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About Governance

Who are we and what do we do?

The Governance group of the World Bank Institute (WBI) facilitates action-oriented and participatory programs to promote good governance and curb corruption in its client countries. Some documents that describe our work in more detail include:

  • An overview of the WBI Governance and Anti-Corruption program (download 35 kb PDF).

  • Detailed annexes on each component of the Governance and Anti-Corruption program and our country-oriented strategic focus (download 548 kb PDF).

  • Our 2001–2002 Learning Catalog with all of the Governance and Anti-Corruption activities (download 153 kb PDF).

  • The Learning Program Review Presentation from the October 25, 2001 program review meeting (download 608 kb PowerPoint Presentation).

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Where do we work?

Today, WBI is providing support for programs to improve governance and control corruption, in full collaboration with World Bank Operations and often in partnership with international organizations, to nearly 30 countries—principally in Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, Eastern and Central Europe and, more recently, Asia.

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What services do we offer?

We are currently working on the following major activities:

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What are our origins?

WBI anti-corruption activities date back to late 1994, when in collaboration with Transparency International, then-EDI (now WBI) facilitated a first workshop in Uganda. In 1996, in a major speech at the World Bank-International Monetary Fund Annual Meetings, James Wolfensohn, President of the World Bank, unveiled a new program and expressed the institution’s commitment to “…help any of our member countries to implement national programs that discourage corrupt practices.” Since then, the World Bank has mainstreamed anti-corruption programming—and WBI has been amongst those at the forefront of this process, which has entailed an expansion and evolution of WBI’s program, encompassing a broader focus upon action-oriented governance improvements.

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What is our strategy?

Partnering with the rest of the World Bank Group, with outside organizations, and with the many stakeholders within client countries, WBI takes an integrated approach to capacity building, governance, and anticorruption. WBI’s governance and anticorruption strategy emphasizes:

  • Going beyond public sector dysfunction (the ‘symptom’) to assist countries in integrating institutional, regulatory and economic reforms (the ‘fundamentals’)

  • Implementing rigorous empirical diagnostics and analysis

  • Bringing about collective action, through participation and broad based bottom up coalitions

  • Building partnerships within countries, the World Bank Group, and other international or regional institutions

  • Moving beyond conventional training to knowledge dissemination, policy advice based on the latest research and operational findings, and participatory and consensus-building activities

  • Scaling up the impact of our activities, utilizing new tools for knowledge dissemination, innovating, and taking managed risks

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What is our approach to governance?

We define governance as the traditions and institutions by which authority in a country is exercised for the common good. This includes (i) the process by which those in authority are selected, monitored and replaced, (ii) the capacity of the government to effectively manage its resources and implement sound policies, and (iii) the respect of citizens and the state for the institutions that govern economic and social interactions among them.

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What is our approach to anti-corruption?

GI & AC = F ( KI, LE, CA )

This formula summarizes our approach: Successful Governance Improvement (GI) and Anti-Corruption programs (AC) are dependent on the public availability of Knowledge and Information (KI) plus political Leadership (LE) plus Collective Action (CA). Through this integrative logic our program is able to respond to client-country demand for anti-corruption assistance and to provide innovative, action-oriented, non-lending activities illustrating a new way of doing business in which the client is in the driver’s seat.

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Do we respond to all requests for assistance?

We are a demand driven organization. However, our response to a request from a client country hinges on the fulfillment of a number of pre-conditions:

  • We emphasize a demand-driven approach to ensure there is a strong commitment from the top leaders in the country to a transparent, open, and participatory reform process.

  • We request the formation of a "steering committee" including the top leadership as well as representatives from civil society and the private sector. This top-level committee is charged with designing a strategy and an action program, as well as monitoring their implementation through ‘task forces’ or ‘technical committees’.

  • To ensure there is a good understanding of the fundamental governance and anti-corruption problems, we generally propose conducting empirical diagnostic work as an entry point. Out triangulated survey of households, public officials and business enterprises, and a rigorous analysis of the data gathered, helps us to suggest programs that will begin to address the governance problems in the country.

  • We discourage "one-off" activities, emphasizing a long-term commitment to an integrated program that addresses not only anti-corruption, but an overall governance program as well.

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How do we deliver our products?

Increasingly, we are using the latest technology, such as Distance Learning (video conferencing, interactive television, Internet), for delivery of some of our activities. We also work in situ with local partner centers to scale up the impact of our learning and policy advice programs.

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How do we evaluate our impact?

In 1998 a Mid-term Evaluation of WBI’s Anti-corruption Initiatives was conducted by the University of Utrecht. This evaluation examined both the program logic and implementation of activities; it noted, among other things, that the program logic was sound, that the surveys were important instruments, the workshops well designed and organized and that the new approaches were positively received by government, parliament and civil society. It made 10 recommendations, most of which have been or are being implemented. The University of Utrecht is currently conducting a four-year research program on WBI’s anti-corruption program and is providing us with continual feedback and further recommendations for improvements.

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