Civil Society Townhall with World Bank Group President David Malpass

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Civil Society Townhall with World Bank Group President David Malpass

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As the world grapples with multiple crises, how can we ensure prioritization of shared development goals for a resilient recovery? Watch the conversation with World Bank Group President David Malpass and Bank leadership. Every year during the Annual Meetings, the Civil Society Townhall provides an opportunity for civil society representatives to dialogue on important development priorities.

SPEAKERS

[MERCY NIWE]

Thank you so much for your patience.  Again, good morning, everyone here in Washington, D.C. and for those who are watching us online, welcome to today’s Townhall with David Malpass, our President here at the World Bank.  My name is Mercy Niwe, and I leads our Stakeholder Engagement.  As you all know, or many of you know, that this is one of the centerpiece engagement during our Annual Meetings and Spring Meetings.  You, as CSOs and faith-based organizations, you get to meet our Senior Leadership and you get to advise us or share your concerns on development priorities that we really do share so many common agendas. 

So, today I’m delighted to be joined by our President, David Malpass, again, who has just come in and sorrily apologized he was late.  He will share more on that.  I hope you get to talk about the G-24 Meeting you’ve been attending.  But he’s joined by some of his Senior Leadership, and I will read out their names, but I know them by name, at least first name.  I know he’s joined by Elena from IFC, and they will be just coming in for Q&A, but David is here.  He invited them to come.  We have Mamta Murthi, who is our Vice President for Human Development.  We have Juergen Voegele, who is our Vice President for Sustainable Development. 

Before we start, I know we have only one hour or even less.  I’ll have to share some housekeeping items so that we have the best use of our time today.  So, one is keep your questions concise when we come to that.  After the President speaks, we will invite you to come to the nearest microphone and share your question.  Please, keep it very brief so that we allow other CSOs time to come and also ask their questions.  Return to your seat after you pose your question.  If you prepare a longer statement and you want the president to see that statement, I have my colleagues Melissa (phonetic) and Mason (phonetic), they’ll be able to receive those statements.  Please, deliver them to him and he will be able to read them.  If you have a petition also to deliver, please, again, our colleagues will be able to receive that.

Now, with that said, I would like to open the discussion, David.  I know CSOs are eager to hear from you.  And just yesterday, you just met with IMF’s Head, Ms. Georgieva, talking about the global economy and how it’s impacting the developing countries.  Could you, please, share more?  I know you’ve talked about the crisis of development.  I come from Uganda, a country that is also facing so many challenges.  Please, share more.

[DAVID MALPASS]

  Thanks, Mercy.  And hello, everybody.  I’m looking forward to this, the relationship with CSOs is vital for the World Bank because as we try to create programs and knowledge, with that helps with development.  Your input, contributions, partnerships are important.  I just came from the G-24.  So, I was sitting beside Kristalina, so we just went through, again, for the world our concern, our deep concern about the current situation facing people in development countries and also, the worry that that will be persistent into the future.

The inequality challenge that the world is facing is big and the data shows that it’s getting bigger.  We just released our poverty report over the last few days, and it shows, as you know, an increase in the number of people in extreme poverty.  But also, and of concern, a deterioration in the median income.  So, if you think of what’s happening to the average person in the world from an income statement, it went backward.  And we also see that impacting in the broad span of sustainable development feelings that if you think of people’s quality of life in many countries, it didn’t improve and, in fact, it probably deteriorated in many parts of the world.

That has everything to do with climate change which is putting more strains on people.  It’s putting more difficulty in terms of their food production, of their livelihoods, and just of their physical lives which is a giant concern.  And Kristalina and I captured parts of that as we discussed with the G-24 and the importance within that of all the elements of development that are going on, trying to create more fiscal space, trying to create more income, more jobs -- that’s critical -- and more spending available for the climate change challenges that are huge.

I did go through at the meeting just now, the new trust fund that we are proposing and that we are launching called SCALE, which is for sustainable climate action that would be a conduit for the global community to put much greater funding into the climate change space which -- and specifically, greenhouse gas emission reduction, where there’s been the big gap in terms of the amounts of funding that are available.  So, that also is something of vital interest to the G-24 countries.

[MERCY NIWE]

No, that’s excellent.  Actually, also vital interest to the CSOs who are very concerned about their reversal in development.  But SCALE comes as good news to  many.  I know you all have questions today and we have a live audience.  We won’t be able to take the questions live, but for those of you in the room, please, walk up to the microphone and, again, let’s keep our questions -- I love the brave CSOs coming up.  Okay.  So, again --

[DAVID MALPASS]

  Ha, ha, ha.

[MERCY NIWE]

David, we have 200 people here, so, if you have time for 200 questions, let’s wait and see.  But anyway, we will take three questions in the beginning, and we will pause, give the President a chance.  His Senior Leadership Team if they’re able to, also, comment and then we’ll keep coming back to you.  We’ll take as many questions as we can, if we keep them brief.  So, please, say your name and organization, and brief question.

[QUESTIONER]

Good morning, I am Aaron from the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice together with Recourse.  I know the climate crisis is a matter of life and death for the global south.  So, my question is, how can the Bank assure the global south of aligning with the Paris Agreement given that you’re a climate change denier and that the Bank, despite the recent climate science, is looking to invest more in oil, gas, and large renewable energy projects that threaten to destroy the remaining carbon sinks.  Thank you.

[MERCY NIWE]

Thank you for your question.  Next.

[QUESTIONER]

Thank you.  Thank you.  My name is Tinzaoo (phonetic) from Public Legal Aid Network from Yema, Burma.  I just wanted to draw your attention to Yema, Burma for a while, Mr. President, because World Bank has been up front and center post-genocide of Rohingyas and then, the Bank has been very specific and very helpful in providing all these resources necessary for the country while disengaging with the military.  But now, military post-coup in 2021, what happened to Rohingyas now multiply by 14 times is happening to the other states and regions.  And I just wanted to, you know, draw attention that, you know, it unfair for the rest of the world, for countries like Afghanistan, Burma, and other countries, to compete for resources.  So, I just wanted to find out what is the plan, post-COVID, post-coup, post-everything that is just devastating for every single country that are unattended.  And then, we just want to hear what are the plans for us, sir?

[MERCY NIWE]

Thank you so much.  And the last question for this session?

[QUESTIONER]

Good morning.  My name is Juliette Adams and I’m with the Hamilton National Dance Day.  I’m a candidate for the CSPF’s Working Group representing North America.  Logic tells me that if multilateral institutions are not calling out corruption, then they’re complicit, an area of great concern for CSOs.  So, my question is, what creative and innovative way forward does the Bank intend to work with CSPF Working Group would you give a person and time wherefore the discussion can be given to the securitization of CSOs?  To my CSOs colleagues, I’m asking for your vote to formally let us elevate CSOs.  Thank you.

[MERCY NIWE]

Thank you so much.  David, many big questions.

[DAVID MALPASS]

  Sure.

[MERCY NIWE]

And maybe, just take the elephant out of the room.  I know you’ve shared with us as staff.  You’re not a climate denier, can you just speak to that?  And then, can you talk about corruption, also?

[DAVID MALPASS]

  Sure.  So, I’ve been called that.  I’m not a climate denier.  It’s very clear that manmade greenhouse gas emissions are causing climate change.  And so, we need to move to constructive ways to move forward.  I’m glad the question that talked about the Paris Agreement.  So, World Bank and other MDBs are working very hard on their own Paris alignment which affects our portfolio as financial institutions. 

And then, we have a giant amount of work going around this building and our installations around the world on the Country Climate Development Reports that have been coming out.  And I really invite the CSO community to read the CCDRs and then, give us feedback on those.  Those are critical diagnostic of the world now.  I was just with Kristalina for a half an hour now where IMF is using the CCDRs within their country programming and we want the world to be using those and helping us improve those. 

So, this is the active diagnostic that comes out of our climate change action plan and it’s vital, both for the mitigation and the adaptation that countries need.  It’s for the developing world and then it feeds up into our country partnership framework which I also encourage CSOs to read and engage in. 

We need country platforms, country by country, where there’s a coordinated effort among MDBs, World Bank, the CSO community, and the people of the country, local CSOs and local government officials in order to improve the quality of the programs.  So, I just mention that and underscore, I’m not a climate denier.  That was misinformation and we are working very hard at the World Bank to reduce greenhouse gas emissions throughout all of our tools and programs. 

The Myanmar Challenge, well, let me first address the corruption, and then maybe, turn to Mamta, if I can, on Myanmar to help me.  With regard to corruption, it’s a major problem facing developing countries.  It’s actually facing also advanced economies.  World Bank has programs.  It’s hard, I’ll share with you, it’s hard to make them work because as you talk about corruption that gets directly into naming countries and systems, we do that somewhat through reports.

We just hired a new Director for our Governance Practice, Arturo Herrera, who is the former Finance Minister of Mexico, and he’ll be leading efforts to strength our governance practice.  Rule of law is critical within the fight against corruption.  And transparency, also, is critical in that I’ve lead and strongly at the World Bank the effort on transparency which has been supported, but not really completed at all by countries as they face their debt problems. 

So, I want to commend the person for calling out corruption.  World Bank wants to -- or is doing that through the choice of our country programs and we want to do that more and work with you on all those areas.

I’ll say a brief word on Myanmar and then see if Mamta can add.  We feel very strongly about refugees worldwide, including the Rohingya, and very strongly about countries that are causing refugees through their actions and their treatment of people that are different within their economies, is wrong and harmful and we have spoken about that, specifically, with regard to Myanmar and the Government of Myanmar. 

And so, the questioner is right to say that the most vulnerable shouldn’t have to compete with other people around the world for resources.  So, we are doing a big report on refugees in the World Development Report, the upcoming WDR, which will be important.  And I spoke about it today and yesterday as the arms flow flows into countries, particularly, in the Sahel and below the Sahel, but it’s a worldwide problem.  This problem, also, we want to call out and press action on that because the fragility is spreading.  But I’ve gotten off Rohingya and Myanmar, that was the question.  Mamta, can you help?

[MAMTA MURTHI]

  So, let me just compliment with a few words.  And obviously, we have resources that are available, both for in countries and then people who have been forcibly displaced.  Our effort is always to make sure that the resources that are available can have an impact in the country.  That’s what we try to do, and we have a dialogue and, you know, the dialogue can be difficult.  But in a context like Myanmar, what we’re trying to do is to make sure that the resources that are transferred are having an impact.  And this can be through safety net programs.  This can be through livelihood programs which are helping people to buy agricultural inputs and other things for agricultural production.  This can be by helping families get their kids to school.  This can be by providing health services. 

Of course, there are displaced populations, and we have something called the Refugee Window under IDA.  And these resources are made available to countries that are hosting refuges so that they can be supported in, you know, wherever they happen to be.  We also know, tragically, that in most cases, refugees end up staying in neighboring and other countries for up to a generation.  So, in a way, working with those refugees is actually a development activity because you’re talking about a whole generation of people.

So, these are not easy things for us to address as the World Bank, but we try and ensure that the resources that we have are used to support the populations of the countries that the resources are intended for.  And in the event that they are displaced, we are able to support them wherever they may be.  Long answer, but I hope that that explains what we try to do.  Thanks.

[MERCY NIWE]

Thank you so much Mamta.  And thanks, David.  Next three questions.

[QUESTIONER]

Thank you.  My name is Janet Caligeil (phonetic) and I’m President of Disability Inclusive Program and Services.  And I represent a person with disabilities globally, and particularly, in Africa.  As we know, we are living in crisis, be it COVID, Ukraine, Mali.  And persons with disabilities are left out and the number of persons with disabilities is increasing.  So, I’m glad, you know, discussions are taking place regarding trust funds and it’s not a question, but simply asking that a person with disability be not only on the agenda.  We want also a person with disability to be visible in project at the World Bank and also, on the ground.  Because most of the time, all these projects are designed without a person with disability being in it.  And also, pushing for government to really have budget for person with disabilities.  Thank you.

[MERCY NIWE]

Thank you so much, Janet.  Next question.

[QUESTIONER]

Hello, everyone.  Good morning.  My name is Novita (phonetic).  I am from Tanocea (phonetic).  We are based in Indonesia.  As the World Bank has committed to be a Paris Agreement, but I think it’s only on paper because in reality, the World Bank Group still invests to funding and building up fossil fuel, especially in coal power plant project in Indonesia.  And also, independent research shows that the World Bank has provide around 15 billion in direct finance for fossil fuel since the Paris Agreement.  And billions more through indirect channel undermining its climate action.  My question, what will you do to change this?  Because in my country, we are so people and the planet, we are suffering because of the investment from the World Bank.

[MERCY NIWE]

Thank you.  Thank you so much.  And last question in this section.

[QUESTIONER]

Hello, my name’s Fran Witt from Recourse.  I wanted to pick up on your remark about the country climate and development reports.  I agree with you that are important, but I think in terms of the way that they’ve been developed, they’re very much Bank-centric.  And up to this point, there hasn’t been a transparent and accountable consultation with civil society in the countries where they’re going to be applied.

And I think another really important component of it is how it will be translated from the CCDR through to the country partnership frameworks because at the moment, there is no correlation between the two.  And I think -- so, on the one hand, I think they need to be tested with civil society and energy experts in the countries, but also, applied if there’s going to be any Paris alignment within those CCDRs.  Thank you.

[MERCY NIWE]

Thank you so much, Fran.  David, over to you.

[DAVID MALPASS]

  Yeah, thanks.  Let me -- these are all important and hard questions.  So, persons with disabilities is an important part of our programming, especially, in countries where there are large -- well, worldwide, but we specifically program for it in countries where there are large numbers of disabled persons and I really want to outline the persons call for budget through governments.  This is an important avenue that we work on within our public expenditure process for governments.  I may turn to Mamta for more comment on that.  I want to mention the other two questions and then, I am going to ask Juergen to supplement.

With regard to the coal fired power plants, somehow there’s been, you know, it’s challenging to get the factual information out.  The World Bank hasn’t supported coal-fired power plants since 2010.  So, that’s a long time and the World Bank led in the effort to move away from coal-fired power plants.  And so, I want Juergen to help me expand on that.

And Fran’s point was on the CCDRs, and I welcome both of those points.  That’s the kind of input that we want to see from the -- I mean all input is useful and, you know, those diagnostics are new.  So, the question was, how do they involve the CSO community and the country itself?  And we agree wholeheartedly, these are a first cut at the World Bank’s thoughts. 

You know, part of this is a capacity constraint for the world.  And the World Bank has stepped in with literally hundreds, many, many hundreds of people working worldwide on a new diagnostic.  And so, the steps are still -- to have consultation, you know, there’s only been five or so published.  We’ll be up at 20 or we hope to reach 20 by the time of the COP27.  So, they’re coming out frequently.  We’ll invite input from the country themselves.  And then, it becomes part of programming by having the ideas available on the table.  So, we have a big CCDR for Vietnam.  It points out what some of the practical steps are for adaptation within Vietnam.  That then informs. 

So, Ed Mountfield, our head of OPCS, was in Vietnam last week or two weeks ago.  And our Vice President for East Asia, Manuela Ferro, is working with our country teams on ways to operationalize the CCDR.  So, we welcome that and recognize that they’re Bank-centric right now because they’re brand new.  And then, we will be expanding them.  Let me turn to Juergen, particularly, on Indonesia, the idea that we’re still financing a coal-fired power plant.

[JUERGEN VOEGELE]

Yes, thank you, David, and good morning, everyone.  It’s good to engage with you and thank you for the questions.  We’re struggling with all of these questions ourselves, trust me.

[DAVID MALPASS]

  Juergen Voegele is Vice President for Sustainable Development, and it includes climate and we’re joined also, by Jennifer Sara here this morning.  Go ahead, Juergen.

[JUERGEN VOEGELE]

  Yeah, thank you, David.  Now what puzzles us is that there is still this narrative out there that we are eager to lend billions and billions of dollars to fossil fuels.  That is simply not the reality.  The number of $15 billion has since, if when we can debate the number, but since the Paris Agreement which was seven years ago.  We have not lent a single dollar in the World Bank and IBRD directly to fossil fuels last year.  Not one.  You can discuss the indirect components and we can have that conversation, but we have had a trajectory that has completely gone down.  And I think that needs to be acknowledged.

No one here has an interest to invest in fossil fuels if there are alternatives.  I think that is the conversation we have in every country in every project in every single case.  That is the reality.  So, it’s actually totally misleading to say there is, you know, you’re lending $15 billion as if we do this on an annual basis.  Just wanted to make that point. 

On the CCDRs, I think David pointed it out.  This is a totally new instrument, right?  So, we are trying to understand:  how do you merge the development story with the climate story?  And you’re experimenting.  The first ones are pilots.  We’re really learning as we are doing and we are engaging with a broad range of groups including a lot of civil society, academia with the governments.  We don’t do comprehensive consultations at this point because we want to first understand ourselves how to do them. 

Now they’re published.  All of you can comment on them and as we move forward for the next batch, we can have, you know, further conversations, how to evolve them.  That’s how we, basically, look at that.  Will it feed into our country programming a hundred percent?  Absolutely.  We are already seeing it one by one.  I just had a conversation with a minister with Egypt two hours ago this morning, who said at first, we were not clear about this, you know, CCDR.  What are they and are they really going to be helpful.  But now, we are discussing them across all Ministries and we’re going to make this as part of the way forward.  And it’s certainly going to inform how we engage with the country on the World Bank side.  Thank you.

[DAVID MALPASS]

  Thanks.  Disabilities, do you want to comment?  Or Mamta, or both?  I know everyone’s involved.

[JUERGEN VOEGELE]

I mean we are both involved in it.  So, just let me say it.  I also had a meeting with our social group just recently on this.  This is absolutely on top of our agenda, the disability issue.  Both internally as an institution, we are hiring, you know, quite comprehensively around that topic, but also getting it into our work with the clients.  On the legal side, there are legal issues which need to be looked as we implement our projects.  But it’s very much on our radar screen and the social side.

[DAVID MALPASS]

  Yeah, that will -- thank you for raising it.  Her point was --

[MERCY NIWE]

We have other questions coming in, but maybe just also emphasize that this is being livestreamed and being interpreted in other languages, Arabic, Spanish.  And just remind the team, but I know that we also have someone who is receiving interpretation.  He has Sign Language.  So, again, that’s feedback we’ve had from you, and we are incorporating it in the Annual Meetings.  Next question.

[QUESTIONER]

Thank you very much.  My name is Amir Meniamad (phonetic).  I’m coming from Jordan and I’m leading an organization called the Hare (phonetic) Center.  And we are part of the Consultancy Team for the World Bank Office in Amman.  We are meeting with them on regular pace.  My question is, like World Bank, IMF is talking about slow down the economy, inflation.  Like, do you have any special plans or special policies for the next few years regarding civil society to take part of the responsibility, especially, when it comes to the development, unemployment, social cohesion, in addition to what you are doing with the governments, especially, in MENA region?  Thank you very much.

[MERCY NIWE]

Thank you so much.

[QUESTIONER]

Hi, I’m Reese Baritoff (phonetic).  I’m the founder of (inaudible) Foundation.  I just want to clear it before we start my question.  We have some people, young people especially, who have attended previously, the World Bank Group Youth Summit.  I’ve met people who have traveled all the way from Australia to be here today.

I want to make sure that we put an emphasis on youth and making sure that we include youth in the discussion.  I’ve heard of so many conversations about CSO in the civil society, and it is important.  We must not forget about anyone and make sure that everyone is participating.  We spent a few weeks at the U.N. in a focus (phonetic) on transforming education.  We spent a lot of time building engagements and acumen and also fostering relationships.  What is your vision particularly in terms of including youths, making sure that youth voices are heard?  I’ve heard Vanessa speaking yesterday, who is a climate activist, who I met back in 2019 at the 1st U.N. Climate Summit.

[MERCY NIWE]

Thank you so much.  I think the question has been taken.  I’m looking at the time and the line behind.  Thank you. 

[QUESTIONER]

Exactly.  Thank you.

[MERCY NIWE]

Thank you so much.  Next question?

[QUESTIONER]

Thank you.  My name is Olga Kotve (phonetic), I’m with OlgaVat (phonetic) from Germany.  And regarding global heating and climate change, I heard that you’re talking about actions.  Do you consider, and also Axel van Trotsenburg, to talk with Exxon, stop drilling in offshore Guyana?  That’s my question, thank you.

[MERCY NIWE]

Thanks so much for keeping it brief.  So, David, maybe you respond very clearly to those ones.  I know you want to take in more.

[DAVID MALPASS]

  Thank you.  Let me start with that.  So, we’re not very active in Guyana, so I don’t know if we have anyone here that can comment on that.  So, that’s not a -- anyone want to comment on that?  Okay, so, I want to -- your point is well taken that Exxon is drilling off Guyana and that’s adding to world fossil fuels. 

I want to turn to this giant challenge of both youth, and I’ll connect it to Jordan.  I was in Jordan in, I forget when, a year ago.  And Jordan has a youth problem, as does a lot of MENA.  And the question was on Middle East and North Africa which has a demographic challenge of youths without jobs.  I met with some of the small business job providers in Jordan, and actually, gave an award to a company that was expanding rapidly, not only in Amman, but in smaller cities within Jordan.  And using the combination of Arabic language skills and English to serve clients around the region.  It was very interesting and one important thing, it was creating lots of jobs for quite new youth because it didn’t require immense skills except you had to be a person that was interactive and able to grow in your position.

And so, I really want to support the point made that civil society and social cohesion are major challenges within the World Bank programs in countries, and in particular, in MENA, but I would extend it.  We also recognize the importance of women within the societies and the importance of our work against violence against women which remains a challenge worldwide in developing countries.  But we have some large programs that are working on that.  And so, engaging civil society within these countries actively is vital.

I met with King Abdullah of Jordan in New York last week or the week before and we had an extensive conversation on how Jordan can use Ministries to effectively implement programs that are aimed at youth and how that process can expand.  So, I don't know if that was the context of the question?  That’s what I’ve got.

So, I want to go to this bigger or connect also to the global challenge.  As capital is retained in the advanced economies, one of the major problems is the demographics of some of the developing countries are accelerating, meaning there will be more and more jobs in Burkina Faso and in Niger.  I know the numbers and it’s a very large portion of the population is five and below.  And that means that this problem of job creation is not just for this year or next year.  It’s going to go on for the world for 20 years, for 30 years.  And we need to find ways to have better allocation of capital from the global pool of capital into the developing countries that need it, and particularly, into youth jobs.  And that’s added to by the demands of climate change, of the food insecurity that’s going on now, of the need to reverse the losses in education.  So, Mamta and our Human Development part of the World Bank did put out recently our report on education which -- I want to take a moment on that.

We are actively working with CSOs and with the U.N. Agencies.  So, we had a big conference in New York that included UNICEF, that included UNESCO, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and several other of you here.  And the group had unified, which was startling and really meaningful, on four principles for trying to reverse this loss in learning poverty that has occurred over the last three years.  The dramatic decline of foundational skills.  So, you know, let me do them quickly.

So, there needs to be schools reopening.  That still hasn’t happened in some countries and girls are being left out, systematically.  We need to have schools to the level of the students.  You know, if there’s been a backsliding because of COVID and school closure, then you can’t just say the student is 12 years old and, therefore, should be learning at a certain level.  And so, that’s explicit in this.  The kids need foundational skills, literacy, and numeracy because those are going to be the job skills and otherwise, they lose out.  And also, the governments have reduced their funding of education over the last three years in part because the schools were closed, or they lost interest.  And so, we at World Bank are wanting to make sure that those expenditures are recognized as critical investments for the countries.  So, I digress --

[MERCY NIWE]

Maybe, just for the benefit of the CSOs, especially from MENA.  You went to Morocco, and I know what visiting some education, you know, some schools.  Maybe, if you could, just briefly touch on that also as an example if a client country in MENA that you have visited.

[DAVID MALPASS]

  Yeah, great.  So, in each country, I try to visit schools, so I have in Mozambique and in the West Bank and in Jordan.  In Morocco, I saw, and some are encouraging, some less so.  And in Morocco, they have started with strong World Bank and CSO support, very importantly, CSO support a program for preschool.  And so, they have somehow managed to quickly enroll 200,000 preschool kids.  And it’s built on a model that looked scalable.  You know, we are always trying to find and CSOs can help us.  If you’re aware of a program that’s working well in one country, then we want to do it times 10 or times a hundred.  But it’s hard for us to self-evaluate or I’m finding it hard for us to self-evaluate and say, this particular program really is interesting.

So, the grants go from the World Bank through the Ministry of Education to the CSOs that are running the preschool program.  And there’s three different ones in Morocco.  And that way, you can actually evaluate what’s working and they include the local community and the teachers’ aides so that there’s community acceptance.  So, it’s a program that we like.  We’re trying to expand it as much as possible.

[MERCY NIWE]

Great.  I like that you’re putting out a call to CSOs.  Bring all of those scalable projects.  I know time is running and I think the line is still going.  If you can keep it extremely brief, David, we have some more minutes --

[DAVID MALPASS]

  Me, too, yeah.

[MERCY NIWE]

Okay, let’s go.

[QUESTIONER]

Thank you.  My name is Krista Gesega (phonetic) and I’m with the Global Campaign for Education U.S.  Thank you so much for your education remarks.  As you know, we’re facing a massive crisis.  According to UNICEF as of earlier this year, more than 616 students around the world remain out of school.  And these are primarily refugees, children with disabilities, girls, children with already marginalized backgrounds.  You have shared a little bit, but I’d love to hear more about what the World Bank is doing to address these massive learning losses of the COVID-19 pandemic, and particularly, build access to quality inclusive education for children out of school?  Thanks.

[DAVID MALPASS]

  Thanks.

[MERCY NIWE]

Thank you

[QUESTIONER]

Hi, my name is Amy Dorin (phonetic).  I’m with (inaudible) Coalition.  So, we work in the Middle East and Northern Africa.  And my question is about citizen engagement.  The World Bank calls among the first institution to recognize a citizen engagement is important for success of development.  Even before the SDGs.  But since then, the civic space has been shrinking and the World Bank inaction or the consultation of self-consultation.  It’s merely the size of ticking boxes.  No real consultation is organized by the World Bank or by the clients and governments. 

And my question is, if the World Bank really believes that citizen engagement can be an obstacle or opportunity for development, why it’s not included in the diagnostic for the countries?  And my second question.  The World Bank published a big statement on April 2020 about zero tolerance for retaliation.  We have been waiting for a policy.  How are you going to implement this zero tolerance?  Thank you.

[MERCY NIWE]

Thank you.  Please, again, keep it brief.

[QUESTIONER]

I’m (inaudible) from Sierra Leone and I work for budget office network.  It is quite clear that the global issue is affecting the country.  Of course, the country is many, many affecting.  For example, if we take on Sierra Leone, that has gone to Ebola, the COVID, the Ukraine war.  The country, the country is most vulnerable to climate change.  That’s debt to the (inaudible) that’s 2 percent.  With all of this, the country is still paying debts at the high cost in terms and those costs are insuring that peoples are losing services.  Is the Bank willing to push for debt consultation (phonetic) for countries that mostly need it? And also, is the Bank willing to coordinate with national and bilateral countries to ensure that countries that really need, really get debt consultation in a clear and transparent manner? 

[MERCY NIWE]

Thank you so much.  David?

[DAVID MALPASS]

  Yeah, yes, to all three, education, and citizen engagement, and the debt.  So, World Bank is working daily on trying to accelerate this process of debt relief for countries that have unsustainable debt.  I was just with Kristalina, and I said just at the G-24, so I’ll go through the, you know, the principles that we are advocating, but with resistance from the world.  As people know, I’ve reached out that the common framework has stalled in Chad.  The MOU is not bringing that relief.  We’re working hard to have the memorandum of understanding for Zambia be done as quickly as possible so there can actually be relief for Zambia.  There are many world organizations that are working to delay that.  We at World Bank are pushing very hard through our own programs with the IMF, with the country, to accelerate it.  So, what I said at G20 is relevant and I encourage you to help us support it.

We envision a debt restructuring or debt relief process that brings in all of the creditors early in the process and brings in the country itself.  You know, there’s been this odd global debt relief effort where the country is kept -- the debtor country is kept in a separate room and the creditors sit around and talk about what they’re going to do for the country.  We want to bring earlier in the debtor country, all of the creditors, and we do a joint debt sustainability analysis with the IMF and bring that in earlier.  That’s kept secret and we want to have more transparency.

So, the principle aspects of our debt process are to push hard on increased transparency.  We do that aggressively through the IDS, the International Debt Statistics portion within the World Bank.  And so, we publish the different types of debt that countries have, and we try to bring more transparency there.

Citizen engagement is critical and is a diagnostic, you know, or is an active outreach.  And I would, again, put some burden on CSO.  We do the country partnership framework in a systemic way, and you should be advocating -- I encourage you and we invite the advocacy for citizen engagement to be an explicit part of the country programs as they’re designed.  And that helps us, then, do that through each of the various areas. 

I may turn to -- well, and then Krista (phonetic) asked about more on what we’re doing on education.  You know, the World Bank is the biggest external funder of education programs.  We’re doing all kinds of programs.  I described the Morocco Program, but that extends to our work in many countries.  Trying to design programs that actually work.  And that means very different in different countries.  Some countries need primary education more than anything.  Others need girls inclusively brought into education and that may mean transportation.  So, we work in Tanzania on transportation of girls safely to school.  And in Pakistan, transportation of girls safely to school.  So, there’s a variety of aspects.  I don’t know.  And I encourage you, each of those questions, to be in greater consultation with Mamta Murthi and with the World Bank Human Development process and all of our various country programs themselves.  I’ll stop. 

[MERCY NIWE]

Thank you, David.  Do you have just a few more minutes.  So, we’ll take a few more questions?

[DAVID MALPASS]

  Yes.  Yeah. 

[MERCY NIWE]

Excellent.  Okay.  Three questions, please keep them brief --

MR. MALPRASS:  Three more?

[MERCY NIWE]

-- because I know the President has another meeting and we are pushing into that time, but he got to stay, I can see.  So, please go ahead.

[QUESTIONER]

Thank you and good morning, Mr. President.  You may agree with me the COVID-19 and the Ukraine-Russia crisis has caused huge, you know, economic discomfort, you know, to global citizens.  From your meetings with the G-24, what have you noticed, or things should be changed in the government policies?  What are these policies that might impact increase in public debt?  Thank you.

[MERCY NIWE]

Thank you.

[QUESTIONER]

My name is Abdulla Fatima (phonetic) from Sierra Leone working for Campaign for Human Rights and Development International.  Thank you.

[MERCY NIWE]

Thank you, Abdullah.

[QUESTIONER]

Thanks.  Good morning.  I’m Rudolph (inaudible) from eBol International (phonetic).  As a southern organization, I share many of our colleagues’ concerns about the climate crisis.  I wish to ask, does the U.N., the Bank, are you of the view that natural gas is aligned with the Paris Agreement?  That’s all, thanks.

[MERCY NIWE]

Thank you.

[QUESTIONER]

Good morning, my name is Juliana Nantaba from Open Society Foundation and first, my appreciate to you for being a champion for debt transparency.  I know you touched a bit on it, but I think that it makes sense if there were more debt transparency, citizens would hold their governments accountable for debt sustainability.  So, my question is, has the Bank considered requiring that countries publicly disclose their debt before they are allowed to borrow from the Bank?  Thank you.

[MERCY NIWE]

Thank you so much.  Okay, that is the last question.  You’re smiling at me and you’re making it hard.  I am so sorry.  We are taking -- that is the very last question and David will have to close.

[DAVID MALPASS]

  And I think, well, we have people available a little bit after 2:00, as people have questions.

[MERCY NIWE]

Yes, we have, actually IFC, Elena, you know, they are having another conversation with CSOs letter today.  We have a CSP, Civil Society of Police going on throughout the week.  We’ll be capturing all those questions.  So, go ahead.

[DAVID MALPASS]

  Super.  And don’t --

[MERCY NIWE]

David, can he just say his question, then we come back to you.  Is it okay?  He’ll say the last question.

[DAVID MALPASS]

  He was it, okay.

[QUESTIONER]

I’ll try and ask a question that has a quick answer.  So, you must know that when you made the comment that you weren’t a scientist, there was already CSO frustration that the Bank was not prioritizing climate through its development of the Climate Change Action Plan and its implementation.  So, knowing that, can we see any new commitments from the Bank with the Climate Change Action Plan?

[MERCY NIWE]

That was a very easy question.  Thank you so much.

[DAVID MALPASS]

  Well, so, we are clearly prioritizing climate, so the World Bank is the largest funder of climate.  It’s the largest grower of climate financing and it’s got a very clear vision of what we’re doing on climate which is acknowledging and making sure that we integrate climate in development and then that we talk about actual projects.  So, we’ve got to move from the conference stage to the actual impact.  What are you actually doing and that means embedding in our projects climate action throughout.  And we achieved that over the last fiscal year which ended in June.

So, in the 12 months, we achieved $31.7 billion which is a big record for the World Bank, a big growth record for the World Bank.  And compared to the rest of the world, massive in terms of it.  So, I want to push back a little bit on the idea that the World Bank’s not prioritizing it.  As far as a percentage of our spending, we exceeded the 35-percent target.  So, think of that. 

Of all the development needs of the world which include, and we’ve been discussing, education, and health, and child nutrition and infrastructure and on around all of the needs of countries.  The World Bank is placing this year, 36 percent of resources into climate co-benefits which is clearly making it the top priority for the Bank and a big priority.

And that’s in the context that for 800 million people don’t have electricity.  So, we, simultaneously, want to find ways to have them have clean energy for electricity because that then feeds one of the most critical elements for education is for the kids to have electricity so they can be studying or interacting with people elsewhere.  So, it’s a strong World Bank priority and that is clear inside the Bank and should be clear outside the Bank.

You know, to dwell on that, the World Bank alone puts out more financing than all the other IFIs combined.  That’s the IMF, and the Asian Development Bank and the African Development Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank.  And on through all of those organizations, World Bank alone is putting more into climate finance.

So, I want to do natural gas and then debt.  So, natural gas, the question was a very specific one.  Do we consider natural gas aligned with the Paris Agreement?  The actual question that we’re working on now and I may turn to Juergen, is whether natural gas is Paris aligned which is a little bit different than the Paris Agreement.  So, as you think about the relationship, countries are part of the Paris Agreement and are trying to do nationally determined contributions within the Paris Agreement.  And the Paris Agreement has allowed a variety of activity by countries.  And so, that’s the range of NDCs that are out there.

We are trying to make and encourage countries to have NDCs that are meaningful and impactful in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  That’s not actually the goal.  The Paris Agreement has had other and broader goals.  And so, we’re very focused on reduction in greenhouse gas emissions through decarbonization and through reduced carbon intensity of various sectors.  There’s a recognition by the international community that where there’s no other alternative, meaning where countries have no other alternative, then natural gas is part of an expansion of electricity access and of a move to cleaner and less carbon-intensive fuel.  So, I want to put that out and that’s something, you know, as Europe looks or let’s recognize the reality of what’s going on in the world. 

There is an increasing use by the advanced economies of wood, of coal.  One of the things that I most feel from countries as I talk with developing countries, is they are being cut off by the demand from Europe for energy and for coal.  They’re losing any access that they have to energy.  And so, we need to find ways to have the fastest move and that’s why I put forward and discussed with you our methane initiative, a major initiative, and the SCALE Initiative.  I guess I just did that at the G-24.

So, we have major World Bank initiatives that we are putting forward and working toward the COP27 that are very intensely focused on Paris alignment and achieving that for our own operations, and then, helping countries find that through their Paris Agreements.

I do want to spend -- debt is very important because it’s such a giant cost for the countries.  And it means that they are reducing their spending on health, on education, on climate because they’re paying debt service.  So, we are in the forefront of pushing that and pushing debt transparency for countries.  And the person is exactly right that we need more transparency.  We do that within IDA through what’s called SDFP, the Sustainable Development Finance Program, which links the IDA lending of and grants.  Remember, IDA’s a huge grant program by the World Bank and links that to increase transparency by the countries in terms of their debt contracts.

That’s also going to help, by the way, with fossil fuel reduction.  You know, as the questioner pointed out, if the contracts were visible, the countries wouldn’t be doing the direction that they’re doing.  So, I think one intersection that we should build on between the climate ambitions and the debt ambitions is that transparency will help the countries move toward a better place for them, including on public debt which was the other person’s question.

So, with that, thank you.  What great questions and really important interaction that the World Bank builds on constantly with CSO community and we welcome your input, and we look forward to the permanent dialogue that we have with you on ways that we can do better.

[MERCY NIWE]

Thank you so much, David.

[DAVID MALPASS]

  Thanks, Mercy.

[MERCY NIWE]

I know we’re into the time, but we also want to -- I’m so sorry.  I know you’re also smiling, but I’m very certain we’ll not be taking any more questions.

[QUESTIONER]

I think we can wait five minutes more.  I don’t know what you think.  At least for continuing this conversation?

[DAVID MALPASS]

  Let’s take one more, but then I really have to go and everyone --

[MERCY NIWE]

Yeah, he has another meeting.  So, just one last question.  Please, move away because you’re going to continue smiling and you’re making it hard.  Thank you.

[QUESTIONER]

My name is Risa Gomez and I’m an attorney for the Center for International Improvement (inaudible).  My question is related to remedy.  Many projects finance, but the World Bank Group have severely affected communities worldwide from the social and environmental perspective.  According to the Minimum Human Rights International standards, when adverse impacts come, a substantial remedy should be provided.  My question is basically, where is the commitment of the World Bank Group to provide remedy for the current projects the Bank has?   And also, where is the commitment for the projects that clearly have the World Bank brand, but unfortunately, they were (phonetic) -- have left or exited?  Thank you very much.

[MERCY NIWE]

Thank you so much.  David, do you want Mamta to take it?  Or --

[DAVID MALPASS]

  I’m pointing at Elena because I know  -- so, we work actively in this area.  We have multiple layers of protection for people within projects.  It’s in the project design.  It’s in the ES framework, the environmental and social framework that’s a core part of the Bank.  On the IFC side, there’s an elaborate and maybe, Elena can help go through.  And then, there is also the -- within the Bank, there is the first line of defense which is through your feedback and the affected people’s feedback to the World Bank.  At the beginning of the project and during the project, there’s a dispute resolution -- I’m sorry, what’s her name?  I can’t hear that.  Yes, so the resolution.

So, multiple layers is critical and we’re always improving on those and as you know, there’s the Inspection Panel that can get into the projects.  But I want to turn to Elena for it because IFC is actively working with the CSO community on remedy solutions.  But I think our joint effort should be to avoid projects that are causing the problems and then, as soon as there is an awareness of disputes within projects, that there be an opportunity both for management to fix the problem, but then also, for there to be next steps.  Elena?

[ELENA BOURGANSKAIA]

  Just exactly building on what David just said.  The key focus for us and we’ve been working extensively on this issue, is to, whenever possible, is to prevent the harm.  And also, to build something that David mentioned earlier, to build a capacity of our clients to handle ENS issues because ultimately, we finance our clients and it’s the client’s responsibility to implement the standards with our support and help and technical assistance, as needed.

Now, that said, as many of you know, we are working on a framework of remedial action.  We’re also working -- we’re piloting actually, already having discussion with the Board, the responsible exit from our investments.  And as we promised to the CSOs community, we will be coming to you with formal consultations just like we did with the CAO policy a year ago, probably, in the next few months.  And I’m very happy.  My colleagues and I will be hosting another CSO session, and I see this afternoon at 3:00.  And I’m very happy to discuss in more details, if you have any further question on IFC approach.

[DAVID MALPASS]

  Good.  Thanks.

[MERCY NIWE]

Thank you so much, David.  I think what Mamta was just referring was a grievance redress. 

[DAVID MALPASS]

  That’s it.  I couldn’t think of the word grievance.  A grievance redress.  The first line of action in the Bank and it has been very successful in directly responding.  And can I from a cost standpoint or an effectiveness standpoint, if what your goal is to have a dispute that goes for 10 years and doesn’t get resolved, there can be elaborate spots.  But what everyone wants is the dispute to be resolved, quickly.  So, there’s that first line of defense and then we have multiple layers that are working very well.  I was very pleased.  You know, we did the full review and redo of  the inspection panel process two years ago.  You were very involved.   And it’s working well because many of the disputes are getting settled prior and that’s been, I think, a big success of the Bank and something we should take note of.  Thanks.

[MERCY NIWE]

Excellent.   Thank  you so much, David.  And I think on that note, we shall release you.  Thank you so  much.  Thanks to the Leadership Team, but also, the CSOs.  (Applause).  Thank you, everyone.  Hope we get to see you in the other events that are taking place.  Have a good day.

00:00 Welcome! Annual Meetings | Civil Society Townhall
02:55 Opening remarks by David Malpass
06:47 Climate change / Rohingya / Corruption
16:56 Disabilities / Fossil fuels / Country Climate and Development Reports
26:55 Civil society / Youth participation / Drilling in Guyana
35:25 CSOs programs in Middle East and North Africa
37:22 Learning losses / Citizen engagement / Debt relief
44:23 Economic slowdown / Natural gas / Debt transparency / Climate action
54:55 Environmental and social framework
59:55 Closure

 

Speakers

Moderator

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

Live Updates

Richa Bhattarai / World Bank:
Good morning everyone! The civil society townhall with World Bank Group President David Malpass will begin shortly. If you have any questions and comments, feel free to drop them here!

Srikiran Devara
Sir, Inequality-Inflation-Incomes (loss due to COVID) (3i) are complicating investment led economic growth. On the other hand, TFP led economic growth is not one of the strengths for many developing countries. My question is how to ensure developing economies, especially in Africa, maintain economic growth agenda while responding to these 3i led challenges?

Norah N. Bolongei
Hi I miss the first section yesterday and today, what is the time for tomorrow?

Richa Bhattarai / World Bank:
@Norah N. Bolongei, if you are referring to the Civil Society Policy Forum, please find the schedule here: https://tinyurl.com/3pfmsary

Jena Roscoe
Thank you for the continued focus on #financialinclusion … any new direction in this space?  Love the work here:  https://www.worldbank.org/...

Pamela Patrick
Logged in now. Thanks.

Lance Marshall
Thanks for hosting this event!

Richa Bhattarai / World Bank:
Welcome to the Civil Society Townhall with World Bank Group President David Malpass. We look forward to an interactive and productive conversation!

Richa Bhattarai / World Bank:
Moderating the session today is Mercy Niwe, who leads stakeholder engagement at the World Bank.

Chubashini Amirtham
Good evening to all, greetings from Chubashini Amirtham, 21st Century Learning Expert from Malaysia

Richa Bhattarai / World Bank:
Also in the room today are Elena Bourganskaia, Vice President for Corporate Support, IFC; Mamta Murthi, Vice President for Human Development, World Bank; Juergen Voegele, Vice President for Sustainable Development, World Bank.

Richa Bhattarai / World Bank:
You can download the Poverty and Shared Prosperity report here: https://tinyurl.com/265y4t5v

Richa Bhattarai / World Bank:
The Country Climate and Development Reports can be found here, for your perusal and feedback: https://tinyurl.com/2p8n6cvu

Donovan McLaren
What is the World Bank position on the movement of Electronic Waste  (e-waste) via the English-speaking Caribbean.

vuyyapu venkata satya narayana
very nice meeting

Samuel Zan Akologo,  Caritas Africa
I appreciate the open and frank dialogue; the way to solve problems created by same but diverse Actors of our Common humanity!

Samuel Zan Akologo,  Caritas Africa
Has the WB got an updated and more robust strategy for assisting Countries with their Natural Resource Management? My country Ghana is currently being ravaged and devastated by ILLEGAL ARTISANAL SMALL SCALE MINING, called GALAMSEY!

Richa Bhattarai / World Bank:
Here is the readout from World Bank Group President David Malpass’s Meeting with King Abdullah II ibn Al-Hussein of Jordan: https://bit.ly/3RMMkXb

OPRAH OMEKA
Does the World Bank support local communities for basic subsistence to develop foundations for locally sustainable economics as those communities work towards contributing to regional and international markets?

Richa Bhattarai / World Bank:
Have you read our "The State of Global Learning Poverty: 2022 Update" that President Malpass mentioned? https://bit.ly/3SU4Q16

Md.Aminul Islam
Many Problems can be resolve by using Social Capital, Many oppurtunitiies can create by Social Capital formation. We may introduce Social Business. We should articulate Social Capital in Public Policy formulation. Regards -Aminul Islam; Sociologist, BFD, Bangladesh.

sboui HOLMY
@ Mr David what is the policy of the WB in perspective 2026 for Tunisia and the role in of local SCO

Ana Manduley
Good day and thank you for hosting this town hall. Our organization Ghana Gold Expo supports responsible initiatives including mining with the support of the Western Regional Minister, President of Ghana and other global leaders.  linkedin.com/in/ana-manduley-carreras-atarodian-bb75a014

Alamin Adamu
Thank you

zafar abbas
hi how  we will used skills of CSOs efforts to curb carbon emission

Richa Bhattarai / World Bank:
Thank you all for your questions, comments and feedback!

Martha Mwammale
Interested to know more on how the world bank is helping Tanzania school girls to access the transport system; because on my case it is still not safe for a girl child to go to school (long distance)--Martha Mwammale from Tanzania

Mr. Naa Sampson Kontormah
Thank the civil society who where able to attend this annual meeting with experts across the globe for their kind gesture during the event and edge all thosed who contributed to the sucvessful of the event expecialy prof  mallpass.

2022 Annual Meetings

IMF World Bank Group Annual Meetings 2022 Livestreamed events

Join us for a series of live events on today’s pressing development challenges.

Oct. 10: Curtain Raiser
Oct. 11: Civil Society Townhall
Oct. 11: Inclusive Growth
Oct. 11: Food and Energy
Oct. 12: Ukraine Ministerial Roundtable
Oct. 12: Investing in Education
Oct. 13: Press Conference
Oct. 13: People and Planet
Oct. 14: Annual Meetings Plenary
Oct. 15: State of Africa Region
Oct. 15: Human Capital Conclave

Available with interpretation in ArabicFrench and Spanish.