Tell the World Bank what you think

Feedback needed from civil society on a proposed Global Partnership for Enhanced Social Accountability

Recent events in the Middle East and North Africa have compelled leaders of global institutions and heads of government to rethink the way they do business. There seems to be momentum building around new ways of involving non-state actors and especially civil society organisations with a view to bridge the gaps and disconnects between citizens and governance. One such initiative seems to be emerging from the World Bank. In the immediate aftermath of the uprisings in North Africa, President of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick, in a lecture at the Peterson Institute for International Economics on 6 April 2011, conceded that participation of civil society in development processes at national level has a positive impact on public service delivery and developmental outcomes1.

Following Mr. Zoellick’s address, the World Bank Group has come up with a new initiative entitled Global Partnership for Enhanced Social Accountability with the stated ambition of “strengthening beneficiary feedback and participation by supporting civil society capacity to engage with governments to improve development effectiveness.” To help formulate this partnership, the World Bank Group is currently carrying out consultations at country and regional levels to obtain feedback from civil society and other stakeholders.

The on-going consultations are aimed at collating feedback on the nature and type of support that the proposed partnership can offer to assist civil society in dealing with current challenges and the role of the World Bank in providing this support. The consultations also seek to clarify possible criteria that can be used to identify those who will represent civil society in the partnership; the potential risks involved and the impact the partnership will have on developmental outcomes.

CIVICUS joined the consultation, held in Johannesburg on 7 February 2012, with World Bank Officials and a number of civil society representatives from the Southern African region including civil society groups from Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. A summary of feedback from these and other consultations held in different regions around the globe is expected to be posted online. More consultations on the operationalisation of the partnership are expected to run from May to June.

There is no denying that this proposed partnership is timely and arises from the recognition that governments and intergovernmental bodies cannot continue business as usual. It is also true that this is yet another initiative that needs to prove whether it works and delivers on its promises. In any case, it’s critical that citizens and civil society organisations have their say now in how this partnership is formulated. Hence we strongly encourage you to provide your feedback online as part of the consultation and send the completed form to gpesa[at]worldbank.org.

1For more information on Zoellick’s lecture, see The Middle East and North Africa: A New Social Contract for Development.

Visit the World Bank for more information on the Partnership for Enhanced Global Accountability.

 

David Kode

David is a Cameroonian national who joined CIVICUS as a Policy Analyst in the Secretary General’s Office in October 2007. He was later appointed as a Programme Support Officer and Secretariat for the CIVICUS Affinity Group of National Associations (AGNA). He now serves as a Policy Officer with the Policy and Research Unit.

Prior to joining CIVICUS, he worked with UNICEF South Africa in the Office of the Deputy Representative. David holds a Bachelor’s degree in History and Political Science from the University of Buea, Cameroon and a Masters Degree in International Relations from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa.

He is currently a doctoral candidate at the Centre for Africa’s International Relations, University of the Witwatersrand. His thesis focuses on the political economy of post-conflict transitions in West Africa with Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia and Sierra Leone as case studies. His other research interests include civil society and conflict resolution, Africa’s international relations, International Organisations, strategic studies, diplomacy and negotiations.

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About David Kode

David is a Cameroonian national who joined CIVICUS as a Policy Analyst in the Secretary General's Office in October 2007. He was later appointed as a Programme Support Officer and Secretariat for the CIVICUS Affinity Group of National Associations (AGNA). He now serves as a Policy Officer with the Policy and Research Unit. Prior to joining CIVICUS, he worked with UNICEF South Africa in the Office of the Deputy Representative. David holds a Bachelor's degree in History and Political Science from the University of Buea, Cameroon and a Masters Degree in International Relations from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. He is currently a doctoral candidate at the Centre for Africa's International Relations, University of the Witwatersrand. His thesis focuses on the political economy of post-conflict transitions in West Africa with Cote d'Ivoire, Liberia and Sierra Leone as case studies. His other research interests include civil society and conflict resolution, Africa's international relations, International Organisations, strategic studies, diplomacy and negotiations.

2 comments on “Tell the World Bank what you think

  1. Vern Hughes on said:

    There is a strong trend around the world to conscript civil society into development processes driven by external forces (states or NGOs or global institutions like the World Bank). This trend should be resisted, and turned on its head.

    It is not the role of civil society to “participate” in the plans of external agents. Civil society is the space in which the vast majority of the world’s peoples centre their lives. Development must begin in civil society. It must be designed and driven by people and groups in civil society. External players like the World Bank may support our efforts in civil society, but they must never dictate it or call for our “participation” in their plans.

    The moment we yield to “participate’ in a plan drawn up by distant bureaucrats and consultants, we lose the game. Civil society remains subservient, and the world’s power imbalances remain in place.

    Vern Hughes
    vern@civilsociety.org.au

  2. Pingback: Civil society engagement with the World Bank – glass half empty? | CIVICUS' Blog