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Cuts in International AIDS Funding Risk Lives in Africa June 4th, 2010

africamapAs international donors in HIV/AIDS funding, the U.S., World Bank, UNITAID, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, retreat from funding HIV and AIDS programs, years of progress in HIV treatment in Africa are being threatened. The lives of HIV-positive people are increasingly on the line, according to a new report by the international Non Governmental Organization, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

The report, No time to quit: HIV/AIDS Treatment Gap Widening in Africa looks at eight sub-Saharan countries. It shows how major international funding institutions such as the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), World Bank Treatment Acceleration Project , UNITAID, and donors to the Global Fund, decided to cap, reduce or withdraw their spending on HIV treatment over the past year and a half.

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World Bank Approves $3 Billion Loan for Controversial Coal Plant in South Africa April 12th, 2010

On April 8th 2010, the World Bank approved a controversial $ 3 billion loan for a coal-fired power station to ESKOM, the South Africa-based, state owned electricity utility, despite serious concerns from environmental organizations and the faith community. United States, Britain and Norway, Italy and the Netherlands abstained from voting for the coal loan due to unresolved environmental concerns and economic impacts on local communities.

More than 200 organizations across the world have endorsed a critique of the loan saying it will be a burden to poor people who will likely see their household bills increase, while international extractive corporations will continue to receive subsidized energy due to special pricing agreements with Eskom

Eskom is the world’s fourth-largest power company and Africa’s largest carbon emitter, and accounts for 40% of South Africa’s total emissions. The loan raised serious environmental concerns such as pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and raised questions about the World Bank’s commitment to renewable energy sources.

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World Bank Joins the IMF in Seeking Debt Reduction for Haiti January 21st, 2010

haitian debtThe World Bank announced today that it is taking steps to cancel Haitian debt owed to the institution. The institution announced a $100 million grant on January 13 in response to the earthquake. The Bank released this statement:

“Currently, Haiti’s debt to the World Bank, which is interest-free, is about $38 million—about 4% of Haiti’s total external debt. Due to the crisis caused by the earthquake, we are waiving any payments on this debt for the next five years and at the same time we are working to find a way forward to cancel the remaining debt.”

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World Bank Projects for Sri Lanka Approved January 8th, 2010

The following World Bank projects for Sri Lanka have been approved:

Sri Lanka: Emergency Northern Recovery Project

$65 million to rapidly return internally displaced people (IDPs), largely ethnic Tamils, to their places of origin in the Northern Province and restore their social and economic lives. The project is expected to reach a total of about 100,000 IDPs.  Read more.

Sri Lanka: Provincial Roads Project

$105 million to improve access to socio-economic centers in Eastern, Northern, and Uva Provinces through the sustainable management of improved road infrastructure. The project will rehabilitate provincial roads, develop and implement an effective maintenance strategy, and strengthen the capacity of the Provincial Council Road Development Departments to plan and manage budgets within a framework of fiscal constraint.  Read more.


Join in Reviewing the World Bank’s Transparency Policy March 18th, 2009

The World Bank is currently accepting public comments from civil society groups regarding World Bank Policy on Disclosure of Information. This public comment period will run from March 13 to May 8, 2009. The World Bank has issued a paper calling for revision of its disclosure policy titled: “TOWARD GREATER TRANSPARENCY: RETHINKING THE WORLD BANK’S DISCLOSURE POLICY.” This is available on the World Bank website. Send your comments via email to Disclosure_Consultations@worldbank.org or post comments on the Bank’s website.

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72 Members of Congress Urge World Bank to Cancel Haiti’s Debt February 27th, 2009

Debt Cancellation Will Help Haiti Avoid National Collapse, Give Fragile Democracy a Chance
A bipartisan group of 72 US Representatives called on World Bank President Robert Zoellick late yesterday to immediately suspend all scheduled debt repayments from Haiti and grant complete debt cancellation to the impoverished nation. Haiti currently sends $1.6 million to the World Bank every month while thousands of Haitians starve and the nation struggles to fill a severe budget gap that threatens the struggling democracy’s stability.

The letter to President Zoellick was circulated by US Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA) as well as Representatives Barney Frank (D-MA) and Spencer Bachus (R-AL), Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee. The Representatives express deep concern about “the urgent humanitarian needs of the people of Haiti and the difficulties Haiti has faced in qualifying for the cancellation of its debts.” “We understand that Haiti is scheduled to send approximately $20 million to the World Bank in 2009,” the letter reads, “Clearly, this money would be better spent on basic infrastructure and poverty reduction for the Haitian people.” Signers include 72 US Representatives from across the political spectrum, including Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Donald Payne (D-NJ), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health, and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman (D-CA).

Download a PDF of the letter from Members of Congress to World Bank President Zoellick

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