At the 2013 Annual Meetings, WBG President Jim Yong Kim pledged to increase beneficiary feedback to 100% of projects with clearly identified beneficiaries. Beneficiaries are defined as a subset of citizens directly targeted by and expected to benefit from a Bank-financed development project. Implementation of this commitment is guided by the Strategic Framework for Mainstreaming Citizen Engagement in Operations.
Strategic Framework for Mainstreaming Citizen Engagement
The Strategic Framework for Mainstreaming Citizen Engagement in World Bank Group Operations was developed to more systematically mainstream citizen engagement through including beneficiary feedback in WBG-supported operations. The Strategic Framework defines citizen engagement as the two-way interaction between citizens and governments or the private sector within the scope of WBG interventions. This approach gives citizens a stake in decision-making in order to improve the intermediate and final development outcomes.
The approach to mainstreaming citizen engagement in WBG-supported operations is guided by five principles: 1) it is results-focused, 2) it involves engaging throughout the operational cycle, 3) it seeks to strengthen country systems, 4) it is context-specific, and 5) it is gradual.
The Strategic Framework builds on the WBG’s experience in multi-stakeholder engagement, citizen participation, and open and inclusive governance, as well as experiences from citizen engagement efforts around the world. The framework assesses lessons learned, and outlines methods and entry points to provide a more systematic and results-focused approach for the WBG.
Growing evidence confirms that under the right conditions, citizen engagement can help governments achieve improved development results. The framework includes a comprehensive review of existing literature that found positive links between citizen engagement and improved public service delivery, public financial management, governance, and social inclusion/empowerment.
Evidence also shows, however, that the outcomes of citizen engagement are highly context specific and sensitive to government and citizens’ capacity and willingness to engage. Effective engagement is also affected by social, political, economic, environmental, cultural, geographic and other factors, such as gender dynamics.
In practical terms, President Jim Yong Kim’s commitment means that all Investment Project Financing (IPF) operations financed with IBRD loans or IDA credits must meet three requirements:
- Project design must be citizen-oriented, i.e., having at least one mechanism to engage with beneficiaries in the specific context of the project;
- Projects’ results frameworks must include a beneficiary feedback indicator to monitor citizen engagement throughout project implementation; and
- Projects must report on the beneficiary feedback indicator by the third year of implementation.
Engagement with external partners
- As an integral part of the establishment and development of the Strategic Framework, the WBG held global multi-stakeholder consultations from February to June, 2014.
- An Expert Advisory Council was also established to guide the development and implementation of the framework. The members of the Council – experts in the field from civil society, academia, government, private sector, and development partners – were selected based on their knowledge, experience, and ability to represent a range of global and country perspectives. It has been reorganized to replace members whose roles have changed. The Council was reconstituted through a call for nominations launched in 2018. The Advisory Council’s remit is to provide guidance and expertise on how citizen engagement, including beneficiary feedback, can improve the results of World Bank Group-financed interventions.
- Another important channel to engage with Civil Society Organizations is the Global Partnership for Social Accountability (GPSA) established by the WBG Board in 2012. The GPSA aims to expand opportunities for civil society organizations to work together with their governments to solve governance problems, especially in the delivery of services, and to improve development outcomes using social accountability mechanisms including citizen feedback.
Our progress to date
The first two requirements are being monitored, on a quarterly basis, for projects approved since July 2015. To date, we have made the following progress:
- 99% of our investment project financing approved in Fiscal Year 2018 had a citizen-oriented design. This represents a significant progress from the baseline of 60% in Fiscal Year 2014. Citizen engagement mechanisms included in project design refer to, for example, grievance redress mechanisms that enable beneficiaries to present complaints about project activities, consultations and satisfaction surveys throughout project implementation, participatory planning and monitoring (including social audits and community scorecards), and community-driven approaches.
- 95% of our investment project financing approved in Fiscal Year 2018 included a beneficiary feedback indicator in the results framework, compared to the baseline of 27% in Fiscal Year 2014. Often, the measurement of indicators is disaggregated by gender. Beneficiary feedback indicators can measure, for example:
- How grievance redress mechanisms are contributing to the project, either through the percentage of grievances received by the project that have been addressed within a specified timeframe, or through the periodic publication of reports on grievance redress mechanisms and how issues were resolved.
- If consultation outcomes and beneficiary feedback are being integrated in project design and implementation, through the percentage of beneficiaries who feel that project investments reflect their needs, or beneficiaries’ satisfaction with specified project dimensions.
- Beneficiary collaboration in project decision making, implementation or monitoring, through the number of citizens and/or communities involved in planning, implementation and/or evaluation of project activities; community contributions to the total project cost; beneficiaries’ satisfaction with the collaboration process; the establishment of arrangements for community engagement in post-projects sustainability and/or operations; or the publication of findings of citizen-led monitoring.
- The third requirement, which looks back at the implementation of citizen engagement mechanisms and indicators, will be monitored from Fiscal Year 2019 onwards.
Strengthening country systems
One of the guiding principles of the Strategic Framework is to strengthen country systems for engaging with citizens within the scope of WBG operations. The scope of such support needs to be agreed upon with client governments, and it varies by type of operation.
For example, a Development Policy Operation (DPO) can facilitate the adoption of national legislation on participatory budgeting or procurement monitoring, while an Investment Project Financing operation can contribute to building effective feedback and recourse mechanisms to improve service delivery in specific sectors, or empower citizens at the local level to participate in the planning, implementation, and monitoring of development interventions.
The WBG is also integrating citizen engagement in Country Partnership Frameworks. Several countries have adopted Citizen Engagement Roadmaps that set country-level objectives and priority actions on citizen engagement. These instruments are context-specific and allow the tailoring of citizen engagement goals to countries’ constraints and opportunities.
Oversight of the Strategic Framework
The World Bank Group’s Social, Urban, Rural, and Resilience Global Practice and the Governance Global Practice oversee the implementation of the Strategic Framework. Implementation is also guided by the Expert Advisory Council. In addition, ongoing opportunities for exchanging experience with civil society organizations and other partners also provide valuable feedback for the implementation of the framework.