The World Bank Group (WBG) is committed to becoming a better listener and accelerating progress in the fight to end poverty and boost shared prosperity in a sustainable and inclusive manner. Engaging citizens and mobilizing communities in the process can help bring greater transparency, accountability, and social inclusion, thus improving development results.
The World Bank’s Strategic Framework for Mainstreaming Citizen Engagement in WBG Operations was developed in 2014 to more systematically mainstream citizen engagement in WBG-supported operations. The Strategic Framework defines citizen engagement as the two-way interaction between citizens and governments or the private sector within the scope of WBG interventions. This approach gives citizens a stake in decision-making in order to improve intermediate and final development outcomes.
The approach to mainstreaming citizen engagement in WBG-supported operations is guided by five principles:
- it is results-focused
- involves engaging throughout the operational cycle
- seeks to strengthen country systems
- is context-specific
- is gradual
The Strategic Framework builds on the WBG’s experience in multi-stakeholder engagement, citizen participation, and open and inclusive governance, as well as experiences from citizen engagement efforts around the world. The Framework assesses lessons learned, and outlines methods and entry points to provide a more systematic and results-focused approach for the WBG.
In practical terms, the World Bank’s citizen engagement commitment means that all Investment Project Financing (IPF) operations financed with IBRD loans or IDA credits must meet three requirements:
- Project design must be citizen-oriented, i.e., having at least one mechanism to engage with beneficiaries in the specific context of the project.
- Projects’ results frameworks must include at least one beneficiary feedback indicator to monitor citizen engagement throughout project implementation.
- Projects must report on the beneficiary feedback indicator(s) by the third year of implementation.
Beneficiary feedback indicators can measure, for example:
- The extent to which citizens are making use of online platforms for providing just-in-time feedback and prompting responses to improve the quality of public services such as road maintenance, solid waste management, health services such as vaccine distribution.
- If consultation outcomes and beneficiary feedback are being integrated during project implementation, through the percentage of beneficiaries who feel that project investments reflect their needs, or beneficiaries’ satisfaction with specified project dimensions.
- Beneficiary collaboration in project decision making, implementation or monitoring, through the number of citizens and/or communities involved in planning, implementation and/or evaluation of project activities; community contributions to the total project cost; beneficiaries’ satisfaction with the collaboration process; the establishment of arrangements for community engagement in post-projects sustainability and/or operations; or the publication of findings of citizen-led monitoring.
The World Bank’s Citizen Engagement and Social Accountability Global Solutions Group (CESA GSG), within the Social Sustainability and Inclusion Global Practice (SSI GP) oversees the implementation of the Strategic Framework, supported by a network of citizen engagement focal points in each region and GP.
In 2018, the Bank’s Independent Evaluation Group conducted an evaluation of the results of the Strategic Framework. The evaluation found that the WBG succeeded in generating awareness and buy-in of the citizen engagement agenda among senior management and staff, who agreed that citizen engagement is a responsibility of the institution and a useful strategy to strengthen accountability in service delivery, mitigate risks, and anticipate problems. This change in mindset, whereby the value of engaging citizens is now encouraged across the WBG’s work, is considered a major achievement.
Last Updated: Apr 14, 2022