Citizen Engagement

September 30, 2014


The World Bank Group (WBG) Strategy adopted in 2013 sets a framework to align all WBG public and private sector interventions to the two goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity, in a sustainable and inclusive manner. The strategy incorporates citizen engagement, specifically in its treatment of inclusion. Part of the inclusion entails empowering citizens to participate in the development process and integrating citizen voice in development programs to help accelerate to achieving results.

At the 2013 Annual Meetings, WBG President Jim Yong Kim pledged to increase beneficiary feedback to 100 percent of projects with clearly identified beneficiaries. To this end, the WBG has developed a Strategic Framework to more systematically mainstream citizen engagement, including beneficiary feedback, in WBG supported operations.  Within the scope of these operations, the WBG’s role is to help build sustainable national systems for citizen engagement with governments and the private sector. 

The Strategic Framework for Citizen Engagement in World Bank Group Operations builds on the WBG’s experience in multi-stakeholder engagement, citizen participation, and open and inclusive governance as well 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.

Growing evidence confirms that under the right conditions, citizen engagement can help governments achieve improved development results. The framework includes a comprehensive review of existing literature which found positive links between citizen engagement and improved public service delivery, public financial management, governance and social inclusion/empowerment. 

Evidence also shows, however, that the outcomes of citizen engagement are highly context specific and sensitive to government and citizens’ capacity and willingness to engage.  Effective engagement is also affected by social, political, economic, environmental, cultural, geographic and other factors, such as gender dynamics. 

As an integral part of the development of the framework, the WBG held global consultations from February to June, 2014.

An Advisory Council was established to guide the development and implementation of the framework. The members of the Council – experts in the field from civil society, academia, government, private sector, and development partners – were selected based on their knowledge and experience and ability to represent a range of global and country perspectives.

The Advisory Council’s remit is to provide its guidance and expertise on how citizen engagement, including beneficiary feedback, can improve the results of World Bank Group-financed interventions. 

Implementation and Monitoring Progress

The World Bank Group’s Governance Global Practice and the Urban, Rural, and Social Development Global Practice will oversee the implementation of the Strategic Framework. The implementation will also be guided by the Advisory Council. In addition, ongoing opportunities for exchange of experience with Civil Society Organizations and other partners will be sought throughout the implementation of the framework. 

Beneficiary feedback is a subset of the citizen engagement. The World Bank Group will track progress of the commitment to incorporating beneficiary feedback in 100 percent of World Bank-financed projects by 2018.


Civil society group in Tunisia helps rebuild the relationship between citizens and the government