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World’s Finance Ministers to Discuss Oceans, Water, Sustainable Development

April 13, 2012


Sustainable development issues will be on the agenda this coming week as finance ministers, civil society, and government officials from around the world attend the World Bank’s spring meetings events.

Sustainable development issues – from inclusive green growth to accessible drinking water to oceans management – will be on the agenda this coming week as finance ministers, civil society, and government officials from around the world attend the World Bank’s spring meetings events.

On Friday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and World Bank President Robert Zoellick will lead a breakfast discussion with top government officials focused on international movement toward inclusive, sustainable growth efforts, and looking ahead to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio +20, in June.

That afternoon, the public is invited to watch online and interact with a high-level meeting of the Sanitation and Water for All Partnership. The event, convened by UNICEF and hosted by the World Bank and the Water and Sanitation Program, will delve into a series of country profiles clearly showing the financial benefits for people, communities, and countries of investing in sanitation and clean water access for everyone.

The guest list for the Water and Sanitation event reflects the broad reach of the World Bank’s spring meetings. It includes World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development Rachel Kyte; UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake; UK Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell; His Royal Highness Willem-Alexander, the Prince of Orange and chairperson of the United Nations Secretary-General's Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation; Jan Eliasson, former president of the UN General Assembly and a member of UN Secretary-General's Advocates Group for the Achievement of the Millennium Development Goals; John Agyekum Kufuor, former president of Ghana and chair of Sanitation and Water for All; USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah; representatives from civil society groups such as WaterAid and End Water Poverty; 30 finance ministers; and 60 sector ministers from developing countries.

Connecting With Civil Society Organizations

At another event to be streamed live online, on Wednesday the public will be able to watch a discussion with civil society organizations (CSOs) convened by Safe Kids Worldwide and the World Bank Global Road Safety Facility. The aim is to provide an update on civil society engagement with road safety and explore ways CSOs can get involved. This event is part of a series of meetings examining progress after the first year of the UN’s Decade of Action on Road Safety, and comes a day before a debate on road safety at the UN General Assembly.

The Bank is also working with civil society organizations through its new Global Partnership for Social Accountability, the topic of another session during the spring meetings. The GPSA will provide long–term evidence-driven support to civil society organizations in their critical work on social accountability, focusing not just on finance, which will be small at first, but also on knowledge and knowledge sharing.

Protecting the World’s Oceans

The new Global Partnership for Oceans, introduced earlier this year by Zoellick, will also be meeting in Washington this week to begin developing an agenda and setting goals for the next 10 years.

The oceans partnership brings together organizations, countries, and agencies that are already involved in activities to protect the world’s oceans, and aims to mobilize around those shared goals to better coordinate activities and draw new financial support. Some of the issues the partnership is likely to address this include how to improve governance around fishing, increase marine protected areas, intensify efforts to attack the sources of ocean pollution and degradation, and improve coastal management for resilience to weather and climate-related threats.

In another session this week, focused on disaster risk management, officials will hear about the main findings of the IPCC Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation.

For more information about the spring meetings, watch the World Bank homepage, World Bank Live, and the Sustainable Development portal.