The largest concessional lending program for the world’s poorest countries now needs to boost the roles of and funding for civil society in helping governments deliver results with accountability in the projects it funds says Partnership for Transparency (PTF).
Implementation of the largest ever 20th replenishment of the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA20) is just beginning. It will provide $93 billion over three years (2022 to 2025) for development projects and programs in the poorest 74 countries in the world.
“IDA20 is a welcome and timely initiative when the world’s poorest peoples are even more vulnerable due to COVID-19, global economic shocks, rising inflation, and climate change. We fully support it. However, IDA can make a difference in the lives of the poor only if it is implemented efficiently with accountability in use of funds. Evidence is clear that governments partnering with civil society deliver more and better results and value for money. This is a time when IDA-implementing agencies should recognize and fully engage the expertise of local civil society organizations (CSOs) in strengthening the impact of IDA-funded programs and the World Bank should proactively promote expansion of CSO engagement in IDA,” says Dr. Vinay Bhargava, Chief Technical Advisor at PTF.
With funding from the Open Society Foundations, PTF has drafted a report on “Enhancing Citizen-Driven Delivery and Accountability in IDA Operations”.
On December 15, 2022, Vinay Bhargava presented the study’s emerging findings and recommendations at a seminar on the role of CSOs in IDA sponsored by the Center for Global Development and the Transparency and Accountability Initiative. A video of the event can be seen here. A copy of the PTF presentation is available here and a two-page briefing on emerging findings and recommendations can be downloaded here.
PTF is now making the draft report available for public consultation through the end of April 2023. PTF invites comments and suggestions on the draft study. Please feel free to provide feedback to Vinay Bhargava at email@example.com.
The report details four compelling reasons for elevating the roles of civil society organizations (CSOs) in the projects and programs supported by the International Development Association (IDA), the concessional grant affiliate of the World Bank group:
1. CSOs can help deliver more and faster results.
2. Their expertise in promoting inclusive development will enable IDA to better achieve its goals.
3. CSOs can build citizen ownership and support of development policies and provide independent monitoring of funding for projects.
4. Their engagement can deliver greater value for aid money by constructively engaging with government accountability institutions to identify and prevent inefficiencies, waste, and corruption.
The study finds that a good foundation for such an expansion in IDA exists as the World Bank Group (that includes IDA) recognizes the evidence that citizen, stakeholder, and civil society engagement improves development effectiveness and the IDA has progressively adopted policies and targets to promote CSO engagement.
The study also finds that CSOs have the potential to contribute much more to enhancing citizen driven delivery and accountability in IDA. In light of this, PTF calls on IDA to:
1. take proactive actions to expand and adequately fund CSO engagement in IDA projects,
2. establish a facility to provide dedicated funding for local CSOs to improve effectiveness of their participation in country engagement activities by IDA and carry out independent third-party monitoring to enhance accountability in IDA-funded projects with high governance and fiduciary risks, and
3. initiate consultations on future directions of expanded citizen and CSO engagement in IDA20 and beyond.
“We applaud IDA stakeholders for securing the largest-ever IDA replenishment. The hard part of delivering the promised results with accountability in use of funds is just beginning. To do this, the IDA management and partners need to move ahead and find concrete ways to expand the roles and funding for CSOs in partnership with governments. We call on all IDA stakeholders to review the draft report, suggest improvements for it during the consultation period, and implement agreed actions as soon as possible so that results can be reviewed as part of the IDA mid-term review toward the end of 2023,” commented Dirk Mattheisen, PTF President.