|Overcoming Global Hunger (WB)|
An NGO Statement Presented to the World Bunk Hunger Conference, November 30, 1993
Hunger is, in most instances, a consequence of economic impoverishment and marginalization It is thus imperative that economic empowerment form the core of strategies to eliminate the underlying causes of hunger These efforts must also include adoption of policies that build self-reliant food security.
Strategies aimed at economic empowerment and self-reliant food security cannot be imposed from the top Rather, they must be identified, formulated, implemented, and evaluated with the full participation of those whom these strategies are intended to serve. Such participatory strategies preclude a business-as-usual approach to project and policy development and implementation, and will produce substantially superior results than conventional practice.
Given that structural adjustment policies frequently have increased hunger in countries in which they have been implemented, NGOs are pleased to see this issue on the agenda for the conference. However, for meaningful follow through to the conference we believe that the Bank must initiate an open review of its role in designing and supporting macroeconomic policies that worsen the problem of hunger It must then engage in a participatory process of rethinking and reformulating its projects and policies such that they address short-term poverty alleviation, as welt as long-term economic empowerment of the poor.
We therefore call upon the World Bank to commit itself to implementing the recommendations presented below by the end of 1996 as its contribution to the general effort to end hunger.
True participation is assured only through economic and political empowerment based on increased control of productive resources. There fore, the World Bank should make this empowerment a cornerstone of its work with governments on programs, policy, and institutional reform. This means making a significant commitment to programs and policies that will increase access for the poor, especially women food producers, to all productive resources (such as land, capital, technology, and markets) and skills such as literacy.
Due participation also requires full recognition, respect, and support for community rights and social processes These include the cultural rights embodied in the substantial contribution of food preferences and practices to the cultural identity of most peoples. Those who presume to help a people strengthen their food security have an obligation to avoid the arbitrary infringement of their right to choose their own cultural food and other practices.
The World Bank must revamp and democratize the process by which it identifies and supports all development projects and policies, including structural adjustment policies In this regard, we applaud Mr. Preston's statement of April 28 about the importance of "ensuring broad participation of the poor m the design as well as the implementation of projects. We want this to become the norm of our operations in the years to come." We affirm not only his recognition of the importance of involving the poor early on, but also his commitment that this become the norm for all operation programs as well as projects.
At the same time, we are aware from our own field experience that the participation elicited from the poor by multilateral agencies is often superficial, may not be broadly representative, and the results of consultations are often ignored. Many of these problems can be overcome by seeking participation by those most vulnerable to hunger, particularly women We recommend that the Bank actively reach out to and incorporate the perspectives and recommendations of women's groups, community groups including NGOs and other actors in civil society in all Bank programs and policies. We also call upon the Bank to strengthen and encourage NGO and community involvement in obtaining reviewing, and responding to information on all prospective World Bank projects and policy recommendations.
Full and meaningful participation is not possible without access to relevant information The World Bank is a public institution engaged in providing public financing to public agencies for public purposes. The public in whose name such financing is provided and which ultimately must repay the resultant financial obligations has a right to full information regarding those obligation The World Bank's willingness to respect this right of the sovereign people and to require borrowing governments to do likewise will be a basic measure of its commitment to participation.
In order to monitor the results of its commitment to participation, we recommend that all project and adjustment operations considered by the board be accompanied by a full and gender disaggregated description of how poor and hungry people have been consulted, how they will directly benefit, and how actual consequences for them will be monitored using gender disaggregated indicators of equity (for example, distribution of income, distribution of land ownership, access to credit, and other similar indicators).
Finally, we recommend that the management incentive system of the Bank be revamped to ensure that advancement within the institution is linked to demonstrated commitments to and skills in fostering popular participation in Bank operations. This recommendation was embraced by Mr. Preston in his 1992 meeting with the World Bank NGO Committee. The Wapenhans Report amply demonstrated how giving priority to getting project approvals and moving money has impaired the quality of Bank operations. Our recommendation for revamping incentives should be at the heart of portfolio management reforms.
People-Centered Macroeconomic Policies
While we support efforts to fight hunger at the grassroots, the Bank has long been an advocate of the proposition that polices are key to development outcomes. We agree. If the policies are wrong, hunger will persist in spite of the most effective and committed grassroots NGO antihunger activity We therefore urge the Bank to make the economic empowerment of the poor a fundamental priority not only in projects, but also in its policy reform efforts.
In particular, the Bank should give priority in policy and sectoral adjustment programs to policies that will raise real incomes and reduce risks for poor and hungry people on a direct and immediate basiss well as in the medium and long term. This includes policies that enhance food security, employment, and incomes in both urban and rural settings; and lead to permanent reduction in foreign indebtedness and increase self-reliance in meeting basic needs.
Furthermore, the World Bank must relinquish its insistence that free and open markets are an adequate vehicle for allocating available food The market is frequently not effective in equitably or efficiently distributing food, as starkly revealed in numerous historical instances of famine amidst plenty. All policy initiatives must take this into account through measures that assure the poor have the means to meet their basic food needs.
For the Bank to continue to rely on trickle down economic policies and top down program planning is not consistent with a commitment to ending hunger These policies are not only failing to improve the quality of life of the poor-especially the ultra poorthey are increasing the social security and vulnerability to hunger of these groups.
Each adjustment operation or other policy initiative presented to the World Bank's board should be accompanied by a description of how that operation or initiative will benefit the poor as a primary focusnot simply as the objects of the safety net programs that often supplement World Bank/IMF structural adjustment operations.
Now that the Bank is attempting to become a more client government-centered institution, it is essential that it do more to ensure accountability to the poor, who are the people most affected by the Bank's policies and programs. As the Bank reorganizes centrally and in the field to upgrade its portfolio management, the modalities and locus for enhancing popular participation should be unambiguous, and above all country specific. We recommend that this be done directly with NGOs, community-based organizations, cooperatives, and other actors in civil society. We recommend that the Bank work with governments and NGOs to develop specific guidelines to ensure that operations are viable at all stages from a sustainable development point of view. The portfolio management reform process is giving more emphasis to ensuring development impact as well as economic performance. Unfortunately, for the Bank, the meaning of "development impact" remains cloudy
We recommend that the Bank's definitions of development impact and project quality give substantial weight to an operation's anticipated and actual contribution to equity, environmental sustainability, and participation goals. Such guidelines should ensure, for instance, that the Bank commits to funding only projects and programs that actively and directly increase sustainable on-site livelihood opportunities for disadvantaged people in the localities in which they presently live.
Personnel evaluations should include assessments of contributions to development impact and project quality so defined.
Poorest of the Poor
The Program of Targeted Interventions (PTI) would target investments toward the poor, broadly speaking. We recommend that in the next two years, the percentage of IDA PTI lending especially lending focused on the social sectors be increased from 40 percent to a minimum of 50 percent, and that combined IBRD/IDA PTI lending be increased from 26 percent to a minimum of 45 percent.
We also recommend that the Bank include in all poverty studies, social impact assessments, and project appraisals a gender disaggregated assessment of the specific and distinctive needs of the ultra poor (the poorest 10 to 20 percent) and make specific provision to invest in members of this group and to expand the livelihood opportunities available to them.
This statement is enclosed by the following organizations:
Alliance for Child Survival.
Aotearoal Zealand Council for international Development.
Antonio B. Quizon
Asian NGO Coalition for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (ANGOC), The Philippines.
Association Latinoamericano des Organizaciones de Promocion (ALOP).
Association of Women's Clubs, Zimbabwe.
Association pour la Promotion de la Femme SenegalaiseAPROFES, Senegal.
Bread for the World.
Dr. Philip Johnston
Caribbean Association for Feminist Research and Action /Women Working for Social Progress.
James E Hug, S. J
Center of Concern.
Collectif des Femmes pour la Defense de la Famille, Senegal.
Community Aid Abroad, Australia.
Rodney E. Leonard
Community Nutrition Institute.
Consumer Policy Institute
Consumers Union of Japan Development Action Group, South Africa.
The Development GAP.
Environmental Defense Fund.
Equipo Pueblo, Mexico.
Evangelical Lutheran Church, Tanzania Food Irradiation Network, Japan.
Forum for African Voluntary Development Organizations (FAVDO), Senegal .
Foundation EL TALLER, Tunisia.
Foundation for International Community Assistance.
Fundacion Augusto C. Sandino, Nicaragua.
Global Food and Nutrition Alliance.
Group for Environmental Monitoring.
The Hunger Project.
Institute for African Alternatives, South Africa.
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.
Interamerican Network of Agriculture and Democracy.
Inter-Church Coalition on Africa.
Interfaith Impact for Justice and Peace.
Les Amis de la Terre, Togo.
Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers Justice and Peace Office.
Mothers & Others for a Livable Planet.
National Board for Community Banks, Nigeria.
Rev. Mutava Musyimi
National Council of Churches of Kenya.
Lynn A. Greenwalt
National Wildlife Federation.
Network for Safe and Secure Food and Environment, Japan.
Nicaragua Network Education Fund.
Nicaragua United States Friendship Office.
NGO Working Group on Sustainable Agriculture.
Not to the Harmonization Action Committee, Japan.
Pacific Institute of Resource Management, New Zealand.
People Centered Development Forum.
Pesticide Action Network North America.
Graeme A. Reid
PLANACT, South Africa.
Politics of Food Program.
Project on Demilitarization and Democracy.
Luis Lopezllera M.
Promociel Desarrollo Popular, Mco.
Public Interest Research Group, India.
Allen M. Armstrong
Rangpur Dinajpur Rural Service, Bangladesh.
Rural Development Education of the Evangelical Church in Germany.
Social Action Centre, Jamaica.
Trickle Up Program.
Susan C. Peacock
United Church Board for World Ministries.
Women's Environment and Development Organization.
Women Working for Social Progress.
World Hunger Year.
Philip J. Hunt
World Vision Australia.
World Vision International.
J. Patrick Madden
World Sustainable Agriculture Association.
This statement is endorsed by the following individuals (organizations listed for identification purposes only):
Sustainable Development Policy Institute.
All Africa Conference of Churches.
Freedom From Hunger.
American College of Nurse Midwives.
NGO Working Group on Sustainable Development.
Institute for Food and Development Policy / Food First.
Mark W. Harrison
General Board of Church and Society, The United Methodist Church.
Rev Dan C. Hoffman
Joint Ministry in Africa Office of the Disciples of Christ and the United Church of Christ.
Rev. Douglas B. Hunt
Church Center for Sustainable Community United Church of Christ, Office for Church in Society
Chol Chol International.
Cites Network for Sustainable Development.
Carolyn M. Long
Erich O. Manias
Joint Ministry in Africa Office of the Disciples of Christ and the United Church of Christ.
Church World Service / Lutheran World Relief.
OXFAM, Global Agriculture Project.
Disciples Peace Fellowship.
Susan Drake Smith
Appropriate Technology International.