Written by Michael Berger, WB17 delegation co-leader.

Check out the video version of this update HERE!

Today was an OUTSTANDING kickoff to our delegation, with most of our delegates in town early for a day of planning before the meetings start tomorrow. We convened blocks away from the World Bank  at George Washington University to identify our strategy for the week.

After introductions, we started to identify what we believe the World Bank can be doing better, relying on our collective knowledge and experience. We identified what we can do to insist that the Bank move in that direction. While we arrived in DC with the intention to convince the World Bank to end investment in fossil fuel infrastructure, a lot of insightful conversations yielded crucial specifics of that would look like. After several hours of discussions, we came up with the following:

We, the SustainUS World Bank Delegation 2017, seek to:

Amplify the youth voice in institutional decision-making and increase awareness and understanding of World Bank structures, processes, and policies

Require the World Bank to commit to a 1.5C degree future through transparent divestment from contradictory projects. The commitment will address the negative impacts imposed upon communities whose economies rely upon the extraction of fossil fuel infrastructure and natural gas.

Insist the World Bank to report on climate impacts of all potential and current investments.

Demand the World Bank meet its responsibility to honor and implement local knowledge in its investments.

Instill responsibility will consist of using a framework-based on equity and reciprocity to further sustainable development. The framework would not determine process and would be determined by community consent. In addition, frameworks must be devised to include qualitative pieces such as cultural customs, rituals, and priorities.

Construct political cover for other CSO’s by promoting mutual interests through youth spokespeople. Specifically, we will use earned and social media to apply pressure and promote intersections of mutual interests of CSO’s and youth spokespeople.

Build meaningful co-educational relationships with other CSO’s and WBG participants as a means to advance further collaborative opportunities for youth.

In developing these goals, we kept in mind four crucial components related to the World Bank and how we engage with it: 1) youth, 2) accountability, 3) paradigms, and 4) coalition building.  We considered the diversity of  communities impacted by the World Bank including indigenous and refugee populations, and the importance of community-based decision-making processes to guarantee the success of projects. In addition, we considered how the Bank could decolonize the implementation process of paternalistic financing systems.

We also identified one key challenge for our group this week: fundraising. Our tight timeline has brought us here with limited funds, but unlimited potential and energy. Please help us hold the World Bank accountable to its own stated mission of “sustainable development” by donating here.

We are so excited to head into meetings at the World Bank tomorrow, and are doing our homework so we can keep them honest in the pursuit of sustainable development.

Aneesa Khan

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