IFI governance

Background

Engaging citizens for better development results

20 April 2017 | Minutes

Panelists

  • Chair: Auguste Tano Kouame, Director, Human Development and Economic Management, Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) –World Bank Group (WBG)
    Vinay Bhargava, Chief Technical Officer, Partnership for Transparency Fund
  • Rasmus Heltberg, Lead Evaluation Officer and co-team leader for the citizen engagement evaluation, IEG
  • Jonathan Fox, Professor, School of International Service, American University
  • Lauren Kelly, Senior Evaluation Officer Sustainable Development, IEG -WBG

Mr. Kouame:

Introduction  to IEG – has changed significantly – now focused on entire World Bank Group, including IFC and MIGA.

Looking at positive ‘lessons learned’. Also looks at partnership. Independent – reporting directly to the Board.

This session focuses on IEG Citizen Engagement evaluation. The survey to seek feedback on expectations and opinions around World Bank Group citizen engagement efforts will be open for a period of two months from April 19, 2017 to June 19, 2017.

Rasmus Heltberg:

In Denmark citizen consultation is a matter of course. Not always the case elewhere.

Evaluation aim to help Bank become better at listening to people – participation is key. Not a question of citizenship – focus on stakeholders.

Will track progress on listening to communities in 100% of projects. Focus on field visits.

Looking for what has worked and what has not.

Looking at effectiveness: a) mechanism and tools b) results – are development results better? Example of Dominican Republic where outcomes were indeed improved.

Complex evaluation at global level. Project-level, but also in terms of Country Partnership Framework. Must factor in local context.  WB focus on country systems. Important to consider whether tools are ad hoc or support existing systems.

Interested in corporate enabling environment – staff training, resources, incentives.

15 country case studies – Online survey will be used to expand participation in the evaluation.

This is not about Bank relationship to CSOs, but see CSOs as partners and enablers of positive participation.

Jonathan Fox:

Context matters and varies from one party state to ones with vibrant CSO sectors.

Collective or individual – many tools used thus far tend to focus on individual. But this does not shift power. Collective power is the only way to shift power.

Top down approach – threatens elite capture.  Fear factor is a challenge – eg, comment box in public places. Information provision is not enough. Feedback loops often fail to close.

Bottom-up monitoring lacks bite. Citizen engagement is easy to fake.

Civil society density is uneven.

Tactical vs. strategic approaches – tool-led interventions have severe limitations.Exaggerated aspirations that information will result in collective action.

No magic bullet. One must create enabling environment for collective action. Lack of follow-up likely to result in frustration.

Need for scale – vertically and horizontally.

How can external actors help:

1. Use existing social capital – work with people where they are

2. actionable information – not often the case

3. Proactive inclusion of under-represented.

4. Enabling environment – protection from reprisal.

Virtuous circle – voice needs teeth but teeth may not bite without voice.

Lauren Kelly:

Natural resource management and environment a focus of evaluation

What is the theory behind engagement? Engagement does not always result in positive environment outcomes.

What are process outcomes – how does one measure these outcomes. Bank is better at measuring specific project outcomes. Bank does not have system in place to measure social changes.

How is representation defined? Who is engaged, why? Who is excluded? Vertical and horizontal accountability. What happens when one ‘pits’ citizen with local government officials?

Focus on fragile and conflict-affected states – beyond third-party monitoring. Will visit Mali – ramping up funding in the North post-coup.

IEG is ramping up own capacity. Trying to learn from others, other techniques.

IDP/ refugees in Mali – used mobile data to analyse movement of IDPs/ refugees.

Vinay Bhargava:

Trying to ensure operational perspective. Years of experience – three relevant books avaiable – Citizens vs. Corruption, also book evaluation of 15 WB projects in Bangladesh.

WB to be congratulated on new strategy. 90% projects have beneficiary feedback. Roadmap exists.

Lots of caveats – monitoring required. Citizen engagement will be streamed into all projects by President Kim.

What is the environment? SDGs do open up environment. Open government partnership also a positive development – now 70 members.

Darker side – more than 50% of countries space is shrinking.

1. No monolithic solution.

2.  Social intermediaries are key (CSOs, media, etc) – no grievance resources used, etc.

3. Engagement must go beyond project financing

4. Better focus is required on establishing/ examining links between engagement and development outcomes – currently positive linkage is taken as a given.

5. What is measured is what is done. Narrative portions of project evaluations are often forgotten. Engagement assessment must be included and have progress indicators.

Plenary session

Group discussions based on question: What has worked and what has not worked

Positive:

There is much more information available to communities and stakeholders

Some positive examples of citizen engagement in Nigeria with water usage/ privatisation dispute where CSO liaison was able to facilitate fruitful discussions.

PNPM project in Indonesia

Negatives:

Information is not always user-friendly

Not all who should be consulted are included in consultations. Not all systems are fit for purpose, a box-ticking mentality remains.

Concerns about the “fear factor” – many still afraid to speak up. There is a sense that people speak at their own risk.

In some cases ‘engagement’ is only done in order to receive stakeholder support after decisions have already been taken.

The evaluation is expected to conclude in March 2018

 

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