Reimbursable Advisory Services on Support for Establishing the System for Strategic Planning and Development Management and for Preparing the 2030 National Development Strategy
1. What is the assignment that the Bank received within the preparation of the 2030 National Development Strategy (NDS)?
In December 2017, Croatia introduced the Law on Strategic Planning and Development Management (NN 123/2017) which regulates the new system of strategic planning. The Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds (MRDEUF) launched in 2018 the challenging assignment to operationalize a new strategic planning system and coordinated the preparation of the NDS. The 2030 NDS is the overarching document aiming to provide strategic guidance to all development policies and lower-ranking strategic planning documents. In this context it requested the World Bank (WB) to support this task. The engagement, which started in May 2018, is structured around three components: (i) support for the preparation of the 2030 National Development Strategy, by providing analytical background papers and methodological advice; (ii) support for the implementation of the strategic planning system, with methodological guidance and tools; and (iii) capacity development and facilitation of implementation of the reform of the strategic planning system.
2. Why are national development strategies prepared?
The 2030 National Development Strategy should steer the development of Croatia until 2030. While broad vision documents were produced in the past in Croatia, this is the first time that the Government has decided to employ a comprehensive and evidence-based process using a participatory and bottom-up approach. Similar documents are regularly prepared in other countries and the analytical support of experts is very common in such a complex process and widely used. The World Bank has supported governments in similar exercises, including for example in Kazakhstan, Qatar, China, and Malaysia. As for many other national strategies worldwide, the purpose of the NDS is to set a clear long-term vision for the country providing a strategic guidance to all development policies and lower-ranking strategic planning documents. Additionally, the analytical underpinning prepared for the NDS and the extensive consultation process to prepare the NDS has been used by MRDEUF to inform the 2021-2027 European Union (EU) programming period.
3. What is the role of the WB in the preparation of the Croatian NDS?
The principal role of the World Bank in the process of the preparation of the 2030 NDS has been to provide analytical support. The Bank has supported the Government, the MRDEUF and the line ministries in the process of development of the Strategy with an extensive analytical knowledge base in the form of sectoral policy notes covering most areas relevant for economic development.
The policy notes prepared at the request of the MRDEUF and line ministries were the following: Macroeconomic Stability, Fiscal Policy and Taxation; Growth, Competitiveness and Innovation; Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food Processing in Croatia's Food & Bio-Economy; Education and Skills; Energy Sector, Environment, Family Policies; Health Sector; Justice Sector; Labor Market; Personal Income Tax Benefits for Families with Children; Public Administration Modernization; Regional Availability of Social Services; State Asset Management; Territorial Development and Transport Sector. These notes were endorsed by the steering committee organized at the level of the Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds. In addition, five background documents were produced independently by the World Bank as they were considered important to inform the NDS preparation, including: Adequacy of Pensions in Croatia; Poverty Note; Gender Assessment; Smart Cities; and Smart Islands. The sector policy notes were delivered in July 2019. The body of knowledge provided by the WB encompass more than 1500 pages and are also available in Croatian.
These policy notes aimed to help the authorities recognize the most binding development gaps, define the reform and investment priorities for the country based on the vision and strategic objectives that were set by the Ministry, and identify actions needed to bring the country closer to its 2030 targets.
The assignment also included providing methodological support and advice on the methodology for drafting the NDS and support to MRDEUF at several stages of the stakeholder consultations process. Stakeholders included representatives of public bodies, employers (private companies) and employers’ associations, trade unions, academic and scientific community, civil society sector, state owned companies, national councils and foundations. Another activity is the ex-ante review of the NDS that will be done once the draft NDS is delivered by the Ministry and carried out by an independent team.
The Bank’s approach includes drawing from its rich pool of highly experienced international staff and coupling it with country-specific knowledge provided by local consultants. In its work, the World Bank pays particular attention to the quality process to deliver its TA and the policy notes, undergo several stages of quality assurance processes. About 125 World Bank staff and consultants (international and local) contributed to the activities and outputs of this activity and the quality assurance team included around 30 WB experts and managers. The engagement with the MRREUF is still ongoing.