Campaign: World Bank sign-on letter: leverage funding for reproductive health!
Source: Gender Action

Please join Gender Action and its partners in leveraging World Bank funding and integrating gender into their HIV/AIDS and reproductive health investments by supporting the sign-on letter.

12 June 2009


June 12, 2009

Robert B Zoellick
World Bank President
1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433

Cc: Board of Directors
Sector Director, Gender and Development

Dear Mr. Zoellick,

Re: Leveraging World Bank Funding for Reproductive Health and HIV/AIDS

We, the undersigned civil society organizations, seek your commitment and leadership in ensuring increased and improved World Bank funding for reproductive health and HIV/AIDS in developing countries where the World Bank manages investments and development projects.

Gender Action, the only organization dedicated to monitoring International Financial Institution (IFI) investments for their gender impacts, has demonstrated that the World Bank’s funding for reproductive health and HIV/AIDS projects during 2000-2007 constituted less than one percent of total World Bank spending during this period. Gender Action’s research also reveals a lack of gender sensitivity in World Bank reproductive health and HIV/AIDS investments, despite its public commitments to promote gender equality and the critical importance of addressing gender roles in these issues. Furthermore, Bank policies and practices routinely undermine progress toward achieving reproductive health and HIV/AIDS Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Health sector privatization and user fees resulting from Bank loan requirements and recommendations to governments, for example, make reproductive health and HIV/AIDS services unaffordable to the poor.

The Bank’s own 2009 Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) report evaluating Bank support for Health, Nutrition, and Population (HNP) since 1997 reveals weak Bank performance in ensuring projects improve health outcomes for the poor, despite Bank goals to reduce poverty and foster sustainable development. According to this report, few projects with pro-poor or equity objectives were successful. The report demonstrates that about two-thirds of HNP projects overall - but only a quarter of HNP projects in Africa - have had satisfactory outcomes.

We are encouraged to see an increase in Bank lending to HIV/AIDS over the last decade, which is attributable to a boost in multisectoral projects addressing HIV/AIDS. However, World Bank lending to reduce high fertility and improve family planning lags behind. As the bank triples its HNP funding, including funding for reproductive health and HIV/AIDS projects, to $3 billion in 2009 from $1 billion in 2008, we urge the World Bank to:

Increase spending on sexual and reproductive health programs, particularly to reduce maternal mortality and ensure women’s access to family planning services, safe abortion and safe prenatal and post-natal healthcare.
Expand support for combating HIV/AIDS in low-income countries with high HIV prevalence, particularly programs targeting prevention and access to antiretroviral treatment (ART).
Design gender sensitive reproductive health and HIV/AIDS projects through systemic gender analysis of project design, implementation and evaluation.
End harmful loan conditionalities, such as privatization of health services, which impede poor people’s access to high quality family planning, reproductive health, and HIV/AIDS services in developing countries.
Intensify efforts to improve the performance of the HNP project portfolio as recommended by the above-mentioned 2008 IEG report.

This letter is endorsed by the following organizations and individuals:

Global and Regional

1. 34 Million Friends of UNFPA
2. Jewish Women International
3. Ipas
4. International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region
5. International AIDS Women's Caucus
6. International Community of Women Living with HIV and AIDS
7. Strategies from the South
8. Global Healing Foundation


10. Center for Reproductive Rights
11. Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE)
12. Feminist Majority
13. Population Action International (PAI)
14. Center for Women Policy Studies
15. National Organization for Women
16. National Council for Research on Women
17. National Council of Women's Organizations (NCWO)
18. Women's Campaign Forum
19. SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Health Collective
20. Friends of the Earth
21. Gender Action
22. Linda Lopez (Arizona State Senator)
23. Marilyn Lee (Hawaii State Representative)
24. Donna Boe (Idaho State Representative)


25. Latin American and Caribbean Women's Health Network
26. Foundation for Studies and Research on Women - Argentina


27. Center for Domestic Violence Prevention (Uganda)
28. Mosaic Training, Service and Healing Centre for Women (South Africa)
29. Treatment Monitor (Women and HIV/AIDS Gauge) Health Systems Trust (South Africa)
30. TASO (Aids Support Organization) (Uganda)
31. The Network of Zimbabwean Positive Women (NZPW+) (Zimbabwe)
32. Stay Alive For Us All (SAFUA) – (Kenya)
33. Namibia Women's Health Network (Namibia).


34. Straight Arrows Inc (Australia)

More about choike
World Bank
The World Bank's main self-proclaimed objective is to eradicate poverty. Yet, evidence suggests that its programmes often harm the poor and the environment.
Sexual and reproductive rights
Women’s involvement in contributing to expand the scope of the concept of human rights.

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