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World Bank: International Development Association

Volume 697: debated on Monday 17 December 2007

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for International Development (Douglas Alexander) has made the following Statement.

I wish to inform the house that the UK intends to make a contribution of £2,134 million to the 15th replenishment of the International Development Association (IDA 15) which is the part of the World Bank Group that provides assistance to low-income countries. This is the largest single contribution the UK has made to the World Bank. It represents a 49 per cent increase over the UK’s commitment of £1.430 billion to IDA 14. IDA 15 will cover the period from July 2008 to June 2011.

Collectively donors agreed to a target level for IDA 15 of $42 billion (£21 billion) of which about 75 per cent is expected to come from donors and the remainder from internal bank finances. Other donors have yet to finalise their contribution to IDA 15. Final decisions on contributions are expected next week in Berlin.

The money provided to IDA will be used by the World Bank to help countries accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals by supporting primary education, basic health services, clean water and sanitation, environmental safeguards, business climate improvements, infrastructure and institutional reforms. This work paves the way toward economic growth, job creation, higher incomes and better living conditions.

The large UK contribution reflects evidence of the effectiveness of the World Bank in working with partner Governments in helping to foster sustainable growth and improvements in the living standards of people in the poorest countries. The World Bank works through a country-based model of development aligning its support behind a country’s own poverty and growth strategy.

Negotiations on IDA 15 have been ongoing since March this year and the bank and donors have agreed to a number of significant changes which will improve the way in which IDA works to deliver the MDGs, including:

Ownership—enhance country ownership by getting more staff in the field and increasing their decision-making authority, and continue to improve and monitor its performance on conditionality including the use of economic policy conditions;

Africa—over 50 per cent of IDA’s resources are expected to be allocated to sub-Saharan Africa over the three years of IDA 15;

Climate Change—agreement that IDA has a core role to play with an emphasis on adaptation and, where appropriate, mitigation;

Fragile States—more staff and funding to fragile states including by extending the length of time post-conflict countries are given additional assistance (e.g. Afghanistan) and agreeing a framework to clear the arrears for countries re-engaging with the international community (e.g. Liberia)

Gender—intensifying gender mainstreaming and continuing to monitor progress.

The detailed outcomes of the negotiations are recorded in a replenishment report and available on the bank’s website. Donors and borrowers meet midway through each IDA period to review progress and measure the performance of the bank against the agreed benchmarks.