Protection of civil society, transparency and participation should be at the heart of the World Bank’s social accountability initiative

In the immediate aftermath of the popular uprisings which took place in the Middle East and North Africa from late 2010, the then World Bank President Robert Zoellick delivered a presentation at the Peterson Institute for International Economics on 6 April 2011 in which he called for a new social contract for development. He also called on global powers to “modernise multilateralism,” which among other things means a “reform of international institutions such as the World Bank, the IMF [and United Nations Security Council] to better reflect the realities of the economic power shifts that are taking place in the world today.”

After this, the World Bank engaged in a series of consultations with major stakeholders and civil society in particular to develop a Global Partnership for Social Accountability (GPESA). According to the Bank, GPESA is aimed at “lending crucial and long term strategic support to civil society in countries in the global South to enable them to work better with governments in a transparent and accountable manner to realise greater development outcomes.” Continue reading