  that will require projects. And the World Bank  
  • 13:22 can be an integral part of that because it designs  projects. So if we think about a concrete example,  
  • 13:29 decommissioning a coal plant, you have to think  about what does the country need to do to enable  
  • 13:36 it? World Bank engages with the country. What  happens to the workers over a period of years?  
  • 13:43 World Bank helps target financial assistance  in that way. What happens to the land and  
  • 13:50 the repurposing of the land that was used  in a high methane producing way or a high  
  • 13:58 coal producing way? And how do you manage  that over a period of decades, of years? All  
  • 14:05 of these cost money. And then you want to create  electricity so that there's access for people,  
  • 14:11 that's a high priority within the SDGs. So that  takes private sector investment, World Bank can  
  • 14:17 enable that through IFC and through MIGA. So there  needs to be a coordinated effort among various  
  • 14:23 parties in the international system in order to  create the financial flows, and I didn't give  
  • 14:31 them all in that example, to high priority. Large  financial flows into the decommissioning of coal  
  • 14:38 needs to be private foundations to help project  design, to help set up the design of the projects  
  • 14:44 and the carbon offset market, which needs to  be created in an accountable way so that it  
  • 14:53 can put large flows into the sustainability  of this kind of project. So I just gave you  
  • 15:00 one example. We're working on one pilot project  in South Africa. We need actually one per day  
  • 15:08 by the international community until 2040. So for  the next 15 years or 20 years, really, we need one  
  • 15:18 of those, what I just described with complexity  every day of the year for the next 20 years. So  
  • 15:24 that gives you a measure of the complexity of the  problem. We need to start with pilot projects,  
  • 15:30 we need to do them successfully and recognize  that World Bank can scale up from the middle,  
  • 15:36 but the financing is going to come from outside.  I know there was the dimension of carbon taxation.  
  • 15:43 I'll just make a brief point. Incentives  are really important in countries. We're  
  • 15:48 working with the NDCs of countries, and we have to  recognize that they will want to get the policies  
  • 15:56 of their country consistent with their NDCs.  Taxation is one very effective way to reduce  
  • 16:04 the carbon emissions. And that the questioner was  saying, won't that cost the poor? I think we need  
  • 16:11 to think about targeted assistance to the poor but  recognition that you need an incentive structure  
  • 16:18 that stops subsidizing the use of high carbon  fuels and actually taxes, it goes the opposite  
  • 16:27 of a subsidy. So we need to look at that  and work with countries through their NDCs.
  • 16:33 [MERCY NIWE] Thank you so much,  
  • 16:34 David. Again, you've touched on the cost to the  poor. On this call today, we have more than 50%  
  • 16:42 callers from the global South. And their biggest  issue is again talking about cost to the poor.  
  • 16:49 We've seen so many questions that have come in on  debt. So I'll read some of those for you, David.  
  • 16:56 And just switching from climate and fossil fuels  to the impact it's having on our client countries.  
  • 17:03 One of the CSOs from Ghana wrote in and said, I  would like to know the measures that the World  
  • 17:09 Bank is putting in place to help curb the  excessive debt burdens of African countries.  
  • 17:15 Another one mentioned a common framework, to  what extent can the World Bank contribute to  
  • 17:20 debt relief, another common framework. And again,  just putting these in the same bucket on social  
  • 17:27 drawing rights, how can the bank help general  surplus SDRs to further support vaccine equity  
  • 17:34 and job security? And David, I know if you can  finish all this before you move on, Anshula could  
  • 17:38 also come in and support you on this. But we are  seeing the tension between the global North and  
  • 17:44 global self advocacies on climate change and how  they reflect also to the poor who are struggling  
  • 17:50 with food insecurity or struggling to pay a debt.  And COVID has actually just enhanced the depth and  
  • 17:58 problems that debt can have in these developing  countries. So your thoughts on that, David.
  • 18:03 [DAVID MALPASS] Absolutely [inaudible 00:18:05].  
  • 18:06 Oops. Mercy, what I'm going to do is answer this  on debt, I also want to mention adaptation. Then  
  • 18:13 I'm going to step away and maybe questions can go  to Anshula and Mamta and then I'll come back on.  
  • 18:20 So with regard to debt, let me frame it  for people. As I mentioned, I called for  
  • 18:27 a moratorium on the payments to provide  the poor countries. Kristalina joined me,  
  • 18:33 this is a year ago, year and a half ago. The G20  took over that effort and it became the DSSI,  
  • 18:39 which was which wasn't as broad as I had  wanted it to be. So there was limited debt flow  
  • 18:50 savings by the countries that participated in  DSSI. It's going to expire at the end of this  
  • 18:57 year. And so the world needs to, and I've  urged the world and the G20 specifically  
  • 19:05 to think about what it wants to do as the DSSI  expires and those payments that have been deferred  
  • 19:12 then come due. Remember, it didn't actually reduce  the amounts of debt, it deferred it. And that  
  • 19:16 shows up in our debt statistics that was released  yesterday. Then G20 in 2020 tried to put forward a  
  • 19:30 broader initiative called the common framework  that is intended to provide debt relief. But  
  • 19:38 the methodologies of that still leave the global  system heavily favoring the creditor within the  
  • 19:48 relationship. So once a debt is established,  there's no bankruptcy process or way for that  
  • 19:55 debt to be reduced. So we're working closely with  the IMF, we've called for enhancements in the  
  • 20:04 common framework. Those are being negotiated  or discussed in the communiqué discussions  
  • 20:10 of the G20 even this week. But not proceeding in a  way that will effectively reduce the debt burdens  
  • 20:18 of the poorest, countries that have unsustainable  debt. So we're left in a situation where  
  • 20:25 the global situation is very difficult. It's in  recession for many of the developing countries,  
  • 20:31 and the debt burdens are mounting. And there's not  a mechanism to bring the low interest rates of the  
  • 20:36 advanced economies into the developing world  in order to get more development. So I think  
  • 20:45 this is a troubling situation that we're in  now and there's, right now, not a vision or a  
  • 20:51 framework. What I would like to see is a common  framework that was more empowered. For example,  
  • 20:58 by having a country asks for common framework  treatment, then there would be a standstill  
  • 21:04 in their debt payments while they work with the  IMF, with the World Bank, with the international  
  • 21:11 community to assess the sustainability of their  debt and look for an alternative better future.  
  • 21:20 But that would take a G20 or an international  consensus on this. Right now, as I mentioned,  
  • 21:27 the international system is set up to very, very  heavily favor the creditor over the debtor, which  
  • 21:36 adds to the inequality as I mentioned before.  The SDRs, I'll leave to the IMF as it looks  
  • 21:44 for ways to provide resources through the SDR  window. I wanted to mention, Mercy, adaptation.  
  • 21:53 As we think about the challenges of the poor, one  of the inequalities is that the advanced economies  
  • 22:01 and some of the larger developing countries  produce the vast majority of the greenhouse gas  
  • 22:08 emissions, but the impact is felt by people around  the world. So it creates an inequality, a problem  
  • 22:16 that you didn't cause that you're having to pay  for. So there needs to be a substantial flow of  
  • 22:21 resources into adaptation. Within the World  Bank's climate change action plan, we commit,  
  • 22:26 as I mentioned, 35% of our total financing to  climate change. And of that, 50% to adaptation  
  • 22:37 efforts which naturally will flow mostly to the  poorer countries because those are the ones that  
  • 22:46 need those resources the most. So we're working  on that, but again the size of the resources  
  • 22:54 isn't going to be enough for the job. We've  front-loaded IDA19, so rather than three years,  
  • 23:03 it's spending out over two years and then we've  accelerated the IDA20 replenishment cycle.  
  • 23:09 So we'll be moving to the replenishment of IDA  by December of this year, we invite the CSOs.  
  • 23:20 People that are looking at this should I  hope recognize that IDA is a very powerful  
  • 23:25 unfragmented platform that engages both the  donor countries and the recipient countries,  
  • 23:34 heavily grants and zero interest rate loans or  credits, we call them, that are appropriate for  
  • 23:43 the way the world needs to interact to bring money  from the higher income or the richer countries  
  • 23:50 to the poor countries. So IDA stands in the center  of that, it has a powerful cross cutting theme now  
  • 23:57 on climate change. But it also has gender themes,  it has a very powerful support for global health,  
  • 24:06 for preparation and for the next crisis. And  it worked very well during the COVID crisis  
  • 24:13 by front loading. That itself is one of the  best preparations the world has for fighting  
  • 24:20 future crises like a pandemic. Thanks. I'm  going to move and then I'll come back on.
  • 24:26 [MERCY NIWE] Yes. Thank you so much, David. And as we let David  
  • 24:30 transition, thank you again Mamta and Anshula.  I know many questions are coming in. I'll shift  
  • 24:36 to you Mamta for a moment because I'm seeing so  many human capital questions coming in. I'm seeing  
  • 24:42 one from Dr. Rakesh, director of IDA Loveless  Organization from India. My question is related  
  • 24:48 to access to quality education and economic  empowerment of children, women, and persons  
  • 24:54 with disabilities in terms of COVID and aftermath  they're challenging, how is the bank addressing  
  • 25:00 that? And seeing another comment again coming in  relation to IDA and HCP now being the question is,  
  • 25:09 how is disability, inclusive education, everything  aligning to the IDA agenda, ADA20? And maybe you  
  • 25:16 would want to speak more on how IDA has elevated  human capital just from becoming a cross cutting  
  • 25:23 theme to a pillar on its own. Another question  again, there are so many questions that are coming  
  • 25:28 in on education, but those were online. Let me  shift also and give you one that came in before  
  • 25:36 the event. I've seen one that is from Maria  Hutifonce, how will the World Bank position itself  
  • 25:43 in the wider pandemic preparedness around  global health security and the universal  
  • 25:48 health care debate? So I'll stop here and  give you a chance, Mamta, to respond to those.
  • 25:54 [MAMTA MURTHI] So thank you, Mercy. And  
  • 25:59 these are all excellent questions. I want to  begin by saying that we are extremely concerned  
  • 26:05 that COVID-19, this pandemic and the  effect that it's having on students  
  • 26:11 is probably going to be the largest setback to  the learning of students in living memory. We  
  • 26:21 have been highlighting this for the past year. The  data that is coming in is conforming, I'm afraid,  
  • 26:28 our worst expectations. Very few children have  learned much during school closures, this is  
  • 26:35 because very few children in developing countries  have access to the internet or the kinds of  
  • 26:44 equipment, tablets, phones that would allow  them to learn. And so this is a silent crisis  
  • 26:55 to which we have been drawing attention. Now,  as the World Bank, we have really leaned forward  
  • 27:01 during the pandemic and have supported  countries as they have tried to  
  • 27:08 support children who are learning from home. As  David mentioned already, this has been the largest  
  • 27:15 crisis response of the World Bank Group in its  history. And this includes over $6 billion that  
  • 27:22 we have committed to education programs alone all  over the world. We have also committed $10 billion  
  • 27:30 to social safety net programs. This is important  as children are at home and their parents are not  
  • 27:37 working, the safety net programs actually provide  an income which addresses many of the other inputs  
  • 27:45 into a good education like food. Many children  in developing countries get their nutrition from  
  • 27:52 school feeding programs. And as schools have  shut down, they have been denied. So these  
  • 27:59 social safety net programs have been very  important. We've also mounted very large  
  • 28:04 emergency health programs. So in our education  programs, what we have emphasized is reaching  
  • 28:11 the poorest children. This includes support  through non high-tech means of reaching children.  
  • 28:21 So this printed materials that are delivered to  students at home, the use of television and radio  
  • 28:29 to broadcast programming. Some of the support  we have provided includes the provision of  
  • 28:34 radios and televisions because many poor  children do not have access to radios and  
  • 28:40 televisions in order to learn. As schools are  beginning to be open in developing countries,  
  • 28:48 we have emphasized that it's extremely  important to bring all children back to school,  
  • 28:53 it's very important to teach at the level that  they are at. Think of a child who was in third  
  • 29:00 grade or fourth grade, school has been closed  for a year, they are now entering fifth grade  
  • 29:06 and they're expected to learn that  fifth grade. That's not going to happen  
  • 29:10 unless the whole curriculum and the approach  of the teachers is revamped so that they can  
  • 29:16 teach at the level the child is at so that  the child doesn't drop out. Disabilities,  
  • 29:22 which was the specific question that was asked,  this is mainstreamed in all the work that we do on  
  • 29:28 education. All our work on education is designed  to support children of all abilities to benefit  
  • 29:36 from education. And this is a commitment that  we have made under IDA. And it's something that  
  • 29:43 we're broadening under IDA20. David talked about  the fact that we're looking to disburse IDA19 in  
  • 29:52 two years and we're bringing forward IDA20. And  this is a commitment to students of all abilities  
  • 30:04 benefiting from our programs is a part of  our wider commitment under IDA20. There was  
  • 30:10 a reference to the human capital project. I'm very  happy that human capital is a theme of IDA20. So  
  • 30:18 I think this is recognizing the huge negative  impact that the pandemic has had on learning,  
  • 30:25 on nutrition, and on morbidity and mortality.  So there is a scaled up commitment if you like  
  • 30:34 to human capital under IDA20. Finally, let me  just speak briefly about pandemic preparedness.  
  • 30:43 I would say there are four things for pandemic  preparedness, first of all, it needs to begin at  
  • 30:47 country level, and we are supporting countries  in pandemic preparedness. I'd like to mention  
  • 30:56 some investments that we've made in the past  which have proved very useful in COVID-19.  
  • 31:00 This includes support for the Africa CDC, it  includes support for surveillance and monitoring  
  • 31:07 capacity in Western Central Africa. This is  something that we intend to continue to do,  
  • 31:13 that's the first thing. The second thing is  that pandemic preparedness builds strongly on  
  • 31:17 primary healthcare systems. And this is at the  heart of what the World Bank supports, and it's  
  • 31:23 a part of achieving UHC 2030. The third thing is  that pandemic preparedness requires geographically  
  • 31:32 dispersed manufacturing capacity for medical  countermeasures. And IFC, our private sector arm,  
  • 31:38 is playing a very important role here, including  ramping up geographically dispersed manufacturing  
  • 31:46 facilities. Finally, I don't think pandemic  preparedness can progress sufficiently without  
  • 31:53 additional concessional resources for making  the investments. Many countries face a conflict  
  • 31:59 between meeting their immediate healthcare needs  and investing in preparedness. And that's why  
  • 32:06 we're calling for additional resources, and we  really welcome additional concessional resources  
  • 32:13 being put on the table for pandemic preparedness.  You talked about NGO from Cameroon, which talked  
  • 32:21 about additional resources for climate adaptation.  To that, I would like to add additional  
  • 32:27 concessional resources for pandemic  preparedness. Thank you. Back to you, Mercy.
  • 32:32 [MERCY NIWE] Excellent, excellent. We'll come back to you,  
  • 32:35 Mamta because there are other questions that are  coming in on our response, getting vaccines to  
  • 32:40 countries like Yemen, fragile context. Of course  you know, and all people, girls have dropped out  
  • 32:47 of school, some of them have gotten pregnant,  there's been an increase in domestic violence.  
  • 32:53 How do we get those girls back to school? Some  of them already married off at a very young age.  
  • 32:59 So those are some of the questions we'll come  back to. David, are you already connected?  
  • 33:08 Okay, David is still transitioning.  I'll switch briefly to Anshula as  
  • 33:14 I let you prepare some of your remarks, Manta.  Anshula, one of the questions that has come in,  
  • 33:21 what are the biggest digital challenges member  countries are facing? And how can we, the bank,  
  • 33:27 how is the bank addressing these in financing to  make sure we have a green and resilient recovery?  
  • 33:34 Anshula, do you want to take a step on that?
  • 33:36 [ANSHULA KANT] Yeah. I'm just trying to connect. Can you hear me?
  • 33:41 [MERCY NIWE] Yes. I can hear you very well, Anshula.
  • 33:44 [ANSHULA KANT] So I think digital is,  
  • 33:50 of course, the backbone for development in these  current times. Can you just give me a moment?  
  • 34:14 So digital technologies, of course, hold a lot  of promise, particularly in the battle against  
  • 34:20 COVID-19. But there are significant challenges  which still persist, and these are around access,  
  • 34:26 they are around usage, and, of course, the  financing need to bridge the digital divide.  
  • 34:32 So let me give you some statistics. When it  comes to access, an estimated 3.6 billion people  
  • 34:39 are still not connected to the internet across  the world, including 900 million in Africa. And  
  • 34:46 coming back to the gender, women have, of course,  suffered badly. Only 27% of women in Africa have  
  • 34:53 access to the internet and only 15% of them can  afford to use it. That's important as well. The  
  • 35:01 usage gap, that is a bigger challenge, the usage  gap is actually six times the coverage gap today.  
  • 35:09 And multiple barriers are there, which contribute  to this gap. One of course is the affordability  
  • 35:14 of the data plans and devices, but also issues  related to digital literacy and skills, especially  
  • 35:20 for women and girls who are more exposed to the  risk of exclusion. When it comes to finance, the  
  • 35:27 International Telecom Union estimates the global  cost to connect the unconnected at $428 billion.  
  • 35:35 There must be support for digital infrastructure  investments and policies that are primarily  
  • 35:40 designed to incentivize or be this private sector  led investments in developing countries. Given  
  • 35:46 these challenges, the World Bank has developed  a holistic approach to tackle the digital divide  
  • 35:51 that is focused on digital inclusion, the future  of the digital and data economy and digital risks.  
  • 35:59 So to help tackle the digital divide  and promote inclusion, as of June, 2021,  
  • 36:05 149 World Bank projects were active in 34 African  countries to support the emergence of a vibrant,  
  • 36:12 inclusive, and safe digital economy. In Niger, for  example, we are working with the government on a  
  • 36:18 project mobilizing $100 million to support policy  and regulatory reforms in telecoms sector that  
  • 36:26 can help bring mobile broadband services to over  1.2 million people and 2,000 rural communities.  
  • 36:35 To support public service delivery, I look to the  future of digital economy to our cross-sectoral  
  • 36:41 identification for development or as we call it  ID4D Initiative. We are advising countries and  
  • 36:48 preparing financing for measures and reforms in  49 countries, using digital identification to make  
  • 36:55 cash assistance faster and more transparent and to  shift services from face-to-face online channels  
  • 37:02 while maintaining the best standards of personal  data protection, security, and inclusion.  
  • 37:07 So to help manage digital risk, that is another  area we are working on, the World Development  
  • 37:12 Report 2021, We are advising countries  and sharing expertise on establishing good  
  • 37:18 practices when it comes to data protection, data  governance, and cybersecurity. Back to you Mercy.
  • 37:25 [MERCY NIWE] Thank you so much Anshula for that detailed  
  • 37:28 response. And I can see David is back with us.  David, thank you for joining. I'm going to shift  
  • 37:34 more to the harder questions that are getting a  lot of likes from the CSOs. And one of those is  
  • 37:40 doing business. So we have Accountability Council,  Megan Pearson asking, how will the bank respond  
  • 37:47 to the failures of the Doing Business Report to  prioritize community driven development in future  
  • 37:52 learning practices. Louise Vieira from Bretton  Woods Project, what actions must the World Bank  
  • 37:58 take to address the damage to it's legitimacy  resulting from the Doing Business scandal? Flora  
  • 38:05 Sokim, Society for International Development,  what is the World Bank doing to systematically  
  • 38:10 reform its flows in light of the recent Doing  Business Report? And David, many are coming in  
  • 38:16 on that. And the focus is not so much on what  went wrong, but how do we bounce forward to  
  • 38:23 create an environment for the investors to be able  to do business correctly? So over to you, David.
  • 38:32 [DAVID MALPASS] Thanks Mercy. And to repeat, I'm  
  • 38:35 on my way to see a Secretary Yellen and a  group on climate which they have scheduled.  
  • 38:42 And so I apologize to the CSOs. I think they were  scheduled for. So there's a mix-up on that because  
  • 38:52 what CSOs are doing is vitally important to the  way the world works and the way the development  
  • 38:58 works. With regard to doing business, we're  doing several things. One is we are fully  
  • 39:08 engaged as a World Bank Group in working with  countries to improve their business climate.  
  • 39:14 So doing business report was one attempt to do  that, there are different approaches. And we're  
  • 39:21 looking at approaches to expand our efforts.  As people may know, the IFC and the World Bank  
  • 39:26 both do upstream diagnostics in countries to  identify the difficulties in the private sector  
  • 39:35 climate that can be improved through actions  by the governments. So we want to redouble  
  • 39:40 our efforts in that area and report on it, have  ways to present honest, trustworthy data on that.  
  • 39:50 Internally, we have made very clear and I have  since the start of my presidency, that retaliation  
  • 39:58 is completely unacceptable as a part of the  way the World Bank deals with data. So we are  
  • 40:06 reinforcing the internal culture of the bank so  that this doesn't happen again and that it's not  
  • 40:16 an environment that's acceptable at all. In that  regard, I want to repeat, and people know this,  
  • 40:25 but World Bank is a knowledge bank and  it's vital that knowledge be dependable,  
  • 40:32 trustworthy, and insightful. We're trying to  have huge impact on development, and that means  
  • 40:42 new ways to do the reporting on business  climates in countries. Thank you.
  • 40:48 [MERCY NIWE] Excellent. Thank you so much, David. Again, going  
  • 40:52 back to accountability, I think I'm getting to ask  you all the hard questions before you leave us.  
  • 40:58 But I see again, one from Front Lane Defenders  and Bank Information Center or new praises on  
  • 41:05 human rights. What steps are the World Bank and  IFC taking to operationalize the commitments on  
  • 41:11 preventing reprisals against stakeholders? A quick  one, and they know David, you'll be leaving us,  
  • 41:16 you could also share your closing remarks.  I know Mamta and Anshula will come in.
  • 41:20 [DAVID MALPASS] Okay, fabulous. And I'm sorry, Mercy,  
  • 41:24 the question is, how do we stop  retaliation? What's the question again?
  • 41:29 [MERCY NIWE] What steps is the World Bank and IFC taking  
  • 41:33 to operationalize their commitments on preventing  reappraisals against stakeholders like CSOs?  
  • 41:42 So another related question on that, as we have  seen the shrinking civic space for civil society  
  • 41:49 when anything is going to be... If  they're coming up to a government,  
  • 41:54 for example, anything that is not going right  in a country, if they come up and speak, we've  
  • 42:00 seen this with media, we've seen this with civil  society, there is reappraisals is against that  
  • 42:07 CSO. So the question is, how is the World Bank  helping to prevent, the support CSO voice?
  • 42:14 [DAVID MALPASS] Understood. Well, that's a mainstream engagement  
  • 42:17 in country through the country programs. And  so if countries are doing that reprisals,  
  • 42:22 then that should be a core part of the  dialogue from the CSOs to the World Bank,  
  • 42:28 and then a core part of our governance work in the  countries so that that's not happening. That means  
  • 42:35 because CSOs are a welcome and accepted component  of the development strategy of the World Bank,  
  • 42:44 and I think of most of our countries now,  there are some obviously that are violators  
  • 42:50 on that and we should work on that. In addition,  I'll mention the sanctions process of the bank,  
  • 42:55 as far as if contractors are doing  things that are against practices,  
  • 43:03 then there's a robust process within the World  Bank to sanction those contractors and mitigate  
  • 43:12 and make sure that that is not happening with the  efforts of the contractors. And that actually,  
  • 43:19 it doesn't get very much publicity because  it works hard and there are a lot of  
  • 43:29 efforts by the World Bank in this regard. As  far as closing remarks, Mercy, I don't know,  
  • 43:35 I'll just close up by saying I want to reiterate  thanks to CSOs for the work that they do in  
  • 43:41 countries for their consideration of ways to get  more resources to countries. Their support for IDA  
  • 43:47 is going to be critical. We're at the crunch point  for that. And I encourage people to work through  
  • 43:53 and with the country platforms so that there  can be coordinated efforts in countries that  
  • 43:58 make sense to you, the CSOs, and make sense to  the recipient countries. Thank you for that.
  • 44:05 [MERCY NIWE] Thank you so much,  
  • 44:07 David. And thank you for being agile and  flexible to take this call in the car.  
  • 44:12 Thanks to your senior leadership team too that  are remaining around to respond to some of the  
  • 44:17 questions. We received more than 80 questions  online and some came in even before that. So  
  • 44:24 Mamta, back to you right now on the question  on FCV and how we are ensuring that vaccines  
  • 44:31 get the arm of people in fragile context, but  also making sure girls safely go back to school.
  • 44:37 [MAMTA MURTHI] Thank you, Mercy. These are two excellent  
  • 44:41 questions. Let that in it is our intention to  support the deployment of vaccines everywhere. And  
  • 44:50 we are particularly concerned about FCV context.  Now if the FCV contexts themselves differ,  
  • 44:59 there are some FCV contexts where the World  Bank is present on the ground and we support  
  • 45:06 governments in implementing COVID-19 vaccination  programs. We do this through our financing, we do  
  • 45:13 this through our technical assistance, and we do  this through coordinating with multiple partners.  
  • 45:20 DRC is a good example of a fragile context, where  we are working with the national authorities  
  • 45:27 on a vaccine purchase and deployment program.  There are other FCV contexts where we are not  
  • 45:34 present on the ground, and here we invariably  works with partners. So in contexts like Yemen  
  • 45:40 or in contexts like Somalia, we have worked with  partners. This includes WHO, it includes UNICEF,  
  • 45:48 it includes ICRC. And typically  the resources that are available  
  • 45:53 for financing and deployment are used by these  other agencies to support vaccination on the  
  • 45:59 ground. So we strongly believe that no one is  safe until everyone is safe. And that's why  
  • 46:07 we have announced very large financing  and technical support for vaccination.  
  • 46:14 We either support governments themselves or we  work through partners to ensure that this happens.  
  • 46:20 Let me just take this opportunity to say that  the vaccine inequity that we are observing at  
  • 46:24 the moment, and which David brought in his very  earliest comments is something that we think is  
  • 46:32 just not acceptable. And we have been advocating  and working with manufacturers to see if the  
  • 46:41 contracts to developing countries and to COVAX  and to AVAC can not be prioritized. The second  
  • 46:48 question about girls going back to school  is a very important one. We have very large  
  • 46:54 programs that actually support the attendance  of girls to school, and these predate COVID-19.  
  • 47:03 And it's a combination of measures, it's  working with girls and their families,  
  • 47:07 it's working with communities and religious  leaders, and it's also working on skills and  
  • 47:13 employment opportunities, so that as girls go  through school, they can also use the skills  
  • 47:18 that they have acquired through employment.  Now, COVID-19 has represented a huge setback.  
  • 47:24 So in dialogue with countries, we are  emphasizing three things. First of all,  
  • 47:33 opening schools and getting all children back  to school, whether they're boys or girls.  
  • 47:40 Second, trying to ensure that all are re-enrolled,  particularly girls who may have dropped out  
  • 47:46 because they have family responsibilities or  because they are married. Third, we're advocating  
  • 47:53 for all girls to be able to attend school whether  they're married or pregnant or otherwise. This is  
  • 48:00 extremely important. And fourth and finally, we  are advocating for, I mentioned this earlier,  
  • 48:08 for teaching at the right level. If you're a  young woman, you're married, you've dropped  
  • 48:13 out of school, there's no way you're going to go  back to school if the expectations of what you  
  • 48:17 have to achieve in school are not consistent with  what you can do. So teaching at the right level  
  • 48:22 is extremely important in order to encourage  girls and adolescent women back into school.  
  • 48:30 This requires supporting teachers so that they  can teach at the right level. And if there is  
  • 48:35 a need for financial incentives, this should  also be considered. We know that conditional  
  • 48:40 cash transfer is a very effective in ensuring  enrollment and attendance. So there's a lot that  
  • 48:46 we're doing in this regard because it's extremely  important not to lose this opportunity to make  
  • 48:53 sure that everyone gets a complete education,  both boys and girls, but girls especially.
  • 48:58 [MERCY NIWE] Thank you so much, Mamta. As you think about  
  • 49:01 your closing remarks, there's another question  that's coming in on global vaccination rates  
  • 49:06 and boosting vaccine production from Anita Thomas.  But let me first shift a little bit to Anshula.  
  • 49:13 I know David would have loved to respond to this  question from Oxfam on climate finance. Oxfam  
  • 49:20 and other CSOs try to verify the numbers the bank  reports with available information disclosed but  
  • 49:26 with little success. The question, is the bank  committed to improving transparency, disclosure  
  • 49:35 for reporting of its climate finance, especially  on how the bank allocates its climate finance  
  • 49:41 at project level within its development policy  operations? Anshula, try to take a stab at that.
  • 49:48 [ANSHULA KANT] Before I come to that, I just want to go back  
  • 49:52 for a bit to the debt issue. David talked about  the DSSI and talked about the common framework,  
  • 50:00 but I just want to also highlight that IDA20 has  debt as a cross cutting theme. Also I want to  
  • 50:08 mention the sustainable development finance policy  to support efforts for IDA countries to better  
  • 50:15 manage rising public debt vulnerabilities. I think  most people know that SDFP was introduced in July,  
  • 50:22 2020, which means it came into effect during an  exceptional year for global economy and for IDA  
  • 50:28 countries and when the COVID-19 crisis had further  exacerbated the already very high public debt  
  • 50:35 vulnerabilities. So despite a very challenging  domestic and external environment at the country  
  • 50:42 level, the first year of implementation of the  STFP has been successfully completed. And I'm  
  • 50:49 happy to say that 93% of the countries who were  under the purview of this SDFP have completed this  
  • 50:58 satisfactorily. We will be publishing a progress  update of the SDFP on our website towards the end  
  • 51:05 of the month. So you can get a better sense this  year, CSOs can get a better sense of the results  
  • 51:10 achieved to date. We are also, of course, very  mindful that we continue the efforts whether  
  • 51:16 it's through DSSI common framework, working with  countries to manage the public finances and debt  
  • 51:21 situation better, we will continue to do so.  Mercy, what was your question on the climate?
  • 51:29 [MERCY NIWE] Climate financing. Again, going back on how  
  • 51:34 will it be measured, how will we disclose reports.  You've alluded to that on the debt part, but how  
  • 51:41 will we make sure that it's happening at project  level within its development policy operation?
  • 51:47 [ANSHULA KANT] I'd like to say that our core benefits are  
  • 51:50 calculated using the joint MDB methodology. We are  very rigorous about how we apply that methodology.  
  • 51:57 And we only assign co-benefits for the share  of financing in a given project that is  
  • 52:02 directly related or tied to climate action. In  fact, this is the reason why we literally generate  
  • 52:08 a project which has 100% climate co-benefits.  I think we are pretty confident about how we  
  • 52:15 assess the co-benefits in each of  our projects. Back to you Mercy.
  • 52:20 [MERCY NIWE] Thank you so much. Thank you so much.  
  • 52:23 Now, I will switch to Mamta again, going back to  the question on vaccines and access. A question  
  • 52:31 came in from Anita Thomas, to meet World Health  Organization global vaccination targets, 70% of  
  • 52:37 the population of all countries to be vaccinated.  Boosting vaccine production, important for all  
  • 52:43 countries. Could you share your perspective on  how this 70% goal will be achieved by countries?
  • 52:50 [MAMTA MURTHI] So thank you for that question. Let me begin  
  • 52:55 by saying that we are very far away from that  goal. I think that is the issue of the moment. And  
  • 53:01 that's why we have been advocating for donations  that have been pledged by countries that have  
  • 53:12 been able to secure vaccines. The donations  that have been pledged that they should be  
  • 53:17 made speedily, that's the first thing. The  second thing is we have been saying that the  
  • 53:23 contracts that have been placed by COVAX on  behalf of developing countries by AVAT on  
  • 53:29 behalf of the EU member countries, these need to  be prioritized. In fact, we've been saying that  
  • 53:35 countries that have plenty of vaccine supply, they  should go to the back of the queue and let AVAT  
  • 53:41 and COVAX be at the front of the queue. The third  thing we've done is that we have announced a very  
  • 53:47 large package of financing so that there should  be no doubt that there is financing available that  
  • 53:53 developing countries can use to pay for vaccines.  And forth, we've been working on the deployment  
  • 54:00 challenges. Let's not underestimate that it's  going to take a lot to actually do these mass  
  • 54:06 vaccination campaigns. We've been working  on helping countries gear up. This includes  
  • 54:13 training vaccinators, this includes communication  campaigns, this includes community and stakeholder  
  • 54:19 engagement, and of course it includes cold chain  and logistics. Actually later this morning,  
  • 54:24 we will have an event on vaccines and you will  see some very good examples of the kind of scaling  
  • 54:29 up on the deployment side that we have been  supporting. Mercy, I don't know if you want me  
  • 54:35 to make my closing remarks at this point, should  I? Okay, excellent. I want to say four things  
  • 54:41 to all the CSOs that are assembled here. First  of all, I think this is a fantastic engagement.  
  • 54:46 And I know that we have a series of engagements  and this is the pinnacle. We really appreciate  
  • 54:51 the questions and the support from you.  The second thing I want to say is that  
  • 54:58 human capital, so investment in people so that  they can live fulfilling lives is going through a  
  • 55:05 major setback, probably the biggest setback in  living memory in most developing countries. So  
  • 55:11 please advocate for human capital. This  includes nutrition and health services,  
  • 55:18 this includes education, this includes job  opportunities for young people. So please  
  • 55:24 keep that front and center of the questions that  you ask. The third thing I want to say is that  
  • 55:32 please advocate for concessional resources,  additional concessional resources for pandemic  
  • 55:39 preparedness. The world is nowhere ready for the  next pandemic. And while we don't know when it  
  • 55:45 will hit, we are sure that there will be another  pandemic. And just like you're advocating for  
  • 55:52 climate resources, please advocate for pandemic  preparedness resources. And finally, please  
  • 56:00 continue to advocate for vaccine equity. To me,  it is unconscionable that we are in the situation  
  • 56:07 that we're in and your voice can really add to all  the others that are advocating for vaccine equity.  
  • 56:17 This will come with greater transparency as  well around how many doses are available,  
  • 56:22 who are they contracted to, other donations  that have been pledged being made, and are  
  • 56:31 developing countries being prioritized. So  with that, let me hand back to you, Mercy.
  • 56:35 [MERCY NIWE] Mamta, excellent, excellent asks to our  
  • 56:39 CSOs. And they've already been ahead on this game.  Asks them around human capital, advocating more  
  • 56:46 for vaccine equity, pandemic response, climate.  I'll make sure we keep repeating that nudge to  
  • 56:52 our CSOs. But they're already ahead of that, so  thank you for that. Anshula, some closing remarks.
  • 56:58 [ANSHULA KANT] Just a couple. And to take off  
  • 57:01 from what Mamta said, I think we've come very far  with the support of civil society organizations  
  • 57:07 in our IDA20 replenishment process. And we are in  fact looking for a very ambitious replenishment.  
  • 57:14 I just second, what Mamta  says, alongside all of that,  
  • 57:18 add a little more with IDA20 will do. We  continue to look for civil society support.  
  • 57:24 They have supported us all along in this  process, we are at a very good place right now.  
  • 57:28 And their advocacy, their support, and the donor  capitals is really of crucial importance at this  
  • 57:36 stage and for us. So continue your support and  continue to work with us. And we really look  
  • 57:42 forward to a wonderful replenishment through  October and after December. Back to you Mercy.
  • 57:47 [MERCY NIWE] Thank you so much Anshula and Mamta  
  • 57:50 once again. And David, I know he's off the line,  but thank you again for joining this town hall  
  • 57:56 and for your thoughtful, insightful questions.  Over 300 participants registered and we have  
  • 58:01 so many watching online. I know that there were  a number of questions more than we could get to  
  • 58:07 in this limited time. But rest assured that we'll  have them collected and we'll follow up via our  
  • 58:14 newsletter or other ways. But we'll make sure we  respond to these questions. I'd like to summarize  
  • 58:19 this call by just letting CSOs that we have had.  We have had the topics you've asked about today.  
  • 58:26 Topics such as human development, debt,  the role of private sector in development,  
  • 58:31 transparency and accountability, they remain very  important topics of discussion. There is a shared  
  • 58:37 constant between the World Bank and civil society  on the idea the eminent threat posed by climate  
  • 58:42 change and a call for even better ambition to  ensure resilient and sustainable future for people  
  • 58:48 and planet. Overall, we've had that you want to  continue working with the bank, but we need to  
  • 58:54 do more, especially protecting communities that  are vulnerable. Lastly, we want to welcome you  
  • 59:00 to join us, for those of you who are already  registered for the annual meetings. It will be  
  • 59:04 an EDIS round table. That is a meeting with our  board of directors, where we shall continue to  
  • 59:10 have these questions discussed in that setting.  But for now, I'd like to thank our panelists,  
  • 59:16 Mamta, thank you so much, Anshula, thank you  very much for joining today's call. Once again,  
  • 59:22 thank you everyone. To all the CSOs that have  called in, thank you and have a great day.
  • 59:26 [ANSHULA KANT] Thank you everyone. Bye, Mercy
  • 59:29 [MERCY NIWE] Bye-bye now.

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ANNUAL MEETINGS 2021

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