Improving oceans, and results, among World Bank themes

The private sector’s role in development, improving results and enhancing the oceans were among key themes discussed at the annual IMF-World Bank Spring meetings in Washington earlier this month. 

'The Springs' meetings attract thousands of people from government, private sector, civil society and the media.  This year the New Zealand delegation to the Springs was headed by Secretary to the Treasury, Gabs Makhlouf. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was represented by Development Manager Sue Lancaster (pictured), who attended discussions on World Bank issues, including:

  • a stocktake of the Bank’s Development Policy Lending (budget support)
  • World Bank trust fund reforms
  • briefing on implementation of the Bank’s new lending instrument – Program for Results
  • development of a Global Partnership for Oceans
  • work under way on making World Bank aid flows and projects more transparent.

“One key change at the World Bank is the inclusion of civil society in some of the meetings,” says Sue. “One civil society representative noted they used to protest on the streets about the Bank during Springs;  now they were inside the building, taking part in and leading discussions.  We went on to note that while civil society still criticised the Bank – they were more informed critiques as a result of having access to more information.”

The meetings presented opportunities for New Zealand to take part in a range of bilateral discussions with other countries, high level dialogue on sustainable development (as a prelude to Rio+20) and engage with key bank management on issues of importance to New Zealand. 

The Springs also allowed Sue to attend discussions on key issues for the Bank’s concessionary loan fund – the International Development Association. Working parties have been addressing the issues of inclusive growth, IDA’s long term financial sustainability, fragile and conflict affected states and results and effectiveness.  New Zealand is on the latter working party which has  identified areas where the bank’s results framework and performance can be improved.

New Zealand's profile at the World Bank has increased signficantly as a result of having former Secretary to the Treasury John Whitehead sitting on the board and leading our World Bank Constituency Office (which encompasses Australia, Cambodia, Kiribati, Republic of Korea, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Mongolia, New Zealand, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu). John's term as Executive Director comes to an end in mid-2013.

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