World Bank

Information on making requests.


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    • 21 July 2015

      Transparency of aid agencies: Are those high grades deserved?

      By Jeffrey Gutman The author is a Senior Fellow in the Global Economy and Development. He is the former vice president of Operations Policy and Country Services at the World Bank and has held various other operational positions during his 30-plus-year career at the Bank. His research focuses on issues of infrastructure, urban development and […]

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      • 15 July 2015

        Report Sees Disclosure Gap on Aid Implementation

        A major weakness of transparency policies at the World Bank and other aid agencies is the lack of information about the implementation of projects, according to a Brookings Institute report. “What is evident is that there remains a critical gap, especially when it comes to the timely and accessible disclosure of information during project Implementation,” […]

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        • 2 July 2015

          World Bank Notes Fifth Anniversary of Access Policy

          The World Bank’s access to information policy (AI) has turned five years old, an anniversary recognized by the Bank with a blog posting, a press release and a short quiz. The blog post cites two examples on how Bank information is used and requests other examples. The posting also includes an infographic. The posting says: The policy […]

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          • 9 April 2015

            Oxfam Report Faults World Bank Transparency

            The new report by the British-based group Oxfam and others has identified transparency gaps in the operations of the World Bank’s private sector lending arm. In particular the report examines lending done through “financial intermediaries” and reports that disclosure has been lacking. The report concluded: Another worrying discovery is that of the 49 investments the IFC made […]

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            • 26 February 2015

              World Bank Rejects Request for Serbian Project Report

              The World Bank Feb. 18 officially rejected a request by a Serbian journalist for reports on the procurement process concerning a concerning the procurement process for a controversial Bank-funded project in Serbia to pump water out of the flooded coal mine. (See previous FreedomInfo.org report.) “While there is no single World Bank report on the […]

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              • 12 February 2015

                World Bank Denies Access to Procurement Review Reports

                By Toby McIntosh The World Bank, despite being a major supporter of “open contracting,” restricts access to its own reports on “post-procurement reviews.” Most recently, the Bank refused to disclose a report concerning the procurement process for a controversial project in Serbia. Investigative journalists in Serbia have raised questions about the qualifications of the contractor […]

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                • 20 November 2014

                  Secrecy Option Proposed for Bank Forest Carbon Fund

                  The World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Fund is aiming to allow confidential treatment for the terms under which countries would receive payments for conserving forests. The policy is still under development, but three nongovernmental organizations recently objected to giving countries the option of secrecy in the still developing system in which the Fund will pay […]

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                  • 8 August 2014

                    World Bank Publishes Information on Contracts

                    By Toby McIntosh For the first time, the World Bank has published information on large contracts it makes for goods and services, mainly consulting services. The datasets put on the Bank’s website Aug. 8 arrived 10 months later than planned and temporarily contain less data than promised. The disclosures reveal Bank contracts valued at over […]

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                    • 31 July 2014

                      World Bank Ready to Disclose Its Contracts; 10 Months Late

                      Ten months behind schedule, the World Bank is about to begin the promised disclosure of information about its own contracts, Freedominfo.org has learned from a Bank official. The information – contractor name, a brief description of services and the contract amount — was to be published on the World Bank Group’s Open Finances website beginning […]

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                      • 26 June 2014

                        Appeals Body Says World Bank Violated Access Policy

                        By Toby McIntosh The World Bank violated its access to information policy in several ways when it denied a request for information from FreedomInfo.org, according to a decision by the three outside experts who decide appeals. The Access to Information Appeals Board said the Bank must disclose the requested documents – the information requests sent […]

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                        • 2 June 2014

                          World Bank Posts First Group of Access Request Digests

                          The World Bank has posted for the first time short summaries of some of the information requests it has received. The 32 listed requests were received in April and were recently put on the Bank’s website. Under the Bank’s new policy a summary of a request is only disclosed if the requester agrees. No names are provided […]

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                          • 24 April 2014

                            World Bank to Summarize Request Letters; Permit Veto

                            The World Bank in May will begin publishing summaries of requests made in April under its access to information policy, unless a requester objects, according to Bank officials. Requesters in April saw a new message: To further transparency, the World Bank (“Bank”) intends to disclose information regarding access to information requests submitted to the Bank as […]

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                            • 4 April 2014

                              FreedomInfo.org Appeals World Bank Denial

                              FreedomInfo.org has appealed a World Bank decision not to release a month’s worth of the requests under the Access to Information policy, stressing that redaction could solve the Bank’s concern over disclosing personal information. The Bank declined to redact information that might be covered by exemptions to the AI policy, saying redaction is not mandatory under […]

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                              • 21 March 2014

                                World Bank Declines to Use Redaction Procedures

                                By Toby McIntosh The World Bank’s vaunted “presumption of disclosure” comes with a caveat – all or nothing. Unlike most national and international right to information regimes, the Bank appears unwilling to redact (black out) portions of a document and release the rest. The Bank’s restrictive redaction practice – seemingly at odds with its stated […]

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                                • 17 January 2014

                                  IFC Violated Disclosure Policy, Watchdog Says

                                  The World Bank’s private sector lending arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), violated IFC disclosure policies in connection with a controversial loan in Honduras, according to the IFC’s investigative branch. The report by the Compliance Adviser/Ombudsman (CAO) concerned the IFC’s investment in Corporación Dinant in Honduras, a palm oil and food company “which has been […]

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                                  • 25 July 2013

                                    World Bank to Disclose More on Its Contracts

                                    The World Bank will soon begin disclosing more about contracts valued at more than $250,000. The information – contractor name, a brief description of services and the contract amount — will be published on the World Bank Group’s Open Finances website. The new disclosures, to be done quarterly, will begin Oct. 1, covering the period […]

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                                    • 21 June 2013

                                      World Bank Issues More on Trust Funds; Still Limited

                                      By Toby McIntosh The World Bank is disclosing increasingly more information about the hundreds of “trust funds” that account for about 10 percent of Bank operations, but there’s still no easy way to get a complete picture of individual trust fund operations. A number of pro-transparency steps have been taken, and more moves are being planned. […]

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                                      • 19 April 2013

                                        World Bank Officials Praise Impact of Access Reforms

                                        The World Bank has decided to bring more openness to its own procurements, an official said April 18. The Bank will soon make available  information about Bank contracts, notwithstanding an exemption it gave itself in the 2010 access policy, according to Paul Bermingham, who chairs the Access to Information Committee. He also is director, Operational […]

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                                        • 11 March 2013

                                          World Bank Audit Questions Transparency of IFC Lending

                                          By Toby McIntosh The World Bank “knows very little” about the environmental and social effects of lending done through “financial intermediaries,” according to an extensive critique by an internal watchdog. The report also raises questions about restrictions in the World Bank’s disclosure policy concerning such lending, in which intermediaries such as private banks receive Bank […]

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                                          • 4 March 2013

                                            World Bank Appeals Board Issues First Decisions

                                            The World Bank’s external appeals board has issued its first two decisions, both confirming denial decisions made by the internal Access to Information Committee (AIC). In one decision, the Appeals Board agreed that reports on the implementation of a controversial transportation project in India should not be disclosed. The decision draws attention to a change in the Bank’s […]

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                                            • 4 January 2013

                                              World Bank Planning More Transparency for Trust Funds

                                              The World Bank is planning to allow more access to information about the operations of trust funds it administers, according to a new report evaluating the first 18 months of its revised Access to Information Policy. The Dec. 19 report, placed on the Bank website without an announcement, reviews the Bank’s performance, providing many statistics. […]

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                                              • 4 January 2013

                                                Groups Urge World Bank to Expand Disclosure Policy

                                                More than 180 international development groups recently sent the World Bank a letter about its broad review of  “safeguard” policies, including some suggestions about transparency. The safeguard policies are intended to prevent harm to communities and their surrounding environment from Bank projects and programs. The bulk of the Dec. 20 joint statement is concerned with various […]

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                                                • 26 October 2012

                                                  IFIs Rate Low on Access by Publish What Your Fund

                                                  International financial institutions fared poorly in the “freedom of information” category of the recently issued ratings by Publish What Your Fund. Although the development banks ranked high overall on the 43 factors used, their scores in the access to information category merited red dots. The red dots signified “poor legislation” in the category, just one […]

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                                                  • 1 October 2012

                                                    Publish What You Fund Reports Improved Picture

                                                    Publish What You Fund on Oct. 1 reported that “donor transparency is on the rise but continues to fall short of best practice.” In a report ranking 72 donor organizations on their levels of aid transparency, the organization said, “This is particularly disappointing at a time when transparency is critical to ensuring confidence in aid […]

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                                                    • 18 September 2012

                                                      World Bank to Publish AI Decisions Upon Issuance

                                                      The World Bank has decided to publish online all the decisions by the internal body that rules on access to information appeals, eliminating a delay caused by the current system. The decisions by the Access to Information Committee have been published in quarterly and annual reports, but now will be posted on the AI website […]

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                                                      • 3 August 2012

                                                        World Bank Conducting Survey on Access Policy

                                                        The World Bank Aug. 2 announced a survey “on the public’s experience with accessing information from the institution.” This will be the second such survey since the Bank implementing its Access to Information Policy in 2010. “We hope to receive your views so that we may use them to further improve our ability to serve […]

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                                                        • 20 July 2012

                                                          Access Sought to World Bank Reports on Bangladesh

                                                          Efforts are being made to obtain public access to two reports sent by the World Bank to the Bangladesh government about possible corruption surrounding a major bridge project. Release of the reports is at the discretion of the government, which so far as declined to disclose them. Another World Bank report on the same project, […]

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                                                          • 8 June 2012

                                                            World Bank Reverses Decision; Releases Draft Egyptian FOI Law

                                                            The World Bank’s Access to Information Committee has reversed an earlier decision and granted FreedomInfo.org access to draft freedom of information legislation for Egypt, prepared by a Bank consultant. The Bank had denied access to the document on March 20, asserting that it was covered by the “deliberative information” exception under the Bank’s Access to […]

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                                                            • 7 June 2012

                                                              World Bank Releases Sanctions Decisions

                                                              The World Bank has begun releasing the full decisions of its Sanction Board, which considers whether  to bar companies from Bank-funded work. Late last year the Bank started posting summaries of the Board’s decisions, and it took the next step on May 30 when it announced the release of seven decisions in eight cases.   […]

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                                                              • 26 April 2012

                                                                World Bank Approves Social Accountability Fund

                                                                The World Bank Board of Executive Directors April 19 “approved in principle” the creation of a $20 million effort “to scale up and support social accountability by beneficiary groups and civil society organizations in developing countries.” The Board in June will review operational details of the proposed Global Partnership for Social Accountability and the Bank […]

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                                                                • 12 April 2012

                                                                  World Bank Provides Open Access to Research

                                                                  The World Bank April 10 announced that it has consolidated more than 2,000 books, articles, reports and research papers in a search-engine friendly Open Knowledge Repository. The Bankwill allow the public “to distribute, reuse and build upon much of its work—including commercially.” The Bank said it is “the first major international organization to require open […]

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                                                                  • 13 March 2012

                                                                    World Bank Reports on Year One of Disclosure Policy

                                                                    The World Bank has issued a statistics-filled report on the first year of what it now calls its “radical” disclosure policy, which went into effect in July 2010. The amount of information available increased, as did the numbers of requests, the Bank shows. Almost 90 percent (89.1) percent of 705 public access requests were fulfilled […]

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                                                                    • 25 February 2012

                                                                      Google, the World Bank, and Public-Private Data Partnerships

                                                                      By Nathaniel Heller Heller is Managing Director of Global Integrity, a Washingon-based nongovernmental organization, and this was posted Feb. 24 on the Global Integrity blog. On Wednesday, several organizations, including Global Integrity, met with the open data team at the World Bank to discuss open data trends as well as concerns over the recently-announced partnership […]

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                                                                      • 10 February 2012

                                                                        World Bank Consulting on Accountability Concepts

                                                                        The World Bank is a beginning stakeholder consultations on its Global Partnership for Social Accountability initiative “aimed at strengthening beneficiary feedback and participation by supporting civil society capacity to engage with governments to improve development effectiveness.” Having sought out initial reasons in 2012, the upcoming effort will seek comment on “key concepts” that have been […]

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                                                                        • 3 February 2012

                                                                          World Bank’s New Lending Tool Less Than Transparent

                                                                          By Karen Orenstein Orenstein is International Policy Campaigner for Friends of the Earth U.S. This article first appeared Jan 31, 2012, on the FOE blog. The World Bank last week decided to take a significant step backwards on social and environmental protection and transparency.  The Bank’s board voted to approve Program-for-Results, also known as PforR, […]

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                                                                          • 27 January 2012

                                                                            World Bank Evaluator to Release Research Data

                                                                            The World Bank Independent Evaluation Group Jan. 27 announced that it has made available the data backing up its review of the Bank’s governance and anticorruption efforts (GAC). The, IEG has disclosed “its entire data set of results from its desk review of GAC elements in Bank projects and country programs.” The office further explained, “Disaggregated […]

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                                                                            • 27 January 2012

                                                                              World Bank Comments on Google Arrangement

                                                                              By Nathaniel Heller Heller is Managing Director of Global Integrity, a Washingon-based nongovernmental organization, and this was posted Jan. 23 on the Global Integrity blog. A Jan. 20 Heller post describes his conversations with Bank officials on the topic. Last week we covered the unfolding debate over the World Bank’s decision to make Google Map […]

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                                                                              • 20 January 2012

                                                                                World Bank Document Raises Controversy in Philippines

                                                                                The disclosure of a World Bank document indicating possible misuse of Bank funds in the Philippines has raised a controversy and raised questions about the handling of such Bank documents. The Bank’s aide memoire details “ineligible expenditures” to support a judicial reform project. New reports indicate that the Bank’s aide memoire was provided to Philippine […]

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                                                                                • 20 January 2012

                                                                                  Worries about Google’s Deal with the World Bank

                                                                                  By Nathaniel Heller Heller is Managing Director of Global Integrity. His article appeared on a Global Integrity blog. Yesterday we tweeted that we were hearing concerns about the recently signed deal between Google and the World Bank that will allow the Bank to provide Google’s Map Maker platform to governments and multilaterals around the world. We’ve […]

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                                                                                  • 6 January 2012

                                                                                    IFIs Faulted for Exemptions in Disclosure Policies

                                                                                    International financial institutions (IFIs) have “overbroad regimes of exceptions” in their  transparency policies, according to a report issued by the Centre for Law and Democracy. Particularly troublesome are the exceptions relating to internal deliberations and third-party commercial information, according to the CLD report, prepared as a member of the Global Transparency Initiative, an international coalition advocating  […]

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                                                                                    • 12 December 2011

                                                                                      World Bank Posts Digest of Sanctions Board Decisions

                                                                                      The World Bank Dec. 9 announced the creation of a Sanctions Board Law Digest, “publicly detailing for the first time the rationale behind how the Bank Group holds entities accountable for fraud, corruption, and other wrongdoing.” The independent Sanctions Board makes final decisions in contested sanctions cases. The Sanctions Board also will start releasing its […]

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                                                                                      • 14 October 2011

                                                                                        World Bank Proposal Said to Undercut Access Policy

                                                                                        A World Bank proposal to revamp a substantial portion of its lending program would circumvent existing transparency requirements, among other things, according to critics. The disclosure implications of the so-called Program for Results (P4R) are negative, according to civil society group comment letters. The proposed policy “leaves the public uninformed about how funds are being […]

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                                                                                        • 9 September 2011

                                                                                          Public Interest Appeals to World Bank Unsuccessful

                                                                                          Appeals to the World Bank to release information “in the public interest” that otherwise is deemed confidential under Bank policies have been unsuccessful so far, according to Bank reports. However, in a recent appeal case, the Bank’s Access to Information Committee decided to use its own prerogative to release otherwise exempt materials. The decision came […]

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                                                                                          • 2 August 2011

                                                                                            IFC Issues New Policies, Including on Disclosure

                                                                                            The World Bank’s private sector lending arm, the International Finance Corporation, has issued a new disclosure policy. The policy, approved May 12 and effective Jan. 1, 2012, is part of a larger package known as the “Sustainability Framework.” The Sustainability Framework revises IFC policies on many topics – including environmental and social polices  – and […]

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                                                                                            • 29 July 2011

                                                                                              Groups Urge World Bank to Reinvigorate B-SPAN

                                                                                              Several organizations have written to World Bank President Robert Zoellick urging him to expand funding for B-SPAN, the Bank’s internet-based webcasting system. The issue was highlighted in an article by David Wheeler of the Center for Global Development, a Washington think-tank on development issues, and mentioned in a July 2 New York Times article. Begun […]

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                                                                                              • 22 July 2011

                                                                                                World Bank Posts Data on Finances, Urges Exploration

                                                                                                The World Bank has posted data online on its own finances. “The goal of this website is to make data related to the Bank’s financials available to everybody in a social, interactive, visually compelling, and machine readable format,” according to the website. The data covers “portions of the Bank’s investments, assets it manages on behalf […]

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                                                                                                • 22 April 2011

                                                                                                  World Bank Issues Annexes to Access Handbook

                                                                                                  The World Bank has released “attachments” to the staff handbook on how to follow the new access to information policy, after having resisted their release for months on the grounds that they concerned “Corporate Administrative Matters.” The Bank voluntarily released the attachments “A” and “C” after having persuaded the internal Access to Information Committee to […]

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                                                                                                  • 15 April 2011

                                                                                                    World Bank Names Winners of Apps Contest

                                                                                                    The World Bank April 14 named the winners of a contest to develop digital apps using the Bank’s data. The three winning apps “all feature unique approaches to pressing development challenges,” according to the Bank release which listed the winners: First Prize Winner – StatPlanet World Bank (Australia):  With this powerful app, you can visualize […]

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                                                                                                    • 7 April 2011

                                                                                                      Zoellick Says Work Bank Promoting Transparency

                                                                                                      World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick April 6 lauded the Bank’s work on making itself more transparent and helping national governments become more transparent, and noted the revival of interest in freedom of information in Egypt and Tunisia. His comments came in a speech to the Peterson Institute for International Economics about the Middle East and […]

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                                                                                                      • 21 January 2011

                                                                                                        World Bank Sets Rules on Public Interest Review

                                                                                                        The World Bank Access to Information Committee has determined that the World Bank staffers, not the committee, will make the calls on requests for documents under five years old when the requester argues that disclosure is in the public interest notwithstanding valid justifications for nondisclosure. For documents over five years old, however, the committee will […]

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                                                                                                        • 24 December 2010

                                                                                                          IFC Issues Redrafted Disclosure Policy Proposal

                                                                                                          The World Bank’s private sector lending arm, the International Finance Corporation, has issued a new proposal on access to information that continues to be more restrictive than the World Bank’s own new policy. During “Phase III” of its consultations, the IFC is organizing general and thematic consultations in different parts of the world. Phase III […]

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                                                                                                          • 22 December 2010

                                                                                                            World Bank Issues Report on First Months of New Policy

                                                                                                            The World Bank’s first report on its new Access to Information policy recounts a major internal education effort, reviews the levels of requests, and reveals some of the first interpretations of the policy since it went into effect July 1. The early interpretations indicate a willingness to consider redacting material so as to protect certain […]

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                                                                                                            • 5 November 2010

                                                                                                              WB Pledged to Disclose Extinct Meeting Summaries

                                                                                                              By Toby McIntosh In the spring of 2009, in the midst of consultations about a new disclosure policy for the World Bank, pro-transparency advocates urged the Bank to disclose the “Summaries of Discussion” prepared for many years about the meetings of the Bank’s Executive Board. The summaries,  for internal use only, described what was said […]

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                                                                                                              • 22 October 2010

                                                                                                                Academics Top Requesters Under New Bank Policy

                                                                                                                The World Bank received 160 information requests in the first three months of its new Access to Information policy, according to a recent presentation by a Bank official. Between July 1 (the effective date of the policy) and Sept.30th, the World Bank had received 160 information requests; 100 of which were granted, 10 were denied […]

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                                                                                                                • 15 October 2010

                                                                                                                  World Bank Releases Few Summaries of Meetings

                                                                                                                  By Toby McIntosh The “summaries” of World Bank Executive Board meetings now being disclosed under the Bank’s new Access to Information policy are substantially shorter and less comprehensive than the summaries prepared before the Bank agreed to release them, according to a Freedominfo.org review. In addition, the Bank has not disclosed summaries for all the Board meetings […]

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                                                                                                                  • 9 October 2010

                                                                                                                    World Bank Offers Prizes for Apps Using Bank Data

                                                                                                                    The World Bank has offered prizes for the developers of software applications using World Bank data. The software applications must raise awareness of one or more of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) or contribute toward meeting them. Submissions may be any kind of software application, be it for the web, a personal computer, a mobile […]

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                                                                                                                    • 29 September 2010

                                                                                                                      BIC Leader Suggests More Uniform IFI Disclosure Policies

                                                                                                                      International financial institutions should align their disclosure policies, according to the director of a leading advocacy group favoring more liberal IFI disclosure policies. Chad Dobson, the executive director of the Bank Information Center in Washington, made his suggestion Sept. 28 at a forum sponsored by the Collaboration on Government Secrecy, affiliated with the American University […]

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                                                                                                                      • 28 September 2010

                                                                                                                        BIC Issues Guide to World Bank Information

                                                                                                                        The Bank Information Center, a Washington-based nongovernmental organization, has issued a “toolkit” to finding information at the World Bank. The document, “Unlocking the World Bank’s Access to Information Policy,” was written by former Bank information expert Veronique Danforth, and has a secondary headline, “Your Key to the Vault.” The guide not only describes the Bank’s […]

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                                                                                                                        • 3 September 2010

                                                                                                                          Lebanese CSOs React to Disclosure of Strategy

                                                                                                                          It’s still early days for the World Bank’s new policy of disclosing certain documents in advance of Executive Board meetings, so lessons about it are just trickling in. The policy gives interested parties a last chance to comment on upcoming decisions, but the window of opportunity is small, as some Lebanese civil society organizations learned […]

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                                                                                                                          • 5 August 2010

                                                                                                                            World Bank Releases Lebanon Strategy Document, A First

                                                                                                                            By Toby McIntosh The World Bank Aug. 4 issued the first documents under its new “simultaneous disclosure” policy, including a proposed Country Partnership Strategy for Lebanon. Under the new disclosure policy, the public gets a look at certain key proposals at the same time they are sent to the Exective Board. However, it took a […]

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                                                                                                                            • 16 July 2010

                                                                                                                              IFC Rewrite of Disclosure Policy Criticized

                                                                                                                              The International Finance Corporation’s proposed changes to its disclosure policy are inadequate, according to environmental and development policy groups. Their critiques were voiced recently during a consultation meeting with staff members at the IFC, the World Bank’s private sector lending branch, and are being repeated during other IFC-sponsored consultations now underway. The IFC is simultaneously […]

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                                                                                                                              • 2 July 2010

                                                                                                                                World Bank Inaugurates New Disclosure Policy

                                                                                                                                By Toby McIntosh The World Bank July 1 began applying its new disclosure policy, with enhanced web pages and the announcement of the three members on its appeals body. One of the major reforms in the new policy is  the “simultaneous disclosure” to the public of staff recommendations on projects and policies as they are […]

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                                                                                                                                • 28 May 2010

                                                                                                                                  IFC Draft Disclosure Policy: Minuses and Pluses

                                                                                                                                  The World Bank’s private sector lending arm has proposed a new disclosure policy that offers a few advances, but generally falls short of the standard set late last year by its parent organization. Among other things, the International Finance Corporation has not followed suit on the disclosure of staff recommendations in advance of board meetings.
                                                                                                                                  Nor does…

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                                                                                                                                  • 23 April 2010

                                                                                                                                    World Bank Expands Access to Statistical Data

                                                                                                                                    The World Bank April 20 announced increased access to its statistical databases and challenged the global community “to use the data to create new applications and solutions to help poor people in the developing world,” according to its press release. The Bank Group said it is providing “free, open, and easy access to its comprehensive […]

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                                                                                                                                    • 1 April 2010

                                                                                                                                      Groups Seek Transparency for Aid to Haiti

                                                                                                                                      As a major conference on aid to Haiti began in New York March 31, a coalition of nongovernmental organizations made a series of pro-transparency recommendations. The recommendations “highlight the need to change the way donor states provide aid, by empowering the Haitian people; strengthening the Haitian government’s capacity to guarantee human rights; and making assistance […]

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                                                                                                                                      • 12 March 2010

                                                                                                                                        Civil Society Groups Seek More Disclosure by IFC

                                                                                                                                        A consortium of civil society groups March 8 urged the IFC to be more responsive to environmental and social concerns, and also suggested a variety of disclosure policy reforms. These comments, signed by nearly 100 organizations from 38 countries, were submitted as the IFC conducts a review of the implementation and effectiveness of its Social and…

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                                                                                                                                        • 14 January 2010

                                                                                                                                          Inspection Panel Case Plants Seeds of Cultural Change at World Bank

                                                                                                                                          A complaint brought by a Yemeni organization to the World Bank’s Inspection Panel has produced some positive and unexpected results: a much delayed translation of a key program document that had sparked the original complaint, and an ambitious action plan, drawn up by the Bank’s Middle East and North Africa (MENA) management, which aims to further […]

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                                                                                                                                          • 24 December 2009

                                                                                                                                            Simultaneous Disclosure Another Major Improvement

                                                                                                                                            One of the topics that remained under discussion was a change perhaps equally important to the adoption of a presumption of disclosure. The Board, despite some dissension, took a major step toward letting the public know what more about staff recommendations and its own deliberations. In 2001, the Bank started posting advance agendas for its […]

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                                                                                                                                            • 2 December 2009

                                                                                                                                              World Bank Cautious on Media Development

                                                                                                                                              The goal of strengthening the media as one way to fight corruption was adopted by the World Bank in 2006, but the promise has gone virtually unfulfilled, according to research by freedominfo.org.

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                                                                                                                                              • 18 November 2009

                                                                                                                                                World Bank Board Broadens Access in New Disclosure Policy

                                                                                                                                                The World Bank’s executive directors November 17 approved a new policy on access to information that will mean significantly more transparency about Bank decision making and operations. The Bank’s press release said, “The new policy represents a fundamental shift in the Bank’s approach to disclosure of information—moving from an approach that spells out what documents it can […]

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                                                                                                                                                • 4 November 2009

                                                                                                                                                  GTI Praises, Criticizes World Bank Disclosure Proposal

                                                                                                                                                  The World Bank’s proposed disclosure policy falls well short of its potential, but it still will bring greater transparency to the Bank, according to the Global Transparency Initiative, an international nongovernmental organization. The GTI November 3 sent the Bank extensive new comments, including many recommendations to improve the policy, which the Bank’s Executive Board is scheduled […]

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                                                                                                                                                  • 12 October 2009

                                                                                                                                                    World Bank Paradigm Shift for Disclosure Policy Subject to Variety of Limitations, Caveats, Exceptions

                                                                                                                                                    The World Bank staff October 2 proposed a new disclosure policy that would take some big steps, but also some sidesteps. The draft on which public comment has been invited probably will be discussed by the Executive Board November 17. It contains a wide range of improvements, including: a real likelihood that more documents would […]

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                                                                                                                                                    • 11 September 2009

                                                                                                                                                      IFC Announces Plans to Review Disclosure Policy

                                                                                                                                                      The World Banks private sector lending arm, the International Finance Corporation, announced a review of its disclosure policy on September 8, a 15-month process to be done in conjunction with a review of its environmental and social policies. The IFCs July 23, 2009, report analyzes its experience with the environmental, social, and disclosure policies adopted […]

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                                                                                                                                                      • 11 September 2009

                                                                                                                                                        Rep. Frank Urges World Bank to Make Transparency Reforms

                                                                                                                                                        US Congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said September 10 that the World Bank should improve its disclosure policy and remove the anti-labor bias from its Doing Business report or else risk reduced US funding. Franks message was delivered at a hearing of the House Financial Services Committee at which academics and other witnesses advocated for greater […]

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                                                                                                                                                        • 9 September 2009

                                                                                                                                                          World Bank May Disclose Documents Going to the Board

                                                                                                                                                          The World Bank may be moving toward major breakthroughs in transparency for its Executive Board, according to informed sources. One change being contemplated would provide for the public release of key staff recommendations at the same time they are sent to the decision-making board. The demand for such simultaneous disclosure has been a longstanding one […]

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                                                                                                                                                          • 19 June 2009

                                                                                                                                                            World Bank Internal Evaluation Group Posts Disclosure Policy

                                                                                                                                                            On June 18, the World Bank’s Internal Evaluation Group (IEG) posted its 2004 disclosure policy on its home page for the first time. The absence of the policy came to light because of indications that IEG plans to rewrite its policy after the Bank completes a rewrite of its disclosure policy, an effort now under […]

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                                                                                                                                                            • 1 June 2009

                                                                                                                                                              No Consultation Planned for IEG Disclosure Policy Review

                                                                                                                                                              With the Bank as a whole reconsidering its disclosure policy, the IEG is planning an update of its own. The Bank has released an “Approach Paper” outlining its ideas for changes, but IEG plans has not issued a proposal and plans to wait until the Bank’s policy is approved before taking parallel action, an IEG […]

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                                                                                                                                                              • 28 May 2009

                                                                                                                                                                Bank Proposal Called Too Broad

                                                                                                                                                                The Bank has proposed to follow the principle that most documents should be disclosed, subject to stated exceptions, but the GTI called the suggested exemptions “overly-broad.” “Most of the exceptions proposed in Section C of the Approach Paper do not refer to specific interests that might be harmed. Instead, they describe either a category of […]

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                                                                                                                                                                • 26 May 2009

                                                                                                                                                                  Secret Summaries of World Bank Meetings Illuminate Proceedings

                                                                                                                                                                    The “minutes” of the World Bank’s executive board meetings, released publicly, are brief notations of the official action, usually one paragraph.  They reveal almost nothing about what transpired during the closed deliberations. The “summaries,” by contrast, describe the key points of discussion.  They condense, without names, the comments made by the executive directors. The […]

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                                                                                                                                                                  • 30 April 2009

                                                                                                                                                                    World Bank Disclosure Proposal Assessed at Consultation

                                                                                                                                                                    The World Banks proposals to alter its disclosure policy were praised for moving in the right direction but criticized for not going far enough at a three-hour consultation held April 25 in Washington, DC. Peter Harrold, Director of Operations Services at the World Bank, indicated some areas of potential flexibility. He welcomed suggestions that the […]

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                                                                                                                                                                    • 21 April 2009

                                                                                                                                                                      Yemeni Group Says Lack of Translation Inhibited Transparency

                                                                                                                                                                      On April 13, 2009, the Yemen Observatory for Human Rights, a civil society organization based in Sana’a, officially submitted their case regarding the World Bank’s translation framework to the World Bank Inspection Panel. The forthcoming case is the culmination of the Bank’s rejection of repeated requests by Yemeni civil society groups to translate a key […]

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