Partnering on the Path to Recovery

Now more than ever, the challenges we face demand collective action. Climate change, conflict, poverty, and fragility cannot be addressed alone—lasting solutions will require new partnerships and coalitions. We engage with a diverse range of partners to exchange ideas and help build political and financial support for our mission. Our partnerships are critical to advancing action on shared development priorities, including inequality, climate adaptation and resilience, fragility, gender, and human capital. In fiscal 2021, our partnerships focused on supporting the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic and setting the foundation for a green, resilient, and inclusive recovery.

Multilateral affairs. In fiscal 2021, we participated in a wide range of multilateral platforms and engaged closely with the G7, G20, other multilateral development banks, and the UN system to address countries' development challenges, including the impacts of the pandemic. We worked closely with the IMF under the Saudi and Italian G20 Presidencies to support the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) and the Common Framework for Debt Treatments Beyond the DSSI, as well as efforts to enhance debt transparency. This work has been critical in providing fiscal space to client countries, alongside the significant positive net flows of grants and concessional credits from IDA and other multilateral development banks. In April 2021, the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors endorsed advancing the IDA20 replenishment by a year to support the response to COVID-19 and a green, resilient, and inclusive recovery in IDA countries. In 2021, the Bank Group, the IMF, and the G7 under the UK’s Presidency have collaborated to support vulnerable low-income countries and an ambitious green agenda.

The Bank Group has also partnered with UN agencies—including WHO, WFP, UNICEF, UNOPS, and UNDP—in our response to COVID-19, including key technical support in defining relevant standards, communicating risk prevention measures, and procuring medical equipment and supplies. We also worked with UN partners on key multilateral initiatives to help countries prepare for the rapid, fair, and safe delivery of COVID-19 vaccines and tools, including readiness assessments for over 140 countries and, as co-leads with the Global Fund, the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator’s Health Systems Connector Pillar. We drew on these partnerships at the UN General Assembly, the UN System Chief Executives Board, the Financing for Sustainable Development Forum, and the High-Level Political Forum. We continued to work closely with the EU to strengthen social protection systems and disaster risk management; help countries affected by fragility, conflict, and violence (FCV) respond to the COVID-19 crisis; and mobilize financing for a green and digital transition. Country outcomes have been central to our multilateral efforts and in our engagement with the G7 and G20, the EU, and the UN system.

Civil society. Civil society organizations (CSOs) present a broad array of interests, ideas, and areas of influence and have been indispensable in facilitating, guiding, and assessing our pandemic response. We engage with them through strategic interventions that build support for the Bank’s key priorities. These relationships are maintained through partnerships and outreach, advocacy and campaigns, policy consultations, citizen engagement, operational collaboration, and information exchange. CSOs provide regular input to the Bank through stakeholder consultations, analysis, and dialogue. The Civil Society Policy Forum, our largest platform for this engagement, brought together over 2,400 CSO representatives during the 2020 Annual Meetings and the 2021 Spring Meetings. Led by CSOs, discussions focused on ensuring a green, resilient, and inclusive recovery and ways to bring local solutions to scale. Major themes included climate action, vaccine equity, debt relief and IDA, accountability and transparency, responding to human rights abuses, human capital, and the private sector. CSOs also put forth queries and provided recommendations in two conversations with the Bank’s Executive Directors and a town hall with the Bank Group President. They expressed continued support for shared development goals—including IDA, climate action, and ensuring accountability for pandemic-related financing—during conversations with the Bank Group’s senior management. During the year, we also facilitated ongoing dialogue between CSOs and Bank Group experts, enhancing knowledge sharing and creating platforms for feedback on key development themes.

Faith-based organizations. Dedicated to specific religious identities and with broad geographic influence, these organizations are key strategic partners in our efforts to address extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity. We engage with global faith-based organizations and coalitions, UN platforms, and leaders from a wide range of religious traditions. To advance knowledge sharing, we surveyed efforts by leading faith-based organizations in addressing the impacts of the pandemic, highlighting practical initiatives and collaboration opportunities with our country offices. We also convened a working group with a range of stakeholders to build evidence on the role of faith in advancing country outcomes. We continued to coordinate with the United States, including by participating in the landmark USAID Evidence Summit on Strategic Religious Engagement. We also participated in key coalitions, including the UN Task Force on Religion and Development, the Joint Learning Initiative, and the International Partnership on Religion and Sustainable Development.

Parliamentarians. We engage with parliamentarians worldwide in dialogue, knowledge sharing, and advocacy to translate global development goals into meaningful country results. In fiscal 2021, the Bank collaborated with legislators, parliamentary organizations, and the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank and IMF toward our shared goal of green, resilient, and inclusive development. Priorities included gender and youth issues, pandemic preparedness, vaccines, debt, climate, private sector investments, and FCV. Through virtual global events at the Annual and Spring Meetings, we connected more than 200 parliamentarians from over 100 countries. These engagements facilitated policy dialogues with legislators, including on actions that parliamentarians could take in their countries to improve health outcomes.

Philanthropy and the private sector. In fiscal 2021, our partnerships with key private and philanthropic organizations helped provide urgent support to communities that are severely affected by the pandemic. We continued working closely with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support programs in gender, health, social protection, and financial services. This partnership has also been crucial in our work to tackle COVID-19, especially on vaccine access, equity, and distribution. We also partnered with J.P. Morgan on the School to Work program, which aims to improve access to quality and market-relevant training for youth in six Indian states. It will directly benefit 37 million students and 2 million teachers; indirectly, it will reach more than 90 million students and nearly 5 million teachers across the country.

Key initiatives. While our partnerships represent a diverse array of constituencies, we also manage several issue-specific initiatives. These include the Bank Group’s Partnership Fund for the Sustainable Development Goals, which allocated more than $3.5 million in fiscal 2021 to activities that support COVID-19 response efforts in small island developing states and countries affected by FCV, leveraging more than 50 new partnerships with governments, UN agencies, the private sector, academia, and civil society. Also in fiscal 2021, Connect4Climate (C4C)—a global partnership program of the Communications for Climate Change multidonor trust fund—continued to drive momentum for climate action, connecting over 500 organizations to facilitate advocacy, operational support, research, and capacity building. C4C engages with diverse audiences to inspire change, with partnerships across the film, fashion, music, and sports industries to amplify youth voices.

Local communities. Through the Community Connections program, the Bank Group aims to live our goals of ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity in our own communities through employee and corporate philanthropy, volunteerism, in-kind donations, and an internship program for students from local public high schools. Together, the programs leverage our motivated and international workforce to help local communities in Washington and around the world. About 80 percent of our giving each year is provided through the Community Connections Campaign, which collects staff and retiree donations that are matched by the Bank Group. In fiscal 2021, the campaign set new records, with staff and retirees pledging over $6 million. Addressing the drastic increase in need during the pandemic, the Bank Group increased its matching rate from 100 percent to 200 percent, for a total pledge of over $19 million to our local communities.

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