In order to gain a better idea of how it is like to work at the World Bank Group and how the organization function itself, several Dutch Young Professionals are interviewed at the bank. After the recent interview with Stefan Peuchen, it is now Rosa Keizer’s turn to tell her story on this blog.
What is your role within the World Bank?
”As a Young Professional at the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality I had the opportunity to work for both the Dutch Embassy and the World Bank in Washington D.C. My contribution is part of an agreement signed between The Netherlands and the World Bank, where both parties commit to join efforts for increased food security worldwide. My team at the World Bank, with which I work four days a week, is part of the Global Practice Agriculture and is involved in Food Loss and Waste. I spend the remaining day at the Dutch Embassy, briefing with my colleagues involved in the topic and the Dutch ministries. I feel privileged to have this position; by working with two organizations I see my added value in creating synergies which can benefit both the World Bank and the Netherlands.”
How does your division attribute to reduce poverty in the world?
”At first sight, the link between food losses, waste, and poverty might be an easy one. All over the world enormous quantities of food are lost or wasted. I am talking about food that is not picked up from the field where it grows, because it might be cheaper for the farmer to leave it on the field rather than harvest it. I am talking about food that is wasted during transportation due to lack of adequate refrigeration or bad infrastructures. I am also talking about food that is bought by all of us and then is thrown without being consumed. This level of waste leads not only to great financial losses for local farmers but has also to great impact on the environment and the climate. Addressing this issue is a priority, not only for the World Bank, but also for public and private sectors worldwide.”
Which challenges do you address?
”Universities, NGO’s, governments and private sectors advocate for an increase in food production but what about all the food that gets lost or wasted? We know that the problem will not be solved simply by improving infrastructure. That is why we are working on understanding the food system; we want to see what the real drivers of food loss and waste are so we can tackle the problem from its roots. The European Union has started working on the issue some decades ago. Its experience is of great added value when we look at addressing issues in emerging and developing economies. The Netherlands is a frontrunner in this endeavor, having a strong background in agrifood and years of experience in improving our food system.”
How do your colleagues see the Netherlands and Dutch organizations?
”I think the Dutch are a respected guest at the table, where showing appreciation towards us is common. It is also well known that the Dutch are generous in sharing prosperity to stimulate development worldwide. Dutch are also very well known for the “Dutch diamond”, its public-private-partnerships. This also influences the role I embody at the World Bank. We help, but in order to build a sustainable relationship we seek for win-win partnerships and outcomes. I can say that I am proud of the contribution and role of the Netherlands in the international playing field.”
How can Dutch companies make themselves visible to the World Bank?
”Good question and my answer will be practical. I think the easiest way to answer is by looking at third parties currently visible within the bank. In my current capacity I see how Universities, research institutes, governments, philanthropists and other funding parties get connected to the bank. Number one is having and using your network. Secondly, engaging with established relations, liaisons or people seconded by the Dutch government (like myself) and trying to understand by means of this network where you can add value. The liaisons between the Embassy and the World Bank Group are crucial at this stage. They connect not only the Dutch government, but also non-government and private sector agents to the World Banks projects. Essential here is the access they have to the World Bank and the ability to easily pull up a chair at all kinds of tables.”