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Exclusive interview: Roberto Tarallo

Marginal, no more: The World Bank’s trust funds

By Elena L. Pasquini29 June 2012

Women celebrate the opening of a health clinic sponsored by World Bank-financed Tanzania Social Action Fund. Photo by: Scott Wallace / World Bank

Following the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti in 2010, donors from around the globe pledged billions of dollars to help the country rebuild. Some of them decided to pool their resources in what is called the Haiti Reconstruction Fund.

HRF is just one of over a thousand trust funds being administered by the World Bank Group. To be exact, by June 30, 2011, the bank was managing 1,038 trust funds worth a total of $29.1 billion.

Some were found to have overlapping purposes, and the bank is now conducting joint portfolio reviews with donors to determine how trust funds may be consolidated.

“Donors are surprised when we show our tables and our analysis, for example on fragmentation,” Roberto Tarallo, manager of global partnerships and trust fund operations at the World Bank.” There is a donor — I am not going to mention here by name, but one of the main donors — who said it couldn’t believe [there are] 285 trust funds, most of them very, very teeny, tiny ones that have a lot of duplications at the country level and at the sectoral level.”

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About the author

Elena L. Pasquini

Elena Pasquini covers the development work of the European Union as well as various U.N. food and agricultural agencies for Devex News. Based in Rome, she also reports on Italy's aid reforms and attends the European Development Days and other events across Europe. She has interviewed top international development officials, including European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs. Elena has contributed to Italian and international magazines, newspapers and news portals since 1995.

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