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Governance & Institutions COVID-19 Response Resources

The World Bank

The World Bank Group is taking broad, fast action to help developing countries strengthen their pandemic response, increase disease surveillance, improve public health interventions, and help the private sector continue to operate and sustain jobs. It is deploying up to $160 billion in financial support over the next 15 months to help countries protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery.

The Governance Global Practice’s role consists of ensuring a successful response to COVID-19, providing a stream of work on institutional reforms that support client countries in navigating the increased fragility, extreme pressure on resources, and rapidly evolving largescale service delivery needs.

The pandemic has exposed the benefits of a stronger, flexible, and more responsive civil service which can incorporate risk management and has access to contingencies in an emergency. It has also stressed the need for sound procurement policies, systems and processes. Helping countries procure lifesaving goods and services on an emergency basis is critical to blunt the impact of COVID-19. 

Emerging lessons from the immediate response to the pandemic point to the need to adapt models of government operations, service delivery, and interactions with citizens, which include GovTech options for modernization of services to citizens and businesses.

The Governance Global Practice supports client countries build capable, efficient, open, inclusive, and accountable institutions, which are critical for sustainable growth after COVID-19. Sustainable growth and inclusive development are at the heart of the World Bank’s twin goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity. 

On this page, you will find a list of the streams of work on our coronavirus response.

Governance & Institutions COVID-19 Response Resources

The Governance GP is providing a stream of work in support of institutional reforms for a successful response to COVID-19. This includes the creation of database of country actions, two umbrella papers, and a series of subsidiary papers on various aspects of the response (e.g. treasury management; anti-corruption measures). These are getting posted as they become available.


Governance and Institutional Issues in COVID-19 Vaccination

Success in the roll out of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination program requires that large numbers of people get the vaccine, quickly, equitably, and effectively. Importantly, this involves both the willing participation of the population and well-functioning government administration of the program. In this environment, the overall government vaccine program efficiency and effectiveness will depend on citizens’ trust in the vaccine efficacy as well as in government’s approach to vaccination. The purpose of this note is to summarize some of the key governance and institutional issues surrounding rapid universal vaccination.

Governance and Institutions Emergency Measures for State Continuity during COVID-19 Pandemic 

This policy note from the Governance GP identifies emergency measures for public sector continuity at national and subnational levels of government during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. The note focusses on institutional and governance measures the central government can take that will make possible and complement initiatives in sectors, agencies and lower levels of government. The focus of the note is not on specific policy responses such as approaches to testing, quarantining or fiscal stimulus, but on actions that can be taken by adjusting institutions and governance arrangements in support of such policies. Learn more

Agile Treasury Operations During COVID-19

Agile treasury operations are critical and essential to support responses to the spread and treatment of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). In many cases, this approach requires open and new ways of thinking ranging from making cash available to pay for public services, to processing and disbursing payments with minimum bureaucratic layers, to reporting in a timely and accurate manner to ensure transparency. Organized around three core areas of treasury operations, this note provides suggestions and guidance in three action areas: Ensure business continuity  for treasury operations. Operationalize emergency arrangements. Manage the post-pandemic environment – recovery, reconstruction, and resilience. Read more.

Ensuring Integrity in Government's Response to COVID-19

Governments around the world are designing and implementing rapid responses to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. In this effort, they are faced with three extraordinary challenges: (1) a public health emergency to contain the virus including identifying and treating infected populations; (2) widespread food and livelihood insecurity due to mandated stoppage of economic activity and the resulting disruption of food supplies; and (3) adoption of emergency powers to address the crises and maintain public safety. Corruption risks, present in government responses to all these challenges and heightened by the scale and speed of the emergency, undermine the effectiveness of responses. The note identifies the broad areas of government response where corruption risks are present and heightened in the context of a pandemic emergency, describes the types of risks that are likely to arise, and provides recommendations for addressing and mitigating them. Read more

To learn more on the topic, you can watch a replay of a livestreamed event here.

COVID-19 Role of Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) in Governments' Response to COVID-19 : Emergency and Post Emergency Phases

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an unprecedented public health emergency, with associated significant economic impact, affecting all developing and developed countries. As it unfolds and countries respond, the role of Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) is being recognized as crucial to supporting the government response mechanisms through maintaining public financial management discipline and ensuring transparency and accountability. Past experience from SAIs' engagement in government responses to natural and human-made disasters, including health emergencies like Ebola, provides good lessons for SAIs confronted with the COVID-19 pandemic. This note seeks to propose ideas on how SAIs can respond to the crisis now and during the recovery phase. During the emergency stage, the primary focus of governments is on safeguarding livelihoods and public health. Auditors are themselves constrained both by their physical access limitations and the imperative to avoid impeding government's speedy responses to the pandemic. Under these circumstances, crucial oversight and key controls may suffer, especially as public financial management systems are adapted to be responsive and flexible. Read more.

Ensuring state continuity during the coronavirus pandemic

In this blog post, Ed Olowo-Okere, Director of the Governance GP, highlights that the COVID-19 pandemic calls for effective, inclusive, and accountable governments. To drive the response, governments will need to be fast, creative, flexible, effective, transparent and accountable. Read more.

COVID-19 Challenges and Response: How procurement underpins the World Bank’s response to the pandemic

Vinay Sharma, Global Director of Solutions and Innovations in Procurement, Governance GP, writes how the World Bank’s procurement practice is adapting and responding to the global demand for goods and services to combat COVID-19. Learn more.

Coming Together While Staying Apart : Facilitating Collective Action through Trust and Social Connection in the Age of COVID-19

Facing the COVID-19 pandemic requires an unprecedented degree of cooperation between governments and citizens and across all facets of society to implement spatial distancing and other policy measures. This paper proposes to think about handling the pandemic as a collective action problem that can be alleviated by policies that foster trust and social connection. Policy and institutional recommendations are presented according to a three-layered pandemic response generally corresponding to short-, medium-, and long-term needs. This paper focuses on building connection and cooperation as means to bring about better health and socioeconomic outcomes. Many factors outside the paper’s scope, such as health policy choices, will greatly affect the outcomes. As such, the paper explores the role of trust, communication, and collaboration conditional on sound health and economic policy choices. Read more.

Managing the Public Sector Wage Bill during COVID-19

The Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) crisis is unique and requires tough policy choices for managing the public sector wage bill to best achieve the difficult balance between fiscal consolidation, protection of lives and livelihoods, service delivery, and job restoration. In the emergency phase, the priority should be on protecting lives and livelihoods. Short-term measures will likely increase the wage bill. As a result, in the recovery and resilience phase, priority must be given to fiscal consolidation, the reduction of labor market distortions that may hurt private sector job creation, and an increase in the productivity of the public sector so that more outputs are produced per worker. To these ends, the note provides suggestions that countries can adapt based on their circumstances. Read more.

Driving the COVID-19 Response from the Center: Institutional Mechanisms to Ensure Whole-of-Government Coordination

Facing the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, governments around the world have set up various coordination mechanisms at the center of government (COG) to facilitate pandemic response. The broader COG literature provides some important lessons for the coordination during COVID-19 pandemic. This working paper is part of the Governance and Institutions COVID-19 Rapid Response series spearheaded by the Governance Global Practice, World Bank. The paper presents initial thinking and uses immediately available data, as it aims to document the emerging knowledge, provide the grounds for just-in-time policy and institutional advice to governments, and suggest avenues for further research. Read more.

Building SOE Crisis Management and Resilience: Emerging Practices and Lessons Learned during the COVID-19

The World Bank’s Governance Global Practice prepared a note on Building SOE Crisis Management and Resilience: Emerging Practices and Lessons Learned during the COVID-19. Addressed to central governments and the management of individual SOEs, this Note examines the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for the public sector and provides guidance on how governments and SOEs could use these lessons to build or strengthen their crisis response systems. Suggested measures involve calibrating risks and introducing proper risk management systems, ensuring business continuity and resilience in emergency situations, as well as supporting the ability of public enterprises to bounce back in the post-crisis environment. Read more.