Maternal Health Taskforce Open Forum

This announcement may be of particular interest to those of you interested in reproductive and/or maternal health.

Women Deliver has been running a series of blog posts addressing the expiration of the Millennium Development Goals in 2015. A number of experts have offered thoughts on a global framework for health after the MDGs. Now is your chance to add to the discussion as Women Deliver is hosting an online discussion starting next week to address reproductive and maternal health:

With the deadlines for the Millennium Development Goals and the International Conference on Population and Development’s Program of Action fast approaching, Women Deliver is calling on the entire reproductive and maternal health community—from policymakers to health workers to advocates—to participate in an online discussion to shape the future of our field. Join this critical global conversation at and weigh in on where we are, where we need to be, and how we need to get there.
This means taking stock of lessons learned, challenges ahead, and tackling the critical question: What will—and what must—happen to the MDGs and ICPD after 2015? Through a series of weekly, e-mail-based discussions, you will have the chance to share your thoughts, experience, and views on specific questions, like the effectiveness of global versus regional MDG targets, the role of civil society in shaping development goals, and the appropriate maternal and reproductive health indicator of tomorrow.

The forum will be open from November 7th to November 23rd, so be sure to make your voice heard!

World Bank’s “Food Forum” Follow-Up




Back in April, the World Bank hosted an online open forum to generate discussion about, and solutions to, the global food crisis.  I recently received an e-mail from them assuring me that they had listened to me and carefully pored over the dialogue generated:

Dear World Bank Open Forum subscriber,

You talked. We listened.

On April 14-15, 2011, the World Bank held an Open Forum to gather ideas on ways to overcome the food crisis and help the world’s one billion hungry people. The response was overwhelming: comments and proposed solutions rolled in from more than 500 people in 88 countries.

Bank experts read through your ideas and are now responding to the issues that generated the most discussion: land and water management, climate change and environmental pressures, agriculture and support to smallholder farmers.

You can watch expert video messages on the Open Forum response pages, where we’ve also included an interactive map that aggregates Open Forum comments by country. The site is available in English, French, Spanish and Arabic, reflecting the wide diversity of forum commenters.

Food price volatility and food insecurity remain pressing issues for policymakers, farmers and consumers worldwide. We launched the response in advance of this week’s meeting of G20 Agriculture Ministers in Paris, where the food crisis is front-and-center. Our goal? To make your thoughts and solutions part of the global debate.

These “open forums” are emerging as a new trend with aid agencies; the Bank held one on open development, unemployment, and MDGs in October, and USAID’s similarly-styled Global Pulse took place last March.  

I tend to be a bit skeptical when it comes to these kinds of “town hall” type exercises.  For one thing, I question the utility of diverting the time and energy of an otherwise-productive staff to sifting through thousands of messages from people who like to hear themselves talk to find a handful of useful suggestions.  Also, how does anyone know that this is nothing more than a PR exercise?

World Bank Open Forum focuses on open development, global unemployment, and MDGs

On October 7-8, the World Bank is hosting an online open forum in conjuction with live video coverage from the World Bank/IMF annual meetings and panel discussions with subject matter experts.  Similar to the USAID’s Global Pulse event held earlier this year, this 24-hour interactive chat session will be focusing on three key areas: open development, the global unemployment crisis and strategies for creating jobs, and the effect that the MDGs will have on development.
Open Development Solutions
Jumpstarting Jobs
Development Changes Now

The World Bank’s own “Inside the Web” blog entry on this event can be found here.
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