It is critical and urgent for governments across the world to seize the opportunity presented by the crises of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and conflict to confront past, current and future challenges and change for the better. The Future of Government Initiatiive aims to help governments to shape a better future for their citizens.
The approach undertaken by the Initiative has four dimensions:
• Firstly, we are convening a series of conversations on the Future of Government, igniting debates about reimagining what government could be. These started in the form of Disruptive Debates which occurred between May and November 2021 on a series of six questions: What will be the demands on and future objectives of government? How will the role of government change? How will governments deliver? How will governments be more productive? How will citizens’ trust in government be affected? And finally, how will governments prepare for future crises?
We published a series of World Bank blogs alongside these conversations, reflecting on themes and issues discussed. Additional regional conversations and conversations on critical outcomes are underway, as well as presenting a range of perspectives from participants.
• Secondly, by looking back to the future – drawing on an extensive body of evidence to investigate how government has been changing during the 21st century before and during the pandemic and how citizens’ expectations and demands of government have evolved - and how this might impact on the future of government.
• Thirdly, drawing from experience and a framework for reimagining government; how governments might reimagine themselves, transforming themselves from the government of the past to the government of the future.
Our framework proposes that governments review and revitalize their social contract: what governments do for their citizens, and what citizens do for their governments. Next, the framework sets out how governments could seek and create opportunities and catalysts for change. Finally, the proposes that governments at different levels and in different spaces start an urgent journey.
• Fourth, by catalyzing, inspiring and supporting governments to take action by adapting this framework, working with countries to initiate processes for reimagining their governments.
The Initiative poses questions, rather than providing recommendations and solutions for governments. The “answers” will be very different in different countries.
The Future of Government Initiative is led and coordinated by the World Bank Governance Global Practice and supported by a task force drawn from Global Practices from across the World Bank.