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Sunday, 17 June 2012





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Language discrepancy hindrance to implement projects at grassroot level -WB official

The World Bank will take serious note of the need to address Sri Lankans in their native language which is vital to disseminate information said an official of the Bank responding to a query by a jourmalist during a workshop to create awareness on the access to information (AI) policy launched in 2010.

He said that language discrepancy is a major hindrance to implement projects at grassroot level and enables people to have greater access to the Bank's knowledge repository. Awareness programs will be launched to reach all communities.

The open data initiative enables people to access information on the Bank's operations, projects, partnerships and research.

Sumir Lal of the World Bank Head Office in Washington said that the language barrier was a major hindrance to disseminate information and launch programs at grassroot level.

Journalists said that World Bank information is mostly accessed by the English speaking minority, while those who speak native languages are deprived of access to this knowledge. Citing examples from Africa and other regions, an official of the World Bank team said that the Bank collaborates with community development organisations to address people in their native language.

The access to information policy is a part of the World Bank's modernisation agenda which gives greater access to knowledge on the Bank's operations and research. Anyone could access the Bank's data legally without copyright reservations.

Lal said that transparency, accountability and citizen participation are at the forefront of the citizen-centred development approach of the Bank.

He said any information which is not on the list of 10 exceptions could be accessed. The list of the 10 exceptions are personal information, communications of executive directors' offices, ethics committee, attorney-client privilege, security and safety information, separate disclosure regimes, confidential client/ third party information, corporate administrative, deliberative information and financial information such as forecasts, analysis, transactions, banking and billing.

The policy provides an appeal mechanism for those who have been denied information or improperly or unreasonable restricted information. The Bank has disclosed over 24,000 documents and it has been recognised as a leader in transparency. The Bank is ranked as the 'Best performer' for two consecutive years by a leading UK publisher.

A Bank official said that access to financial data has increased and added that data is available on mobiles and androids. People could access information on the location of a project and its progress. The projects could be visualised and linked to the geographic location through data maps.

Around 2,500 projects in over 30,000 locations have been mapped out. World Bank President Robert Zoellick said that the opening to information is a great legacy of the Bank during the past two years.

The World Bank's depository libraries set up in over 100 countries provide free access to Bank publications, databases and policy research papers.



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