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World Development Report 2021 Concept Note: Consultations with CSOs

May 28, 2020



If you can't attend this event, you can review the Concept Note and send us your comments online here.

  • The next World Bank World Development Report: Data for Better Lives, to be completed in early 2021, will focus on how data can improve the lives of the poor in developing countries.

    The concept note is now available and the WDR team is looking forward to consulting with members of civil society to understand diverse perspectives on this critical development issue, especially from low- and middle-income countries.

    The concept note discusses how the value of data is largely untapped, lays out the conceptual framework to help guide our thinking, and reflects on the current data landscape and the environment needed to enable the use and reuse of data while safeguarding against misuse.

    Civil society plays a particularly important role in this discussion. Making data transparent and widely available will help to hold governments accountable for policy choices, and empower individuals to access public and commercial services that are tailored to their needs. While there is great potential for such benefits, there is also the need to protect privacy and find ways to mitigate negative impacts.

    Please RSVP to join this virtual consultation for members of civil society. Connection details will be sent to the email provided in the registration form. Following a presentation of the concept note by the WDR co-directors, we hope to hear perspectives from representatives of civil society, with ample time for discussion and Q/A from participants. Join us!     

  • Concept note presentation:


    Bob Cull, Co-director, WDR 2021

    Viviene Foster, Co-director, WDR 2021

    Dean Jolliffe, Co-director, WDR 2021

    Malarvizhi Veerappan, Report Manager,WDR 2021 

    Ines Pousadela, Senior Research Specialist, CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation  

    Gilbert Sendugwa, Executive Director, Africa Freedom of Information Centre

    DiscussionWith CSO representatives


    Moderated by: Haishan Fu, Director, Development Data Group

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    Bob Cull

    Co-director, WDR 2021

    Robert Cull is acting research manager and Lead Economist in the Finance and Private Sector Development Team of the World Bank's Development Research Group. His most recent research is on the performance of microfinance institutions, African financial development, Chinese financial development and firm performance, and the effects of the global financial crisis on foreign banks and on bank regulation and supervision in developing economies. He has published numerous articles in peer-reviewed academic journals including in the Economic Journal, Journal of Development Economics, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Journal of Financial Economics, Journal of Law and Economics, and the Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking. The author or editor of multiple books, his most recent co-edited book, “Banking the World: Empirical Foundations of Financial Inclusion” was published by MIT Press January, 2013. He is also co-editor of the Interest Bearing Notes, a bi-monthly newsletter reporting on financial and private sector research.


    Vivien Foster

    Co-director, WDR 2021

    Vivien Foster is the Chief Economist for the Infrastructure Vice-Presidency of the World Bank; which covers the areas of Digital Development, Energy & Extractives, Transport and Infrastructure Finance. During her 20 years at the World Bank she has played a variety of leadership roles, including: Global Lead for Energy Economics, Markets and Institutions (2016-18); Practice Manager of the Global Energy Anchor (2012-16); and Lead Economist for Infrastructure in the Africa Region (2006-11). Throughout, her focus has been on the intersection between network infrastructures and economic policy. She has contributed to client dialogue, as well as advisory and lending engagements, in more than 30 countries across Africa, Latin America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Vivien has spearheaded several major policy research initiatives including: Water, Electricity and the Poor (2005), examining the distributional impact of utility subsidies; Africa’s Infrastructure (2009), a path-breaking analysis of the continent’s network infrastructure challenges; Building Bridges (2009), detailing China’s growing role as infrastructure financier for Africa; The Energy Progress Report (2013, 2015, 2017, 2018), a global dashboard for tracking progress towards the achievement of SDG7 goals for energy; Regulatory Indicators for Sustainable Energy (RISE) (2016, 2018), monitoring worldwide adoption of good practice policies to support sustainable energy; and Rethinking Power Sector Reform (2019), a knowledge program that evaluates developing country experience with the adoption of Washington Consensus policy prescriptions for the electricity sector. Prior to joining the World Bank, Vivien worked as a Managing Consultant of Oxford Economic Research Associates Ltd in the UK, advising private and public sector clients in the water and energy industries, both in Europe and Latin America, with focus on the economic regulation of utilities. She is a graduate of Oxford University, and also holds a Master’s from Stanford University and a Doctorate from University College London, both in Economics.


    Dean Joliffe

    Co-director, WDR 2021

    Dean Jolliffe is a lead economist in the Development Data Group at the World Bank. He is a member of the Living Standards Measurement Study team and co-lead of the team that works on global poverty measurement (PovcalNet). Previously, he worked in the Research Group and the South Asia region of the World Bank. Prior to joining the World Bank, he was a research economist with the Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, an assistant professor at Charles University Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education in Prague, an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Public Policy Institute, and a postdoctoral fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute. Dean holds appointments as a research fellow with the Institute for the Study of Labor, as a co-opted council member of the International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, and as a fellow of the Global Labor Organization. He received his PhD in economics from Princeton University.


    Malarvizhi Veerappan

    Report Manager, WDR 2021

    Malarvizhi Veerappan is a Senior Data Scientist and Program Manager for the Data Management & Services at the World Bank. She leads the team that manages the statistical data management and dissemination functions that supports the production of key data products such as the World Development Indicators,, Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and the Bank’s data catalog. She oversees data management and technology implementations for many development data initiatives, provides technical assistance to countries and other organizations and supports the institution's Open data strategy and its execution. She was part of the task team that launched The World Bank's Open Data Initiative in 2010 and as part this efforts, she created the World Bank’s first comprehensive data APIs. As a member of the secretariat was instrumental in setting up the Bank’s Data Council, an internal data governance body that works on framing the institution's key data priorities, including emerging areas such as big data and Geospatial data. In this capacity, she established the Development Data Hub, the Bank’s first integrated data hub, that streamlines data sharing and helps eliminate data silos by provisioning consistent tools, policies and the formation of centralized curation teams. She is co-leading efforts to make the evidence on gender data gaps more accessible, usable and salient through compelling narratives and data visualizations. She represents the Bank in several inter-agency data working groups and partnership programs. She is an engineer by education and is pursuing an advanced degree in Applied Data Sciences. She is passionate about building innovative data solutions that have global reach and impact and the effective use of ICT for development. Prior to her work at The World Bank, she worked in private sector delivering technology solutions to international organizations and government agencies.


    Haishan Fu

    Director, Development Data Group

    Haishan Fu is the Director of the World Bank’s Development Data Group, overseeing its global development monitoring and open data initiative, surveys and other technical advisory services, and global statistical programs such as the International Comparison Program. In her capacity as the Ex-Officio member of the WBG Data Council and the Co-Chair of the Development Data Directors Group, Haishan leads and coordinates the development and implementation of the Bank’s development data agenda. She has been an active leader in the global statistical community, having served or currently serving as a member of the UN Secretary General’s Independent Expert Advisory Group on Data Revolution for Sustainable Development, Council Member of the International Statistical Institute, and Co-Chair of the Global Steering Committee of the Global Strategy to Improve Agricultural and Rural Statistics, among others. Prior to joining the Bank in 2014, Haishan was Director of the Statistics Division at UNESCAP, leading the strategic development of a number of regional statistics development programs in Asia and the Pacific. During her time as the Chief of Statistics of UNDP’s Human Development Report, she led the transformation of the Report’s statistical quality and credibility, and built an extensive network with national and international statistical agencies and other partners. She spent a number of years doing health policy-related research as a post-doctoral fellow at University of Pennsylvania and Senior Research Associate at the Guttmacher Institute in New York. Haishan holds a Ph.D. in Demography from Princeton University and a B.A. in Economics from Peking University.


    Inés M. Pousadela

    Senior Research Specialist, CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation

    Inés Pousadela is Senior Research Specialist with CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation. She is also the Open Government Partnership’s IRM researcher for Argentina and teaches Comparative Politics and an elective class on Global Civil Society at Universidad ORT in Montevideo, Uruguay. Inés holds a PhD in Political Science (Universidad de Belgrano, Argentina), a Master’s degree in Economic Sociology (IDAES-UNSAM, Argentina), and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Buenos Aires. Prior to joining CIVICUS, she alternated between academic research in the area of Latin American studies (at the University of Maryland, Georgetown University and American University), and independent consultancy with NGOs and international organizations (UNDP, IDB). She has produced several books, chapters and journal articles on democratization, political representation, social mobilization, participation and accountability, as well as resources for civil society practitioners in Latin America. In her present role with CIVICUS, she focuses on civic space restrictions, civil society trends on gender and inclusion, resourcing, legitimacy and accountability, and social movement activity around the world.


    Gilbert Sendugwa

    Executive Director, Africa Freedom of Information Centre

    Gilbert Sendugwa is the Executive Director Africa Freedom of Information Centre (AFIC), the largest CSO network and resource centre promoting citizens’ right to information in Africa. He works on key topics such as open government, open contracting, social accountability and citizen access to information in Africa. Gilbert is also the Senior Africa Regional Manager for CoST- the Infrastructure Transparency Initiative. Through this role he supports CoST programmes in Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Ghana and Ethiopia to advance performance of infrastructure projects. He holds a Master’s degree in Management Studies, Postgraduate Diploma in Project Planning and Management and a BA in Social Work and Social Administration.