The relationship between foundations and the World Bank Group has not always been easy. In recent years, however, a new spirit of collaboration has become apparent. The Bank really does want to work with foundations, Dr Jim Yong Kim, current president of the World Bank and from an NGO background himself, tells Caroline Hartnell, following a recent meeting of the Foundations Advisory Council. This is vital, he believes, if we are to tackle the biggest challenges we face, above all climate change.
In your view, what was the most significant outcome of the recent meeting of the Foundations Advisory Council?
I think the most important thing was that we were successful from the World Bank side in sending some very clear messages. The first was that we very much want to work with foundations; we are keen to develop partnerships that aren’t just all singing ‘Kumbaya’ together, but actually to tackle real issues. The two that we talked about specifically were climate change and citizens’ involvement in development projects.
There’s no question that it is difficult to work with the World Bank. I’ve been part of civil society for a long time – I remember very well walking into the Bank and seeing this explosion of acronyms and codes, almost a secret language that seemed impenetrable. So the message that we wanted to send is that we really want to work with foundations and we’re going to make it easier to do so.
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