Civil Society



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The Civil Society team manages strategic communication and fosters relationships with civil society organizations. The team builds understanding and support for the Bank’s goals; convenes dialogue opportunities between the Bank and civil society; and facilitates access to relevant Bank units. 

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    Key moments in the history of engagement with CSOs

The World Bank Group works with civil society, which includes: “the wide array of non-governmental and not for profit organizations that have a presence in public life, express the interests and values of their members and others, based on ethical, cultural, political, scientific, religious or philanthropic considerations.”

Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have emerged as a major force in international development in the past 30 years. 

The World Bank Group has been working to strengthen its engagement with civil society since 1981, when its first operational policy note on relations with CSos was approved by the World Bank’s Board of Directors. See more about the history of World Bank engagement with CSOs in the link above. 

Interaction with CSOs

The Bank interacts with hundreds of CSOs every day throughout the world, engaging with them through information sharing, policy dialogue, strategy consultation, operational collaboration, and institutional partnerships. 

There are over 120 professionals in the Bank’s Washington, DC Headquarters, and in over 100 country offices, that act as Civil Society Focal Points responsible for engaging CSOs from the local to the global levels. There is also the Global Civil Society Team located in the Bank’s External and Corporate Relations Department that coordinates the overall engagement and relationship management with CSOs. 

Some examples of engagement are below.

  • Policy Dialogue and Consultations
    There has been a significant growth in the number of CSO representatives attending the Annual and Spring Meetings of the  World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund. They participate in the Civil Society Policy Forum which includes a CSO Roundtable with Executive Directors, Townhall with the President of the World Bank Group, and a Civil Society Forum with over 40 policy dialogue sessions mostly organized by CSOs.
  • Operational Collaboration and Institutional Partnerships
    The Bank has steadily increased its operational collaboration with civil society organizations by involving them in Bank funded projects and by funding their development initiatives. The project development of CSOs in Bank financed projects has increased from 21% in 1990 to 88% in fiscal year 2015.
Beyond policy dialogue and operational collaboration, CSOs are also claiming a seat at the WBG governance table. CSO representatives, for instance, serve on the steering committees of the Global Partnership for Social Accountability (GPSA) and the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) in both cases helping to allocate resources. CSO representatives also serve in advisory bodies of several WBG programs and funding mechanisms including the Citizens Engagement FrameworkHealth, Nutrition, and Population CSO Consultative GroupGlobal Environment Facility (GEF), and Climate Investment Funds (CIFs).



This section provides information on World Bank Group funding options for CSOs:

  • The Global Partnership for Social Accountability (GPSA) is the largest funding mechanism the Bank has for CSOs. It was established in 2012 with the purpose of bridging the accountability gap between citizens and governments. The GPSA is based on constructive engagement between governments and civil society in order to create an enabling environment in which citizen feedback is used to solve fundamental problems in service delivery and to strengthen the performance of public institutions. Learn more about funding opportunities through GPSA.
  • The World Bank procurement framework supports the execution of World Bank projects. Several CSOs have successfully bid and been awarded contracts to execute components of World Bank projects in support of the development objectives of our client countries
  • The Bank also provides grants to local nonprofits who provide charitable and social services in the Washington metropolitan area, or to international NGOs who support community development efforts, human rights, and environmental protection worldwide through its Community Connections Program.

The Civil Society Policy Forum (CSPF) convenes twice a year coinciding with the World Bank Group (WBG) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) Spring and Annual Meetings in April and October. The CSPF has become an integral part of the WBG-IMF Meetings, providing an open space for Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to dialogue and exchange views with Bank and IMF staff, their peers, government delegations, and other stakeholders on a wide range of topics.

A core component of the CSPF is CSO-organized dialogue sessions that run concurrently throughout the Forum. CSOs and CSO networks who are interested in organizing sessions are invited to submit their proposals during the Call for Proposals that opens approximately two months ahead of each CSPF. 


Spring Meetings CSPF
Annual Meetings CSPF
Call for session proposals: December - February
CSO registration: February - March
Call for session proposals: May - July
CSO registration: August-September



The CSPF Working Group is an elected group of CSO representatives that serve as a civil society interlocutor with the WB and IMF civil society teams to effectively achieve the objectives of the Forum as a means for engagement and a platform for a globally and thematically diverse group of civil society to voice their concerns, share ideas and experiences, and dialogue with staff on a wide range of issues and development topics.

Towards this end, the CSPF Working Group actively contributes to the planning and organization of the CSPF. The Working Group is also tasked with fostering closer CSO/WB and IMF dialogue on how to improve the CSPF. The Working Group has a mandate of two years. 


2019 ELECTIONS TO THE CSPF WORKING GROUP For information on the elections and to nominate a candidate please go to the 2019 Annual Meetings Civil Society Policy Forum webiste



Year Spring Meetings CSPF
Annual Meetings CSPF
2019 CSPF website
Blog: Hearing each other out
CSPF website
Video: Civil Society Townhall
Blog: Four reasons the World Bank should engage more with civil society
2018 CSPF website
Video: Recap of the CSPF
Blog: A seat at the table
CSPF Website
Video: Civil Society Townhall
2017 CSPF website
Photos: Flickr Albums
CSPF website
Video: Civil Society Townhall
2016 CSPF website
CSPF website
Photos: Civil Society Townhall
Video: Civil Society Townhall
2015 Feature Story
Feature Story
Photos: Civil Society Townhall
Video: Civil Society Townhall
2014 Feature Story
Feature Story
Video: Civil Society Townhall


To subscribe to the Civil Society Engagement eNewsletter, please go here and select the "Civil Society Engagement" newletter box. 


January April July  
February May    
March June    


January April July  October
February May  August  November/December
March June September  



World Bank - Civil Society Engagement Review:

Fiscal Years 2010 -2012    
Full Report (English) Executive Summary - Arabic Executive Summary - Chinese
Executive Summary - French Executive Summary - Spanish Executive Summary - Russian


Fiscal Years 2007 - 2009    
Full Report (English) Executive Summary (English)  
Executive Summary - Arabic Executive Summary - Chinese Executive Summary - French
Executive Summary - Spanish Executive Summary - Russian Executive Summary - Turkish


Fiscal Years 2005 - 2006    
Full Report (English) Executive Summary (English) Full Report - French
Executive Summary - French Full Report - Spanish Executive Summary - Spanish
Executive Summary - Chinese Executive Summary - Arabic Executive Summary - Russian


Fiscal Years 2002 -2004  
Full Report (English)  


Fiscal Years 2000 -2001  
Full Report (English)  

Other reports:

Document  Year
Engaging citizens through mediation in Kaduna State, Nigeria 2016
Civil society, public action and accountability in Africa 2011


Report Year
Engagement with civil society : an EITI implementation case study 2009
Guidance note on Bank multi-stakeholder engagement 2009
Civil society and peacebuilding : potential, limitations and critical factors 2007
Consultations with civil society: a sourcebook 2007
Issues and options for improving engagement between the World Bank and civil society organizations 2005
Consultations with civil society : a sourcebook 2004
Brochure: Engaging Civil Society 2003
Guide to resources for NGOs and other organizations of civil society 2003
Civil society organisations and the poor: the unfulfilled expectations 2002
Working together: the World Bank's partnership with civil society 2000
Consultations with civil society organizations : general guidelines for World Bank staff 2000
The Bank’s Relations with NGOs: Issues and Directions 1998
Assessing aid - what works, what doesn't, and why 1998


World Bank–Civil Society Engagement Review of Fiscal Years 2010–12

World Bank–Civil Society Engagement Review of Fiscal Years 2010–12

2019 Annual Meetings
The civil society townhall with WBG President David Malpass took place on Wednesday, October 16. You can watch the replay below.


World Bank Civil Society Team
+1 (202) 473-1840