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Sunday, September 24, 2006

The World Bank at a Crossroads

The Stratfor 21 Sep 06

[Excerpt]

"Wolfensohn created departments that were staffed by career activists to work closely with NGOs on questions about the social and environmental implications of the Bank's lending. Activists were invited to participate in hearings, and their concerns began to be taken into consideration.

Once Wolfensohn's reforms took effect, government ministers seeking loans from the Bank were surprised by the details they were asked to provide about environmental and social implications of the project at issue.

These ministers learned the game: They had to work with credible NGOs on the ground and to win their support in order for the project to go forward quickly and easily. Without the consent of local, credible NGOs, the project would be subject to numerous reviews at the World Bank.

And though such reviews did not necessarily mean withdrawal of the Bank's funding, they could be expensive, time- consuming and, often, require changes to the project to address the same concerns NGOs would have raised."

Read the extracts and full article about the influence of activists
on the World Bank and how the World Bank responded.