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Final Summary of Electronic Discussion on Draft WDR on Poverty 2000/01


Prepared by the Bretton Woods Project and New Policy Institute, April Contents
14, 2000
• Introduction
This Final Summary aims to give an overview of key issues raised in the 6-week • Overview
discussion of the Consultation Draft of the World Bank’s Poverty World Development
• A Framework
Report. This document has been prepared independently from the World Bank by the
moderators of the Public Electronic Discussion - Bretton Woods Project and New • Empowerment
Policy Institute. Ravi Kanbur, former director of the WDR team, reacts to the major • Security
points of potential disagreement in his Response to the Final Summary.
• Opportunity

Introduction • International Dimensions

1. This final summary aims to give World Development Report (WDR) lead author See also...
Ravi Kanbur, participants and other readers, an overview of key issues raised in the
• Consultation Draft
6 week discussion of the first draft of the World Bank’s forthcoming Poverty World
Development Report. This document has been prepared independently from the • Public Electronic
World Bank by the moderators of the electronic discussion (Bretton Woods Project Discussion (Feb 21-March
and New Policy Institute). Those redrafting WDR chapters are also urged to read 31, 2000)
individual messages, which contain detailed feedback, case studies and • Response to the Final
suggestions which could not be included here. The weekly summaries, on which Summary by Ravi Kanbur.
this final summary is based, list contributors’ names by major points, acting as an
informal index for the original submissions stored in the web archive. 2. The electronic consultation was welcomed by
many and the discussion’s popularity was reflected in the high number of subscribers: 1,523 people from over 80 countries.
During the 6 week conference, 424 contributions were posted from people based in 44 different countries. Active participants
introduced themselves as (among other categories) teachers, researchers, company managers, development bureaucrats, finance
ministry officials and agitators. Whilst the organizers were pleased with the number and diversity of participants, the electronic
medium inevitably yielded a disproportionate number of contributions from the North (56% of total participants), and a lack of
comments from poor people themselves. Less inevitable, but regrettable, was the very small number of contributions from
World Bank staff. These issues are discussed further in a separate evaluation report.

3. Some participants have requested clarification of the WDR's objectives. They are unclear about its role, who's views it
represents, and to what extent it should or can contain detailed policy proposals or criticism of the Bank's past activities. M any
participants in this discussion are likely to read the final report carefully, and the WDR team should consider including a clear
statement of the report's aims.

4. Several participants commented that language could be more accessible in the final report, in order to get important messages
across to non-specialists, including politicians. A number also expressed concern about the use of charts and graphs, some of
which were found hard to understand or actively misleading. A repeated criticism was that the core body of the draft report was
only available in English, which restricted discussion by many people whose first language is not English.

Overview

5. Many respondents felt that the draft WDR 2000/01 reflects real progress compared to its predecessors. It
presents a broadened approach to understanding poverty, with increased examination of non-income dimensions
and recognition of insecurity, voicelessness and powerlessness. The report moves decisively beyond using
national average figures for poverty incidence, and examines many factors which influence whether economic
growth occurs and whether it translates into poverty reduction for particular population groups.

6. The core framework of the report based around Empowerment, Security and Opportunity was generally endorsed.
However participants highlighted some lack of integration between sections and chapters, for example, between
chapters 3 and 4 and the Security and Opportunity sections. In addition, respondents felt that some important
points made in the micro-level analysis did not fit well with the macro-level and international-level analysis; that
economic analysis in places overshadowed socio-political perspectives, and that the report advocated a number of
top-down planning tools and policy interventions that contradicted its emphasis on participation.

7. A number of contributors urged the WDR to be bolder in setting out policy options. This could be done with an
additional chapter on alternative perspectives which deviate substantially from the the goals of consumerism and
economic growth and aim for a steady-state, ecologically supportable, and people- oriented economy where basic
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needs of the world's poor are the primary priority.

8. In brief, participants repeatedly called for more attention to the following areas:

- power and politics, including the difficulties of forming "pro-poor alliances"


- how to develop a robust and representative global economic architecture
- the causes and effects of environmental degradation and sustainability
- the role of trade unions
- taxation and income redistribution
- how to distribute global public goods to the poorest
- poor peoples’ views on policy proposals as well as on poverty experiences
- the causes and implications of gender inequalities

9. Concern was expressed that the direct focus on 'pro-poor' solutions diverts attention from measures needed to
counter the structural forces which push people into poverty and keep them there. This calls for an examination of
root causes, and increased emphasis on long-term trends relating to sustainability, concentration of wealth and
power. Many discussants felt that a 'world' report should give more consideration to poverty in the North, some of
which is propelled by similar structural forces to poverty in the South. In line with the report's statement that that
the well being of the poor depends increasingly on forces originating outside their country's borders, participants
also called for increased attention to Northern economic activities and their resulting ecological and political
'footprints'. Reducing richer peoples' contribution to climate change was flagged as a vital security issue with moral
dimensions.

10. Participants agreed with the draft that to tackle poverty effectively the poor need to be involved in defining the
issues to be addressed and the solutions chosen and were impressed by the work that had gone into
commissioning new research. However, contributions from team members who worked on the Voices of the Poor,
and on the World Faiths and Development WDR background papers, called for more use of the material they had
generated on the priorities and perspectives of poorer people themselves and the importance of values in
understanding and responding to poverty.

A Framework (conference week 1)

11. Respondents welcomed the thrust of the report, in particular the multi-dimensional conception of poverty, the
inclusion of institutions as a key element in anti-poverty strategies, the breadth of research drawn upon in the draft,
and the use of participatory exercises to improve understanding of poverty. A number, however, remained
unconvinced that it has outlined effective and realizable strategies for empowerment, security and opportunity,
arguing that critical issues have been downplayed or overlooked.

12. The move beyond national aggregate data to examine differential impacts was widely praised, as was the
recognition of the interaction between economic and non-economic processes and the concomitant recognition
that poorer people are citizens and active members of communities. Although the report notes differences between
regions, countries, households and individuals, participants felt that some groups, such as the ultra poor, young
people, the elderly, children, urban poor, and the poor in prosperous nations, could be given more space.

13. Concern was expressed regarding the report's strong emphasis on the relationship between economic growth
and poverty reduction. A number of people demanded further evidence for the report's statement that ‘..rapid
integration into global markets is a sine qua non..’ A repeated observation was that growth permits the
accumulation of assets in the hands of those who already have them and puts them in a stronger position to resist
redistribution. Although economic growth can create jobs, many of these will pay very low wages and have high
job insecurity, keeping poor people in poverty. The final report could place greater emphasis on the quality of work
as well as the need for high levels of employment.

14. Participants broadly welcomed the inclusion of factors such as education, health and powerlessness alongside
income in defining poverty. However in a number of cases it was felt they should be assessed more subtly. For
example, education and skills training should be assessed for their local appropriateness, rather than assuming
education is always good in itself.

15. Issues of power should also be addressed at the global level, for example in dealing with terms of trade. A group
of participants argued that the report does not go far enough to seek the underlying causes of poverty. Among
most remarked upon omissions, in this respect, were land ownership and the power of international corporations.
These are manifestations and causes of inequalities in asset ownership and income. The Seattle WTO summit's
debates such as how to make global businesses accountable are not adequately aired nor are the difficulties in
overcoming the market bias towards investment in speculative activities over investment in manufacturing and

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services which may provide employment and products for the poor.

16. Participants observed that macro level analysis of growth, poverty and inequality is not well linked to the micro-
level analysis of assets and returns. The WDR draft also appears to overlook a number of responsibilities or
liabilities faced by poorer people, for example unpaid care work in the community, largely carried out by women. The
WDR could include such unpaid care-giving as an asset, along with the volunteered time in the third sector, since
they are necessary to maintain the supply of market place labor. A measure of volunteering would be a good
indicator of a society's social and economic health.

17. Cultural barriers to modernization were said to be inadequately examined in the WDR. Superstitions are very
hard to undo, and can be extremely damaging, e.g. on health, as people often accord greater importance to what
they are told by traditional leaders and healers than by technical professionals.

18. Participants urged consideration of further institutions, for example central banks. A range of participants felt
that trade unions were not sufficiently emphasized as key mediating institutions in bringing about more pro-poor
growth outcomes. Some also felt that the effects of regressive taxation and of cuts to social spending had not been
properly emphasized.

19. Several commentators noted that the reports recommendations have many similarities to the strategies of the US
War on Poverty, which ultimately was ineffective in significantly reducing poverty in the US.

Empowerment (conference week 2)

20. Participants were broadly impressed with the contents of chapters 3 and 4 and with the recognition of
empowerment as a key development goal. Some, however, noted a lack of integration between the two chapters.
Many participants were concerned that successful cases of poverty reduction, including in Bank-supported
projects, often cannot be explained in terms of the theoretical concepts explored in this section. Others felt the three
types of social capital (bonding, bridging and linking) needed considerable further work and empirical testing.

21. Several participants called for a clearer definition of empowerment, such as ‘the ability of local people to define
local obstacles, design and implement programs and control local outcomes’, as suggested by one participant. The
importance of ‘control’ was emphasized by several. A consensus point amongst participants is that the barriers to
empowerment of the poor varied across countries.

22. How governments can foster associational life was seen as important. For example the report could examine
differences between states in India which have very different poverty outcomes despite similar economic
fundamentals. This may reveal the power of locally-organized people to hold powerful interests accountable.

23. Greater attention could be given to access to credit as a route to empowerment, and to income redistribution,
raising wages and micro-finance projects, particularly to help women. Such changes would only succeed with
increased access to information and technology, supported by education and training. Participants also felt the
context of change essential to the discussion, namely local knowledge, culture and religious beliefs.

24. The report was criticized for not going far enough on the political empowerment of poor people, and the need
and importance of mobilizing networks, created by the poor, for the poor. Participants demanded greater analysis of
the importance of unions, co-operatives, political parties, lobbying groups, and NGOs or community-based
organizations that challenge the status quo, acting on behalf of the poor or in which the poor play a direct role.
Particularly because many felt ‘politicisation of the poor’ rather than giving the poor a ‘voice’ was needed, the
WDR’s reference to some groups as ‘naively radical and simplistic’ was strongly challenged.

25. The report’s attention to institutions, defined as ‘humanly devised constraints that structure human
interactions’ was welcomed. Some participants felt that informal and micro-level institutions deserve further,
distinct, attention in the report, with others arguing that markets themselves are such institutions. Participants were
concerned by the lack of reference to the impact on local communities of decisions made by multinational
corporations. Lack of attention to gender discrimination at the micro-level, specifically arranged marriages in India,
and in trade unions and churches was also discussed.

26. The report should recommend more pro-poor actions after its discussion of legal systems, also tackling the
problem that poorer peoples’ economic activities are often classed illegal. Whilst the discussion of corruption is
welcomed, participants felt it needs a tighter definition and that further attention might be given to the low pay
received by many officials.

27. Participants called for greater reference to China’s progress on poverty reduction in the context of the
discussion on poverty and governance. They argued that, whilst desirable, ‘democracy is a long journey to
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empowerment’, and that action to reduce poverty should be planned in existing imperfect conditions.

28. Many participants agreed with the report on the need for decentralization, however urged more discussion of
the potential trade-offs between efficiency and political accountability in this context. A range of participants
wanted more coverage of the equity aspects of decentralized tax systems, taking into account the possibility of
migration by the rich. Decentralization can increase the visibility of political leaders, making them more accountable
and hopefully in turn, reducing corruption. Democratizing power relations at the local level will however depend on
a variety of factors including training.

29. A number of participants argued that the importance of local NGOs in poor communities should be emphasized
further, since they are often crucial in securing the first steps to local empowerment of poor individuals. Others
pointed out, however, that whilst important locally, the work of NGOs cannot easily be scaled up to address larger
problems.

30. The concept of social capital provoked considerable discussion, with many welcoming it and agreeing with the
idea that the poor have less linking social capital and more bridging and bonding. However others dismissed its
value, saying it lumps together social issues that are not easily incorporated into orthodox economic analysis and
suggests a managed form of democracy, where the poor interact without challenging basic socio-political dynamics.
Some contributors urged caution when adopting social capital building as a goal of poverty reduction programs, as
this might distract attention from creating economic opportunity. Several noted the report’s lack of reference to
trade unions in the section on linking social capital. And a number of people discussed examples of negative social
capital, or social capital derived from associations that are undesirable and anti-development.

31. The report's section on alliance building was criticized for being unclear and unconvincing. One view was that
governments, NGOs and international agencies have a key role to play in raising awareness of poverty, and
encouraging elites to form pro-poor alliances. Participants discussed whether elites could be persuaded that
poverty should be tackled primarily as a moral obligation. Opponents of that view felt it was unrealistic to expect
the rich not to put their own self-interests first, with the only long-term answers lying in political mobilization of
poor people to press for their own interests.

32. Participants welcomed the report’s emphasis on women, but several felt it could go further with increased
reference to their role in organizing and in service provision in low income communities. Lack of reference to gender
and ethnic inequalities at state level, such as the low proportion of women in decision-making institutions, was also
cited.

Security (conference week 3)

33. Chapter 5, ‘Protecting The Poor' was praised for its emphasis on impact assessments, participatory approaches,
and on risk management and coping strategies. Similarly, the report’s acknowledgement that reform outcomes are
far from uniform and that universal prescriptions for economic policy reform are unlikely to succeed without
consideration of local realities was praised, together with the discussion on micro-security.

34. However, many of the proposals for dealing with risks were criticized for emphasizing top-down safety net
approaches. There was a sense that this part of the report did not adequately link to the previous one on
empowerment, as it downplays community-level initiatives. The chapter title 'Protecting The Poor', some suggested,
implies that the poor are defenseless.

35. On risks, crises and disasters a number of contributors felt the draft did not pay adequate attention to human-
induced root causes and urged bolder recommendations on preventative measures, in areas such as capital flows
and greenhouse gas emissions. Others urged these chapters to address the risks of war and civil strife. Some felt
the unemployment risks identified in the report could be linked to neo-liberal economic policies.

36. The risk issue was discussed widely. The report predominantly focuses on micro-level risks and many
participants agreed the assessment of main sources of risk could be improved by including more macro or systemic
causes, particularly structural adjustment, lack of regulation, and suppression of trade union rights. Other risks
include legal risks and "dwelling insecurity", and those arising from development project interventions; seasonal
fluctuations in poverty levels; environmental degradation by rich countries; and culture.

37. The term ‘idiosyncratic' was considered inappropriate as a description in certain areas, with some participants
keen to stress that some of the poor live in a state of permanent risk. Similarly a participant from Colombia said crime
and violence should be classified as macro-, not micro-risks in his country, given their prevalence. Participants
called for greater acknowledgement of the fact that some groups are exposed to more risk than others, such as
indigenous people living in remote or vulnerable areas, women, and those without secure property rights. On child

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labor, it was felt the report could expand its comments, whilst child abuse should be included in the section on
domestic violence.

38. The notion of attempting to graft insurance, essentially a western system, into poor communities was
considered by some as doomed to failure. The appropriateness of informal group insurance was questioned as
many health and calamity risks affect large populations. The role of the state in insurance was therefore highlighted,
especially as poorer people have little marginal income to pay premiums. Insurance against co-variant shocks needs
to be provided by the state with support from organizations like the World Bank for structure and start-up capital.
Greater attention was urged in general to the roles the state should perform, for example on minimum wages, and in
regulating professional insurance companies.

39. The report is criticized for focusing too much on top-down tools which fail to address poorer peoples' creativity
in dealing with vulnerability. Concern was expressed that safety nets do not reach the majority of the population,
and often provide justification for pursuing exclusionary economic policies. As a solution, it was proposed that risk
management institutions and programs might be developed that involve local communities in conjunction with
decentralization and public-private sector partnerships. These could include state and World Bank support to
facilitate formation of co-operative groups, collectively-managed grain banks and consumption shops. It was
pointed out that in South India the impact of economic crises on the poor are minimized by the existence of a non-
monetized local economy, including activities such as wages in kind, barter systems, exchange of labor and food for
work system. In this way the local system acts as a safety net. A number of participants concurred with this point,
stating that the most appropriate insurance mechanism is to live in a co-operative community.

40. The need to stabilize income and encourage people to save was emphasized. The more diversified are poorer
peoples' sources of income, the stronger are their survival strategies, so a number of contributors suggested
policies to strengthen diversified income portfolios. It was argued that the report does not adequately deal with the
issue of cost effectiveness and ensuring sustainable and accountable operations in social funds and micro-credit
schemes. The relevance of micro-finance to deal with the impacts of natural disasters was also questioned.

41. Participants generally agreed with the report that economic crises are a cause of increased poverty. Some urged
the report to treat financial crises as the result of economic policies, including some of those promoted by the
World Bank and IMF. Many agreed that increased global consideration of economic crises, not just country
specifics, should be made with reference to the treatment of global finance structures, trade and broader processes.
Policy makers should not just accept and mitigate the destabilizing impact of capital markets, as the report suggests,
but work to reform them.

42. A strong feeling was voiced by many that what the report characterizes as ‘natural disasters' are in fact a
product of human economic activity which has damaged the environment. Recent disasters in Orissa, Honduras
and Mozambique should be more accurately understood as caused by human-induced climate change. The roles of
consumption and pollution by richer people, and of inequitable resource distribution are not sufficiently addressed
in discussing crisis prevention. Similarly, some felt the report ignored recent literature on the urban environment.

43. Whilst agreeing with the report that poor people are often more vulnerable to disasters because they live in the
most risky environments, participants urged more consideration of what investments are needed to make these
environments safe. The proposal to develop disaster management networks was welcomed as was the one to use
local agencies to help communities be more prepared should a disaster occur. A Honduran contributor noted how
poorer people face disasters in different ways, an important consideration for designing better methods for
restructuring communities after disasters. The availability of technology and the role of trade unions in reducing
disaster impacts were also discussed. The need for good government administrative capacity to deal with disasters
and consideration was highlighted, with NGOs as potential channels for aid where this does not exist.

Opportunity (conference week 4)

44. Chapter 8 was praised for its balanced analysis of the role of economic growth and of trade liberalization, and its
honest assessment of the negative impacts of past policies. The limitations of orthodox structural adjustment and
the calls for policies which go beyond economic growth to incorporate more of an entitlements agenda, were
endorsed. Participants largely agreed with the report’s observation that building up assets is central to poverty
alleviation. The inclusion of assets such as education, health and water as well as financial assets were approved
of. A few contributors echoed the report’s recognition of the importance of demand for services. The overemphasis
on rural poverty was criticized, however, and the section on urbanization and slum upgrading considered too brief.

45. A number of contributors, however, were perplexed that the chapter fails to present a new framework for
macroeconomic policy — it continues to support predominantly market-based approaches despite the awareness of
the inequality- and poverty-enhancing results they have had to date.
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46. Some respondents considered the word "asset" inappropriate to describe the provision of basic human rights.
A discussant for this week suggested further attention to the problems with cost recovery approaches to
education, health and water supply and urged the report to endorse a basic level of free supply of such services for
the poorest, with progressive tariffs for those who can pay.

47. Echoing comments made on Part I, greater attention to the impact of gender, caste, class and ethnicity
differences on access to assets was urged. The disparity in opportunities between men and women in Latin
America was discussed, as was a successful project in India which helped women build up multiple assets
simultaneously.

48. A number of participants argued for more prioritization of assets, and suggested a variety of ones they
considered most important, including financial holdings, education, dwelling security, health and low-cost
transport. Access to land and natural resources were also highlighted. The possibilities of land value taxation to
increase both equity and economic growth were outlined, with reference to efforts in Critical, Brazil and Hong Kong,
China, while another participant argued that land reforms in South Africa did not benefit the poorest.

49. Education was recognized by many as a key asset and the report is praised for emphasizing its multiple benefits.
The report was found to over-emphasize formal education rather than 'livelihood' skills, job training and moral
education. Participants agreed with the report's comments on jobs as essential assets, but felt it advocated only
micro measures to improve their availability and quality. They found that the draft downplays or overlooks poverty
faced by those in work and the role of trade unions in empowering workers, improving working conditions and
insisting on core labor standards.

50. The importance of small businesses in creating assets for the poor was noted. Economic growth can create jobs,
but if poor workers do not develop skills they may be trapped in jobs with low wages and high insecurity, and
remain poor. In Latin America, a participant noted how training and apprenticeships are vanishing as a result of
labor market reforms and flexibilization.

51. The report's section on credit and insurance schemes was supported by many. However, microfinance
mechanisms should be revisited. Several recommendations from experience in building up financial assets in India
were outlined, suggesting that credit alone is not enough, especially for the ultra-poor.

52. A number of participants felt chapter 8 did not present a new framework for macroeconomic management and
criticized its support for economic reform and trade liberalization despite awareness of the negative impact these
measures have had on the poor. Some others welcomed the acknowledgement that privatization and trade
liberalization may have results which differ from theory-based predictions, and actually harm the poorest, but felt
the chapter could be read as opposing such policies because they cause problems as well as benefits. The
recognition of the problems caused by financial liberalization was welcomed. A number of respondents found this
chapter more economistic than others, downplaying non-income dimensions of poverty and lacking poorer peoples'
perspectives.

53. Some participants presented evidence on how liberalization has failed to benefit low-skilled labor in the informal
sector and often helps the already rich more than the poor. Concern was expressed on deeper forms of economic
integration such as the USA/Mexico collaboration on jeans production outlined in the report.

54. One contributor found the report's discussion of the correlation between openness and low income growth
unconvincing, as not all developing countries have a comparative advantage in potential for labor intensive
activity. Others welcomed the finding about the impacts of liberalization on the poorest but felt its causes and
implications were not adequately explained. Some suggested that states, supported by participatory governance
institutions, should strengthen their regulation of markets, introduce protectionist policies to limit international
capital and trade flows, increase wages and reduce income disparities.

55. A number of concerns were expressed about the argument that governments can cushion the shock of rapid
liberalization by providing short term safety nets. Discussion centered on how long is short term and whether and
how long term growth benefits would really accrue to the poorest. It was questioned whether liberalization and
market reforms can address non-material poverty issues or asset allocation and whether the report had adequately
tackled how to achieve redistribution. The report was urged to take more account of the political aspects of
Northern country protectionism, which is likely to continue as it is fuelled by strong worker and employer lobbies.
Countries' geographical locations and the possibility for labor migration between countries were also put forward as
important factors explaining economic growth and poverty reduction.

56. Some participants asked for more evidence on the report's assertion that privatization is not good for the poor
and suggested that public sector inefficiencies must be examined carefully, to get beyond the special pleading of

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vested interests which want to maintain subsidies. Others, however, found the draft biased against the public
sector and public workers. The box on 'contestability' of service delivery was hard for some to understand. Caution
was suggested in predicting categories of privatization that are likely to be pro-poor, and consideration of
'microprivatisation' and active stakeholder governance rather than straightforward sell-offs to multinational
companies urged.

57. Some felt the report's treatment of the role of NGOs lacks consistency: at times they are seen as limited service-
delivery mechanisms and elsewhere assigned more importance. It was suggested that the final report’s section on
multi-actor partnerships should include more on unbalanced partnerships and on working with local governments
and trade unions. The partnership approach was questioned by a Nigerian participant who said that in her country
the state and the private sector had combined to loot national wealth at the expense of the poor. She and others
recommended more discussion of how poorer people can find their own ways out of poverty.

International Dimensions (conference week 5)

58. Chapters 9 and 10 were praised for their frank analysis of past failures of aid conditionality, the real interests behind aid,
and universal prescriptions for economic policy reforms. Participants also broadly welcomed the proposals on public goods and
on making Development Assistance more transparent. Some contributors urged more on the harm caused by failed policies and
the Bank's roles in promoting them, and on poverty in the North. Notes of caution were sounded about how the voices of the
poor are interpreted by international organizations, including the Bank, which face pressures from many directions and are
embedded in the international power relations which create and maintain poverty. Some contributors found that these chapters
failed to conclude with a compelling strategy to attack poverty.

59. The treatment of global public goods was welcomed by many, though some queried the implicit assumption that market-
based policies only need limited exceptions, and urged a more political construction of the issues. Participants argued that clean
air, the report's definitional example, cannot be understood as a pure public good. On the other hand additions to the list of
public goods were suggested including democracy, information flow, global environmental surveillance, combined action against
organized crime and for peace keeping, and even human welfare itself. Some suggested that new international funds were
required to support public good production and distribution. These could perhaps based on Tobin-style taxes on capital flows
or other taxes on multi-national companies.

60. The report's treatment of the Green Revolution was described as superficial, overlooking equity aspects. Participants
commented that the difficulty of distributing new technologies to poorer people, not just to poorer countries was skated over.
M ore specifically, whilst the stress on health was welcomed, further discussion of the implications of the decline of national
state health systems for poorer peoples’ access to new treatments was called for. In line with this argument based on poorer
peoples’ lack of purchasing power, a number of contributors urged a central role for the public sector in provision, regulation
and distribution.

61. Some participants urged the report to challenge Northern governments, companies and consumers to make changes
necessary to achieve sustainable development. These include changes to patent regimes which benefit corporations at the
expense of poor people, for example in biotechnology, and pharmaceuticals. On climate change, contributors contested the
report’s arguments on the incentives faced by poorer and richer countries considering emissions reductions. The report team
were urged to consider adopting a rights-based framework for this analysis.

62. The report’s discussion of the international and national political economy of labor standards was described by some as
confused, and containing weak recommendations. One contributor urged the report to ‘get political', recognize that many policy-
makers fear real worker empowerment, and that effective measures to protect freedom of association are required to counter
this. It was also argued that no country has reached sustained and equitable economic growth by relying on child labor, and that
education always suffers when families are forced to decide between how many hours their children will spend in school and at
work.

63. M any participants echoed the report's recognition that aid has often not been effective, and examined factors such as high
administrative costs, "aid fatigue", and donor co-ordination. Some mentioned that other commentaries have, however, been far
harsher than this draft report about the impact of aid. Others, however, agreed with the report that aid is still needed despite
increased private capital flows, and suggested alternative revenue-raising options from richer countries and corporations,
including ways to make contributions mandatory rather than discretionary.

64. The report's discussions of the right policy context for aid to work were found to contradict its arguments about needing to
increase countries’ ownership of development and debt relief programs. Rather than a selectivity-based approach, some
participants suggested that countries should assume as much responsibility as possible, as foreign aid anyway cannot achieve
much by itself. The proposals on improving development assistance were considered too directly based on the impact of
assistance on economic growth. Participants called for greater discussion of the possibility of making more development
assistance in the form of grants, to avoid future indebtedness.

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65. The proposal of dialogue led by recipient countries and participation of these countries in development of a debt relief
strategy was welcomed. Participants called for more emphasis on the harm done by failed policies including a more direct
assessment of the Bank's role in formulating and promoting such policies. The failure of development interventions to assess
ecological limits to economic activities was also discussed.

66. The proposals for dialogues on aid and debt relief led by recipient countries was welcomed. However a clearer definition of
‘partnerships' was requested, with the Swiss Agency for Development and Co-operation cited as a positive example. On sector-
wide or common pool approaches a number of commentators felt they do not necessarily eliminate lack of donor co-ordination,
fungibility and ownership problems, partly because partnerships between donors and recipients continue to be unbalanced.

67. A number of contributors urged the Bank to put more emphasis on co-ordination with other international organizations,
such as ILO, UNEP, WHO, and UNDP. Conversely, a participant in week 5 questioned whether the Bank was prepared to
oppose the IM F if it seeks to apply policies critiqued by the draft WDR. The lack of good global governance institutions was
criticized and the need to apply the report’s empowerment and accountability concepts to international decision-making
highlighted.

68. Some commentators described the WDR’s conclusions as insufficient in scope and ambition. Suggestions included policy
recommendations for a range of key development actors, and scenario planning projections of what is likely to happen if certain
recommendations are followed, and alternatively if they are not. Others called for inclusion of a more radical set of policy
approaches addressing new forms of taxation, capital use, and treatment of natural resources

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