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What's in Store at the World Bank Annual Meetings?

With crucial reforms and policies on the table, this week's World Bank Group Annual Meetings are an event to watch.

The Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group this week certainly won’t lack for agenda items. This year’s meetings take place at a time when sweeping governance reforms are emerging at the World Bank Group and crucial policies, such as the World Bank’s Energy Strategy and International Financial Corporations Performance Standards are up for review.

The Bank is also in the midst of implementing several climate change initiatives, including an assessment of progress in implementing the Strategic Framework on Development and Climate Change (SFDCC). Together with other regional development banks, the World Bank hosts several climate-related trust funds, including the Climate Investment Funds.

In addition, following the recommendations of an internal report, the World Bank’s Vice President, Joachim von Amsburg, announced plans to overhaul the Bank’s influential environmental and social safeguard policies, which have helped (to varying degrees) minimize the harm that Bank-funded development projects have on local people and the natural environment.

This year’s meetings also coincide with the UNFCCC climate finance discussions in Tianjin, which could influence the Bank’s position in the future of climate finance.

If the World Bank wants to continue playing a major role in channeling and administering climate finance, it must use this period of policy reform and review as an opportunity to systematically address issues of environmental and social sustainability in all of its investments.

About WRI’s work on the World Bank Group

WRI’s International Financial Flows and the Environment (IFFE) Program works to improve the environmental and social decision-making of these and other Multilateral Development Banks. These institutions are in a unique position; they can continue to drive investments in a conventional “business as usual” manner or they can raise environmental and social standards through their lending practices.

During the Annual Meetings, WRI is co-hosting several panel discussions in the Civil Society Policy Forum and will also have experts available for interviews throughout the meetings:

IFC and Human Rights: the Path Forward?
Friday, October 8, 2010 11:00 - 12:30
Room - MC C1-200
World Bank Group, 1800 H St NW

Sponsors: World Resources Institute (WRI), Bretton Woods Project (BWP), Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), Indian Law Resource Center

Speakers: Rachel Kyte (Vice President, Business Advisory Services, IFC), Motoko Aizawa ( Advisor, Corporate Standards, IFC), Audrey Gaughran (Director, Global Thematic Units, Amnesty International), Arvind Ganesan (Director, Business and Human Rights Program, Human Rights Watch), Amy Lehr (Attorney, Corporate Social Responsibility practice, Foley Hoag LLP), Andrea Repetto Vargas (Operations Analyst, IFC Compliance Advisor Ombudsman)

Chair: David Hunter (Professor of Law, American University)

For many years, the World Bank Group (WBG) has considered human rights to be outside of its development mandate, on the grounds that this would interfere with the sovereignty of member governments.

As part of its review process, the IFC is considering how to integrate human rights into its Sustainability Framework. The outcomes of this process remain unclear, as many governments on the IFC Board of Directors remain concerned about sovereignty issues. This panel will discuss the prospects and challenges for adopting a more explicit approach to human rights at the IFC, and suggest concrete ways to move forward. Read More...

Transparency and Accountability in Public Climate Finance – What has been done? What is needed?
Friday, October 8th, 2:00 – 3:30
Room MC C1-100
World Bank Group 1800 H St NW

Sponsors: Heinrich Boell Foundation, World Resources Institute (WRI)

Speakers: Srinivas Krishnaswamy (Director, Vasudha Foundation, India) Ari Huhtala (Senior Environmental Specialist, WB) Athena Ballesteros (Senior Associate, World Resources Institute) Janneke de Vries (Counselor for Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)

Just months before the next Conference of Parties of the UN Climate Convention in Cancun, Mexico, various efforts have been made to track and account for climate financing pledges made in December 2009 at the climate talks in Copenhagen for fast-start finance and toward longer-term financing commitments.

What has already been done? What more is needed to give different stakeholders, including civil society, the tools to hold both developed and developing countries accountable for their decisions on the mobilization, administration and disbursement of climate funds? What role could and should the World Bank play in data collection and standard setting? [Read More](node/11794

Contacts:

Athena Ballesteros, Project Manager, International Financial Flows and Environment Project
Expertise: Climate Change, Sustainable Energy, Climate Finance, International Climate Policy, World Bank, International Financial Institutions
Email: aballesteros@wri.org
Cell Phone: 202-839-8285

Kirk Herbertson, Associate, International Financial Flows and Environment Project
Expertise: Environmental and Social Aspects, particularly human rights, of International Financial Institutions Investments
Email: kherbertson@wri.org
Cell Phone: 202-368-1927

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