Eight Strategic Recommendations for Intensifying the Role of the World Bank
Authors: Vinay Bhargava, Kit Cutler, Daniel Ritchie
This report examines the impact that citizen demand for good governance (DFGG) can have on development effectiveness. It analyzes World Bank and other donor experience with support for DFGG; constraints to intensifying support for DFGG within the World Bank; and possible ways to enhance the impact of DFGG on development outcomes.
What is Demand for Good Governance?
The importance of citizen engagement for good governance is widely recognized by development actors. Concepts such as accountability, transparency, participatory monitoring, voice, democratization, rule of law, access to information, social inclusion, women’s empowerment, and civil society capacity development are routinely used to guide the design of programs in sectors ranging from infrastructure to environment to health to public sector reform. All of these terms reflect aspects of what the World Bank has broadly termed the demand side of governance, or, more precisely, the “demand for good governance.”
The Way Forward: Eight Strategic Recommendations for Intensifying DFGG
Development organizations have been supporting DFGG activities for many years, but none has taken a key role in promoting, or establishing the evidentiary basis for, what could become a key tool for enhancing development effectiveness. Many are looking to the World Bank, with its broad experience and convening power, to play a leadership role in both these areas. Although integrating DFGG into the Bank’s way of doing business will be tantamount to shifting to a new development paradigm—after decades of focusing almost exclusively on the executive branch—it is important to take advantage of the momentum created by the Governance and Anti-Corruption Strategy to move the DFGG agenda forward.
Given the already stretched staff capacity at the Bank and the labor-intensiveness of DFGG, the program must be planned carefully and realistically. To move the agenda forward, this report makes eight strategic recommendations, which can be put in place as part of the operational guidelines and funding and management arrangements for Phase 2 of the GAC Strategy. We also offer some suggestions on how to proceed—recognizing that, particularly in a budget-constrained environment, the way forward will ultimately depend on the art of the possible. Inevitably there will be tradeoffs between intensification goals and available resources. But the bottom line is that an unfunded mandate will not succeed.
- Focus the GAC Strategy Phase 2 on strategically and selectively supporting DFGG activities at project and country levels.
- Fund DFGG in new, innovative ways.
- Learn from the experience of others.
- Anchor DFGG work within the Bank, by creating a focal point and ensure that the mandate is adequately funded.
- Measure, evaluate, and report on the Bank’s DFGG work.
- Explicitly budget for estimated costs of DFGG interventions in lending operations.
- Build the Bank’s analytical capacity to do DFGG work better.
- Choose the right contexts, tools, and partners to intensify DFGG work.
The Way Forward
The World Bank possesses many advantages that could allow it to step into the role of the global agenda-setter in DFGG in the coming years. Although a number of organizations have been using, developing or funding DFGG approaches for many years, none of these has taken a leadership role to drive the DFGG agenda forward at a global level. Many DFGG stakeholders have high expectations of Bank playing a leadership role in this potentially key area for enhancing development effectiveness. Intensifying the World Bank’s engagement in the Demand for Good Governance will undoubtedly be a challenging task. Integrating DFGG into the Bank’s way of doing business is tantamount to shifting to a new development paradigm after decades of focusing almost exclusively on the executive branch. It is important to take advantage of the existing momentum for DFGG work during the last three years and intensify this work. Many of this report’s recommendations can be put in place as part of the operational guidelines and funding and management arrangements that are expected in 2010–11 as part of the Phase II of the GAC strategy’s institutionalization.