10 things you never knew about the world bank

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A small brochure, which illustrates The World Bank's work with simple facts.



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  • CTHE W

    D R A M

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    The World Banks work in more than one hundred

    countries is challenging. But its mission is simple:

    to help reduce poverty. Over the past 20 years, the

    Banks focus has changed and so has its approach.

    It is now addressing newer issues like gender, com-

    munity-driven development and indigenous peo-

    ples, and its support for social services like health,

    nutrition, education, and pensions has grown from

    5 percent in 1980 to 22 percent in 2003. Today,

    countries themselves are coming to the World

    Bank with their own plans for helping poor people

    and the Bank has adopted new ways of working

    with them.

    A M AT I C A L LY

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  • Education is central to development. The Bank hascommitted some US$33 billion in loans and credits for education, and currently finances 157 projects in83 countries. The Bank works closely with nationalgovernments, United Nations agencies, donors, civilsociety organizations, and other partners to supportdeveloping countries in their efforts to reach the Edu-cation for All goals that all children, especially girlsand disadvantaged children, are enrolled in and able tocomplete a primary education by 2015. A good exam-ple of the Banks lending in this area is the India Dis-trict Primary Education Program, which specificallytargets girls in districts where female literacy rates arebelow the national average. Bank funding for this pro-gram is now up to US$1.3 billion and serves more than60 million students in 271 low-literacy districts in 18of the 29 Indian states. In Brazil, El Salvador, andTrinidad and Tobago, Bank projects have helped localcommunities increase their influence in the quality of education for their children by enabling them toevaluate the performance of local schools and teachers.

    The World Bank isthe worlds largestexternal funder ofeducation

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  • 2Each day, 14,000 more people become newly infectedwith the HIV virus. Half of them are between the ages of15 and 24. HIV/AIDS is rapidly reversing many of thesocial and economic gains made by developing coun-tries over the past 50 years. As a co-sponsor of UNAIDS,the umbrella group that coordinates the global responseto the epidemic, the World Bank has committed, in thelast few years, more than US$1.6 billion to combatingthe spread of HIV/AIDS around the world. It has beenone of the largest financial supporters of HIV/AIDS pro-grams in developing countries. The Bank has pledgedthat no country with an effective HIV/AIDS strategy will go without funding. In partnership with African and Caribbean governments, the Bank launched theMulti-Country HIV/AIDS Program (MAP), which makessignificant resources available to civil society organ-izations and communities. Many have developed highly innovative HIV/AIDS approaches, from which others arelearning and adapting to local conditions. In 2002,MAP made available US$1 billion to help countries in Africa expand their national prevention, care, andtreatment programs. Additionally, every year the Bankcommits an average of US$1.3 billion in new lendingfor health, nutrition, and population projects in thedeveloping world.

    The World Bankis the worldslargest externalfunder of thefight againstHIV/AIDS

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  • Corruption is a roadblock to development: it taxespoor people by diverting public resources from thosewho need them most. It also undermines investment,human capital, growth, voice and equality. Since 1996,the Bank has launched hundreds of governance andanticorruption programs and initiatives in nearly 100 developing countries. Initiatives range from dis-closure of assets by government officials and publicexpenditure reforms, to training judges and teachinginvestigative reporting to journalists. The Bank's com-mitment to addressing corruption has helped spear-head a global response to the problem, while itcontinues to integrate anticorruption measures into itsanalytical and operational work. It is committed toensuring that the projects it finances are free from corruption, setting up stringent guidelines and a hot-line for corruption complaints; about 100 entities havebeen declared ineligible to be awarded Bank-financedcontracts. Further, the World Bank Institute has devel-oped a major knowledge, learning, and data center ongovernance and anti-corruption.

    3The World Bank isa leader in the fightagainst corruptionworldwide

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  • In 1996, the World Bank and the International MonetaryFund launched the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries(HIPC) Initiative the first comprehensive effort to cutthe external debt of the worlds poorest, most debt-laden countries. Today, 26 countries are receiving debtrelief projected to amount to US$40 billion over time.The HIPC Initiative, combined with other forms of debtrelief, will cut by two-thirds the external debt in thesecountries lowering their debt levels to below the over-all average for developing countries. As part of the initia-tive, these countries are redirecting government fundsfreed up by debt relief, into programs to cut poverty. Forexample, Rwanda has set targets to hire teachers andincrease primary school enrollments. Honduras plans todeliver basic primary and maternal/child health care to atleast 100,000 people in poor communities. Cameroon isstrengthening the fight against HIV/AIDS by, amongother things, expanding education to promote the use ofcondoms by high-risk groups.

    The World Bankstrongly supportsdebt relief


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  • 5Since 1988, the Bank has become one of the largestinternational funders of biodiversity projects. Eventhough biodiversity loss is a global concern, the great-est impacts are felt by rural people in developing coun-tries where they are most dependent on naturalresources for food, shelter, medicine, income, employ-ment, and their cultural identity. For this reason, theBank has joined Conservation International, the GlobalEnvironment Facility, the MacArthur Foundation, andthe Japanese government in a fund that contributes tobetter protection of developing countries biodiversityhotspots. Sixty percent of all terrestrial species diversi-ty can be found in these highly threatened regions,which cover only 1.4 percent of the planets total surface area. Concern for the environment is central to the Banks poverty reduction mission. In addition to environmental assessments and safeguard policies,the Bank's environment strategy focuses on climatechange, forests, water resources, and biodiversity. Currently, the Banks portfolio of projects with clear environmental objectives amounts to around US$13 billion.

    The World Bank is one of the largestinternational funders of biodiversity projects

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  • 6During the past six years, the Bank has joined a largearray of partners in the global fight against poverty. Forexample, to help reduce the effects of global warmingit collaborated with governments and the private sectorto launch the new BioCarbon Fund, and with the Inter-national Emissions Trading Association (IETA) tolaunch the Community Development Carbon Fund(CDCF). The Bank is also working with the WorldWildlife Fund to protect forests. With the Food andAgriculture Organization (FAO) and the United NationsDevelopment Programme (UNDP), it sponsors therenowned Consultative Group on International Agricul-tural Research which mobilizes cutting-edge scienceto reduce hunger and poverty, improve human nutri-tion and health, and protect the environment. Throughthe Consultative Group to Assist the Poor, the Bankworks with 27 other multilateral and donor organiza-tions that support microfinance to help build top-qual-ity, full-service financial systems in developingcountries to serve their poorest citizens. A partnershipto defeat river blindness throughout Africa has success-fully prevented 700,000 cases of blindness, opened 25million hectares of arable land to cultivation, and treatsmore than 35 million people a year for the disease.

    The WorldBank works in partnershipmore than everbefore

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  • 7While most people in the developed world take infrastructurefor granted, it remains a dreamed-of luxury in many parts ofthe world. Almost 1.4 billion people in developing countrieslack access to clean water. Some 3 billion live without basicsanitation or electricity. Infrastructure is not simply about theconstruction of large projects. It is about delivering basic serv-ices that people need for everyday life. It is about upgradingslums and providing roads to connect the poorest urban areas.Infrastructure is also an important part of the World Banksefforts to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals.Delivering safe water has a direct impact on reducing childmortality. Providing communities wi