Bank specialist assesses NGO networks

15 June 1999

Kathy Bain, Latin America civil society specialist at the World Bank, has written a draft paper on The Accountability of Trans-National NGO Networks in Policy Alliances with the World Bank.

The paper assesses NGOs’ contributions to regional/global policy dialogues and the extent to which they are “downwardly accountable”, ie represent grassroots groups. It examines in detail whether they:

a) are representative,

b) build capacity, and

c) foster “social capital” among their members.

The paper examines the SAPRIN, Womens’ Eyes and NGO Working Group networks. Only the latter gets a generally positive assessment.

The paper raises many interesting points for NGOs and the Bank but suffers from claims that NGOs have entered an era of “constructive collaboration” with the Bank, and that the Bank can expect international NGO networks to come up with neat, unified policy lines.

The draft paper is available from kbain@worldbank.org.