Sponsor: Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) – World Bank
- Marie Gaarder, Manager, Independent Evaluation Group (Moderator)
- Elena Bardasi, Senior Economist, Independent Evaluation Group
- Jeff Hall, Executive Director, Bank Information Center
- Rasmus Heltberg, Lead Evaluation Officer, Independent Evaluation Group
- Jeffrey M. Thindwa, Program Manager, Global Partnership for Social Accountability
- Jan Weetjens, Global Partnership for Social Accountability
- Cissy Nabazinga Kagaba, Executive Director, Anti-Corruption Coalition Uganda (ACCU)
Jeffrey M. Thindwa
- CE corporate commitments, first time a bank-wide framework that mandates GPSA is outward looking and supports CSO to increase accountability.
- Mainstreaming is right across the board.
- There are two global practices.
- Organising a massive change process: when people do not have a voice in shaping the programmes affecting themselves, they are not effective. 1/3 of the operation goes out to get community participation. 2/3 of projects does not do this. We understand as an organisation this needs to be in the DNA of the organisation/project. So we make it a formal commitment to measure it.
- To report on how project affected shape the decision making: citizen engagement. To make sure that we can measure this, we will use citizen engagement monitoring, and are happy to elaborate how we will do that.
- Internal challenges:
- First, the World Bank is part of a democracy, so there is the risk that people will respect the letter of the law, but not the spirit. Will this really be meaningful engagement with citizens? It is essential to avoid the compliance trap.
- Secondly, technical quality. Look at our grievance redress mechanisms. Challenge of capacity building internally and with our partners.
- Third, challenge on monitoring. Making reporting go beyond compliance. Your experience is helpful here: GPSA programme, supporting CSOs in countries.
- Three external challenges:
- Bring it up in country strategies to increase citizen participation and allowing for people to shape policy on a country level.
- Same issues of exclusion affect engagement, to make sure all voices and marginalised groups are heard.
- Finally, countries where the presence of government becomes very fragile. Even if governments are not present, to what extent can those mechanisms be instrumental to fill that gap, accountability mechanisms.
- Initial thoughts to help shape our paper and get the discussion going and get your input.
- Mentioning of previous World Bank citizen engagement schemes, such as through the DPL, safeguards (WB), performance standards (IFC). Unsure if MIGA will be a part of the evaluation.
- Methods depend on the questions and the scope, country case studies, in-depth project reviews (PPARs), staff and stakeholder reviews, portfolio analysis, literature reviews.
Cissy Nabazinga Kagaba
- One of the issues that comes out is that citizens have been engaged. At times citizens indirectly contribute to the budget. There are different ways in how are citizens engaged.
- Issues of corruption in Uganda were not very good. NGO and civil society are never privy to these contracts. The money in education is huge, but the quality of the project is poor: more than 80% of the schools were not built. People did not know it was a Bank-funded project and did not know where to raise their concerns.
People were not involved in the huge hydro project in Uganda. If the community were involved, the community would understand why the project is important to them and would not oppose it or stop it.
- We need formal spaces where civil society can be part of the process/programme – if citizens were involved, this would not have happened. The World Bank is freezing payment to Uganda due to cases of corruption.
- Some of the information is very technical, how do we break it down for CSOs to understand? The issue is the citizens, the local grassroots persons and how they are involved.
- We are very excited about this evaluation and we think this can significantly shift the bank. It can be transformational.
- As an outsider there are two banks: one a cutting edge organisation with great ideas, where citizen engagement is a fundamental part of the bank’s theory of change. With the second bank, citizen engagement is a by-product and sees itself as a bank, rather than a service to the world. How are we thinking about these two banks and how is that bank contributing to this agenda?
- The Bank can create enabling environments for citizens engagement, such as Tajikistan which is enabling space for citizen engagement. Thought leadership, reports and research.
- We will measure beneficiary feedback – is that enough? How does it actually improve the reality of citizen engagement on the ground?
- 29% of projects have a genuine feedback loop, how do we raise that number?
- It is on unfunded mandate, which can take 50% of their time, there are no incentives.
- The IEG cannot support the world of increasing citizen engagement. Tall order for limited staff to deal with that.
Cissy Nabazinga Kagaba
- How come funding has been cut? Why is there a high level of corruption? How do you bring them on board and give CSOs the necessary information and work with them systematically? We will still be coming at the tail end, and that will not change anything.
Q: Is there a conflict between GPSA and internal projects and working with governments, and how would you overcome this challenge?
Q: How will you overcome the difficult challenge in actually putting the plans into practice?
Q: I appreciate moving away from top-down approach and seeking citizen engagement at the design stage. But what about at the identification stage? Do the so-called beneficiaries want this project?
Q: How do the data collections and collectors work?
- We have a two-faced World Bank, that is very true. And will be true for organisations that have a mission and not just to make profit. The challenge is change management – how do we expand the area of our influence? We will never get 100%, but we will never stop trying to get 100%. Yes, only a third of the projects have a meaningful engagement (feedback loop). We establish the tools to hold the institutions to account. This will not be an easy thing.
- I am not asking about money, it is not part of the budget. On gender we have our gender paragraph, but that will not be good enough. It has to become the way of operating. It can only work if people feel that it actually helps, rather then out of fear or compliance. If people feel that engaging citizens it leading to better results, then they will do it. It helps you achieve your objectives.
Jeffrey M. Thindwa
- Bringing CSOs on board and giving them information in a systematic way – this is extremely important. Some sectors do better than others. If you look at energy and extractive industries, it has become an accepted model. Regarding the extractive value chain – that whole chain needs to be subject to social accountability.
- Is it universal? No. Is it everywhere? No, but it is a movement.
- Some changes also depend on country actors, not just World Bank actions. How World Bank projects are initiated, some governments should be pushing this.
- Isn’t it a good thing that 50 governments have stepped forward to finance our civil society? Financing comes from GPSA. Governments understand that the resources are for the CSOs.
Cissy Nabazinga Kagaba
- To talk about ownership of the project and if citizens actually appreciate that. Governments change laws to repress CSOs. It is citizens that have to pay back this money. Corruption thrives where secrecy is.
- In Uganda, only small amounts of people in parliament can access these projects in extractive industries.
- Some of these are loans and these have to be paid back and we need to make sure we hold our governments accountable.
- The best way to change the 29% is for the bank to release the data, so we can see how we can do better.
- Citizen engagement takes time and governments don’t like it, so we need to address that.
- The outcome of citizen engagement does not have to be the same as the projects themselves.
- What is the definition of the beneficiaries of the citizens?
- We can’t just rely on analysis of documents. We need to check the mandate and the spirit. We focus a lot on the projects, the engagement of strategies.
Q: Can you comment on the process of reengagement regarding the issue of citizen participation in Zimbabwe, where the World Bank has stopped supporting projects?
Q: How do you plan to engage with disagreements within civil society? There is an underlying notion that you just have to inform society and they will be in. When is it consent? If there is 80% agreement, how do you then deal with dissent?
Q: We need a clarification of the very definition of citizen engagement. It is a two-way street – you may evaluate the bank and the community, but the latter is not the influence on the bank. It is important for communities to understand what is at stake for our participation and to enable communities to have the means to participate.
Q: We applaud this evaluation and the conversation on this panel and the opportunities this offers for changing citizen engagement at the Bank. As this session is almost coming to an end how can CSOs provide more in-depth input into the questions you raised and engage in shaping this evaluation?
Q: Most of the times our governments don’t know what projects are going on, or where and how to engage with them. Countries don’t know what the GPSA is. How can this be overcome?
Q: Which CSOs are engaged and how is the engagement framed? Does that kind of framed engagement count?
- One of the biggest challenges is how to make information available. What information, on what form and what stage? I don’t feel that we have our hand on it.
- Citizen engagement is not the same as CSO engagement. Citizens being everybody, but the CSOs have an important role to play in facilitating the process and making the information available and understood.
- Citizen engagement is not the same as consent.
Jeffrey M. Thindwa
- The Zimbabwe question is tricky and delicate for the Bank. Even in complex processes, like the World Bank coming back to reengage in tough political environments, what is the scope for engaging citizens?
- We hear your concern about PRSPs – this is looking in the rear-view mirror, we don’t have them anymore.
- We hope that South Pacific countries can opt in the GPSA.
- At the limit we are talking about democracy really, and beyond what the World Bank can do.
- Reaching out through an email list timeline is all next calendar year.
- I have heard a lot of suggestions: who gets to participate, when and how information is provided. It is a two-way street, a feedback loop.
- Around the World Bank Group itself, there are incentives for staff to engage. How will the bank monitor this work? They need to take the country context into account.
- We are still thinking about how we can do that. We have a comms and IT team.