Global South-South Learning Forum

 Man carrying a basket of pumpkins on his head

Finding Global Solutions during Economic Crises

In recent years volatility in fuel and food prices has affected the purchasing power of millions of people around the world, and it still poses numerous challenges to governments in developing countries:  policymakers have been under pressure to introduce quick measures to protect their citizens. In the absence of sound policy advice, governments may resort to less efficient policy instruments, which often have undesirable efficiency and fiscal impacts.

The global South-South Learning Forum, organized by the World Bank’s Social Protection teams in Cairo, Egypt, in June 2009, was designed to address this situation by stimulating knowledge sharing and dialogue among key stakeholders.  At the event, over 150 policymakers and representatives of civil society, academia, the private sector, and the donor community participated in face-to-face and virtual learning activities, exchanging knowledge and discussing various options to deal effectively with the triple wave of crises through social protection instruments.

Plenary and parallel sessions allowed participants to share best practices, expertise, and emerging responses in dealing with the crises. The plenary sessions took stock of the impacts of the financial, food, and fuel crises and the degree to which social protection or alternative responses had been applied.  They were illustrated by country examples focusing on the institutional challenges of establishing and scaling up responses during crises, including implications for reform, the roles of different actors, and establishing priorities vis-à-vis other national interests.  The parallel learning sessions focused on the practical aspects, highlighting key challenges, innovations, and adaptations in social protection response across different contexts.

The Learning Forum showcased first-hand country experiences, promoted South-South knowledge sharing, and helped raise awareness about the most effective ways to deal with the crises.


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