OREANDA-NEWS. December 16, 2013. Laura Tuck, World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia, completed a three-day visit on Friday to the Russian Federation. This  was Ms. Tucks first visit to Russia since becoming regional Vice President in September.

The visit focused on expanding the World Banks unique partnership with the Russian Federation, which encompasses three levels: global, regional, and national.

Russia is a strategic partner for the World Bank Group, especially in the Europe and Central Asia region. It has emerged as one of the main donors to lower-income countries in the region -- with a strong focus on knowledge sharing and capacity development in areas such as education, official statistics, public financial management, and project management. The global dimension of the World Bank Groups partnership with Russia on global economic challenges such as long-term financing for infrastructure investment has contributed to Russias effective leadership in key international economic fora like the G20, APEC, and the G8.

In a meeting with Deputy Minister of Finance Sergei Storchak, Ms. Tuck discussed Russias growing role as a regional and global player in development, including by hosting the IDA Replenishment Meeting on December 16-17, and Russia's upcoming G8 presidency. In addition, she co-signed with the Ministry of Finance the loan agreement for the Public Finance Management Technical Assistance Project. The project will assist the Ministry of Finance, as well as the Federal Tax Service, the Federal Treasury, and the Ministry of Economic Development in improving transparency and results focus in public financial management.

Ms. Tuck also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Economic Development on establishing a new Knowledge Delivery Hub for Investment Climate and Innovation in Russia.

I am pleased that the Bank is contributing to Russias efforts to improve the business environment through a strong technical collaboration. I commend the government on the country's impressive achievements in this area over the past two years, as reflected for example in Russias significant improvements in the Doing Business rankings, said Ms. Tuck.

The primary goal of the Knowledge Delivery Hub will be to absorb global knowledge and disseminate it throughout Russia to help policy makers across the country formulate, implement and monitor evidence-based policies in the fields of innovation and investment climate. When good practices emerge in Russia, these would also be documented so they can be shared with the rest of the world.

During her visit, Ms. Tuck also signed a cooperation agreement with the Eurasian Development Bank (EDB), which serves as the Trustee for the Anti-Crisis Fund of the Eurasian Economic Community (ACF), to support the preparation and implementation of the ACF-financed Irrigation Modernization and Institutional Capacity Building Project in Armenia with \\$40 million from the ECA Capacity Development Trust Fund . The agreement enables the EDB to tap into the ECA Capacity Development Trust Fund for future ACF-financed projects. This Trust Fund, which is administered by the World Bank, was established by the Government of the Russian Federation in April 2013 to support the preparation of projects in low-income and lower-middle income countries in the Europe and Central Asia region.

"The partnership between the EDB and the World Bank aims to bring knowledge and financing to support the adaptation of international best practices to the needs of the countries in the Eurasia region," Ms. Tuck said.

During her visit, Ms. Tuck met with the Minister for Development of the Russian Far East Alexander Galushka to exchange views on the implementation of the new priorities of the Russian Government with regard to the Far East and the possible role of the Bank. She also met several governors of Russian regions where the Bank Group has invested and done advisory work. During the meeting, the governors  emphasized that Russias regional development has pre-eminent importance for the future of the country, and the Bank should increasingly deepen its cooperation with Russias regions, in particular, with less developed ones. In recent years, the demand in Russia has grown rapidly for knowledge services, including reimbursable advisory services, in a wide range of activities that are well aligned with Russias own development priorities, from public-private partnerships (PPPs) to capacity-building for development assistance.

Ms. Tuck also visited the site of a project supported by  the World Bank the Russian Federal Service on Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring - supported by the Second National Hydromet System Modernization Project (Roshydromet-2) project for Russia. The project aims to further enhance Roshydromets capacity to deliver reliable and timely weather, hydrological and climate information to Russian citizens, firms, and regional and municipal governments.

Ms. Tucks meetings with Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets, Minister of Energy Alexander Novak, Advisor to Russia's President Andrey Belousov and Deputy Minister of Economic Development Sergei Belyakov focused on the priorities of the World Bank Groups partnership with the Russian Federation, a high-income country, especially in the areas of human development, social assistance, public financial management, business climate, and diversification of the economy.

Ms. Tuck also discussed Russias growing role as a regional player in development in her meeting with Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Grigory Karasin.

During the meeting at the Central Bank of Russia, Ms. Tuck and Deputy Chair of the Bank of Russia Kseniya Yudaeva exchanged views on recent economic trends and financial sector developments in the country.

Ms. Tuck also met with the representatives of economic policy think-tanks and had consultations with indigenous peoples to discuss the economic and social challenges of their communities.