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The Future of Governance

December 15, 2014


Children outside a school in Bangladesh.

Photo: Scott Wallace/ World Bank

Story Highlights
  • Donor agencies and key civil society actors came together to discuss Governance of Extractive Industries and to help identify opportunities for collective impact in resource-rich countries.
  • This meeting was a direct outcome of “New Directions in Governance,” a conference held earlier in London organized and supported by the Governance Partnership Facility.
  • The Governance Partnership Facility, a multi-donor trust fund, supports 126 projects in more than 30 countries with 30 regional/global activities spanning a variety of thematic groups such as Political Economy Analysis, Governance of Extractives, Public Financial Management, Social Accountability, among others.

As snowy weather forecasts threatened to cut power lines along the Northeast corridor, the World Bank, along with the Natural Resource Governance Institute, and DFID collectively brainstormed over Governance of Extractive Industries (GEI) in New York’s Columbia University on December 10-11.

Participants included Governance Global Practice’s Director for Open Governance and Partnerships, Robert Hunja, DFID’s Jonathan Atkinson, and other key civil society actors from Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, Open Oil and Publish What You Pay. They were focused on finding answers for questions such as: 

How can we build a shared understanding of priorities for advancing GEI for the next five years? How can we identify what works and what don’t?

Some of the emerging priorities in the extractives field include harnessing the growing flood of extractives data coming out of transparency initiatives and other sources to better translate into better governance; finding ways to support meaningful civil society participation in extractives governance processes. And tackling frontier issues with highly technical elements, such as transfer pricing, contract renegotiations, commodity trading, and, quality of host government information systems.

With leadership and support from the World Bank’s Governance Partnership Facility, this meeting is a direct outcome of the September conference “New Directions in Governance,” which was held in collaboration with the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), and attended by nearly 180 participants from donor agencies, civil society and academia (full agenda here).

At the conference, delegates shared innovative examples of governance in country programs and thematic sectors and also learned about the Bank’s Governance Global Practice and its strategic priorities. Mario Marcel, Senior Director of the GGP, opened the conference with a call for “concrete, tangible improvements from the field that have the prospect of being scaled up and replicated.”

Moving forward, Marcel outlined his vision for the practice which included:

  • Strengthening partnerships with donors, government counterparts and civil society.
  • Continuing to share the knowledge and lessons learned from the GPF at a country and global level.
  • Stronger focus on areas of larger value added, and fill in some key gaps.
  • Scaling up the innovations piloted with GPF, such as ICT-enabled citizen feedback and governance filters.
  • Partnering with other GPs to support governance related work throughout the Bank, especially in service delivery.

Jonathan Hargreaves, Head of the Governance, Open Societies and Anti-Corruption Department at UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) saw the meeting as a great opportunity to discuss and develop the new governance agenda. “Aid and non-aid approaches go hand-in-hand,” he said, and emphasized the need to accelerate and support the Bank’s work on Fragile and Conflict States (FCS), extractive industries, and innovations in citizen feedback mechanisms. Hargreaves also highlighted the use of the right Political Economy Analysis (PEA) tools and cross-sectoral staff as critical for developmental success.

Participant feedback was positive and led to fruitful follow-up discussions on thematic areas such as Extractive Industries, Public Financial Management, and Social Accountability. Although the GPF will close by February 2015, the conference helped to stimulate many new partnerships and knowledge exchanges. To date, the event has produced the following outcomes:

  • The “Doing Development Differently workshop at Harvard University in collaboration with ODI.
  • Development of a curriculum for a Governance training program for GGP staff in collaboration with DFID and DFAT, accessible by other development agencies.
  • Continuing discussions between the GGP and DFID about a new partnership in 2015, primarily based on sharing ideas and knowledge.