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Civil Society


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. 

The WBG engages with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) through a variety of means. From Headquarters to country offices, the WBG interacts daily with CSOs throughout the world, engaging them for different purposes, such as advocacy, policy dialogue, consultations, information-sharing, operational collaboration, and partnerships. Additionally, WBG provides grant funding to CSOs through the Global Partnership for Social Accountability.

  • Advocacy: CSOs help generate public awareness and advance advocacy targets around shared priorities, such as human capital, climate change, and accountability. Through various forms of advocacy campaigns, CSOs have been important partners in amplifying WBG-led advocacy efforts. Examples include the IDA replenishment and efforts around the Human Capital Project.

  • Policy: Policy dialogue with CSOs takes place frequently at both the country and global levels. In addition, twice a year, CSOs convene at the Annual and Spring Meetings to take part in the Civil Society Policy Forum (CSPF). The CSPF provides an open space for CSOs and other stakeholders to dialogue and exchange views with WBG and IMF staff, their peers, government delegations, and other stakeholders on a wide range of topics. During the CSPF, colleagues often organize bilateral meetings with CSO executives, roundtables, and discussions with select stakeholder groups to discuss various institutional initiatives and priorities.

  • Consultation: An essential part of the WBG's country engagement model, CSOs frequently provide input through consultations – time-limited engagements through which interested and impacted parties can share their input and perspectives on a proposed area of WBG work. Consulting with beneficiaries throughout the project cycle is embedded within the new Environmental and Social Framework and Citizen Engagement Framework.

  • Information: Accessible and accurate information is an integral part of the WBG's policy on openness and transparency. CSOs can access a wealth of information on the WBG's website via the project portal and consultations page. In addition, the WBG proactively shares information with CSOs via monthly newsletters and calls, giving them an opportunity to discuss current WBG priorities, report launches, or opportunities for engagement and consultations about which they may be interested.

  • Partnership: CSOs often partner with the WBG to enhance collaboration on a particular development topic, sector, or initiative. For example, the Human Capital Champions include many CSO leaders who have committed to enhancing engagement and advocacy to promote greater investments in people. Through the Global Partnership for Social Accountability, WBG makes grants to CSOs to support collaborative social accountability projects.

  • Operation: The WBG collaborates with CSOs on many WBG-funded projects. CSOs can enhance development projects through their local knowledge, technical expertise, and social capital. CSOs often lead in implementing development projects or provide key services monitoring project outcomes. Their role as emergency responders is especially important in areas where governments and international financial institutions either cannot operate or struggle to reach ultra-poor communities, such as in fragile or conflict-affected areas.

Last Updated: Sep 18, 2022