An introductory look at the World Bank’s Global Partnership for Enhanced Social Accountability, currently under construction and inviting comments on how it can help civil society organizations hold their governments to account for more effective development.
In April 2011, World Bank President Robert Zoellick addressed the Peterson Institute for International Economics about the implications of the political revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa on how we should think about development. He focused specifically on the importance of citizen action and civil society: “An empowered public is the foundation for a stronger society, more effective government, and a more successful state,” he said. The World Bank is currently developing a proposed Global Partnership for Enhanced Social Accountability to support civil society organizations (CSOs) in developing countries to hold governments accountable and improve development outcomes.
Why are CSOs important?
Civil society organizations are a valuable resource and an effective tool in delivering assistance in developing countries. Getting CSOs involved in the design, monitoring and evaluation of development projects can help to ensure that objectives are delivered effectively and equitably. Involving organizations that understand a project’s context, including the needs of intended recipients, should produce more transparent and effective programs.
What does the World Bank have to do with social accountability?
The World Bank has projects in virtually every developing country. In 2011, the World Bank provided $46.9 billion for more than 300 projects. The World Bank views the proposed Partnership as a way to leverage its unique reach to strengthen capacity and support for CSOs already working on accountability and transparency in developing countries.
How does the Partnership intend to strengthen CSOs in partner countries?
Building on feedback received through country-level consultations last year, the Partnership aims to strengthen CSOs in three main ways:
- Providing long-term financial support;
- Establishing a platform for CSOs to share knowledge, experience and innovation; and
- Providing CSOs with more opportunities to engage with governments.
What’s next in the development of the partnership?
Currently, the World Bank is holding public consultations. The deadline for first stage comments is March 3. ONE will be making its voice heard by raising a series of important questions, including how the proposed Partnership would be governed and implemented.
If you are at the frontline of development, working for or with CSOs in a developing country, it’s time to make your voices heard, too. The Global Partnership for Enhanced Social Accountability is riding a welcome wave of support for increased transparency and accountability in development. Important questions remain about the design and implementation of a fund to support civil society, but the timing is right for such an initiative. We’re excited to see how the proposal evolves. Keep an eye out for updates here on the ONE Blog.