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The Development Gateway Issue

Did the Gateway become the Gateway ?


One of the main stakes in the contoversy surrounding the Development Gateway, a portal for development information initiated by the Worldbank, was its credibility with civil society organisations, and other organisations involved in development information. Thus we ask whether the Gateway has by now acquired this credibility. Judging from the networks that have configured around the Gateway on the Web, the relation between the Development Gateway and the Worldbank appears pivotal to this issue. In the network disclosed by the critics of the Gateway, the Worldbank occupies the central position. But in the network of the Gateway’s partners, it is absent. (Also, while the Gateway was still presented as a Worldbank initiative on the Gateway’s homepage at the beginning of 2001, all reference to the Bank has now dissappeared from it.) We tentatively conclude that the Development Gateway, in an attempt to highten its credibility, now presents itself as an independent initiative, as opposed to an inter-governmental one. Its critics, however, continue to identify the Worldbank as the main actor behind the Gateway. These critics appear to be proven right by a letter we received from the Gateway, after our research tool, the IssueCrawler, had visited their site. The letter was signed by a representative of « The Development Gateway, The Worldbank. » The severing of the connection between the Bank and the Gateway thus appears as a public relations move only.

Gateway Chronology

March 2000
Fundación Acceso releases “Global Development Gateway Needs Assessment Report for Civil Society Organizations”, a report commissioned by the World Bank Institute (WBI). Report suggests that Bank addresses the concerns regarding World Bank’s ‘overpowering’ involvement in the initiative.

June 2000
One World and IDS (Sussex University) makes a proposal on Civil Collaboration with the Global Development Gateway (GDG). This document sets down broad principles for successful partnerships in implementing the Gateway.

Juli 2000
Europe civil society consultation by One World.

Bellanet launches GDG principles online discussion.

September 2000
WBI requests APC (Association for Progressive Communications) to moderate discussion on behalf of the Gateway team. APC declines.

“Open Joint Letter of concern on the GDG” sent to Wolfensohn signed by several organisations and individuals from civil society organisations.

October 2000
GDG principles report released by Bellanet. Key recommendation is that if the Gateway continues it should have a governance structure independent of the Bank.

GDG consultation starts in the GKD mailing list, facilitated by EDC (Education Development Center) contracted by the World Bank Institute.

November 2000
GDG online discussion facilitated by EDC ends.

Wolfensohn suggests that the Gateway could be governed independently from the Bank.

The first Gateway prototype showcased by the Bank in Prague during the World Bank/IMF Annual Meeting.

January 2001
First Gateway Newsletter released. Mentions the proposed establishment of a Gateway Foundation.

Process of setting up editorial committees for the Gateway commences.

Planning site is at http://www.worldbank/gateway

February 2001
Central Asia East Europe consultation.

South Africa consultation.

April 2001
Release of “A Tower of Babel on the Internet: The World Bank's Development Gateway” by the Bretton Woods Project. Contains a broad-based critique of the Gateway and the proposed Gateway Foundation.

July 2001
Corruption claim against the Gateway lodged with the World Bank Fraud and Corruption Investigations Hotline by several Latin American organisations. Claim cites misuse of Bank funds as core complaint.

World Bank board meeting addresses the Gateway issue. Board decides to support establishment of a Development Gateway Foundation. Founding members of the Foundation are to be institutions that contribute financially to the Foundation.

August 2001
Public announcement by the Bank on the establishment of the Foundation.

December 2001
First meetings of the Development Gateway Foundation Board in Washington DC. World Bank Group has three seats on the board (out of nine).

April 2002
Second meeting of the Development Foundation Board.

The Network Effects of IGOs and Donors: The Case of the Women's Network Internet Governance Map Enron
Corporate Responsibility The Development Gateway Issue

Gateway was the Worldbank | The Gateway is the Worldbank | The Gateway is the Gateway? | The Gateway is the Bank