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  • With increased fragility, extreme pressure on resources, and rapidly evolving largescale service delivery needs, the ability of governments to respond to governance challenges, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, is stretched in unprecedented ways. Public Sector Governance and Anticorruption continuously continue to rank high among the most important development priorities. As the crisis period settles, governments will be focusing on the recovery phase and will in due course be considering reforms to make their response and service delivery more resilient. The pandemic has exposed the benefits of a stronger, flexible and more responsive civil service which is able to incorporate risk management and has access to contingencies in an emergency. Emerging lessons from the immediate response 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 to build capable, efficient, open, inclusive, and accountable institutions. This is critical for returning to sustainable growth after COVID-19 and is at the heart of the World Bank’s twin goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity. The ability of governments to effectively provide public goods, to support an environment that can generate jobs and growth, to address market failures and to engage citizens in the process is more important than ever. Countries with strong institutions are more resilient, are better able to facilitate private sector growth, reduce poverty, deliver valuable services, and earn the confidence of citizens.

    The “Governance and Institutions” Special Theme in IDA18 and IDA19 underscores the importance of governance in achieving development results on the ground. IDA policy commitments are catalyzing change through measurable policy actions. Strengthened institutions and improved governance are especially critical for the world’s most vulnerable countries which will likely be hit the hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. More effective policy implementation, better management of resources, strengthened service delivery, openness, and transparency can all help equip IDA countries with greater institutional resilience to weather the pandemic, and recover after the crisis subsides. The World Bank’s 12 policy commitments under IDA19’s Governance and Institutions Special Theme aim to promote sustainable financing practices, maximize the impact of public service delivery, build confidence in institutions, and build better data and analytics. The package of commitments responds to global priorities while building on the foundation put in place under the previous IDA cycle.

    Last Updated: Apr 13, 2020

  • Drawing on its convening power and multidisciplinary expertise, the World Bank is working with its clients and partners to help countries address complex governance challenges. We are an important part of an international community of interests striving to improve the quality of governance and the effectiveness of institutions. In addition to supporting reforms at the country level, the World Bank operates also at the global level to shape global standards. The Governance strategy focuses on six core business lines and five cross-cutting areas:

    Core Business Lines

    • Public Financial Management (PFM): In many World Bank Group client countries, poor PFM systems hinder efforts to turn development goals into real outcomes. Accordingly, support for countries to mobilize resources and spend better is fundamental to any country’s policy-making process and consequently to the achievement of the Bank’s twin goals of reducing poverty and boosting shared prosperity. This is achieved by sound policy choices that are formulated and executed through sound PFM systems. PFM includes the following elements: fiscal management, public expenditure analysis and efficiency, public investment management, management of assets and liabilities, treasury and cash management, reporting and transparency, and accountability and oversight. 
    • Domestic Resource Mobilization / Tax Administration: Revenue mobilization is a key development priority and essential to finance investments in basic services, such as health care, education, sanitation, public safety and transportation to achieve the World Bank’s twin goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity. We help countries improve their tax policies and administrations’ ability to collect revenues and equip their revenue administrations with knowledge and tools to raise revenues and fight tax evasion through early detection, smarter auditing, and effective investigation and prosecution. The Bank focuses its attention on countries whose tax revenues are consistently below fifteen percent of GDP. Thirty-six percent of IDA countries and 70 percent of fragile and conflict-affected countries fall below this 15 percent baseline. In response to strong client demand, DRM/tax administration is a growing part of the Governance analytical and lending work.
    • State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) and Corporate Governance: Effective functioning of SOEs promote development and achievement of the WBG twin goals, especially given their roles in service delivery in key sectors such as energy, water and transport, and fiscal stability.  SOEs are important economic actors across regions and rank among the world’s largest companies. In fact, they have been an important part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. SOE financial results affect fiscal performance and government balance sheets. Corporate governance, including corporate financial reporting, is relevant for SOEs and beyond to all public interest entities. The World Bank also provides a range of knowledge, convening and capacity development services in the area of financial reporting and auditing.
    • Public Institutions: Economic institutions determine whether people invest, save, get educated, search for and create new technologies. Political institutions determine the form, function and effectiveness of the economic institutions. Poorly performing public institutions are characterized by weak managerial and technical capacity, low productivity, lack of accountability, poor compliance and corruption. Bank support to public institutions focuses on core functions such as policy, planning and decision making, human resource management, monitoring and evaluation. Increasingly, Bank support for institutional reforms seeks to address the underlying political economy factors that shape incentives, how institutions are created how, they interact and how they function. We do this by looking at issues of power, accountability, oversight and citizen engagement.
    • Decentralization and Sub-national Governance: In many countries, sub-national governments are responsible for the delivery of a wide range of basic public and administrative services and the design of an effective sharing of responsibilities and ensuing accountabilities between levels of government. Sub-national governance also covers issues such as fiscal, political and administrative decentralization.  While the structure and size of sub-national governments vary, they almost invariably play an important role in service delivery, irrespective of the formal structure of government, and account for a significant share in public spending and investment. The benefits of decentralization of service delivery often are that citizens can become more directly engaged in the political system, with the chance of more effectively holding their governments accountable, as well as the governments being more responsive to the needs of their citizens.
    • Fiduciary Assurance for Bank-financed Operations: The Governance Practice is entrusted with the Bank’s fiduciary function to ensure that the proceeds of any credit/loan are used only for the purposes for which the credit/loan was granted, and with due regard to economy and efficiency. This supports the development impact of Bank-assisted operations by ensuring that these operations have adequate financial management and procurement arrangements.

    Cross-cutting areas

    • Govtech: An Initiative to modernize the public sector citizen/business-centric services. Globally, there are rising expectations from citizens for governments to better perform and deliver quality services. COVID-19 has increased the focus on using virtual means for service delivery. GovTech helps improve targeting of programs and offers lower transaction costs for consumption of government services and the provision of better and more timely information for policy making.
    • Anticorruption, Openness and Transparency: Corruption remains a significant threat to the development of countries by compromising all aspects of development. It undermines robustness of economic and public institutions, stymies fair competition, discourages investment and trade, and erodes trust in government/public institutions. Corruption also disproportionately affects disadvantaged groups through poor service delivery. The Bank Group works at the country, regional, and global levels to help build capable, transparent, and accountable institutions and design and implement anticorruption programs relying on the latest discourse and innovations. The Bank Group’s work revolves around sustainability and changing outcomes by helping both state and non-state actors establish the competencies needed to implement policies and practices that improve results and strengthen public integrity.
    • Procurement for Development: The World Bank’s Procurement Department helps partner countries ensure efficient use of public resources in Bank-financed projects and through reforms of the countries’ procurement ecosystems. It is responsible for the implementation of World Bank Procurement Framework. More importantly, the Governance-Procurement Department, together with its various partners within and outside the World Bank Group, is a leading authority on public procurement tools and techniques.
    • Political Economy Analysis: Better understanding of development emphasizes the centrality of political drivers in shaping the impact of development interventions, including technical institutional and policy reforms. In this context, political economy analysis requires both deep understanding of the distribution of power and resources in countries and the flexibility to adapt to changing context and is very important in all governance business lines and cross-cutting themes.

    Last Updated: Apr 13, 2020

  • Albania: Citizen-Centric Service Delivery Project

    Since 2014 the WBG has provided lending and technical assistance to support modernization of administrative service delivery to improve access and quality of public services. The Citizen-Centric Service Delivery Project has financed information technology infrastructure for e-services, business process re-engineering, and creation of one-stop shop citizen service centers. With interoperable systems, service delivery is speedier, business processes are more streamlined and efficient, and over 230,000 users have accessed services on the e-Albania portal. By deploying re-usable computer applications, Albania has increased transactional e-services on offer from just 10 to over 570 during a period of four years. These services include health cards, diplomas, retirement certificates and pension payments, building permits, business registration and more.

    Tunisia: Digital Transformation for User-Centric Public Services

    In 2019, the WBG approved a new project to improve access to, quality and accountability of selected Social Protection and Education services. Using a GovTech approach, the project aims to strengthen institutions by combining public sector reform innovations with change management and digital technologies. These include innovations such as mobile applications for school registration, giving citizens more input into the reform process, and introducing a unique ID for better targeting of social benefits payments to those most in need. Key result areas include increased access to social protection and other digital services, and increased user satisfaction.

    Colombia: Improving Efficiency and Transparency in Judiciary Management RAS project

    The World Bank has supported Colombia’s judicial branch to develop a modernization strategy focusing on digital services, including a digital transformation plan and data governance strategy. Under this project, the Bank provides technical assistance at the strategic level but also supporting analytics on IT initiatives within the justice sector, focusing on GovTech.

    India: Madhya Pradesh Citizens’ Access to Responsive Project

    The project aims to improve access to public services, especially by the under-represented groups including women and tribal communities. As a result, there has been an expansion in citizen service kiosks to remote and underserved areas, increased coverage and improved facilitation of services provided at these kiosks.  Back-end processes of departments have been integrated and application processes have been digitized. Various platforms including social media is being used to sponsor services and receive feedback from citizens.  Currently, there are 425 citizen service centers and over 16,000 additional outreach points throughout the state and more than 41 million applications have been processed. Furthermore, 107 services are now available online. All certificates issued are digitally signed and the Government is exploring the possibility of introducing digital lockers for safe keeping, easy access to these documents and eliminating the need to request multiple copies

    Moldova: Modernization of Government Services Project

    The project is part of a sequence of projects which have led to the adoption a whole-of-Government policy and technological frameworks for public sector modernization. Cross-sectoral technological solutions are currently in use by various public sector stakeholders supporting reform agendas, such as public services modernization, anti-corruption, open and smart governance.

    Among the most impactful GovTech products:

    • “MConnect” - the Government Interoperability Platform used by more than 50 public sector institutions, incorporating more than 130 data exchange protocols;
    • “MCloud” -  the Government Cloud used by more than 50 public authorities generated already more than $40million in savings;
    • Government Services Portal with more than three million visits to date, 685 services passports and 150 e-services;
    • “MPay” an on-line payment service with more than 15 million transactions since its launch in 2013.

    As a result, substantial increases have been generated in terms of (a) customer satisfaction with the availability, quality and transparency of public services and public data, and (b) savings for both citizens/businesses and the public sector; (c) openness of Government data and information. Currently, the project is building on these products and focusing on re-engineering and digitalization of selected administrative services, thus improving the efficiency, quality and accessibility of service delivery. GovTech in Moldova has been one of the essential triggers for the Government stepping into an irreversible journey towards citizen-centricity, transparency, and efficiency.

    Enhancing Supreme Auditing Institutions independence and effectiveness

    The World Bank is supporting enhanced transparency and accountability globally through nearly 75 country level projects to enhance independence and accountability of Supreme Auditing Institutions (SAIs). For example, in Mawali, the Bank’s interventions used a combination of Development Policy Operation triggers to support the Government in strengthening the legal framework for independence of SAI. The Bank also supported the introduction of risk-based audits, performance audits and use of Computer Assisted Audit Tools (CAATs) leading high quality of audit products from SAI. The World Bank is the permanent Donor Chair of the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) and works closely with its regional partners contributing to policy dialogue for effective external audit. The Bank also developed a Global SAI Independence Index to annually assess changes and support SAIs in client countries.

    Last Updated: Apr 13, 2020



VIDEO Oct 13, 2015

Good Governance: Why It Matters


Governance and Institutional Issues in COVID-19 Vaccination

Success in the COVID-19 vaccination program requires that large numbers of people get the vaccine quickly, equitably, & effectively. This involves both the willing participation of the population & well-functioning government administration of the program. 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.

Leadership Training Toolkit for State-Owned Enterprises

The SOE Leadership Toolkit was developed jointly by the World Bank and IFC to support countries’ efforts to build capacity of State ownership entities, SOE boards, and SOE senior management. It addresses the growing need for curricula specifically adapted for SOEs, considering the significant role and impact of SOEs on public finances, the economy and delivery of services. The SOE Leadership Toolkit allows for use by different training providers, such as government training institutions, Institutes of Directors, corporate governance and ESG associations, and professional bodies or universities.


Disruptive Technologies in Public Procurement

This study provides an overview of selected technologies identified as “disruptive” that could be useful to public procurement.


Climate Change Budget Tagging: A Review of International Experience

This report is to provide development practitioners and government officials with an understanding of the context and key design features of climate budget tagging initiatives.


Designing Effective Climate Legislation - Launch of World Bank Reference ...

This was a joint event of the World Bank and the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Sciences launching the World Bank's reference guide on climate legislation.


World Bank Reference Guide to Climate Change Framework Legislation

The twelve key principles for framework legislation laid out in this guide can contribute to building back better by helping countries to lay a solid foundation for climate-smart development that creates new jobs and markets, boosts economic growth, and provides a safer, cleaner environment for all.


GovTech Launch Report and Short-Term Action Plan

This report presents the work program priorities for the first two years of the World Bank’s GovTech Global Partnership (GTGP), drawing upon the trends in GovTech applications and lessons learned from the last 25 years of the Bank’s support to governments using technology to improve the effectiveness of the public administration and service delivery.

Event Replay

Tech for Integrity: International Anti-Corruption Day

This session focused on the development of innovative tools, solutions and approaches to help control corruption, and explored how they can help control corruption risks at the country level.


Preventing and Managing Conflicts of Interest in the Public Sector : Good ...

The Guide is intended as a resource for policymakers, practitioners and civil society in strengthening conflict of interest regulations and systems. It illustrates experiences and good practices in managing and preventing conflicts of interest from countries in the G20 and beyond, drawing on the experience and expertise of the World Bank, the OECD and the UNODC. The Guide supplements the G20 High-Level Principles for Preventing and Managing Conflicts of Interest in the Public Sector, adopted by the G20 Anticorruption Working Group in 2018.


Public Investment Management Reference Guide

The Public Investment Management (PIM) Reference Guide aims to convey country experiences and good international practices as a basis for decisions on how to address country-specific PIM reform agendas.

Press Release

Curbing Corruption in the Midst of a Pandemic is More Important Than Ever, ...

Progress against corruption can be made even under the most challenging conditions, a new World Bank report finds.


Working in partnership is key to fighting corruption

Mari Pangestu, Managing Director of Policy & Partnerships, World Bank, stresses the need for cooperation and coordination in the fight against corruption.

Guidance Note

Ensuring Better PFM Outcomes with FMIS Investments

An operational guidance note for FMIS project teams designing and implementing FMIS solutions.


Managing the Public Sector Wage Bill during COVID-19

This note provides suggestions on 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.


Coming Together While Staying Apart: Facilitating Collective Action through ...

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.


Anticorruption Initiatives: Reaffirming Commitment to a Development Priority (...

This paper draws on these lessons and proposes a new approach, both in terms of what we work on and how we work, focusing on initiatives to be led by the Bank’s EFI vice presidency to reaffirm the Bank’s commitment to anticorruption.


Building Effective, Accountable, and Inclusive Institutions in Europe and ...

This publication builds on the World Bank’s vast engagement across ECA and on the 2019 regional governance conference.


Global Public Procurement Database

A World Bank initiative with the objective of meeting the increasing demand for a global knowledge product that captures data about country procurement systems and eProcurement implementations.

Additional Resources