On May 23-24, 2013 - Some 170 MPs from more than 70 countries gathered in Baku, Azerbaijan for a two day conference organized by the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank & IMF and hosted by the Association for Civil Society Development in Azerbaijan (ACSDA). This year's Parliamentary Network Conference focused on how to secure sustained, sustainable and inclusive growth in developed, emerging, developing and fragile countries alike, through social protection; mitigating and adapting to climate change; promoting openness in the extractive industries sector; facilitating private sector growth; and strengthening parliamentary oversight. The participating MPs also elected a new Board for the Parliamentary Network at the conference, which can be seen here.
World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde both addressed the participants in pre-recorded video messages at the opening of the Conference.
In his address, President Kim called on the support from MPs to work in partnership towards achieving the twin poverty goals approved by the Development Committee during the World Bank Spring Meetings. These twin goals were well received by the MPs, who in a statement at the end of the conference "... welcome[d] and embrace[d] the twin aims of eradicating poverty by 2030 and promoting shared prosperity". As part of a session on the World Bank's support to fragile and conflict affected states, participants also saw President Kim cross the Congo River, in a short video recorded the day prior.
World Bank Managing Director Caroline Anstey answered questions from the attending parliamentarians in a live Q&A session, with MPs asking Managing Director Anstey to comment on the BRIC bank initiative; the World Bank Group's continued commitment to fight corruption; the extent to which job creation is being considered when the WBG is assessing investments and loans; the Bank's efforts in Mali; and WBG plans for infrastructure investments in Africa. The participating MPs were also interested in what kind of investments would have the greatest impact on reducing poverty, and how the Bank plans to involve MPs in realizing the twin poverty goals; and how the Bank can strengthen the green economy, and help reduce the impact of climate change.
Other World Bank Speakers included:
- Vice President for External Affairs Cyril Muller who gave an overview on "Ending poverty and the post 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDG) framework";
- Climate Change Special Representative Patrick Verkooijen who briefed MPs on the so-called 4-degrees report and the need for bold action;
- Regional Country Director for the South Caucasus Henry Kerali on the Bank's work with MPs;
- Country Sector Coordinator for the South Caucasus, Angela Prigozhina on the importance of private sector development;
- Senior Operations Officer from the Nairobi Global Center on Conflict, Security and Development, Anne-Lise Klausen, on the Bank's work in Fragile and Conflict affected states; and
- WBI consultant Riccardo Pelizzo, on Parliamentary oversight.