August 24, 2010 - 12:00am
A chance encounter in a hotel elevator in Tokyo between Professor Robert McCleery and one of his former students leads to increased inter-agency cooperation in development.
It had been a long day of working with country paper authors as part of the project Making Infrastructure Work for the Poor, funded by the government of Japan through UNDP in New York. I had written a background paper and was advising country authors from Bangladesh, Senegal, Thailand and Zambia.
As I reached the elevator in the Tokyo hotel where we were staying, a familiar face emerged. It was Nina Bermeier (MACD ´01), who had been a great student in my International Economics and Asian Development classes. She happened to be in town working on pro-poor infrastructure development with a group from the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and various national aid agencies, including hers, the German GTZ. (- Their report Promoting Pro-Poor Growth: Infrastructure was published by the OECD)
Both reports were highly sensitive, confidential, works in progress, - so naturally the first thing we did was swap our drafts. It was amazing how similar these completely separate efforts were, already, but through our collaboration it appeared that the aid community was speaking with a unified voice and clear message on the important topic when our respective reports were released.
But it took the MIIS connection to make it happen.