Statement of Executive Directors
Thursday, May 17, 2007; 6:47 PM
Over the last three days we have considered carefully the report of the ad hoc group, the associated documents, and the submissions and presentations of Mr. Wolfowitz. Our deliberations were greatly assisted by our discussion with Mr Wolfowitz. He assured us that he acted ethically and in good faith in what he believed were the best interests of the institution, and we accept that. We also accept that others involved acted ethically and in good faith. At the same time, it is clear from this material that a number of mistakes were made by a number of individuals in handling the matter under consideration, and that the Bank's systems did not prove robust to the strain under which they were placed. One conclusion we draw from this is the need to review the governance framework of the World Bank Group, including the role as well as procedural and other aspects of the Ethics Committee. The Executive Directors acknowledge Mr. Wolfowitz's decision to resign as President of the World Bank Group, effective end of the fiscal year (June 30, 2007). The Board will start the nomination process for a new President immediately.
We are grateful to Mr. Wolfowitz for his service at the Bank. Much has been achieved in the last two years, including the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative, the Clean Energy Investment Framework, the Africa Action Plan, and the Avian Flu Initiative. 2006 was a record year for IDA lending, especially in Africa. The Bank has launched emergency action programmes in Liberia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic, and played a key role in the Lebanon and Afghanistan donors conference. In March, after an unprecedented global consultation process, we adopted a new strategy for the Bank's work on Governance and Anti-Corruption. And we have new strategies for Rapid Response in Fragile States, for the Health Sector and for the Financial Sector. We thank Mr Wolfowitz for his leadership and for championing the Bank's work across so many areas.
It is regrettable that these achievements have been overshadowed by recent events. Mr Wolfowitz has stressed his deep support for and attachment to the World Bank and his responsibility, as its President, to act at all stages in the best interests of the institution. This sense of duty and responsibility has led him to his announcement today. We thank him for this and underscore our appreciation for his commitment to development and his continuing support for the World Bank and its mission.