Parliamentarians – as elected representatives – can be powerful advocates for development. They pass laws, debate, and approve foreign aid budgets; review development policies; and hold governments accountable for World Bank-financed programs. The World Bank Group, in turn, is an important focus of parliamentary interest, both because of the amount of aid it channels to the many countries in which it operates, and because it is an important source of knowledge and information on how to achieve development results.
Parliaments and Parliamentary organizations have taken an increasing interest in the allocation and use of development aid, including World Bank financed programs. And with the gradual introduction of open budgets in developing countries, often with WBG support; and increased transparency and focus on results in donor countries, parliamentarians are set to play a crucial role in development policy.
Recognizing that Parliaments are key partners for its dialogue on development challenges, the World Bank Group has engaged systematically with MPs since about 2000, both in borrowing countries and in donor countries. As part of its focus on results, accountability and openness, the World Bank’s country offices have increasingly included parliamentarians in Country Partnership Frameworks and Consultations over the past ten years.
PARLIAMENTARIANS (MPs) IN THE FIELD
Since 2001 the ‘Parliamentarians in the Field’ program has brought more than 300 members of parliament from over 50 countries to World Bank projects in the field in Asia, Africa, the Balkans, Latin America and the Middle East.
Interaction Between the World Bank Group and Legislators Takes Many Forms
The World Bank Group recognizes transparency and accountability as essential to the development process and central to achieving the Bank’s twin goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity. Through its ‘Open Data Initiative’ launched in 2010, the World Bank Group offers free and open online access to more than 2,000 financial, business, health, economic and human development statistic.
Global Parliamentary Conference
In partnership with the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank and the IMF (PN), and the IMF, the World Bank organizes parliamentary conferences gathering hundreds of MPs from World Bank and IMF member countries to discuss pressing development issues. It gives visiting parliamentarians a platform on which to engage with senior management and experts of the IMF and the World Bank Group.
A policy dialogue series and technical briefings via video-conferences are regularly organized linking MPs with common interest in specific theme (amongst others health: Ebola, HIV/AIDS; Private sector development, and agriculture) together with World Bank Senior Management to exchange views on development issues and support them within their national parliaments.
As part of its new model for country engagement launched in July 2014, he World Bank Group involves parliamentarians in the preparation of its Country Partnership Framework (CPF), which aims to make the World Bank country-driven model more systematic, evidence-based and selective. The CPF is developed in the context of country ownership and national priorities, and in coordination with other development partners. The goal is to have a more systematic and rigorous identification of the key opportunities and constraints in a country, as well as mechanisms to adjust and learn over the course of the engagement.
Jointly with the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank and the IMF, the World Bank has organized a number of parliamentary field visits to offer a first-hand look at World Bank programs in developing countries. Through the ‘Parliamentarians in the Field’ program more than hundreds members of parliament from over 50 countries have visited World Bank projects on the ground in Asia, Africa, the Balkans, Latin America and the Middle East. The visits encourages peer-learning and exchanges between visiting and local parliamentarians, and the involvement of parliamentary organizations.
Strengthening the capacity of developing countries’ Parliaments is also a key aim of the World Bank Group. Over the past ten years, the Leadership, Learning and Innovation (LLI) has trained over 10,000 MPs in partnership with parliamentary organizations. Programs focus on budget cycle, parliamentary administration, as well as the role of parliament in curbing corruption, in poverty reduction and in conflict-affected countries.
Although the World Bank Group works with parliamentarians in various capacities, the Bank maintains its official relationships with the governments of its 188 member countries, whose ministers of finance, economy, development, or foreign affairs sit on its Board of Governors. As mandated by its charter, the Bank does not involve itself in the domestic political affairs of a country.
The Bank interacts with a number of parliamentary organizations, including the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank and IMF. Founded in 2000, the Parliamentary Network is an independent, non-governmental organization that provides a platform for more than 1,000 Parliamentarians from over 140 countries to advocate for increased accountability and transparency in development cooperation.
The Bank engages with a number of other parliamentary organizations, including: The Francophone Parliamentary Assembly (APF); the Global Legislators Organizations (GLOBE); the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU); the NATO-Parliamentary Assembly (NATO-PA); the Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (AFPPD); the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC); the ‘Assemblée Parlementaire de la Francophonie’ (APF); the Climate Parliament; the European Parliamentary Forum on Population & Development (EPF); the ACPE EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly; and Women in Parliament (WIP). Its interaction with regional parliamentary bodies, such as the European Parliament and the Pan African Parliament is also regular and growing.