The first part of the Annual Report Development Effectiveness (ARDE) by the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG), Tracking Bank Performance, finds that 80 percent of projects were moderately satisfactory or better in reaching their objectives, meeting the Bank’s own performance target. However, it also finds that “very few country programmes are producing best-practice results”. The IEG warns the Bank against over-optimism, finding significant differences between the Bank’s self ratings and IEG’s ratings, which could lead to an inability to identify and remedy problem projects quickly.
The IEG is particularly critical of the Bank’s monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems, finding that they undermined the quality of the Bank’s own evaluations. A lack of evidence of actual programme achievements at the outcome level made it difficult for the IEG to ascertain the effect global programmes had on the ground. At the country level “too often such [M&E] frameworks have been poorly formulated and hence their usefulness is undermined”. It “continues to be difficult to piece together the various M&E indicators to form a view of the Bank´s overall development results.”
The IEG recommends improving the quality of M&E systems at project level, simplifying results frameworks at national level, and ensuring the Bank and partner countries learn from impact evaluations and better integrate them into country programmes.
Global public goods
The second part of the ARDE, Shared Global Challenges, looks at the Bank’s efforts to foster ‘global public goods’ stating that the Bank’s country-based model will come under strain “especially when global and country interests are seen to diverge significantly”. Furthermore, the systems for integrating what is said at corporate level into country level action is “undeveloped”. This criticism is particularly worrying as Climate Investment Fund projects start to roll out. Another IEG concern is that nearly half of global public goods financing comes from trust funds, which may further “increase the difficulties of mainstreaming such activity alongside long-standing work financed by the Bank´s own budget.”