DECEMBER 1999 - APRIL 2000

I. SAPRI Country Exercises

1. Bangladesh

The research process in Bangladesh has progressed quite well, although the timeline for finalizing draft reports has been extended from the original projection. Initial drafts are expected by June 2000.

There are four thematic studies underway that focus on specific adjustment policies and their impact in certain sectors:

1) the impact of agricultural policy reforms on the labor market, wages and food security;

2) the impact of agricultural policy reforms on crop-sector profitability;

3) the impact of trade liberalization on industrial capacity and employment; and

4) the impact of financial-sector reforms on productive sectors, particularly small producers in rural areas.

In addition, a case study on the Jute Sector Adjustment Credit has been planned in order to illustrate the impact of industrial restructuring on the productive sector; it will likely begin in May. A study on the impact of fiscal reforms on health care that was part of the original research design was dropped due to limited resources.

There are also five studies underway that focus on cross-cutting issues which the tripartite National Steering Committee determined were important aspects to be given weight when using a gender-sensitive, political-economy approach to investigate the impact of adjustment policies. Four of these studies address how adjustment policies across sectors impact women, the poor and vulnerable, the environment, and practices of corruption. The fifth study is specifically dealing with participation and is interfacing with all the other studies to ensure that participatory appraisal is used in the research. This participatory team has played a unique role in the research process. In what is referred to as "pre-field interfacing", a participatory expert worked with the research team for each thematic study to help prepare and adapt the techniques to be used in the field. Then at the field level, the participatory team worked together with each research team to conduct the appraisal using a host of participatory techniques.

Most of the research teams started work in October. They began by tracking the conditionalities, cross-conditionalities and actual policy shifts related to the particular adjustment policy initiative under study using documents accessed from the World Bank, as well as from government. Desk research was then carried out using existing information and work done on the relevant issues by independent researchers, as well as evaluations prepared for and by the Bank on the impacts and consequences of the adjustment policies in question. This was followed by fieldwork involving participatory appraisal as well as small surveys.

The fieldwork in most of the studies, with the exception of the case study on the jute sector, was completed by April 2000. Draft reports are expected by early June, when they will be discussed by all the research teams, the tripartite Technical Committee and representatives of the National Steering Committee. The drafts will then be taken to a peer review in July and August. Subsequently, the drafts will be presented to stakeholders in three regional consultation meetings and six focus group discussions for feedback, as was done prior to the Opening National Forum. This consultation process will likely begin in September, after the monsoon season, and may take two-to-three months. The Second National Forum will be held before the end of the year 2000.

Parallel to the final stage of the research process, an economic-literacy program is planned to get underway in the second half of 2000. Its general goal is to facilitate the effective participation of the disadvantaged and marginalized sectors of society in the economic-policymaking process. The program seeks to deepen awareness of economic policies, to improve understanding of the relations between policies and impacts, and to build capacity for advocacy and participation in economic policymaking.

Civil-society's workplan for the economic-literacy program provides for two sets of workshops to take place beginning in September 2000, once materials have been prepared. One set will be organized in various regions across the country and will involve organized stakeholders, including representatives of women's groups, trade unions, farmers' associations, environmental organizations, and small-business groups, as well as professional and other grassroots organizations. The other set of workshops will be held at the national level for civil-society activists and opinion leaders. The workshops will parallel and feed into the process of consultation on and validation of the research findings.

2. Ecuador

The SAPRI process in Ecuador has continued despite that country's deepening economic and political crises, and government participation has remained consistent. Upon approving the terms of reference for the field research in September 1999, the tripartite National Steering Committee decided to carry out a public bidding process in order to select research teams. Ads were placed in several newspapers in October 1999 and the bidding process was closed in late November. Proposals were reviewed in December and a final selection of researchers was made by the national Technical Committee in mid-January 2000. Contracts were signed with the research teams to begin the field work on 21 February 2000. The three studies being undertaken address:

1) the impact of trade liberalization and labor-market reforms on production and employment;

2) the impact of financial-sector liberalization on production and consumption in low- and middle-income households; and

3) the impact of policy changes related to basic social subsidies on social conditions.

The civil-society steering committee and technical team have been working closely with the research teams in order to actively involve the local SAPRIN network in the fieldwork and ensure its participatory nature. Network members have helped researchers identify important regions and sectors for information-gathering purposes and have facilitated contacts with civil-society organizations and communities that could participate in workshops and focus-group discussions as part of the research process. The technical team is meeting periodically with the research teams to oversee the process. First drafts of the research reports are expected in July and the Second National Forum is planned for late August or early September.

At the same time, the civil-society network initiated a participatory program for the construction of alternatives in mid-1999. Following the March 1999 crisis that resulted from the government's announcement of new economic adjustment measures, which triggered widespread social protest, SAPRIN developed an initial plan for what the network is calling a Project for an Alternative National Economy. From May through November of 1999, five seminars were held in different cities to focus on specific issues and involve various sectors of civil society.

Based on the discussions in these seminars, in December 1999 a subcommittee began drafting the outline of an alternative program to be circulated for public discussion and debate. The draft paper was presented in April and will be widely circulated and taken up for discussion in seminars and interactions with a broad range of civil-society organizations. The input and feedback gathered during the process of consultation will then be incorporated into a draft proposal for alternative policies that will be presented at the Second National Forum.

In addition, a paper was developed to explain the current economic crisis in very basic terms, as well as the new adjustment measures adopted by the government, particularly dollarization. It was published by SAPRIN in book form in April 2000 and is being used in economic-literacy workshops beginning in May that will be into the research process.

3. El Salvador

The draft research report was further revised in late 1999 and early 2000. A draft executive summary was distributed at a national seminar held in San Salvador on 2 March 2000. About 150 members of the civil-society network attended the day-long seminar and broke into smaller groups to discuss and give feedback on the findings of the research. Input received from the seminar is being incorporated into the final draft of the report, which will be presented at the Second National Forum planned for 13-14 July 2000.

At the same time, work has continued on the construction of alternatives. The civil-society steering committee carried out consultations with the broader network regarding issues on which to focus work on the development of policy options. A workshop was held on 20 January to discuss the problem of privatization. The privatization of water utilities was decided as the focus for alternatives work in this area, as legislation for the privatization process has not yet been passed. A participatory process, with an economic-literacy component, has begun to involve the civil-society network in putting forward and lobbying for concrete alternatives to the privatization of water. Other areas in which work is being planned include: an alternative financial system; alternatives to labor-market flexibilization; and a proposal to strengthen small and medium-scale enterprise development. In addition to holding workshops and consultations, existing work complete by civil-society organizations in these areas will also be used to develop proposals for alternative policies. These efforts are planned to coincide with work on the construction of alternatives in three other Central American countries. The results of this process are expected in the second half of the year, and preliminary recommendations will be presented at the Second National Forum.

4. Ghana

By August 1999, the issues for research had been defined, initial terms of reference drafted and researchers selected. A national methodology workshop was held with the ten researchers chosen, who were grouped into teams of two or three under the four issue areas of interest to SAPRI impact assessment:

1) impact of investment-policy reforms, particularly deregulation and privatization, on the mining sector;

2) the impact of trade liberalization on the domestic manufacturing sector;

3) the impact of agricultural policy reforms, particularly the removal of input subsidies, on food security; and

4) the impact of user fees and retrenchment on access to education and health care.

A two-step approach was agreed to. First, the researchers were asked to complete a comprehensive literature review focused on the recommended list of issues. Terms of reference were formulated specifically for this assignment, which was completed within a month. Once the report on the literature review was submitted along with proposals for the fieldwork, the process stalled due to lack of government participation. While World Bank officials and civil-society representatives were being remunerated, albeit unequally, for the technical work they were doing, the government was not paying its representatives. Those serving felt that they could not continue working on SAPRI without some form of payment, albeit modest. The National Steering Committee resolved this problem by working out an agreement with government representatives on the Tripartite Technical Committee (TTC) whereby they are to be paid a small sum based on the number of meetings they attend throughout the process of overseeing the research phase.

With the problem of government participation in the TTC having been resolved in January 2000, the basic terms of reference for the field research were further refined and approved in February. At the same time, the TTC made suggestions for further revisions and mandated the local joint SAPRI Secretariat to work with researchers to incorporate the changes before beginning the fieldwork.

The scope of the research was narrowed, and the fourth theme on the impact of user fees was divided into two parts, with one study focusing on health care and the other on access to education, specifically at the tertiary level. The research team was expanded to include 12 experts in order to cover all five studies. By the end of March, work had begun on the studies addressing the impact of agricultural policy on food security and the impact of trade liberalization on domestic manufacturing. The remaining studies had begun field work by the end of April.

In spite of some delay in getting fieldwork off the ground for all five studies, draft research reports are expected by the end of July. A series of consultations are planned with civil-society organizations to enable feedback on the drafts prior to presenting a final draft at the Second National Forum currently planned for September 2000.

At the same time, work on economic literacy is continuing. A national workshop is planned for May 2000 with a focus on trade policies, and another workshop is anticipated later in the year to increase understanding on the parliamentary process and how to lobby in order to be able to use effectively the results of the SAPRI exercise to effect policy changes. SAPRIN zonal leaders -- those responsible for organizing and mobilizing civil society in ten regions across the country -- will participate in these workshops along with other civil-society organizers at the national level. The information from these workshops will then be used in a decentralized manner at the local level.

5. Hungary

The field work for the research was carried out from June through December of 1999 in the following four areas:

1) the impact of public-finance reform on social services and the population's economic security;

2) the impact of liberalization policies in the areas of trade, prices and wages on small and medium-sized enterprises, the agricultural sector and consumers, particularly disadvantaged groups;

3) the impact of the privatization process on production, employment and the concentration of wealth; and

4) the impact of public-utility sector reform on workers, consumers, the environment and the fiscal deficit at both the central and local levels.

Research in each of these areas was carried out separately by civil-society teams and by Bank / government researchers, as agreement could not be reached on the breadth of the research on each theme. The local SAPRIN technical team coordinated the civil-society research effort on each of the four thematic issues. The effort has involved 20 civil-society researchers from Budapest and ten regions of the country, with four lead researchers responsible for desk studies and the coordination of field research carrying out case studies. An additional 100 civil-society representatives from some of the approximately 1600 Hungarian organizations affiliated with SAPRIN also presented short case studies using their own organizational resources. Work began in December 1999 to incorporate the civil-society studies together with the individual papers presented by NGOs in order to produce summary reports on each of the four thematic. While the SAPRIN draft reports have been well received by people in government and at the Bank, provisions are being made to indicate anticipated differences of opinion in the final report.

A draft 100-page summary of these reports was prepared in March 2000 and an executive summary was distributed to all the civil-society participants in SAPRI. This paper is being used as the basis of discussions in 55 workshops that are being organized nationwide from March through May as a part of an economic-literacy program designed to share research findings with women's groups, farmers, trade unions, etc. and elicit feedback. There are 34 workshops being held in different localities across the country, while the other 21 are being organized by sector. Feedback from these workshops will be incorporated into the final research report and will be presented at the Second National Forum scheduled for 26-27 June 2000.

6. Mali

In late1999, the tripartite Steering and Technical Committees began working on refining the issues for research based on the discussions and input provided during the Opening National Forum. There were several policy areas that were addressed in the Forum's workshops and many that were cross-referenced. The discussions helped to specify the structural adjustment policies and areas of impact that most concerned civil society and that will be the subject of the research phase. They are:

1) the impact of trade and price liberalization on the agricultural sector, particularly small-scale producers;

2) the impact of privatization and civil-service reform on employment and private-sector development; and

3) the impact of public-expenditure reform on education.

Although initial terms of reference were drafted in late 1999, additional work was required by the Technical Committee to refine them before the fieldwork could begin.

Meanwhile, researchers were selected to carry out the field research through a tripartite process in February 2000. Of the team of six researchers, three were selected from civil-society recommendations, two from a government list and one from Bank choices, although those selected have all been agreed to by the tripartite committee.

A national methodology workshop was held in Bamako on 28-29 February and 1 March 2000 with the tripartite Technical Committee and the selected researchers in order to deepen their understanding of the SAPRI research methodology. Yet further work was required in order to narrow the focus of the research and ensure a gender-sensitive, political-economy approach that relies on participatory methods. Following the methodology workshop, discussions continued in the Technical Committee and with the researchers to refine the terms of reference in order to begin the fieldwork.

Communication has been difficult between the country team and the Regional Center in Accra, as well as between Mali and the global Secretariat, and final terms of reference for the research had not been approved by the SAPRIN Regional Center as of the end of April. If terms of reference are clearly defined and agreed upon in May so that the research could begin in June, it may still be possible to complete field work and hold the Second National Forum before the end of the year 2000.

7. Uganda

In late 1999, the civil-society technical committee reviewed and reworked the terms of reference, which were then approved by the tripartite Technical Committee and given to the researchers. A methodology workshop was held on 27-28 January 2000 with researchers to deepen understanding of the SAPRI methodology. Based on discussions in the workshop, the Technical Committee worked in February to further refine the terms of reference and narrow their scope. In order to reduce the research budget, one of the four field studies was eliminated. Terms of reference for the three field studies were finalized in March and contracts were signed with researchers on 15 March 2000. In addition, a desk study is being undertaken to explain the discrepancies among various measures and perceptions of poverty.

The three issues selected for field research are:

1) the impact of the privatization process on various sectors of the population and on society as a whole, with a specific focus on gender-specific impacts and on employment levels;

2) the impact of public-expenditure management under SAPs on basic social services, specifically health care and education; and

3) the impact of liberalization policies on agricultural production and food security.

Fieldwork was underway in April, first drafts of the research reports are expected by July, and the Second National Forum is currently planned for late August.

While important progress has been made in moving forward the research agenda, problems remain in terms of civil-society's role in the tripartite Technical Committee and oversight of the research process. In mid-April 2000, the civil-society steering committee formally raised concerns with the chair of the National Steering Committee in regard to the latter's direction of the research process. The concerns reflect a continuing tendency for the research plan to be guided more by traditional academic perspectives than by a reliance on participatory process and grassroots knowledge. The civil-society steering committee is currently working to overcome this problem.

8. Zimbabwe

Following the Opening National Forum in September 1999, the civil-society technical committee began synthesizing the results and refining the issues for research. A workshop was held in November 1999 with the civil-society steering committee, World Bank representatives and members of several government ministries to review the research topics and reach agreement to move forward the research agenda. Although the government is still not formally involved, both Bank and government representatives remain interested in following the SAPRI process closely, and civil society is committed to keeping them informed of its progress.

Following the November meeting, the civil-society technical committee began drafting terms of reference for studies on the following policy areas:

1) labor-market deregulation;

2)  agricultural-market deregulation;

3) trade liberalization; and

4) public-finance management and financial-sector reform.

The issue of governance and the role of the state has been stressed as important throughout the consultation process with civil society and is being incorporated as a cross-cutting issue in these studies.

Draft terms of reference were presented for review by the technical committee and an expert in participatory research methods reviewed and made suggestions for ensuring the effective use of PRA techniques. Some progress had been made in refining the TORs by late April 2000, but further discussions were still necessary. Progress in refining the terms of reference has at times been interrupted and generally slowed by the political process that began to dominate the public agenda -- first with the referendum on a new constitution early in 2000, then by the promise of elections and the overall deteriorating political environment marked by land takeovers and the need to resolve the issue of land reform.

A technical committee meeting has been scheduled for May in order to consider proposals on how to best proceed with the research process in the context of political uncertainty. Options include finalizing the terms of reference and beginning desk work immediately, while waiting until after elections to carry out at least part of the fieldwork, or proceeding regardless of the political electoral process and reducing the scope of the participatory fieldwork to focus-group meetings and consultations in the 45 districts where the civil-society network has been active since the beginning of the SAPRI exercise.

Clearly, the research process is behind schedule and will likely continue to suffer some delays regardless of the option chosen. Nevertheless, the civil-society network expects that the research process will be carried out and the Second National Forum held before the end of 2000.

II. CASA Country Exercises

1. Mexico

The research process is organized into two phases. The first phase involves a desk study on the theory, design and implementation of the structural adjustment program in Mexico. Work on this stage began in June 1999, and the report was published as a book (using outside resources) in December. At the same time, information on all adjustment measures implemented in Mexico since 1982 was put into a database that is categorized by policies pertaining to: production (agriculture, industry, employment, wages, etc.); finance (monetary, credit and fiscal); the foreign sector (trade and currency exchange); and social sectors (health, education, food and housing).

The second phase of the research program involves fieldwork and analysis of data from a variety of sources. Fieldwork is being carried out in two forms: innovative surveys carried out among the unorganized population and a participatory consultative process, accompanied by an economic-literacy program, carried out among the organized population across a broad range of sectors. The results of the fieldwork will be integrated with data generated from analyses of particular variables (employment, income distribution, poverty and foreign debt) that reflect the impact of adjustment policies -- in the areas of trade and investment liberalization, reform of the state and social development -- on the industrial and rural productive sectors.

The research process is integrally connected with an economic-literacy program using a methodology known as Participatory-Action Research, or PAR (Investigacisn-Accisn Participativa, or IAP in Spanish). It was determined to carry out the field research and economic-literacy work in four regions:

1) Northern border region: to involve maquila workers, producers' associations and groups active in alternative health-care work;

2) Southeastern region: to involve rural organizations, peasant and indigenous communities, and oil-company workers in the states of Chiapas, Oaxaca, Veracruz and Tabasco;

3) Western region: to involve networks of civic organizations, trade unions and credit-union associations in Jalisco, Colima, Nayarit and Michoacan; and

4) Central region: to involve groups that work in sustainable rural development, health, community organizing and microfinance in Queretaro, Guanajuato, Sierra de Hidalgo, Tlaxcala and Puebla, as well as urban neighborhood groups, small and microenterprises, unions, youth groups and health-care organizations in the Mexico City metropolitan area.

Work on the surveys began with a pilot survey in the Western region in October 1999. At the same time, a plan was developed for the economic-literacy and consultative sessions with civil-society organizations to take place in two modules. Each module begins with a training for trainers in each of the four regions, attended by two or three representatives of the each of the community groups and NGOs involved in the civil-society network that is active in the particular region. The same individuals are expected to attend the training workshop for both modules. Following the training, each organization is expected to replicate the workshop among its members or the communities it serves. Participants in the training are to take responsibility for these local replications, with support provided by the civil-society team at the national level.

The first workshop module focused on understanding basic economic concepts and on identifying the primary problems faced by people in their communities during the adjustment years and the perceived causes of these problems. Regional workshops were held in December 1999 and January 2000, and local workshops took place in February and March. Input from these workshops has been synthesized and will be provided to the research team as well as to participants during the second module, to begin in late May. The focus of the second module will be on understanding structural adjustment policies and tracing their impact on employment and living standards, thus exploring the relation between policies and the problems people had identified during the first module. The second module is also to include a section on policy alternatives in order to elicit input for the construction of an alternative policy framework, as well as for an advocacy plan.

Work towards the construction of policy alternatives began in January 2000 by first

collecting and systematizing existing documents and proposals from civil-society organizations and community groups. A series of three seminars was also planned in order to involve civil-society leaders at the national level in discussions on policy options. The first seminar took place on 30 March, another is planned for mid-May and the final one is to take place in June. A technical team will take the results from these seminars and the literature review, together with the input from the second workshop module, and prepare viable proposals for policy alternatives. These proposals are to be presented at the Second National Forum, scheduled for October. A plan for advocacy work following the Forum will also be developed based on discussions in the second workshop module and the results from the Forum.

2. The Philippines

After the background research was completed in December 1999 and early 2000, the terms of reference were further refined in order to begin the fieldwork for each study. At that point, there were some changes made in the studies' focus.

The study addressing the impact of trade liberalization on food security, specifically on fishing and rice production, was divided into two separate investigations in order to better focus the research. One study is assessing the impact of fiscal reforms on the rice industry and rice-producing communities, while the other is focusing on the impact of trade liberalization on the fishing industry and fishing communities. Fieldwork for each began in April and is being carried out in two or three geographical regions.

Researchers preparing two other studies are also well into their fieldwork. Terms of reference for the investigation into the impact of trade liberalization on labor and work were further refined after the background research was completed in early 2000; fieldwork began in April. The study on the impact of investment and liberalization in the mining industry on indigenous peoples and the environment has also made substantial progress. Background research was completed in December 1999 and fieldwork began in January in several communities selected for the study.

In the study of the impact of fiscal reform on education and health care, the technical team has had difficulty narrowing the investigation and refining the terms of reference to focus the fieldwork. Although civil-society consultations had identified this area as a priority interest and important for research, it is unclear whether this particular study will be able to remain part of the CASA exercise.

In addition to these five studies, for which fieldwork is being carried out or is planned, the steering committee had decided to carry out a desk study to evaluate the impact of privatization and deregulation and the role of the international financial institutions in the design and implementation of these policies. Work in this area has moved forward and is focusing on oil deregulation and on the privatization of the power and water industries. As these policies were recently implemented or, in the case of the power industry, have yet to be legislated, this study is focusing on the substance of the policies and their projected, rather than the actual, impact.

Drafts of all studies are expected to be completed by September, and the Second National Forum is scheduled for October.

Economic-literacy work has continued to accompany the research phase in order to ensure greater civil-society participation in the process. A basic, one-day workshop that gives an introduction to economic terms and concepts in order to help participants understand adjustment policies has been replicated by several civil-society organizations active in the local SAPRIN network. In addition, new modules are being prepared that focus on particular issues related to the research process (e.g., trade, fiscal reform). There are plans for a series of workshops to be held on a sectoral and regional basis from June to September.

III. New Country and Regional Initiatives

1. Argentina

The initiative in Argentina was launched in June 1999 with the formation of a convening committee composed of leaders and representatives of a range of sectors, including labor, small business, human rights, education, health, women, youth and the Church. Also participating are present and former members of Congress and a former government minister (Aldo Neri). Called

FOCO (Forum for Consultation with Civil Society on Structural Adjustment), this endeavor to involve citizens nationwide in the design of just and viable economic-policy proposals is managed on behalf of the convening committee by the small-business-assistance NGO, IDEMI.

During the second half of 1999, the committee reached out to organizations and networks around the country and prepared a 200-page paper on national economic policies. Various versions of the paper were subsequently prepared and disseminated, including a summary that was used as the focal point of discussion at a national forum held in Buenos Aires in late November. The forum brought together representatives of some 100 networks and coalitions of popular and other non-governmental organizations from a wide range of urban and rural sectors to engage in the formulation of alternative proposals and in the mobilization of citizens to promote them.

From December 1999 to April 2000, FOCO worked with civil-society coalitions in municipalities in six of the country's provinces. Organizing activities slowed somewhat during those summer months and as the country awaited the installment by the new government of its economic program. In the end, the government determined to proceed with a virtually unchanged adjustment program. Its labor-market-reform proposal has had a particularly profound impact on Argentina's labor sector, which also delayed FOCO's work.

At its first major planning meeting since the public forum, FOCO on 28 April dedicated itself to the mobilization of the Argentinian people around the development and promotion of a proposal for a new national economic policy. The organizing will center on the convening of a major national event, a National Citizens' Congress, on 20 November, the day of national sovereignty. The Congress, originally planned as a forum of 1,000 delegates of popular organizations in July, has been postponed for several months to enable the inclusion of an even broader spectrum of Argentinian society. It is meant to be an event of great national significance that will mobilize the major popular sectors and launch a national campaign to replace imposed and failed adjustment policies with a new economic program backed by a broad-based consensus. At the forum, the participating organizations will discuss and, it is anticipated, adopt a proposal for a national economic program that synthesizes the demands of the population and establishes the base of support for the action.

In the intervening months, FOCO plans to implement a program of sectoral consultations on economic policy aimed at eliciting alternative proposals and mobilizing constituency organizations. The program will include at least one workshop per month and is to begin in May 2000 with a formal meeting with the CGT, the country's major, and now divided, trade-union federation. Subsequently, consultations will be held with the student movement, church organizations, business associations and other groups. Parallel to these workshops, FOCO plans to carry out a grassroots organizing campaign in Buenos Aires, setting up tables on the principal streets of downtown at which information about the initiative and alternative proposals will be disseminated. Citizens will be enlisted in the ongoing effort to democratize economic policymaking.

2. Brazil

An initiative focused on the construction of alternatives to adjustment policies is being coordinated by the NGO, IBASE, along with the national labor-union confederation, the CUT, within the institutional framework of the Rede Banco (Brazilian Network on the International Financial Institutions). The Rede is comprised by more than 50 national and regional organizations representing virtually all of Brazil's principal economic and social sectors. Major social organizations included in this project are the CUT, CONTAG (Confederation of Agricultural Workers), MST (Movement of Landless Workers), the Center of Popular Movements, and the Consulta Popular, as well as the Church.

In the first phase of the project, running through the end of 1999, a handful of policy areas in which alternatives were deemed essential were identified at executive-committee meetings of the Rede. The first paper to be drafted addressed the issue of capital controls, and work is currently underway by Rede members on the revenue and expenditure sides of fiscal policy. Syntheses of the proposals are vetted with the member organizations, which have also convened regional meetings -- for example, in Belem and in Campo Grande in the state of Matto Grosso -- so as to inform local populations about the initiative and to elicit local input. A meeting of unions has also been convened in Rio. The consultative process slowed somewhat during the summer holidays running from Christmas to Carnival.

As in Argentina, the members of the coordinating committee of SAPRIN Brazil will convene, during the second half of 2000, monthly meetings with the leadership of social movements and organizations in order to expand public participation in the development and promotion of alternative economic-policy proposals. Included among these will be trade-union organizations, networks of women's organizations, associations of small agricultural producers, environmental organizations, a network focused on food security and another focused on trade policy. Through joint activities, including public conferences, debates and mobilizations, SAPRIN-Brazil, represented by IBASE, the CUT and the Brazil Network, will help shape and link the policy agenda and strategies of these organizations with those of its own members.

In order to reach out geographically in a country the size of Brazil, SAPRIN Brazil is at the same time establishing an electronic "virtual forum" that will be used to elicit input from a wide range of organizations and stimulate a debate on present and proposed economic policies. This system should soon be installed. It will also hire a media consultant so as to expand coverage of its activities and proposals. Through the secretariat of the Brazil Network in Brazilia, which has excellent relationships in the Brazilian Congress, SAPRIN will involve policymakers in the policy-development process and organize events in the Congress.

Meanwhile, IBASE consultants will continue to pull together the input provided by members of the Brazil Network and the other citizens' networks involved in the initiative. It will present proposals on fiscal policy, labor-market reform, trade policy, credit and agrarian reform, among others, in a popular form that is accessible to ordinary Brazilians. These will be made available for feedback from popular organizations via the sectoral meetings and electronic conference as part of an iterative process with economists and other technical personnel.

3. Central America

The timeline for this process of constructing economic-policy alternatives in the Central America region -- involving El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua -- has been extended to the end of 2000 so as not to conflict with other initiatives in the countries involved. After identifying initial contacts in each country and developing a workplan, a series of materials were prepared in late 1999 to describe SAPRIN and its methodology for constructing policy alternatives, as well as to explain structural adjustment policies and basic economic terminology.

In February 2000, the Latin America Regional Center's coordinator for the initiative visited Honduras and Nicaragua. His visit to Guatemala could not take place until April because of other activities and commitments on the part of the Guatemalans involved. In each country, he met with representatives of key networks and organizations that are involved or interested in addressing economic-policy issues and in putting forward alternatives to adjustment. From those meetings, one organization or network has been selected in each country to coordinate the SAPRIN work: Foro Social de la Deuda Externa (FOSDEH) / Interforo in Honduras; Grupo Propositivo de Cabildeo (GPC) in Nicaragua; and CALDH in Guatemala. These lead agencies in each country agreed to continue organizing efforts in order to involve more organizations and networks. They are also gathering information already available from these groups on adjustment policies in each country, as well as existing work on economic-policy options.

The work to gather information on adjustment policies and impacts in each country was well advanced by April 2000, and a regional analysis based on this information is expected to be presented in draft form by the Regional Center in June. It will be distributed for discussion and feedback in workshops that are being planned in each country in June. These workshops are being planned to elicit input for the construction of an alternative policy framework. SAPRIN El Salvador will integrate its work on alternatives into the regional initiative at this point.

IV. Regional Level

In the Latin America region, SAPRIN has continued its collaborative efforts in support of the country exercises in Ecuador and Mexico, as well as in El Salvador and in Central America as a whole. The Regional Coordinator made one trip to Ecuador and two trips to Mexico between November 1999 and April 2000, and the Regional Center's coordinator for the new Central America initiative traveled to Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala to begin work in the sub-region. The Regional Center also maintained communication with the global Secretariat, which has had primary responsibility for coordination with the SAPRIN initiatives in Argentina and Brazil.

Representatives of all five SAPRIN national networks in Latin America (Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, El Salvador and Mexico) participated in a one-day workshop on 17 April in Washington to discuss plans for, and progress toward, the construction of alternatives to adjustment policies. The meeting was very useful in helping to establish a common methodology for the alternatives work, facilitating interchanges of experiences and learning and initiating discussions regarding strategies for promoting policy proposals at the regional level. It was made possible by funding from non-SAPRIN sources, which also enabled SAPRIN and the Latin American representatives to convene a public forum, "Realities, Myths & Options: The Impact of, and Alternatives to, World Bank & IMF Economic Policies in the Hemisphere," the following day on Capitol Hill.

In the Africa region, there was ongoing work in support of the SAPRI exercises in Zimbabwe, Uganda, Mali and Ghana. The Regional Center's technical expert made two trips to Mali and one trip to Uganda between December and April. A regional meeting was held on 24-25 January in Kampala, Uganda, with two representatives of each of the four SAPRI countries, as well as two representatives of the Regional Center and a member of the global Secretariat participating. Focused on the progress made in each country in the research process and on planning the development of economic-literacy programs, the meeting was evaluated as being very useful for facilitating the exchange of experiences and learning in these areas.

Regular communications continued between the Asia Regional Center and the SAPRIN teams coordinating the exercises in the Philippines and Bangladesh, as it did between the global Secretariat and SAPRIN Hungary. A member of the global Secretariat, which serves as the Regional Center for Eastern Europe, traveled to Hungary in April to review the initial results of the fieldwork, to observe economic-literacy workshops and to assist in planning for the Second National Forum.

V. Global Level

The coordination activities of the global Secretariat in fact extended to all of the SAPRIN countries and included the gathering and organizing of information, the monitoring of programmatic progress and the provision of technical assistance as necessary. The Secretariat maintained close contacts with the regional centers in this regard, with a special emphasis on Africa as it worked with SAPRIN's center in Accra to ensure that the processes in each country moved forward on track. A member of the Secretariat participated in the Africa Regional meeting held in Kampala on 24-25 January 2000 and also attended Uganda's national methodology workshop held on 27-28 January. In its work with the Latin America region, the Secretariat took primary responsibility for helping foster the new SAPRIN initiatives in the Southern Cone countries. It also organized the public forum on Capitol Hill in Washington on 18 April 2000 on structural adjustment in the five Latin American countries participating in SAPRIN.

The Secretariat continued to manage the relationship and formal communication with the World Bank, as well as the coordination of SAPRIN at the global level. This has included the development of guidelines, in consultation with the Executive and Steering Committees, for the second national country fora and advocacy work of the SAPRIN network. With six donors currently contributing to SAPRIN's work that includes exercises in a dozen countries, financial management has been a major activity for the SAPRIN Secretariat. Fundraising has paralleled these efforts, and a new round of fundraising visits began in April. The continued sharp depreciation of the Euro, in which some of SAPRIN's funds are held, has made this necessary.

There were no meetings of either the Executive Committee or the Steering Committee in this period, as funds had not been budgeted and an anticipated meeting with donors proved unfeasible. Instead, the Secretariat organized a conference call of the Executive Committee on 4 February 2000 that focused primarily on issues of finances and fundraising, as well as on the relationship with the Bank. It also organized a Steering Committee conference call on 27 March on these same issues and to discuss SAPRIN's role in the civil-society activities planned around the spring meetings of the World Bank and IMF.

In coordination with the Executive Committee and other members of the Steering Committee, the Secretariat drafted articles for several journals, including: Social Watch, the Society for International Development's special 2000 issue of Development, and the Mexican journal Sociedad Civil. It also coordinated efforts in the growing relationship with other global networks, particularly Social Watch and Jubilee South, leading the drafting of a joint statement by the three parties.

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