DHAKA, March 13, 2011 — The Government of Bangladesh and the World Bank jointly conducted the first annual review today of progress toward results under World Bank supported programs and operations. This review was unusual in going beyond a focus on implementation processes to assess whether development outcomes are being achieved and whether more can be done to manage for results.
The review found good progress towards results following approval of the Country Assistance Strategy in July 2010, with a record $6.2 billion in planned commitments for FY11-14. The World Bank has contributed to positive outcomes in areas such as increasing educational enrolment, improving health status, expanding renewable energy, promoting public-private partnerships and providing critical infrastructure like rural roads and water supply.
In serving as Guest of Honor for the occasion, the Honorable Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, Minister of Finance, Government of Bangladesh, commended the World Bank for its increasing openness: “Last year, the World Bank conducted consultations throughout the country to hear from Bangladeshis about our challenges and priorities, and then launched the Country Assistance Strategy to the general public. One year on, they are carrying through with increased transparency and accountability in delivering development results in Bangladesh”
To ensure better outcomes, the World Bank’s strategy seeks to scale up on-going operations with demonstrable results, engage in larger, more strategic interventions with a transformative impact and innovate through small pilots with high country ownership. A results framework that includes a manageable set of indicators and measurable targets is embedded in the strategy. This year’s review of progress toward results found that most milestones were on-track. However, lack of progress data hampered a full assessment nearly half the time.
“This reviews shows that Government and development partners need to strengthen systems and capacity to monitor progress toward results to ensure that our joint actions are leading to desired outcomes in terms of poverty reduction, economic growth and social welfare” said Ellen Goldstein, World Bank Country Director in Bangladesh. “Going forwards, the Bank will devote additional resources to data development and strengthening monitoring and evaluation systems at the program, sector and country level.”
Managing for development results (MfDR) requires a change in mindset among donors and developing countries to balance day-to-day implementation concerns with a long-term focus on outcomes. In preparing the Sixth Five-Year Plan, Government is incorporating a development results framework which will make it easier to monitor progress toward the goals of the Plan. The World Bank is working with Government to make this results framework a tool for better aligning foreign assistance to country priorities.
In his opening remarks, Dr. Mashiur Rahman, Economic Adviser to Prime Minister, noted “Enhancing implementation and outcomes of World Bank support will have a positive effect on Government’s Annual Development Program, given the importance of the Bank as a long-term partner of Bangladesh. A stronger focus on results—and building the tools to measure, monitor and manage for results—will increase the effectiveness of our public investment.’’
The World Bank Country Assistance Strategy is supporting Government’s vision of rapid poverty reduction and middle income country status through accelerated, sustainable and inclusive growth, underpinned by stronger governance at central and local levels. The World Bank’s portfolio in Bangladesh amounts to US$ 4.8 billion and includes 28 projects.