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Summary of the NGO Working Group Proposal on
Future Relations with the World Bank, August 2000


What does the NGO Working Group proposal contain?

The NGO Working Group's proposal is titled Enhancing Civil Society Capacity to Influence the Emergence of Participatory Socio-Economic Policy Formulation in The World Bank: Re-Invigorating The Global Agenda of The NGO Working Group on the World Bank. The full text is also available. The main elements of the proposal are as follows:

The proposal describes the new context of the Bank-civil society relationship. It acknowledges that the Bank has made systematic efforts in reforming its agenda and undertaking a process of decentralization. In the present context of increasing street protests and activism vis--vis the international financial institutions, the proposal reiterates the Working Group's intention to pursue a policy of critical but constructive engagement with the Bank at all levels of operations.

While recognizing the importance of the decentralization of the dialogue to the regional and national levels, the proposal stresses the need of maintaining a global space, arguing that Washington DC continues to be the center of Bank policy formulation design and implementation. The Working Group proposes a two-fold strategy consisting of strengthening the regional processes and reforming the global structure.

The Working Group recognizes that a new set of stakeholders have access to key decision makers within the Bank. It proposes a set of changes to the Working Group operations aimed at bringing more actors into the dialogue between civil society and the Bank. The Working Group would act as a facilitator to accommodate greater participation from labor unions, church based organizations, women's groups, and other representatives of civil society.

At the same time, the Working Group proposes that the annual exchanges between the Bank and a wide range of social actors become issue-based. This global forum would focus primarily on the policies and operations of the Bank, and cast its attention to broader issues affecting the global political economy, like trade liberalization, HIV-AIDS, and the growing digital divide. The Working Group anticipates that this global forum will eventually supercede the annual exchange between the Bank and the Working Group.

The Working Group proposes the replacement of the old structures of exchange by new spaces of dialogue and collaboration. Specifically, they recommended the following:

  • A Civil Society Engagement Forum, an annual issue-specific conference.
  • A Regional Engagement Initiative, which facilitates direct interaction between civil society and Bank management of country programs and policies.
  • A Bank-NGO Facilitation Committee consisting of representatives of the Committee and the Bank which would meet once a year to determine the broad parameters for Bank-civil society relations.
  • A Joint Regional Participation Team comprised of key representatives of the regional NGO Steering Committees and Bank's regional staff.

The document also describes a series of changes in the governing and executive structures of the Working Group, including the opening of a new Global Liaison Office based in Washington DC.

The proposal identifies three areas of concentration of their work program:

  • Enhancing civic engagement in Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSP) and the Comprehensive Development Framework (CDF).
  • Promoting participatory and poverty focused macro-economic reforms.
  • Capacity building for civic engagement and mapping Bank-civil society-government-private sector relationships.


© NGO Working Group on the World Bank, 2001.
The text of this website is subject to Copyleft - it may be freely used provided that the website address is cited.

[This text was copied from the World Bank site, www.worldbank.org/devforum/forum_ngowg1.html, with minor copy-editing of the first paragraph.]


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Centre for International Politics, School of Social Science, City University, Northampton Square, London EC1V 0HB.

Last updated on 26 October 2001.