Drawing on the World Bank Group’s convening power and multidisciplinary expertise, the Governance Practice provides financing, intellectual leadership, and a deep reservoir of global experience to help countries develop practical reforms to address complex governance challenges. The Governance Practice’s strategic priorities focus on five key areas:
1) Strengthening public policy processes:
Many governments adopt good policies but often struggle with gaps in implementation that derail intended outcomes. The Governance Practice helps countries strengthen coordination and cooperation within the executive branch of government, across branches of government and with the private sector and citizens to help close implementation gaps. Our work in these areas includes support for effective centers of government, decentralization, procurement, supreme audit institutions, and judicial reform.
2) Promoting effective resource management:
With persistent fiscal pressures, aligning financial and human resources is more critical than ever. Optimizing resource use is key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), whether in the form of physical infrastructure or for funding the development of human capital that is vital to develop a population’s health, skills, knowledge, and productivity. Yet the countries that need revenues the most often face the steepest challenges in collecting taxes and often face weaknesses in effective budget management and execution. A sound tax revenue base, a fair and efficient tax administration, an efficient system for budget preparation and execution and a capable civil service are essential to support a government’s ability to deliver services and create the fiscal space necessary to achieve inclusive growth.
The Governance Practice deploys and leverages its technical expertise to help countries mobilize domestic resources more effectively by, for example, strengthening taxation systems, and improving how public money is managed and spent. The Practice advises government on upstream and downstream budget and financial management issues as well as on public administration reform. Openness and transparency are key to improving public accountability. Our work in information technology, e-procurement, data analytics and biometrics is transforming government’s capacity to effectively manage their resources.
3) Reinforcing public service delivery:
Better governance is essential for fair and reliable service delivery. The Governance Practice works with sectoral colleagues to identify and alleviate critical governance bottlenecks in service delivery. Aligned with the World Bank’s mission to help countries invest in its people as part of the Human Capital Project, the Governance Practice is actively engaged in improving service delivery in sectors such as education, health and water. The Practice focuses special attention to where service delivery breaks down, identifying and rectifying bottlenecks in budgeting, procurement, institutional capacity, openness, transparency, and citizen engagement to ensure services reach the poorest and most marginalized. At the frontiers of governance for service delivery is big data, which helps analyze citizen feedback and engagement, and assists governments in understanding how they can become more adept at reaching citizens with what they need, when they need it.
4) Strengthening the public-private interface:
The Governance Practice is focused on the critical interface between the public and private sectors, recognizing public sector risks that may prevent investors from entering a country. More effective systems for public investment management, greater transparency and corporate governance of SOEs, a strengthened regulatory framework, and procurement processes free of capture, collusion, and corruption support an institutional environment that enables the private sector to fill the infrastructure gap. These efforts contribute to the Bank’s efforts to Maximize Finance for Development, supporting a framework that will strengthen private sector confidence and help to catalyze private sector investment.
5) Understanding the underlying drivers and enablers of policy effectiveness:
Good policy design itself is not always sufficient to attain effective policy implementation. The Governance Practice is also working with regional counterparts to identify and to understand the underlying drivers of policy effectiveness. Drawing on the framework of the World Development Report 2017 on Governance and the Law, the Practice is working with country teams to understand how exclusion, capture, clientelism and corruption affect policy design and implementation. Policy drivers may relate to existing power asymmetries, openness, transparency and citizen engagement, which are rooted in factors such as trust and social cohesion, as well as capture and exclusion. Changing national or international norms and standards with respect to governance and policy preferences may also play a role.
The Bank continues to identify how these forces influence policy effectiveness as well as corruption. Advances in technology and information management create the potential for transformative impact though generation, exchange and analysis of information in pursuit of better governance.
Governance is central to IDA18
The “Governance and Institutions” Special Theme in IDA18 underscores the importance of governance in achieving development results on the ground. IDA18 commitments are expected to catalyze change, underpinned by specific, measurable policy actions.
Strengthened institutions and improved governance are especially critical for the world’s most vulnerable countries that need the concessional resources that IDA, the World Bank’s Fund for the poorest, provides. These countries face a range of issues that are deeply rooted in historic and systemic institutional inefficiencies. More effective policy implementation, better management of resources, strengthened service delivery, openness and transparency equip IDA countries to create opportunities for citizen engagement, and help build and maintain trust between the state and citizens. Reducing poverty and promoting shared prosperity is predicated on institutions that are effective in not only solving the problems of the past but responding to the changing needs of the citizens they serve. The World Bank’s response to these challenges are in 12 policy commitments under the Governance and Institutions Special Theme in the final IDA18 Replenishment package.
The Governance Practice has a loan portfolio of 86 projects totaling over $10 billion, along with a diverse portfolio of advisory activities and grants. In addition, the Governance Practice collaborates with other global practices on more than 50 projects, and governance components are embedded in over 20 percent of the Bank’s active portfolio. Together with the Social, Urban, Rural and Resilience Practice, the Governance Practice leads on the implementation of the Strategic Framework for Mainstreaming Citizen Engagement in World Bank Group Operations.
In FY18, the Governance Practice delivered 21 projects totaling $1.8 billion and 162 advisory and analytical services. It provided fiduciary (financial management and procurement) oversight in all Bank operations and over 40 percent of prior actions in development policy financing were governance related. In FY19, the GGP has 21 projects in the pipeline totaling $1.15 billion in commitments.
Last Updated: Sep 27, 2018