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World Bank

Volume 301: debated on Wednesday 24 September 1997

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To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps she intends to take to use her position as a Governor of the World Bank to ensure that promises made to parliamentarians by the World Bank President in his letter of January 1996 are being kept. [17033]

The UK will use its influence in the World Bank to strengthen its poverty focus and encourage it to set quantifiable targets for poverty reduction and to measure progress towards these.

The World Bank is a key partner in our efforts to pursue the international development targets, which are based on agreements reached at a series of UN Summits. The President of the World Bank, Mr. James Wolfensohn, has already made a clear commitment to the targets, which I very much welcome. We will encourage the Bank to devote more attention to monitoring and evaluating the output and the impact of its activities, and to integrate gender considerations and environmental and social sustainability into its projects including enhanced support for activities which help the poorest, such as education, health and clean water.

We will pursue these objectives through regular discussions with the President of the Bank and with senior management; through the extensive contacts which exist between professional advisers and programme managers in the Bank and my department; through our regular contacts with non-governmental organisations to discuss policy issues and specific Bank-funded projects; and through the interventions in formal Board proceedings made by our Director at the Bank and his team in the UK Delegation.