|The Annual Bank Conference on Development Economics (ABCDE) brings together academics, policy makers, representatives of multilateral and bilateral agencies, research institutes, civil society organizations, students, and journalists, and thus provides an excellent opportunity to foster exchange of knowledge and understanding of development issues. ABCDE 2007 took place in Bled, Slovenia, and was co-organized by the World Bank and the Ministry of Finance of Slovenia. It gathered together over 400 participants over two days to discuss the theme of Development and the Private Sector.
Olga Sulla, Senior Economist for the World Bank, provided an overview of the current foundations landscape. The main messages raised by the speaker were that foundations do play an increasingly important role in development. As of today, however, international development activities represent a very small portion of overall foundations’ work. Philanthropy for development is currently heavily US dominated. Lastly, Sulla stated the world’s poorest countries are not always the strongest beneficiaries of direct assistance from philanthropic foundations.
Jaime Atienza, Head of Policy Coherence and Economic Relations for Fundación Carolina, presented one of the possible business models represented by foundations: a public-private partnership between the Spanish government and 26 big transnational Spanish enterprises. Gabor Peteri, Director of Development for the Local Government Initiative Development Ltd. (LGID), talked about the experiences of the Open Society Institute, which is a decentralized network of 31 national foundations. Iztok Hocevar of the International Trust Fund presented yet another modus operandi of a foundation: a trust fund consisting of various private and public donors, put in place to support de-mining activities if former Yugoslavia.