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Using dialogue to inform public policies in the Dominican Republic

April 8, 2014

At the request of the Dominican Republic’s incoming Administration in 2012, The World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) convened to elaborate a set of 13 policy notes to help further the ambitious social agenda. Nine (out of 22) Ministries participated in a convention to discuss the policy notes, called the “Dominican Republic Dialogue Day,” and informed their respective action plans with the priorities agreed with the IADB and the World Bank. Progress has been observed in the areas of fiscal and macroeconomic stability, public financial management and procurement, access to finance, and quality of education, among other areas.

Challenge

President Danilo Medina assumed office in August 2012 carrying an ambitious electoral program aimed at generating 400,000 jobs and agreeing on three nationwide targets on fiscal, energy and education priorities.

The emphasis of the new Administration on social policies was challenged by a large deficit and the tightest fiscal space in public finances in a decade. The Minister of the Economy called on the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) and the World Bank to elaborate in just two months a set of joint policy notes on topics identified by the Government, in order to inform sector dialogue and agree on priorities in the different Ministries and institutions, most of which were at that moment preparing their four-year action plans.

Solution

In order to promptly respond to the request of Government authorities, the World Bank drew from an ongoing policy notes elaboration process. The World Bank and the IADB put together a joint coordination team in charge of defining homogeneous objectives and format for the different policy notes, as well as coordinating the inputs from the different sector experts. A total of 13 policy notes were prepared in 5 broad areas: macroeconomic management, the quality of public management, growth and competitiveness, electricity development and the social sectors.

In order to ensure the quality of the content and the consistency of the messages, in March 2013 all the different focal points on the WB and IADB side presented and discussed the different notes in a joint review meeting.

Finally, on March 9, 2013 the Dominican Republic Dialogue Day was held, comprised of around 10 Ministries and high level representatives and experts on the IADB and the WB side. The dialogue created a unique opportunity for multi-sector discussion around the Dominican Republic Policy Notes.

Results

While the following results cannot be solely attributed to the Policy Notes, as some of them were already in the Government’s agenda, the Dominican Republic Dialogue Day was convened by authorities precisely to agree on the priorities and to use the World Bank’s leverage to move forward in certain areas. These are some of the areas that have noticeably registered improvement:

  • According to the General Directorate for Public Procurement, the number of non-competitive biddings diminished by 21.1% in 2013. In addition, the number of procurement processes published in 2013 reached 57,000, compared to just 1,000 in 2012.    
  • On December 3, 2013, the International Finance Corporation issued Taíno Bonds for a value of US$390 million, in its effort to develop the domestic market for corporate bonds.
  • In the context of progress towards a Single Treasury Account, as of December 2013, 12 out of 12 hospitals in Santo Domingo National District had been fully incorporated to the decentralized payment system, compared to just 6 as of July 2013.
  • As of August 2013, the first monitoring report on the progress of the actions agreed at Dominican Initiative for the Quality of Education (IDEC) was made public.

Bank Group Contribution

The total cost of the elaboration of the joint policy notes for the World Bank is estimated to be US$87,000. In addition, the World Bank and the IADB shared the cost of the logistics and venue for the Dominican Republic Dialogue Day.

Partners

As aforementioned, the IADB contributed in equal terms to the development of the Policy Notes and the Dominican Republic Dialogue Day, both in funding and knowledge sharing. Specifically, the IADB Director for Central America, the Principal Economist of the IADB for Central America, the Economist of the IADB for the Dominican Republic, and the IADB Representative in Santo Domingo were the World Bank’s main counterparts in the process. In addition, more than 20 IADB experts participated in the elaboration of the policy notes and/or in the main workshop.

Moving Forward

The Policy Notes have also helped inform the IADB Strategy in the Dominican Republic, and the World Bank Country Partnership Strategy. Once the approval process of the latter is completed, the Policy Notes will be made public as “Proceedings of the DR Dialogue Day,” and a series of BBLs and of web-based dissemination actions will be launched in order to ensure the continuity of the messages and to support the implementation of agreed priorities.

Beneficiaries

The ultimate beneficiaries of this initiative are the citizens of the Dominican Republic, who are benefiting from the outcomes derived from better coordinated development efforts

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hospitals in Santo Domingo National District had been fully incorporated to the decentralized payment system by December 2013, compared to just 6 as of July 2013.


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