Home Summary Outcome

  

  

Proposal by the NGO Working Group
on Future Relations with the World Bank, August 2000
 


  

Enhancing Civil Society Capacity to Influence the Emergence of Participatory
Socio-Economic Policy Formulation in the World Bank  –
Re-Invigorating the Global Agenda of the NGO Working Group on the World Bank
 

 

CONTENTS 

Executive Summary 

                     Continuing the Fight Against Under-Development 

                     The Emergence of New Challenges  

                     Global Vs. Regional Argument 

                     The NGOWG View 

                     The NGOWG's Objectives 

                     The New Strategic Direction 

                     Institutional Reform
  

Main Report 

           Background and Context 

                     Restructuring – Regional Expansion, Global Focus  

           The NGO-World Bank Committee 

                     NGOs and the World Bank – Entering a Second Generation of Advocacy  

                     Accomplishments  

                     Participation Agenda, Participation Learning Group and Participation Conference  

                     Capacity Building 

                     Concessional Lending – The IDA Process  

                     Relations with Other Stakeholders  

           The New Strategic Work Programme: 2000-2003  

           Civic Engagement of Bank-Sponsored Poverty Reduction Strategies 

                     Situational Analysis  

                     Major Activities 

                     Output Indicators 

           Mainstreaming Standards of Participation in Bank Policy and Programme Work  

                     Situational Analysis  

                     Major Activities 

           Enhancing Bank-NGO relations in Policy Development and Implementation  

                     Civil Society Participation in New World Bank Approaches to Country Development  

                     Monitoring the World Bank at the Country Level 

                     Mapping World Bank ­ Civil Society Relations  

           Institutional Reform 

   


   

Executive Summary 

   

Continuing the Fight Against Under-Development 

At the turn of the century the NGOWG remains one of oldest and most complex forms of advocacy and dialogue among NGOs working on reforming the policies and practices of international financial institutions. It is the only forum in which NGOs from the Bank's borrowing countries have an equal voice on broad policy formulation and implementation practices of the world's leading international financial institution the World Bank.  

As a southern-led global network it lends itself to the kind of participation that is not normally found in traditional northern-led initiatives. Yet it still recognises the importance of networking and dialogue with organisations from industrialised countries who themselves play an ever important role in monitoring the work of the World Bank.  

With this approach, the NGO Working has, over the past fifteen years, developed a broad based advocacy on a variety of system wide issues pertaining to the formulation, implementation and evaluation of socio-economic policy between the Bank and its members from developing countries.  

At the heart of these efforts has been a desire to ensure that policies developed for implementation in the developing capitals of the world, are such that they promote and enhance socio-economic development, while protecting the environment and encouraging popular participation and ownership among the disadvantaged in society.  

As such, the approach of the NGO Working Group has been to fight against policies that curtail, or as has been the case in many instances, destroy the rights of ordinary people. To be sure, the Group's strongest advocacy has emerged in fighting the undemocratic and unsustainable policies of economic adjustment that emerged from the now discredited "Washington Consensus". Whether this was to push back policies that unleashed untold economic hardships on the poor through job losses, reduced incomes, increase taxes and user fees. Or those that promoted cut backs in social welfare, education and basic health care, the NGOWG, has led a strong advocacy at the global level to protect the interests of the poor.  

 

Its modus operandi has been to demand openness, accountability, and inclusiveness of all key stakeholders in the design of Bank policy especially as it relates to equitable and sustainable development in the Third World.  

Over the years, these demands have met with some acceptance. Today, as never before, the Bank, and several other donor organisations operating in developing countries have come to understand the importance of respecting the rights of the poor to receive a better quality life, through the implementation of policies that are holistic, integrated and inclusive. As a result efforts to deepen the frontal assault on poverty in all of its dimensions has taken centre stage in development policy. 

More importantly, the need to have active and wide ranging participation of the poor in designing and implementing the policies which affect them is beginning to gain currency among policy makers. Whether in macro-economic structural reform initiatives, poverty reduction strategies, social or private sector investment, the role of civil society in all of its dimensions has assumed more importance.  

It is safe to say that the emergence and growth of an entity such as NGOWG has been critical to this shift in the operational and programmatic paradigm of the World Bank. 

   

The Emergence of New Challenges  

But, just as there have been tremendous strides made in all these areas, and in spite of the best efforts of the Working Group and others advocating this kind of change in Bank policy, there are still many challenges which face all the key stakeholders in the process.  

Recent studies speak to the fact that half the World's population continues to live in undesirable conditions of economic poverty, social exclusion and environmental degradation. Underscoring this point, World Bank President, James Wolfensohn has admitted in recent speeches that 30% of the Banks initiatives on poverty reduction have failed to achieve their desired objective. This evidence is further corroborated by all the official United Nations poverty related data that proclaim that not much progress has been made in reducing poverty in the last five years. 

Against this backdrop, developing countries are faced with the reality of an increasingly hostile international environment characterised by an ultra competitive international economic order fuelled by Globalization and its handmaiden trade liberalisation. 

In order to help developing countries meet these diverse challenges, several development institutions, including the World Bank have had to re-think their philosophies, and modes of operation. 

Through the period of the strategic decentralisation process, and further efforts to reform its agenda towards addressing the issue of poverty reduction, the Bank has engaged a broad paradigm shift in its operations.  

The recognition of poverty and its related ills as a clear and present danger global economic and social stability has now reshaped the way in which public policy is made. Indeed the emergence of several new development initiatives, such as the Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSP) and Enhance Structural Adjustment Facility (ESAF), have squarely put reduction of poverty as central themes of their strategies. 

Emerging Trends 

But even as the Bank and its leadership try to chart a new course for operations and policy work the institution still comes in for heavy criticisms. Many believe that the reform process is too slow and reaches only as far as the surface on the myriad critical issues facing the world's poor. 

Together with the worldwide political backlash against the WTO, the World Bank and the IMF in particular have increasingly been brought under the microscope by activists who point to the increasing number of people living below the poverty line as evident that the policy prescriptions of these institutions have failed to produce the goods. The result has been a further strengthening of the anti-IFIs lobby and emerging physical protest action as seen in Washington at the April 2000 Bank-Fund Spring meetings. 

While the Bank is perhaps feeling jaded about this "new wave" of opposition to its policies and even its role in development, the protests themselves say quite a bit when backed by the alarming figures on the growth and deepening of poverty and social dislocation in the developing world. 

The cemented view is that the "dice are loaded against the poor" and that fundamental deep rooted reform is needed if even we are to begin scratch the surface of the massive poverty facing developing countries.  

The NGO Working Group supports the view much more needs to be done to tackle poverty in developing countries. And while it would not be fair to say that the Bank has not made efforts to contribute to finding lasting solutions to these problems, The Working Group believes that much more can be done to drastically improve the conditions of the poor. 

This effort must begin with a fair and firm understanding that poverty reduction and social development are not functions of increase public expenditure. That merely increasing public expenditure on social programmes and sectors only will solve the problem. 

Our view is that a more holistic, targeted and inclusive form of development is needed. One in which all major stakeholders have a fair chance to contribute to the development and implementation of solutions to the myriad problems facing their countries. 

TO THIS END THE WORKING GROUP, HAS CONFIGURED ITS PROGRAM TO PROMOTE WIDESPREAD CIVIC ENGAGEMENT AND POPULAR PARTICIPATION OF BANK POLICY AND OPERATIONS WORK. 

Our view is that while protest action is sometimes necessary as in the case of WTO and the Spring meetings of the Bank and Fund, this cannot be seen as a the only method of engagement. 

The Working Group believes in and will continue to pursue a policy of constructive engagement and collective dialogue with the Bank and its staff at all levels or operation, while lending our support to non-violent protests by our colleagues, against policies which adversely affect the poor in developing and developed countries. 

   

Global Vs. Regional Argument 

All of these factors, and others, have also had an impact on the NGOWG and way in which it has functioned over the last few years. The Group has made a conscious effort to strengthen its operations and reform its program agenda to meet the new challenges. 

A large part of this reform effort has been to undertake a regionalisation process within its structure to effectively broaden its sphere of influence through the creation of additional nodes for engaging the Bank. Beginning in 1998, the Working Group expanded its regional base from four (4) to seven (7) regions and proceeded to formalise member bases in Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, South Asia, East Asia, Middle East and North Africa, and West Europe/North America. 

However, as is sometimes the case in such processes, while the regionalisation process has gone relatively smoothly, it has in many respects detracted attention from the global activities of the Working Group. Regions now host their own interactions with the Bank and government official at regional and country level and these have begun to take on a life of their own in many respects. 

Because of this, some interests within and without the Bank and the Working Group have begun to question the value of having a Global Working Group engaging the Bank at headquarters level. The argument being that since the Bank is increasingly becoming country driven, it makes for better engagement if the Working Group concentrates its efforts on monitoring Bank work from a national level while strengthening advocacy through a regional interface. 

This argument fails mainly on two grounds. Firstly, it is obvious that in spite of the fact that the Bank has undertaken a rapid and deep reform process aimed at pushing many of its operations to the country and regional level, this process is still evolving. And, regardless of the best intentions in this respect much of what has taken place at country and regional levels has been operational in nature. Put another way, the heart of Bank policy formulation, design and implementation is still driven from Washington DC, even though it might now be benefiting from stronger "in the field" input. 

Secondly, in the case of NGOWG, its own regionalisation process is weak and still in its embryonic stages. It is clear that more needs to be done to further solidify this base. 

What this means is that any belief that the Global NGOWG process can be replaced by a regional engagement is grandiose at best, and dangerously pre-mature at worst. The Working believes that if this argument is successfully carried against the global Working Group process, it can equally be said of the NGO/Civil Society Unit within the Bank that it has outlived its usefulness. The NGOWG rejects both these views. 

   

The NGOWG View 

In point of fact, the global expression of the Working Group is a necessary function of an integrated process of monitoring and engagement of the Bank that should be strengthened rather than diminished.  

The Working Group's strategy in pursuing regionalisation is to strengthen its country and regional level engagement in the practicalities of designing and implementing country driven Bank supported public policy.  

It is envisaged that the learning experiences from this practical engagement would serve to better inform and strengthen the global advocacy platform of the Working Group for institutional and policy change within the Bank.  

The regional and country processes were never developed to replace the global process but rather to strengthen it. There is still a clear need for a global advocacy of Southern NGOs on the Bank, but this has as well to change to fit better into a reshaped NGOWG model.  

It is equally true that the Bank has found increasing currency in dealing with a number of other development NGOs that have done very good work on monitoring Bank policy and operations. These initiatives are important and should continue to occupy attention. But the great majority of them are northern led and many times respond to stimuli that are not necessarily born of a full appreciation of the realities of actually living the conditions which they seek to change. 

What these organisations have is the capacity to engage the Bank consistently and deeply on matters of policy and practice. And it is to this end that the NGOWG is seeking to bring its Southern members.  

To this extent the Group will seek over the next three years to reform strengthen and bring greater to its operations, while streamlining its efforts at building NGO capacity to " influence the emergence of participatory methodologies in socio-economic policy formulation and implementation". 

   

The NGOWG's Objectives 

Following wide ranging internal and external discussion the Group has concluded that its message must become more focused and the mechanisms entrusted for delivering that message more efficient.  

In this connection this document seeks to outline in some detail new directions for the operations of the NGO Working Group, and the strategic approaches to the key issues that will occupy its attention over the next three years.  

Essentially, the success of any strategic direction of the Group will rest heavily on its ability to strengthen the regional process and to ensure that this feeds directly into the global advocacy platform of the Global Steering Committee of the NGOWG.  

It must based on a strong and intense research and monitoring program, which is in turn backed by a well co-ordinated advocacy effort at all levels within the Bank.  

Ultimately, the quality of networking between and among partners, as well as the quality of public engagement of Bank policy by members of the Working Group and other civil society organisations, will underscore the true success of the Group over the next three years.  

   

The New Strategic Direction 

To help in achieving these goals the Working Group will utilise the following methodological approaches to its work: 

Evaluative research, monitoring and documentation of socio-economic policy initiatives developed by the Bank/governments and implemented in developing countries 

Advocacy, networking and participatory civic engagement of specific Bank policy in developing countries. 

Public education and awareness, and information sharing to effect understanding and change in Bank policy. 

As an adjunct to these the Group will seek to undertake a serious program of capacity building to ensure that all members and others who are interested in engaging Bank policy in their respective countries are in a position to do so effectively. 

With this approach the Group has determined that its program agenda will focus on the following areas:  

Enhancing civic engagement in Poverty Reduction Strategies and Mainstreaming Participation in Social Development programmes in Developing Economies (PRSP, CDF, IDA etc)  

Promoting participatory and inclusive macro-economic adjustment programmes that include poverty reduction as their principal focus. 

Building capacity of Civil Society organisations for effective engagement in Bank programmes/policies and mapping of Bank-NGO relations in support of this at national, regional and global levels.  

 

In support the reform programmatic agenda the Working Group will undertake to strengthen its regional and national constituency bases, while bringing a sharper edge to its advocacy platform. 

   

Institutional Reform 

In keeping with its agenda of reform, the NGOWG has concluded that several changes to its structure and operations will be necessary. To this extent, the Global Steering Committee has recently approved changes that it determined are absolutely necessary to achieving its objective of enhancing Civil Society capacity to engage the World Bank at national regional and global levels. 

Some of these changes include: 

Eliminating the "old" Executive Committee and replacing it with a "new" Executive Global Steering Committee, which will be comprise of all Regional Chairpersons, a Global Treasurer, and two representatives from the OECD NGO community, (West Europe and North America).  

The EGSC will be headed by a Global Chairperson, elected for a period of three years, who will also act as co-ordinator of the Global Secretariat, and principle representative of the NGOWG at the global level in dealings with the Bank and other organisations. 

Establishing a Global Liaison Office to be based in Washington DC to house the Global Secretariat and act as a clearing-house for information between the Bank and NGOs and vice versa. 

Complete redrafting of NGOWG governing regulations with specific emphasis on increasing transparency and institutional flexibility in membership elections, the roles of global and regional structures, financial management practices, and codes of conduct in relations with third external parties. 

The creation of a global conference based advocacy as a periodic supporting feature of the engagement and monitoring evaluation work of the NGOWG. This will eventually lead to a phasing out of the broad annual exchange meeting between the Bank and the NGOWG, and will tend to be issue specific.  

The introduction of a "Regional Engagement Initiative" design to replace the current spring meeting between of the Bank-NGO Committee, and to facilitate direct engagement of regional NGO representatives with senior national, regional, and especially global policy makers based in Washington on country programmes and policies.  

Proposing to the Bank the creation of a new Bank-NGO Facilitation Committee consisting of three senior representatives of the NGOWG, along with all regional Presidents from within the Bank. The Committee should meet at least once a year and determine the broad parameters for Bank-NGO relations within the context of the NGOWG process, and as they affect general Bank work in the respective regions. 

At the regional level the establishment of Joint Regional Thematic Teams, consisting of key representatives from the Regional NGO Steering Committees, and the Bank's regional staff, to develop joint intervention, monitoring and learning exercises on Bank projects in the various regions. 

Making adequate provision for the financing of the global and regional secretariats in keeping with their expanding rules and responsibilities. This will include providing for staff retention, equipment purchases etc.  

All of these changes are expected to produce a more efficient and focused NGOWG, capable to generating searching commentary and analysis of World Bank policy and project work in developing countries.  

It has been designed to streamline the operations and programme agenda of the Working Group to those areas and things in which it has a comparative advantage and on which it has a demonstrated record.  

Ultimately, the new strategic work programme of the NGOWG is developed to increase the capacity of Southern NGOs to engage the World Bank, and to bring their own unfiltered perspectives on the impact of Bank policy through a strong advocacy effort at national, regional, and global levels.  

The success of this plan will depend largely on the ability of the existing leadership of the Working Group to consolidate the regionalisation process, reinvigorate the advocacy agenda, and most importantly initiate a strong research, and practical engagement platform for the Working Group on Bank policy and programmes.  

 

The following therefore represents and expanded version of the new three Strategic Plan for the NGO Working Group on the World 2000-2003.  

Global Secretariat 

NGO Working Group on the World Bank 

C/o Caribbean Policy Development Centre 


   

MAIN REPORT 

Background and Context 

Created in 1984, the NGO Working Group on the World Bank (NGOWG) is one of the oldest forums for dialogue and advocacy among NGOs and the World Bank. It is the only forum for NGOs the Bank's borrowing countries to have a global voice on broad based policy issues and World Bank institutional reform. It was established in large measure to give and independent voice to NGOs from the developing and develop countries alike a in their quest to turn back what were then perceived as oppressive and poverty causing socio-economic policies of the World Bank.  

The NGO Working Group's central role was therefore to set a formal stage on which Southern NGOs in partnership with their Northern partners could have a consistent and meaningful dialogue with World Bank personnel on the impact of their policies and practices on developing countries across the World.  

As one of the few processes which allowed for direct contact between grass-roots organisations and global level decision makers the principle focus of the Group was to advocate for openness, accountability, in policy formulation and stakeholder participation and ownership in the implementation of those policies and programmes.  

Over the years the NGOWG has played a leading role in fighting the worst effects of Bank sponsored economic structural adjustment programmes, initiating the World Bank's move towards the use of popular participation as a key working methodology in policy design and implementation, as well as propose and help shape the new initiatives on capacity building for NGOs (IFCB), and facilitate Southern regional input to debates over the financial replenishment of the World Bank's concession base lending facility, the International Development Association (IDA). 

Now in its 16th the NGOWG, has predominantly concentrated its focus on contributions to the global struggle to liquidate underdevelopment and alleviate poverty in the vast majority Bank's borrowing countries. This effort has rested mainly on increasing global attention on the need to focus more intensely on participatory poverty reduction, and inclusive social development through the implementation of pro-poor policies. 

Key strategies adopted in this endeavour have been research, monitoring (with limited engagement at national and regional levels), and broad collaborative advocacy at global level. In the early period of it existence the Working Group primarily loose coalition of development and advocacy NGOs, with common and cross cutting issues on a variety of themes, but as time elapse and a relationship with the Bank became more clear and solidified, changes to the structure and functioning of the Working Group became more necessary. 

   

Restructuring – Regional Expansion, Global Focus  

In 1994, the NGOWG undertook first steps towards formalising its structure and promoting decentralised engagement. This came with a shift establishment of regional meetings and regionally based agendas for discussion with the World Bank. It represented a move towards opening up the Working Group's self-governance. Changes in the NGOWG's structure and governance shifted initiative and decision making to the regional level and created regional structures for broad engagement with the Bank by civil society while maintaining a distinctive voice at the global level. Its global steering committee, previously a self- selected element within the Working Group, became a deliberative body consisting of representative elected by the regional assemblies to represent them on that co-ordinating and planning body. 

In 1998, the process of decentralisation was further strengthened by the formal establishment of election processes in each region, followed by the appointment of Regional Steering Committees to manage relations between NGOs and the Bank. 

The restructuring of the NGOWG has resulted in the creation of regional assemblies in Africa, South Asia, and East Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, The Middle East and North Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia and two sub-regions of the OECD region (Western Europe and North America).  

Each region now develops its own work plan based on work being conducted by member organisations within national jurisdictions and following collaboration and exchange with Bank officials at country and regional levels.  

One of the principal modes for collaboration and dialogue between the Bank and the regional NGO Working Group is the now well-established Regional Assemblies that are held at least once a year. These forums provide and invaluable opportunity for both NGO and Bank official to engage in deep exchanges on matters pertaining to the design, implementation and evaluation of Bank supported policies in member countries. The Bank is given to hear "face to face" the concerns of grassroots organisations about the impact of their programmes on the average people, especially the poor. 

The opportunity is also used for both sides to strengthen the Bank-NGO relationship through the establishment of joint initiatives, for execution at regional and national level. 

Though the regionalisation process is still in its infancy in many respects it represents the clearest sign of progress in the opening up of relations between the Bank and NGOs. It also provides another avenue for the flow of basic on the ground information from the countries through the regions and to the global platform of the Working Group. 

 

   

The NGO-World Bank Committee 

The NGO Bank Committee is a joint forum founded in 1981, composed of the NGOWG members and World Bank staff, including Vice Presidents, sector specialists, regional representatives and official from the Bank's NGO Unit. The Committee, which until this year has met twice a year in Washington and once annually in each region, has served as the principal body governing official Bank-NGO relations and setting broad policy frameworks for the on going dialogue between the two sides. It agenda is determined through mutual agreement between the Bank and NGOs and usually consists of issues brought forth be Bank or NGO participants. Some NGOs representatives have however argued in recent times that much more can be had from the committee. They have expressed the view that the committee is too conservative in its deliberations and too laid back in its approach. In recent times a recommendation has emerged from within the regional and global structure of the Working Group that the Bank-NGO Committee, especially at the global level should have more senior representative from the Bank side. It is felt that this representation should be at least at Vice President level and sector management level. The response of the Bank to these suggestions is still forth coming. 

   

NGOs and the World Bank – Entering a Second Generation of Advocacy  

Since the early 1980s, environmental, development, and human rights NGOs have formed international coalitions to influence and change policy in the World Bank. Some of these efforts have borne fruit, but change has been slow at best. Recent declarations by senior Bank personnel, including President James Wolfensohn have highlighted the fact that in spite of the Bank's best efforts, large numbers of its borrowing countries continue too perform poorly in socio-economic and environmental terms. 

Many continue to struggle under the burden of heavy and unsustainable debt, while the promise of economic transformation and growth from economic liberalisation has not materialised. At the same, larger proportions of their populations continue to fall into the trap of poverty and social exclusion. 

In response to this, and to the anticipated negative impact of world economic globalisation, a second generation civil actors and organisations are leading a strong advocacy on the Bank to produce a deeper, faster and more sustained process of change in Bank policy. 

The NGOWG, with its new regional structure has been among leading NGOs insisting on the utilisation of participatory methodologies in the design, implementation and evaluation of Bank policy and projects. The Group has also been in the fore-front of seeking a complete re-examination of Bank funded structural adjustment programmes. Today the Working Group has begun shaping a policy of engagement at the global, regional and national level for participatory adjustment policy framing by the Bank and country governments. 

Most of all however, the Working Group is now following up previous efforts of advocacy on Bank with new efforts to force the Bank to place even greater focus on issues pertaining to participatory poverty reduction, and enhance social development for the poorest countries of the World. 

The Group is satisfied that with the introduction of the PRSP process the Bank is beginning to turn a serious eye on the issue of poverty reduction in its borrowing countries. It is equally satisfied that the rhetoric associated with these new initiatives promises a new dispensation in the ownership and design of such policies. However the Working Group, as well as several of its partner organisations is well aware that many times with the Bank, the promise is not met with satisfactory performances. The Working Group wishes to ensure that this time it does. And to this extent will lead an aggressive global programme to not only monitor the implementation of PRSPs in developing countries, but sponsor and support capacity building among its members and others for effective civic engagement of the PRSP process. This will largely seek to ensure that they are participatory, country driven, inclusive and properly design to allow for timely and well paced implementation in recipient countries. In the coming months and years, the Working Group will focus most of its attention in leading a strong advocacy effort at the global level to ensure not only these objectives are achieved but also that PRSPs become central features in all major Bank policies and programmes. 

   

ACCOMPLISHMENTS  

Several important initiatives have emerged from the programmes of the NGOWG and its dialogue with the Bank that have impacted on general Bank policy in many respects. Some of these can be listed as follows: 

Participation Agenda, Participation Learning Group, and Participation Conference  

The World Bank's three year "learning process" on participation, whose origins, Bank staff trace to NGOWG discussions, was active from 1991-1994. It energetic documentation and promotion of participation methodologies within the Bank led to Board approval of a modest set of participation initiatives in 1994. Equally important, the process gave participatory methodologies a higher profile within the Bank and helped expand the space for staff who were innovators in participatory development processes and methods. 

Following further intense advocacy and development of the participation platform, the NGOWG's Sub-Group on Participation planned and co-ordinated an intensive monitoring exercise of several Bank sponsored projects and programmes in a series of developing countries across the World. This Work that was carried out by members of the NGOWG produced a body of work on the level to which participation of primary stakeholders are allowed to participate in the design and implementation of policies which affect them. 

The work culminated with the hosting of a massive international conference on "Up-scaling and mainstreaming participation of primary stakeholders: Lessons learned and ways forward". The recommendations coming out of that conference have now become key planks in the on going efforts by the Bank and other donors to increase the quality and level of participation methodologies in development policies. 

   

Capacity Building 

Since its inception the Working Group has been in the forefront of calling for improvements in the capacity of Southern NGOs to deliver programmes to their constituents and for effective monitoring and engagement of international development organisations. Following years of intensive lobbying, the NGOWG proposed in October 1996, the formation of an Inter Agency Group on Southern NGO capacity building. That Inter Agency Group's Steering Committee co-ordinated a consultative process that contributed to the formation of what is now known as the International Forum on Capacity Building (IFCB). Like the NGOWG the IFCB is the first global forum in which Southern NGO priorities and concerns have primary standing. Already functioning in its own right, IFCB has begun to sponsor several Southern NGO initiatives at capacity building in a variety of areas. 

   

Concessional Lending – The IDA Process  

The Working Group has also been very active in pushing for a comprehensive review of the IDA policies and practices in developing countries. In 1992 when the NGO Working Group members challenge US and other NGOs strategies of threatening the 10th IDA replenishment in order to force reforms at the Bank, an extended dialogue was opened among NGOs with differing agendas and perceptions of the IDA lending portfolio. 

The NGOWG has worked to broaden that dialogue and has remained committed to supporting IDA as a key source of concessional financing to the poorest countries. It has however sought to encourage the Bank to undertake fundamental reforms of the IDA system. Part of this effort has led to a consistent dialogue between the IDA Deputies and Southern NGOs since 1992, and 1998 under the IDA 12th replenishment.  

   

Relations with Other Stakeholders  

While maintaining its principal focus on participation, poverty and structural adjustment issues, the Working Group has sought to collaborate, share information and lend support the efforts of other NGOs are consistent with those of the Group. Such issues as the role of the Inspection Panel, the SAPRI initiative, the Bretton Woods Reform initiative and the work of the External Gender Consultative Group have all attracted the support of the Working Group. 

The NGOWG believes that this process must continue and will seek where possible to lend the strongest policy support to these and new initiatives. However, the Group is mindful of the fact that while building alliances is important to successful advocacy there are obvious differences of approaches between several organisations and the NGOWG. 

To this extent, the Group will reserve the right to challenge positions of other organisations that do not conform to the philosophical beliefs of the Group. While every effort will be made to seek out commonalities, any serious distinctions will of necessity be highlighted.  

 

   

The New Strategic Work Programme, 2000-2003 

The Programme of Work for this timeframe will cover three (3) priority areas: 

A. Civic Engagement of Bank-Sponsored Poverty Reduction Strategies 

Enhancing civic engagement and evaluative monitoring in poverty reduction strategies (PRSP, Enhanced HIPC, etc)  

 

B. Mainstreaming Standards of Participation in Bank Policy and Programme Work 

Mainstreaming popular participation in macro-economic and social development policy framing, with specific emphasis on supporting "pro poor" growth policies (IDA, SAPs, CDF, CAS, etc) 

 

C. Enhancing Bank-NGO relations in Policy Development and Implementation

Building capacity of Civil Society organisations for effective engagement in Bank policy/program and mapping of Bank NGO relations in support of this at national, regional and global levels. 

 

In respect of the above priorities Working Group will employ three principle methodological approaches. These will be as follows: 

1. Evaluation research, monitoring and documentation of socio-economic policy initiatives developed by the Bank/governments and implemented in developing countries 

2. Advocacy, networking and participatory civic engagement of specific Bank programmes in developing countries 

3. Public education and awareness, and information sharing to effect understanding and change in Bank policy. 

   

Civic Engagement of Bank-Sponsored Poverty Reduction Strategies 

Enhancing civic engagement and evaluative monitoring in poverty reduction strategies (PRSP, Enhanced HIPC, etc)  

   

Situational Analysis  

At the turn of the century, a review of the fight against poverty reveals that while there has been remarkable progress in some countries in some regions, abject poverty persists unabated in many developing countries, particularly in Africa, Central Asia, and Latin America. While many countries have made significant headway on growth and poverty reduction, the current rate of progress is too slow to significantly improve the lives of the poor within the next 15 years or so. The gap between rich and poor is increasing, and the latest assessment undertaken by the World Bank indicates that unless current trends are reversed, the International Development Goals - including that of reducing the proportion of people in extreme poverty by 2015 - will not be met. 

Concern over the current stalemate in poverty reduction has prompted an intense re-examination of development and debt strategies, involving national governments, international financial institutions and NGOs, among others. One result was an agreement, at the September 1999 annual meetings of the World Bank and IMF, on strengthening the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative for broader, deeper and faster debt relief. 

One of the outcomes of this has been a growing convergence on some fundamental principles, including that: 

  • Development is a process of societal transformation that takes place over time. 

  • A comprehensive approach to development and a multi-dimensional view of poverty are essential. 

  • Faster economic growth is essential for sustained poverty reduction. 

  • Greater participation of the poor in growth contributes to wider growth potential. 

  • Country ownership of the goals, strategy and direction of development and poverty reduction - ownership that is shared by representative segments of society - is critical for sustainable development. 

  • The development community as a whole must work together closely, forging strategic partnerships, rationalising programmes, and combining the relative strengths of its members. 

  • There should be a clear focus on measurable development outcomes. 

   

Poverty Reduction Strategies 

Poverty reduction strategies aim to ensure that the needs and the voices of the poor come first in the public policy debate, articulated directly or through credible interlocutors. Experience shows that sustainable development and poverty reduction require the transformation of society, driven by the countries themselves, in connection with civil society and the private sector, and with broad support from the poor, themselves. Such issues as inclusion, justice, corruption, gender, and the environment, are fundamental to lasting development and sustainable poverty reduction. 

The PRSP (Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper) aims to translate the World Bank's Comprehensive Development Framework (CDF) principles into practical plans for action. The PRSP intends to strengthen country ownership of poverty reduction strategies; broaden the participation of civil society, particularly the poor, in the design of such strategies; to improve co-ordination among development partners; and to focus analytical, advisory and financial resources on achieving results in reducing poverty. There have been previous attempts for poverty reduction programmes implemented by the Bank and other international donor organisation such as those in the United Nations systems but these have been weakly linked to civil society, and in any event have not been as successful in creating sustained societal participation and ownership. 

Concern with this lack of success and penetration in bringing down rates of poverty, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) have recently endorsed the preparation and implementation of poverty reduction strategy papers (PRSPs) by borrowing countries seeking to benefit from the HIPC Initiative. 

The PRSPs is aim at formulating of an enhanced framework for poverty reduction and creating a stronger link between debt relief and poverty reduction by making HIPC debt relief an integral part of broader efforts to implement outcome-oriented poverty reduction strategies. The framework it is claimed will take the form of a poverty reduction strategy drawn up by government in co-operation with other stakeholders including civil society. 

The PRSP model is now envisaged as the centrepiece for policy dialogue in all countries receiving concessional lending flows from the World Bank and IMF. The PRSP, once approved by the World Bank and IMF, will provide the basis for the tripartite agreement between the government and other actors. The PRSP will replace the 'Policy Framework Paper' as the over-arching document outlining policy directions and resource allocation frameworks for IMF and Bank lending in countries eligible for concessional assistance. 

If PRSPs are to be effective and sustainable, they need to be nationally owned rather than donor-driven. Effective national ownership needs to involve both governmental and a broad cross-section of other, non-governmental, stakeholders. The process of preparing and implementing PRSPs and monitoring their implementation needs to be participatory, a point on which there now exists broad agreement among International Financial Institutions (IFIs) and many governments. 

Effective participation requires a certain degree of capacity. In some countries this exists. There is experience in consulting with civil society representatives, incorporating their views into policy formulation, seeking feedback from them for monitoring purposes, or giving them more substantial roles in policy processes. In others however, there is little or no such experience. 

Ensuring that PRSPs are produced through high-quality participatory processes, involving the representation of civil society in their implementation and monitoring, poses a challenge to governments, donors and the development community at large. The participation of stakeholders in the formulation, implementation and monitoring of poverty reduction strategies is a key element in their success. It can help build ownership and commitment to poverty reduction for a range of stakeholders. Stakeholder participation, particularly of the poor in defining poverty and its causes, plays an important role in formulating effective poverty reduction strategies. 

Participation builds on existing structures to strengthen transparency and accountability to citizens. Participatory approaches promote discussion with stakeholders both within and outside government, involving the poor and vulnerable groups, organised civil society, the private sector, government, the general public, representative assemblies and donors. 

The overall goal of participatory approaches in the formulation of poverty reduction strategies is to institutionalise participation in the implementation and monitoring of government processes focusing on poverty reduction. This goal can be attained through four key stages - assessment, development of an interim PRSP, formulating a poverty reduction strategy, and institutionalising participation in governmental processes. 

The key areas of participation are linked to the formulation or strengthening of a poverty reduction strategy. These include participation of local people in diagnosing and defining poverty, consultation and information flow within government, civic engagement at the local and national levels, information dissemination and feedback to stakeholders. 

Participation in poverty reduction involves three elements - stakeholder groups; government processes related to poverty reduction; and participatory processes linking stakeholders and government processes. The participatory processes enable the voices of a wide range of stakeholders to influence planning and policy making at the macro-level. 

In the PRSP, government is the principal agent; it activates the process, leads the design and implementation of the strategy, and is accountable to donors and the population for delivery on the commitments made in the PRSP. The PRS has the capacity to focus a country's efforts on poverty reduction through, among others: 

 

  • Establishing effective linkages between the targets and priorities and the public resources allocated to support them; 

  • Establishing a comprehensive approach across government, leading to the mainstreaming of poverty reduction priorities throughout the public service; 

  • Fostering common action between civil society actors committed to working to reduce poverty, and public agencies; 

  • Enhancing the understanding of the causes and distribution of poverty thereby, strengthening collective approaches to addressing the key issues; 

  • Strengthening government accountability through elaboration of standards of services and entitlement, which poor people can legitimately claim from public agencies. 

 

Participatory processes aim to strengthen participation of the poor in existing processes in order to enhance the accountability, transparency and efficiency of governance structures in promoting development and reducing poverty. This is undertaken by ensuring that the perspectives of a wide range of stakeholders are taken into account in formulating, implementing and monitoring the development of the poverty reduction strategy. 

The focus on the PRSP draws attention to several critical problems. These include the lack of mechanisms to capture and incorporate the 'voices of the poor'. They also include the problem of fragmentation of all World Bank and bilateral efforts at country level. The same problems of fragmentation extend into the Special Programme for Africa (SPA), poverty surveys, and now, the PRSP. The problems include the failure to properly involve and utilise NGOs in informing such instruments as the SPA, poverty surveys and the PRSP. These instruments therefore remain captive to state institutions and the bureaucracy to a point where poverty surveys are kept confidential and beyond the reach of the public, thus distant from public scrutiny and debate. 

In making poverty-related analysis, diagnosis, aggregation, dissemination and final production of the policy an exclusive monopoly of the state, puts the quality and effectiveness of poverty reduction strategies at risk of failure. 

Currently, the situation in several of the PRSP countries, particularly in Africa, and Central Asia, is characterised by very poor linkages between state institutions working on poverty strategies and NGOs and CSOs (civil society organisations), which have data on and knowledge about poor communities. The NGO sector in many of these countries are disorganised and lacking the capacity to effectively participate in the design and monitoring of any of these poverty reduction programmes. This in itself has been aided by the lack of effective mechanisms to assemble and disseminate the information on poverty. So that generally, there is a lack of adequate information systems that would add quality and value to policy making and interventionist strategies on poverty reduction. 

Further, there are important gaps in the area of civic engagement and stimulating public debate at various levels. One such gap relates to the strategic area of public finance management and budgetary processes. Where budgets are now approved by elected parliaments, NGO leaders need to be better informed about budgetary processes in their respective countries in order to influence resource allocation towards poverty reduction strategies and to hold the state accountable.  

The present project will seek to mobilise a wide range of NGOs in Africa, Latin America, Asia, and East Europe, particularly those linked to the NGO Working Group on the World Bank, to participate in the PRSP process in their respective countries with a view to building and consolidating a popular base for development, enhancing the capacity of NGOs and civil society to lobby governments and international institutions, and in doing so, helping to empower the poor. Particular attention will be given to strengthening capacity in the key area of participatory poverty assessment, and its use for mobilising civil society and building working relationships with other key stakeholders, including government and the private sector. 

   

Major Activities 

  • Organise a consultation of NGOWGWB members and associated NGOs/ networks interested in, or potentially interested in, working on the PRSP, to discuss means of organising effective civil society participation in the PRSP; 

  • Identify credible NGO partners (networks) to serve as focal points for the mobilisation, collection and dissemination of information; 

  • Conduct national rapid assessments of the structures and processes established for civic engagement in the PRSP, areas of needed and potential improvement; and national NGO capacity, including national level focal points best placed for effective engagement with government and the international financial institutions; 

  • Identify and engage NGOs with appropriate capacity to play a role in stimulating engagement with their respective governments and World Bank missions. 

Conduct intensive monitoring, documentation and Analysis of the PRSP process in the pilot countries agreed upon by the Evaluation team: 

 

  • Develop guidelines for collection and compilation of the type of materials needed for documentation of the PRSP process and preparation of case studies through the application of an agreed measuring instrument design after consultation between the Process team and other stakeholders. 

  • Compile country materials relevant to the poverty reduction strategy in each country for the preliminary country assessments on the PRSP. 

  • Assign documentation specialise to documentation that will assist NGOs in compiling and disseminating relevant materials on poverty issues in their respective countries; 

  • Commission and produce case studies on all fifteen countries selected based on the  

agreed monitoring instrument. 

 

 

Civic Engagement in PRSP, Capacity Building to effect the same, Advocacy and Networking: 

 

  • Design and host in country national training workshops for Civil Society Organisations engaged in working on the PRSP, specifically focusing on pre and post budgetary analysis techniques, participatory poverty assessment methods, poverty data collection and analysis, and applying the agreed monitoring instruments. 

  • Institute a capacity building programme for the national focal points overseeing the country monitoring exercises, including the provision of temporary staff, computer equipment and other administrative support. 

  • Conduct specific voices of the poor research for the national poverty assessments, and eventual PRSP 

 

Creation of effective demand on national statistical offices, for good quality poverty data, including qualitative, and rapid participatory appraisal data. 

 

  • Constructive engagement with government offices including national statistical offices, as well as universities and research institutions, on new ways of working to generate poverty data and conduct poverty diagnosis that incorporates civil society; 

  • Constructive engagement with government offices, including national statistical offices, as well as universities and research institutions, on the importance of including participatory poverty data (voices of the poor), through advocacy and data sharing; 

  • Organise regional workshops for participating NGOs, selected national statistical officials, and university/research institution personnel on participatory poverty reduction strategies in the PRSP process. 

  • Undertake specific capacity building for limited number of NGO in each country engaged in working on PRSP with a view to assisting with enhancing their ability to conduct poverty diagnosis with mechanisms specifically targeted to capture and incorporate the voices of the poor in the PRSP design and implementation. This enhanced capacity should allow them to: 

 

  • Develop indicators for the quality of the PRS process; 

  • Develop indicators for the quality and extent of participation; 

  • Establish formal links with institutions that will assist in this process; 

  • Work in collaboration with an institution with expertise in this area (IDR, IDS etc) 

 

 

Information Sharing and Public Education of Lessons learnt  

  • The NGOWGWB Global Secretariat will establish a small three person unit with the assistance of two Programme Assistants and one Administrative Assistant, to work with Evaluation Monitoring Team, sub-regional and country focal points in implementing the overall management of the PRSP monitoring exercise, including the collection, synthesis, analyse and dissemination (in synthesis form) country experiences and lessons learned on a regular basis; 

  • Develop an appropriate information technology network within the Global Secretariat to ensure proper recording and management of critical information emanating from the ongoing monitoring work, as well as timely dissemination of the same to the key stakeholders. 

  • The Global Secretariat will retain the appropriate human resources to produce the final synthesised comparative study of the case studies and 'best practices' identified for publication in both print and CD electronic form. 

  • The Global Secretariat through the NGOWG will host an Global Conference for key stakeholders involved in the PRSP to review the findings of the of the project and strengthen working practices, and develop new ones to improve in areas of deficiency.  

 

   

Output Indicators 

  • Better and more co-ordinated documentation of Poverty and social development data and the increase use on of these in national development planning. 

  • Development of acceptable of poverty related indicators to be used in the design and implementation of the PRSP in the pilot countries and other PRSP designate countries.  

  • Creation of distinct instruments of measure for progress gained under PRSP and to develop mechanisms for cross sectional application of agreed instruments.  

  • Measurable input and participation of civil society the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper. 

  • As part of (4), demonstrable increase in the capacity of national civil society organisation to engage local and international (Bank/Fund and government) policy makers in public policy formulation processes. 

  • Existence of higher levels of capacity among civil society practitioners on participatory approaches to poverty reduction and the institutionalised inclusion of civil society organisations in national/regional development planning processes. 

  • Overall reduction of poverty across the national and sectoral plains as indicated from reductions in general poverty levels from specific countries engaged in the PRSP and improvement in subsequent ratings of these countries in independent Socio-economic Development Indexes. 

  • Increased levels of investment by respective countries covered in the project in key social indicators such as education, healthcare, environment protection, social welfare, micro business etc. 

  • Higher levels of discussion and dialogue among citizens and key policy makers on issues central to the reduction of poverty in the respective countries particularly as it pertains to an enhancement of the PRSP process. 

  • Better co-ordination among NGOs in addressing issues not only associated wt the PRSP but on broader aspects of national social, and economic development. 

  • Development of a sharp and quick response mechanisms within the NGOWG global and regional secretariats in sharing emerging information on the PRSP with key partners in Civil Society, the World Bank, IMF, the UN system and other international development agencies. 

  • The production of a source book on experiences of lessons learned and best practices in the design and implementation of effective, participatory and integrated poverty reduction strategies. 

 

   

Mainstreaming Standards of Participation in Bank Policy and Programme Work 

Mainstreaming popular participation in macro-economic and social development policy framing, with specific emphasis on supporting "pro poor" growth policies (IDA, SAPs, CDF, CAS, etc)  

Situational Analysis  

Each region has specific plans to monitor and promote primary stakeholder participation in projects and policies as this fits each regional context. These regionally driven plans indicate the successful 'devolution' of what was once a centrally driven process. Advocacy on institutionalising past participation reforms and new Bank-wide reforms is best accomplished in a co-ordinated fashion within a common framework. 

The Bank Executive Directors and management are debating the expansion of public participation in the Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) process. Mr. Wolfensohn's recent proposal for a Comprehensive Development Framework expands the question of opening up country-level policy and planning. The participation conference concluded among other points that the "quality" of participation is poorly defined and monitored at this time. 

The NGOWG global participation work addresses these issues. It is a based in a regional consensus for channelling some of the country and regional level work toward these priorities identified during the last annual meeting and the Mainstreaming Participation Conference. 

The objectives: 

Monitor participatory policy development (CAS) in selected countries for ongoing 

advocacy in Regions and with senior management and Executive Directors at headquarters. 

Monitor the evolution of the Comprehensive Development Framework (and related initiatives such as the Partnership) in selected countries to promote appropriate processes for civil society participation with emphasis on meaningful participation of marginalised groups (women, poor, indigenous, minorities). 

Develop and apply a joint NGO-World Bank framework for participation quality bench marking. 

   

Major Activities 

Monitoring CAS 

The CAS is the Bank's overall framework document for World Bank operations in a particular country. As such, the NGOWG has identified genuine civil society participation in the formulation of the CAS as a key objective. The Working Group will monitor the quality of participation in CAS formulation, with an initial focus on the World Bank's self-identified flagship cases. This will include monitoring of participation in the quality of the CAS 'building blocks' (e.g., economic and sector work and expenditure review in the ESW). In countries where CAS formulation has been completed, the NGOWG will also monitor how closely the Bank and government implements the CAS plans. Interested regional assemblies will provide background and training to national NGOs on the CAS and its role in Bank and borrowing government policy making and on macro-economic literacy to build the capacity of NGOs to engage in policy debates with the governments and the Bank. Regional assemblies will also be the initial site of synthesising cross-country comparisons as a means of sharing experiences among NGOs and directly engaging the Bank's regional operations staff. The findings and recommendations arising from national and regional monitoring activities will inform global level policy dialogue on participatory CAS. 

   

Enhancing Bank-NGO relations in Policy Development and Implementation 

  

Civil Society Participation in New World Bank Approaches to Country Development  

Under the Wolfensohn administration the Bank is proposing innovative development approaches that attempt to restructure the relationship between developing 'countries and multi-national institutions and bilateral development assistance programs. The NGOWG will engage in dialogue with the Bank to ensure that civil society perspectives (especially those of marginalised groups) will be included in the formulation of these new approaches. The NGOWG will monitor evolution of these plans at headquarters to keep its membership informed, and will encourage NGO participation at the country level as pilot implementation sites are selected. On the ground experience will then be channelled back into headquarters dialogue at both regional and senior management levels. 

 

Participation Quality 

In response to recommendations of the Mainstreaming Participation Conference Mr. Wolfensohn Challenged the conference participants to develop quality standards by which Bank implementation of primary stakeholder participation could be measured. Bank staff, in turn proposed that the NGOWG work with them to develop methods for quality benchmarking. The NGOWG participation sub-group will work with the Bank's participation task force to develop and implement a joint NGO-Bank quality bench marking framework. The multi-stakeholder participation conference network will be invited to contribute to this work. 

   

Monitoring the World Bank at the Country Level 

The restructuring and decentralisation of World Bank operations has placed decision-making and budgetary power in the hands of Country Directors. This has coincided with the appointment of NGO liaison officers in virtually all the Bank's country offices. The global body of the NGOWG agreed to seek greater understanding of the priorities of individual Country Directors on issues of concern to the NGOWG, e.g. participation in and disclosure of CAS, Bank-NGO relations, and implementation of the Bank's social development agenda CDF etc. It will also monitor the country-level operations of IBRD /IDA lending as well as the activities of the International Finance Corporation and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency as capacity allows. 

With this greater understanding, Southern NGOs can more effectively target their interventions at the country level, while the regional and global meetings serve to synthesise experiences and lessons across countries and regions. These syntheses serve to support advocacy efforts at the regional and global levels, those best able to influence policy formulation, identify and promote best practices, and identify shared areas of concern and common recommended actions. The regional assemblies engage the Bank at the levels of the operational vice-presidents while the global steering committee does so with Bank headquarters and the Executive Directors. This multi-layered approach has been the most effective strategy in previous North-South alliances for World Bank reform as it brings on-the-ground information to influence both the policy formulation process as well as operations. (A more detailed description of this activity is available upon request.) 

 

   

Mapping World Bank ­ Civil Society Relations  

The NGO Working Group on the World Bank is sponsoring a project to learn about actual World Bank/civil society relations in borrowing countries. The project will also focus on the tripartite interaction of Bank/government/civil society, and the enabling environment for such engagement. Mr. Wolfensohn's administration has committed the Bank to a new development paradigm that recognises citizens as legitimate stakeholders along with the government and private sector. It proposes that national policy making should be more open, transparent and accountable; that development effectiveness requires input and ownership by all stakeholders; and that lending should be tied to performance results. This orientation, along with the devolution of decision-making to the country director, creates a tremendous opening for national NGOs and other civil society organisations to influence critical policy processes. 

 

The objectives: 

  • To analyse Civil Society/World Bank engagement regarding the Bank's operations in particular countries (i.e. policy development processes and Bank-funded projects), and  

  • the tripartite engagement of Bank, government and civil society; Plus, 

  • The nature of the enabling environment for such engagement (legislative and regulatory frameworks, freedom of speech and association, organisation of the civil society sector, and attitudes of government ministries toward civil society engagement). 

  • Seek to engage Bank staff and NGOs in dialogue on the findings of this research to promote a more effective Bank/civil society relationship and to determine ways to improve Bank/government/civil society engagement. 

  • Use findings from the pilot studies and evaluation of the project's value as a tool for Bank-civil society engagement at country, regional and global levels. 

Project Goals 

This proposed activity will provide a mechanism for national NGOs to systematically engage with World Bank officials on the question of bringing civil society participation fully into Bank-funded projects and into Bank/government consultations related to policy development. The study has four goals: 

Learn about actual Bank/civil society interaction; 

Learn about actual Bank/government/civil society interaction; 

Identify examples of good practice for each of the above 2 categories; 

Determine whether the policy environment of particular countries (laws, regulations, freedom of speech and association, etc.) positively or negatively influences interactions between and among the Bank, government and civil society; 

Provide a systematic basis for dialogue between NGOs and the World Bank at three levels national, regional, global through the NGOWG networks, to discuss ways to improve Bank/civil society interaction and Bank/government/civil society interaction.  

 

 

OUTPUTS 

A. Bank/Government/Civil Society Relations 

Bank/Civil Society Relations: 

  • Increased awareness and understanding by NGOs and World Bank of the status of civil society/Bank relations; 

  • Identification of steps to be taken by both the Bank and NGOs to advance these relations; 

  • Examples of good practice in Bank/civil society relations; 

  • Lessons learned about the range of Bank/government/civil society relations;  

  • Recommended changes by both the Bank, government and NGOs in order to improve these relations; 

  • Examples of good practice in Bank/government/civil society relations; 

B. Enabling Environment 

  • Increased understanding by NGOs and the World Bank of the influence of a country's policy environment (laws, regulations, freedom of speech, etc.) on interactions between and among the Bank, government and civil society; 

  • Recommendations as to how NGOs and/or the Bank can promote a more enabling environment for Bank/government/civil society interaction; 

C. Improved Capacity 

  • Increased outreach by the NGOWG to civil society, government and World Bank (from having carried out the mapping study); 

  • Learning for NGOWG and World Bank staff on how to structure, manage and implement a co-operative effort. (Please refer to NGOWG project proposal on Mapping of Bank-Civil Society Relations for full details) 

 

   

INSTITUTIONAL REFORM  

In keeping with its agenda of reform, the NGOWG has concluded that several changes to its structure and operations will be necessary. To this extent, the Global Steering Committee has recently approved changes that it determined are absolutely necessary to achieving its objective of enhancing Civil Society capacity to engage the World Bank at national regional and global levels. 

Some of these changes include: 

Eliminating the "old" Executive Committee and replacing it with a "new" Executive Global Steering Committee, which will be comprise of all Regional Chairpersons, a Global Treasurer, and two representatives from the OECD NGO community, (West Europe and North America).  

The EGSC will be headed by a Global Chairperson, elected for a period of three years, who will also act as co-ordinator of the Global Secretariat, and principle representative of the NGOWG at the global level in dealings with the Bank and other organisations. 

Establishing a Global Liaison Office to be based in Washington DC to house the Global Secretariat and act as a clearing-house for information between the Bank and NGOs and vice versa. 

Complete redrafting of NGOWG governing regulations with specific emphasis on increasing transparency and institutional flexibility in membership elections, the roles of global and regional structures, financial management practices, and codes of conduct in relations with third external parties. 

The creation of a global conference based advocacy as a periodic supporting feature of the engagement and monitoring evaluation work of the NGOWG. This will eventually lead to a phasing out of the broad annual exchange meeting between the Bank and the NGOWG, and will tend to be issue specific. 

The introduction of a "Regional Engagement Initiative" design to replace the current spring meeting between of the Bank-NGO Committee, and to facilitate direct interaction between NGOs/other Civil Society representatives from within and without the NGOWG and global policy makers based in Washington on country programmes and policies. 

Proposing to the Bank the creation of a new Bank-NGO Facilitation Committee consisting of three senior representatives of the NGOWG, along with all regional Presidents from within the Bank. The Committee should meet at least once a year and determine the broad parameters for Bank-NGO relations within the context of the NGOWG process, and as they affect general Bank work in the respective regions. 

At the regional level the establishment of Joint Regional Thematic Teams, consisting of key representatives from the Regional NGO Steering Committees, and the Bank's regional staff, to develop joint intervention, monitoring and learning exercises on Bank projects in the various regions. 

Making adequate provision for the financing of the global and regional secretariats in keeping with their expanding rules and responsibilities. This will include providing for staff retention, equipment purchases etc. 


 

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