REPORT ON SAPRIN ACTIVITIES
MAY - AUGUST 2000
Much progress has been made during this period as the SAPRI/CASA country exercises have begun to enter their final phase. Over these last four months, Second National Fora have been held in Hungary and El Salvador, while substantial progress has been made toward completing the research in most of the other countries. The time line for completing research in Bangladesh, Ghana and the Philippines has been extended because of additional time requested by researchers in order not to compromise the quality of their work, as well as the need for an adequate review process involving the respective civil-society networks prior to finalizing the research studies. All the reports are expected by the end of the year, and the last of the national fora will be held in January 2001.
Civil-society organizing to construct alternative economic policies has taken on a new dynamic in Argentina, as well as in the Central America region, while SAPRIN efforts in Brazil have made little progress and have been put on hold. In Argentina, there has been an outpouring of interest in the initiative and local organizing is expanding rapidly, although grassroots organizing and the involvement of more civil-society groups extends the time needed for a participatory process to put forward policy alternatives. As three Central American countries have just entered the organizing process this year, the work to expand outreach and consultations on alternatives is continuing.
At the regional and global levels, in addition to managing the SAPRI/CASA country exercises, SAPRIN has continued its efforts to build alliances with other social movements, as well as to raise funds for its future work. In addition, management of the relationship with the World Bank has required attention as conflicts have begun to arise between SAPRIN and the Bank regarding the original conception of the exercises conclusion. There was a conference-call meeting of the global Steering Committee on these and other issues.
II. SAPRI Country Exercises
The research process in Bangladesh continued to progress quite well. Between May and August 2000, all draft research reports were submitted, then reviewed and discussed by the tripartite Technical Committee. During this period, particular effort was focused on integrating the work of the participatory research team with that of the thematic researchers. As part of the review process, two full-day seminars were held, one in late May and the other in late August, with the presence of researchers, the Technical Committee and members of the national Steering Committee. Based on these discussions and input provided, researchers were to incorporate changes into their initial drafts and present final drafts by the end of September.
Prior to holding the Second National Forum, which has been rescheduled for 9-11 January 2001 in order to allow sufficient time for review and discussion of research results, the final drafts of the research reports will be presented to civil-society groups for feedback in a series of regional consultations and focus-group discussions to be held during October and November. A SAPRIN-financed economic-literacy program will be carried out alongside this consultation process.
The research process in Ecuador made substantial progress during this period. Researchers presented a first progress report in May and a mid-term report in July. The tripartite Technical Committee and members of the Steering Committee met with researchers on 21 July 2000 to review the mid-term report, discuss any issues raised and provide direction to researchers in carrying out the remainder of their work. All parties were pleased with the quality of the work and the substance of the discussion. Nevertheless, administrative problems within the World Bank delayed disbursement of its funds for research, causing researchers to delay the second phase of field work until more funds could be made available.
First drafts of all three studies are expected to be submitted in mid-September, after which the Technical Committee will meet to review them and suggest any changes to be made in the final drafts, which will be presented at the Second National Forum. The date of the Forum will be scheduled once the research drafts have been reviewed. It will most likely be held in late October or early November.
At the same time, the civil-society network has continued its work on the construction of alternatives to adjustment policies. An initial draft document (150 pages of text, in addition to appendices) was presented at a meeting of civil-society organizations in the city of Cuenca on 30 August for discussion and feedback. The full document will be circulated among a limited number of organizations to solicit input in September and October, while the executive summary is being distributed for discussion more broadly. A revised draft is to be presented by civil society for discussion at the Second National Forum.
3. El Salvador
The Second National Forum was held on 13-14 July in San Salvador. Nearly 250 representatives of a wide range of civil-society organizations involved in the SAPRIN network participated in the two days of discussion on the impacts of, and alternatives to, the policies of privatization, labor-market flexibilization and financial-sector liberalization. Representatives of the SAPRIN networks in Argentina, Ecuador and Mexico, as well as a member of the SAPRIN global Secretariat, also attended the Forum.
The research findings presented at the Forum showed that privatization of the energy- distribution network has reduced access to the service by the rural poor and induced increases in the price of other goods and services, the production of which is dependent on the use of electricity. In general, women were found to have been the most negatively affected. At the same time, the overall savings to the state -- in terms of reduced costs and personnel -- have been minimal, and a freely competitive market has not been established in the sector.
The research on the impact of labor-market flexibilization on workers found that these policies have led to increased job insecurity and underemployment, forcing many people to seek work or supplement their income through the informal sector. They have made union organizing more difficult and created conditions in which worker rights were found to be frequently violated. In addition, these labor-market policies were found to have decreased real wages, causing more household members to seek additional sources of income and often resulting in children having to work at the expense of their education.
Finally, the study of the impact of financial-sector liberalization found that micro-, small and medium-scale enterprises have been quite negatively affected in terms of their access to credit, an effect that would have been worse had it not been for an increase in services provided through the informal financial sector. Capital has been concentrated in fewer hands, with investment oriented toward trade and services at the expense of domestic industry and agricultural production. As a result of liberalization, the financial system was found to have achieved greater administrative efficiency and profitability, while having hampered improvements in national competitiveness and long-term development by maintaining low levels of productivity and inducing greater levels of poverty.
Following the Forum and based on its discussions, final changes were being made in the full research report. The final country report was expected to be available in October.
The research process has progressed well in Ghana, and the Technical Committee liaison officer has met regularly with researchers and received interim progress reports. Nevertheless, the research teams have fallen behind schedule in submitting draft reports and have requested extensions. The draft of the study on the impact of user fees on access to health care was submitted in early September, and the other four are expected before the end of the month. Once the drafts have been submitted, a short series of consultations will be organized with civil-society groups to enable feedback on the research results prior to the Second National Forum. Given the delays in the submission of reports, the Forum may be held as late as the first week in November. It is unlikely to be delayed further since national elections take place in December.
Economic-literacy work in Ghana has continued with a national workshop on understanding the parliamentary process and how to advocate for policy changes in order to be able to use effectively the results of the SAPRI exercise. The two-day session was held in Accra with the participation of SAPRIN zonal leaders -- those responsible for organizing and mobilizing civil society in ten regions across the country. Following this national workshop, literacy work has continued in a decentralized manner at the local level. A similar workshop with a focus on trade policies is scheduled to take place in October and will utilize initial results from the SAPRI research in that area. This will feed into the process of eliciting feedback on the research results prior to the Second National Forum.
The Second National SAPRI Forum in Hungary took place on 26-27 June 2000 in the city of Esztergom. Approximately 150 representatives of a broad range of civil-society organizations involved in the SAPRI exercise over the last few years participated in the two-day Forum, along with several government and World Bank representatives. The research findings were presented in a summary report that was distributed. In addition, the results of the four studies undertaken were presented in plenary sessions in which panel discussions among civil-society, government and Bank representatives were probed by comments from Forum participants.
Civil society had contracted four research teams, each focusing on a different theme, and each team prepared a report, while some 100 NGOs and civil-society organizations submitted their own assessments and papers. Meanwhile, the World Bank had contracted four researchers, one for each theme, and each prepared a separate report. Once the researchers had completed their reports, the civil-society technical team synthesized the four civil-society research reports and the various NGO papers into a draft summary, which was taken through a process of consultation in a series of economic-literacy seminars. There were 55 sessions held between March and May, with different sectors and in various regions of the country, to elicit feedback on the draft report. Input from these meetings was incorporated into the draft paper, as were the results from the four World Bank research reports.
After negotiating the details of the summary research report over a period of time and producing a revised summary (85 pages), a joint 34-paragraph (eight-page) executive summary was accepted by all parties, with limited dissent on the part of the Bank. In general, the Bank accepted the validity of the data from the research but disagreed with some of the interpretation. Essentially, Bank representatives agreed with the assessment of conditions and objected to the assignment of causality to adjustment policies and to the Bank, as well as to SAPRIN's assessment of the scope and sustainability of the problems.
The executive summary was distributed and presented at the Second National Forum. Comments and discussion from civil-society participants at the Forum supported and presented arguments in favor of the summary report and recommended setting forth some critical remarks in more detail. The lead government representative present from the Finance Ministry backed the report in general and highly evaluated its importance for future policymaking. In essence, the Forum discussions validated the joint executive summary of the report that was presented.
In a tripartite meeting before the last session of the Forum, Bank representatives accepted, with some changes that were jointly agreed to, the English translation of the executive summary of the summary report. The Bank also agreed to accept the 85-page summary report distributed at the Forum, once editorial changes are made and their technical team verifies that this longer version does not deviate from the content of the executive summary. If, however, the Bank objects to portions of the longer version, it agreed to resolve the problem by including sidebars in the final document to indicate the Bank's separate opinion. The Bank has already indicated that it sees five areas of disagreement, including points related to the operation of the market, the cost of transition and the speed of liberalization. As long as these and other differences are clearly reflected in the longer summary, the Bank will accept that document as the final, joint report from SAPRI in Hungary.
In addition to the four main themes, there will be a short section added in the final paper concerning the agricultural sector, which was not specifically mentioned in the summary report, to reflect points raised during the Forum. Annexes will also be added to the final report in order to present more detail on each of the four studies, as well as to present information on the adjustment loans implemented in Hungary. The report, which is quite critical of past policies, will be translated in its final form into English and should be available in October.
Among its conclusions, the report states that liberalization measures caused industrial and agricultural output to be reduced by more than a quarter, with nearly one-third of the countrys jobs lost as a result. Privatization favored foreign over domestic ownership, caused a public loss of three-quarters of the original asset value of firms sold and created a dual economic structure fraught with long-term risks that has endangered state finances. Public-expenditure reductions and public-utility reform have increased inequality, dividing society into a narrow, wealthy layer and a broad poor stratum, while exacerbating regional differentials, and caused the Roma, the elderly and other low-income groups to suffer the greatest consequences. Among its recommendations, the report calls for a reorientation of economic policy (specifics are in the longer paper, yet to be translated) and the strengthening of the role of the state to universally address social needs.
Based on a recommendation from the floor during the Forum, the tripartite group decided that an action program will be formulated in order to ensure follow-up at the national, regional and global levels. At the national level, the Bank and the government are committed to actively considering the policy recommendations coming out of the SAPRI/Hungary exercise, as well as to involving civil society more fully in the economic-policy-formulation process in the country. In addition, the Bank is committed to bringing the civil-society network into the design of the CAS early next year, with documents being made available well in advance. All parties agreed to plan a meeting in mid-2001 in order to review progress on these commitments. At the regional level, the Bank and SAPRIN will consider working together in Central Europe.
As the Malian civil-society and Bank SAPRI teams had not, as of June, presented revised terms of reference to carry out the research process, SAPRINs Africa Regional Center called key civil-society leaders of SAPRI/Mali to a meeting in Ghana mid-month in order to assess the feasibility of continuing the SAPRI research process. Weaknesses in the conceptualization and design of the research were identified and discussed. The Regional Center tried to salvage some part of the research program by agreeing with the Mali team to limit the research agenda and to focus on carrying out -- with extensive technical assistance -- one or two studies, at most. This agreement fell apart, however, when the Malian team continued to insist on carrying out four studies and presented terms of reference that were still far from adequate for carrying out a strong research process in the time remaining for the global exercise.
In August, the SAPRIN Regional Center and global Executive Committee informed the Malian civil-society and Bank teams that SAPRIN cannot support or endorse any further work on SAPRI research in Mali. SAPRIN will be willing, however, to support an economic-literacy program carried out with the SAPRIN/Mali network.
The time line for the research process in Uganda has been extended, in part due to weak coordination and oversight on the part of the Steering and Technical Committees. Problems that arose with the independent chair of the joint National Steering Committee (NSC), who was also the Technical Committee liaison, finally led to his being asked to step down from his responsibilities in SAPRI in July. The National Steering Committee agreed in August to name its vice-chairperson, who had been the chair of the Civil Society Steering Committee (CSSC), to replace him. Upon assuming her new role as chair of the NSC, she resigned as chair of the CSSC and was replaced by another CSSC member. By mid-August, the SAPRI process appeared to be back on track.
Initial drafts of two field studies, as well the desk study, were submitted in early August. These were reviewed by the Technical Committee and by the technical liaison of the Africa Regional Center, who traveled to Uganda in early August in order to review progress in the research. Some weaknesses were identified in the implementation of the methodology and these were discussed with each of the research teams, who were then asked to make the necessary adjustments in order to address the problems. Since that time, the Technical Committee has followed up with the research teams and maintained closer oversight of their progress. First drafts of the research reports are expected by late September, with the exception of one field study addressing the impact of public-expenditure reform on access to education and health care. This study had been delayed due to problems with the research team. New researchers were to be brought on board as of 1 September, and the draft report is expected by late October.
At the same time, preparation for an economic-literacy program has been underway in Uganda. The program intends to better inform civil-society activists about basic economic concepts and policy formulation in order to enable them to provide meaningful input on policy impacts and to participate in the policymaking process. The objectives of the program are to empower organized citizens and develop skills that enable them to give feedback on the research process, thus helping to legitimize local knowledge. Materials are being developed, including brochures for distribution at the district level in four local languages, as well as English. A national-level training for trainers is to take place in September 2000. Support will be provided to those trained so they can carry out workshops at the local level in the 20 -- out of the countrys 45 -- districts where the civil-society network has organized local structures. The program also involves complementary activities such as radio programs and community/street theater.
After much delay as a result of the unstable political situation, the field research in Zimbabwe has finally gotten underway. With elections being postponed until late June, extensive pre-election violence affecting both rural and urban areas, and farm invasions creating significant tension and anxiety in rural farming communities where much of the field work was to be conducted, the research process had been put on hold.
After the elections, a revision of the research plan was required. In July 2000, the civil-society Steering and Technical Committees agreed that the research should begin in August with a reduced agenda and greater emphasis on utilizing secondary sources, supplemented by empirical data where possible. The participatory approach was revised to maximize the use of focus-group discussions and interviews with key informants, while using data collected during the initial outreach phase and at the Opening National Forum.
A national methodology workshop was held on 1 August with members of the civil-society Steering and Technical Committees, as well as representatives from selected government departments and the World Bank. Discussions on the research agenda and terms of reference concluded that SAPRI research would move forward on two themes: the impact of liberalization on production, focusing on two sectors (trade liberalizations impact on production in the clothing industry and agricultural-market liberalizations impact on agricultural production), and the impact of financial-sector liberalization on access to credit by small-scale producers. In addition, a study on the impact of labor-market deregulation on workers and employment is being carried out by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, whose representative chairs the SAPRIN Steering Committee. Since the methodology being used is quite similar to that of SAPRI, the Technical Committee will review the research and integrate it into the SAPRI process to the extent possible. In all the studies, research is to address issues of governance and the changing character and role of the state under adjustment.
The first drafts of the research reports are expected in mid-October 2000, and workshops to seek feedback from civil society on revised drafts are planned for mid-November. The Second National Forum is expected to be held in December.
At the same time, a new economic-literacy program was expected to get underway in September to coincide with the field research and the process of soliciting feedback on the draft research report. The experience of the initial literacy work during the outreach phase of SAPRI showed that, to be most effective, both the form and the content of the literacy efforts need to be well designed and the materials used must be directed to, and well suited for, the particular audience. To this end, the Africa Community Publishing and Development Trust, a SAPRIN member with extensive experience in the development of economic-literacy materials, is helping to develop specific manuals. These materials are to be used in the new series of workshops to be held in the 45 districts in which the SAPRIN committees are active.
III. CASA Country Exercises
The research process in Mexico has advanced quite well, although the time line has been extended for its completion. As the research process is integrally connected with the economic-literacy program, using a methodology known as Participatory-Action Research, or PAR (Investigación-Acción Participativa, or IAP, in Spanish), it has taken longer than anticipated to carry out the series of workshops and then process all of the information generated through a variety of sources in order to complete the research phase.
The results of the first workshop module, carried out from January to March, were synthesized in May and were used as input for the second module, which began in late May and continued through July. Other materials completed in May and used in the workshops included a video entitled "El Desbarajuste Estructural en México" (co-produced by CASA and the Instituto Mexicano de Educacisn Popular, IMDEC) and a CD-ROM produced by CASA with a database and explanation of the structural adjustment measures implemented in the country from 1980 through 1999.
The first workshop module had 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. The second module focused 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 also touched on policy options in order to elicit input for the construction of an alternative policy framework, as well as for an advocacy plan.
Each module began with a training for trainers in each of four regions of the country where the research process is focusing. An average of 40 representatives of a broad range of civil-society organizations active in each region participated in each of the training workshops. Those trained then went back and replicated the workshops in the communities and organizations in which they work. The input from each workshop was then provided to the CASA coordinating committee, which has worked to synthesize the information. The synthesis of the second workshop module was expected in September.
Two small research teams began working in July to integrate results from the workshops with information generated through an extensive survey carried out in the countrys western region in late 1999, as well as with data generated from analysis of secondary sources, to assess the impact on the industrial and rural productive sectors of adjustment policies, specifically trade liberalization and the reform of the role of the state. Draft reports are expected in October or early November and are to be taken for discussion and feedback to the community groups and NGOs involved in the civil-society network prior to finalizing the report, which will be presented at the Second National Forum planned for mid-January 2001.
At the same time, work has continued on the construction of alternatives to adjustment. A second panel discussion on alternatives was held in Mexico City in May, and two others are planned for the western and central regions in October. Work has also continued to systematize and synthesize existing proposals on alternatives by a range of organizations and academics. The results of this process will be used to draft a proposal for discussion at the Second National Forum.
2. The Philippines
The research process in the Philippines has advanced significantly, although progress has been somewhat slower than anticipated. There are currently three field studies underway. They are investigating: the impact of trade liberalization on food security, with a focus on the rice and fishing sub-sectors; the impact of trade liberalization on labor and work; and the impact of liberalization in the mining industry on indigenous peoples and the environment. A desk study addressing the impact of privatization and deregulation in the oil, power and water sectors on access to these utilities was also nearing completion in August. However, the study of the impact
of fiscal reform on education and health care was dropped because the Technical Committee was unable to sufficiently narrow the focus in order to carry out a research study that could yield new insights on the impact of adjustment policies in these sectors.
Drafts of the three field studies, as well as a report on the desk study, are expected by October. At that time, a series of workshops, which will include an economic-literacy component, will be organized with civil-society groups and communities involved in the CASA network to review the initial findings prior to presenting the reports at the Second National Forum. The Forum is expected to take place in November.
IV. NEW COUNTRY AND REGIONAL INITIATIVES
FOCO, the SAPRIN affiliate in Argentina, has concentrated its efforts in this period on organizing and mobilizing at the local level, as well as by sectors, to build a strong base of support at the municipal and grassroots level for public participation in economic policymaking. Toward this end, FOCO has worked with a wide range of civil-society organizations in the municipality of Lomas de Zamora, Buenos Aires province, where there is a progressive local government open to involving civil-society in decisionmaking. A day-long workshop was planned in Lomas de Zamora for early September to discuss how adjustment policies have affected living conditions at the local level and to elicit input for the construction of alternative policies at the local, sectoral and national levels. At the same time, a local chapter of FOCO will be formed that will continue to organize at the municipal level and seek to work with local government officials in order to involve citizens in the budgetary planning process. FOCO is promoting similar efforts in other municipalities, with Lomas de Zamora as a model.
At the same time, FOCO has continued its national outreach efforts with a broad array of organizations -- including trade unions, small-business associations, student and youth groups, environmental organizations and other NGOs -- in order to discuss and elicit input on the alternative policy framework put forward at the national forum organized by FOCO in November 1999. Work will continue through the remainder of 2000 to refine the proposal on alternatives, which will be presented at a public forum in early 2001.
In the context of the worsening economic situation in Argentina and the recent international protests during WTO and IMF/World Bank meetings, FOCO has witnessed a growing awareness on the part of Argentinian civil-society organizations of the links between IFI policies and the problems faced by their communities. It has sought to channel this interest into construction and active promotion of alternative policies, as well as advocacy to stop the imposition of adjustment policies by the international financial institutions. To this end, FOCO has helped members of Congress to develop a proposal for the formation, based on a constitutional mechanism, of a special Congressional Committee charged with defining the countrys policy in dealing with the international financial institutions; citizen consultation would be required. Within this context, FOCO is developing an advocacy strategy, including a grassroots campaign, to press for reform of the World Bank and IMF.
Support for the SAPRIN initiative in Brazil has been suspended pending a reorganization of the work in that country. Those initially involved in the initiative have been occupied by other projects, and the local SAPRIN team has not been able to expand its organizing as had been projected initially.
3. Central America
In May and June, one-day workshops were organized in Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala by the lead organization in each country, using materials prepared and provided by SAPRIN in El Salvador. Representatives of civil-society organizations brought in through an outreach process that had begun earlier in the year participated in these workshops. They analyzed the economic and social problems in their respective countries and discussed the formulation of an agenda for the development of policy alternatives. A participatory methodology, discussed in the workshops, is being used in each country to collect input for the development of alternatives to structural adjustment, using work already produced and experiences gathered by the groups involved.
A Central America regional meeting, involving SAPRIN representatives from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, was held in San Salvador on 27-28 July to formally establish the regional network. Based on previous discussions in the national networks, participants agreed on a framework for a common agenda on which to focus the development of policy alternatives: trade policy and environmental issues, policies for the development of small-scale and micro-enterprise, and labor-market policy. They also discussed the methodology and process through which to continue outreach and consultations in each country, as well as an advocacy strategy to lobby for alternatives both nationally and regionally. Consultations with a broad range of civil-society groups in each country took place in August and this process was projected to continue into October. Draft proposals from each country are expected by the end of the year, and a regional meeting is anticipated for early 2001 to draft a regional proposal.
V. Regional Level
1. Latin America
In the Latin America region, SAPRIN has continued to consolidate as well as expand its work. The Regional Coordinator traveled to Argentina in June to meet with SAPRIN members organized in FOCO, discuss their work plan and integrate them more closely into SAPRINs regional structure. On the same trip, he attended a meeting in Brazil of Latin American civil-society groups, organized by the Rede Brasil Network, to contribute to discussions and the setting of common strategies for dealing with problems related to the actions of the multilateral financial institutions in the region. He also met with the Brazilian groups involved in SAPRIN to assess the potential to further develop SAPRINs work in Brazil. Following this trip, the Regional Center concluded that conditions and work developed in Argentina merit further
investment by SAPRIN to support activities in that country, while the situation in Brazil indicated that there was little contribution that SAPRIN could make to the ongoing civil-society initiatives that are addressing the international financial institutions in Brazil.
In order to further consolidate SAPRINs development at the regional level in Latin America, a meeting was held in San Salvador on 11-12 July with two SAPRIN representatives from each country network: Argentina, Ecuador, El Salvador and Mexico. The discussion focused on elaborating a common agenda for the development of policy alternatives and a plan for advocacy work. It was agreed that each country would focus on two or three themes, which would be determined based on the interest and conditions in each country. All countries expressed interest in the areas of trade and the financial sector, and many showed interest in employment and labor-market policies, as well as in privatization of water utilities. In order to strengthen communication and coordination, it was agreed to form a SAPRIN regional steering committee with representatives from each of the four countries.
In the Africa region, efforts intensified to support the SAPRI country exercises and ensure that each country successfully completes its research process and holds its Second National Forum before the end of the year. In June, the Regional Center brought four key civil-society representatives from Mali to a meeting in Accra, where Ghanaian researchers explained how their research was being carried out and the situation in Mali was discussed. As a result of that meeting and subsequent communication and assessments, the Regional Center decided it could not support a continuation of the SAPRI research process in Mali.
In August, the technical team member of the Regional Center traveled to Zimbabwe and Uganda to meet with civil-society teams in those countries. He attended a methodology workshop in Zimbabwe and discussed with the technical team in that country how to best move forward the research process in the time remaining for the SAPRI exercise. In Uganda, he met with research teams to review their methodology and progress to date and met with the steering committee to discuss the work plan for successfully completing the SAPRI exercise before the end of the year.
With only one SAPRI and one CASA country in the Asia region, the Asia Regional Center has not been active in country coordination. Communication with these country teams was maintained by the SAPRIN global Secretariat. Meanwhile, the Asia Regional Center has participated at the global level in Executive and Steering Committee discussions.
4. Central Europe
The global Secretariat serves as the Regional Center, maintaining all coordination and communication with Hungary. In this capacity, the Secretariat worked closely with the Hungarian civil-society team as it prepared for the Second National Forum and traveled to Hungary to participate in the Forum in late June.
VI. Global Level
The global Secretariat continued to effect coordination among all of the SAPRIN countries, monitoring programmatic progress and providing technical assistance as necessary, as well as gathering and organizing information. In addition, it worked closely with Regional Centers to help problem solve in order to move forward each of the country exercises and ensure their completion by the end of the year.
Alliance building with other social movements has remained a priority for SAPRIN, and the Secretariat has been proactive in this area. In this context, a member of the Secretariat participated in meetings during the Social Summit +5 in Geneva in June, as well as in the Global Dialogue at the Expo 2000 in Hannover on Fighting Poverty: Social Innovations and New Coalitions. In addition, SAPRIN is strengthening its relationships with U.N. agencies.
The Secretariat has also maintained ongoing coordination and communication with the Executive and Steering Committees. As it was not possible to physically hold a meeting of either body in this period, a conference-call meeting of the Steering Committee took place on 10 August to discuss the time line and progress in completing the SAPRI/CASA exercise, the relationship with the Bank, finances and fundraising, alliance building and advocacy work.
Financial management and fundraising have remained major activities for the Secretariat, and both have been extremely time-consuming. Financial management has become almost a full-time job due to the need to report to a growing array of donors, including the European Union, which has demanding reporting requirements. Fundraising has also increased in order to meet SAPRIN needs during the last phase of SAPRI/CASA (at a time when euro depreciation has significantly eaten into SAPRIN finances), as well as to garner funds for future SAPRIN activities. A grant was received from the Rockefeller Foundation and discussions are ongoing with the German and U.S. governments and other potential sources.
In addition, the Secretariat continued to manage the relationship and formal communication with the World Bank. As SAPRI nears the final phase of the exercise, conflicts have begun to arise between SAPRIN and the Bank regarding the original conception of the exercises conclusion. This and a series of smaller issues that indicate a lack of seriousness on the part of the Bank in dealing with SAPRI, have been addressed by the Secretariat, with support from the Executive and Steering Committees. These issues, which have yet to be resolved, continue to require significant time on the part of the Secretariat.