By virtue of their mandate, MPs stand as valued partners for the World Bank: they enact laws, debate and approve foreign aid budgets and loans, shape and review development policies, and hold governments accountable for World Bank-financed programs, thus building political will and financial support for the Bank. And through its engagement with elected representatives, the Bank effectively integrates citizen voice in its programs to achieve lasting and inclusive development results.
Parliamentarians, in turn, have an interest in engaging with the World Bank: 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.
PARLIAMENTARIANS (MPs) IN THE FIELD
Since 2001 the ‘Parliamentarians in the Field’ program has brought more than 200 members of parliament from around the world 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 Parliamentary Network on the World Bank and IMF (PN) is the Bank’s primary parliamentary interlocutor. It provides a platform for MPs from World Bank and IMF member countries advocating for increased accountability and transparency in development cooperation www.parlnet.org
MPs are encouraged to join or create local chapters of the PN to facilitate meaningful engagement between local MPs and World Bank country offices.
The Bank also partners with a number of other parliamentary organizations, and regional parliamentary bodies, such as the European Parliament and the Pan African Parliament, creating a platform for dialogue, information-sharing and development advocacy.