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Press Release: Church alliance asks new World Bank head to listen to most vulnerable

26. April 2012

    In a letter of congratulations to the newly-appointed World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, Peter Prove, Executive Director of the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, expressed hope that under his leadership, which begins on 1 July, the World Bank would strengthen “its authentic engagement and dialogue with civil society – including faith-based organizations – learning from and basing decisions on the experience of those most affected by poverty, hunger, disease and injustice.”


       

    The letter refers to the EAA’s support for Dr Kim’s “3x5” initiative while director of the World Health Organization’s HIV/AIDS Department, which focused attention on the treatment needs of millions of people living with HIV. Such initiative and leadership is required now as wavering financial commitments seem to jeopardize progress made so far in tackling the pandemic, the letter states.


       

    The EAA letter also addresses World Bank leadership in food security, and the “critical importance of increased support for smallholder food producers and agro-ecological production methods”.


       

    “We invite your partnership”, the letter continues, “in challenging the prevailing logic of ever-increasing external inputs and unaffordable technical solutions for depleted and climate-constrained eco-systems, and in highlighting their actual impacts on local communities and chronic hunger.”


       

    Referring to Dr Kim’s previous experience in development, Prove notes that, “For those of us working through faith-based institutions and civil society organizations, your appointment conveys hope of more openness to effective approaches in tackling the root causes of poverty through international policy and practice built on the lived experience of the most vulnerable people and communities.”


       

    The full text of the letter sent on 23 April follows:


       

    Dear Dr Kim,
    On behalf of the member organizations of the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (EAA), I would like to convey our sincere congratulations on your appointment as President of the World Bank.


       

    For those of us working through faith-based institutions and civil society organizations, your appointment conveys hope of more openness to effective approaches in tackling the root causes of poverty through international policy and practice built on the lived experience of the most vulnerable people and communities.


       

    As a global network of over 80 Christian organizations, the EAA promotes and facilitates advocacy for justice on a defined set of focus issues – currently HIV and AIDS, and food security.


       

    We enthusiastically championed your “3x5” initiative during your tenure as director of the World Health Organization’s HIV/AIDS Department as a clear articulation of the levels of investment and commitment needed in the global response to HIV to save lives particularly in developing countries.


       

    At a time when financial commitment to the HIV response appears to be wavering at the very moment when further strategic investment capitalizing on the important progress achieved so far could actually realize the end of AIDS, the World Bank has a vital leadership role in both modeling support for effective responses – including those from community organizations – and advocating with national governments to fulfill their political commitments. The World Bank’s support for community engagement in the HIV response, demonstrated through its research with DFID on evaluating the community response to HIV and AIDS, is also important to continue so that resources can be invested in projects that empower local communities and make a significant long-term difference.


       

    In the area of food security, we stress the critical importance of increased support for smallholder food producers and agro-ecological production methods, as well as for infrastructure to improve storage, preservation and distribution capacities in developing countries in order to reduce post-harvest losses. Especially in an era of climate change, when the most vulnerable people and communities are suffering the worst impacts of the carbon profligacy of others, sustainable rights-based solutions to global hunger are more urgent than ever. We look to the World Bank, under your leadership, to deepen its engagement with and support for those who are at the leading edge of this challenge – the smallholder food producers on whom food security in most parts of the South must be based, and the most food-insecure and poorest communities. We invite your partnership in challenging the prevailing logic of ever-increasing external inputs and unaffordable technical solutions for depleted and climate-constrained eco-systems, and in highlighting their actual impacts on local communities and chronic hunger.


       

    As you officially take office in July, we look forward to the World Bank strengthening its authentic engagement and dialogue with civil society - including faith-based organizations - learning from and basing decisions on the experience of those most affected by poverty, hunger, disease and injustice.


       

    Yours sincerely,
    Peter Prove, Executive Director


           

    For more information contact:
    Sara Speicher
    sspeicher@e-alliance.ch
    +44 7821 860 723


           


The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance is a broad international network of churches and Christian organizations cooperating in advocacy on food and HIV and AIDS. The Alliance is based in Geneva, Switzerland. For more information, see http://www.e-alliance.ch/

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