In 2014, the World Bank launched its Strategic Framework for Mainstreaming Citizen Engagement in World Bank Group Operations. This sets out clear requirements and expectations that World Bank programmes need to meet in the ways that they engage with local people throughout their investment cycles – indeed the World Bank President committed the institution to applying this framework to 100 per cent of investment projects. Whilst this step is welcome, actually implementing the framework in a meaningful way faces a number of challenges. The very limited public data available from the World Bank’s system for monitoring progress indicates the risk of it becoming a ‘tick box’ exercise for project teams, and observers have noted that assessing the quality and impact of greater citizen engagement is significantly under-resourced. These gaps in knowledge and information underscore the policy relevance of independent, bottom-up assessment of actual citizen engagement practices as they have become incorporated in World Bank programmes.
About the research
This project documents and analyses whether and how World Bank projects in four A4EA focused countries (Mozambique, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan) put the strategic framework (Citizen Engagement Strategy) into practice. It developed a framework to support ‘bottom-up’ assessment of the ways in which Bank-funded projects have operationalised citizen engagement and what this means for the ways in which projects are delivered. Doing so holds the potential to shed some light on the effectiveness of the framework and the particularities of different contexts and different kinds of projects in relation to citizen engagement mechanisms. The completed assessments inform policy dialogue amongst key stakeholders on how the Bank can take stock of how the strategy is being implemented, and what the next steps for deepening participation in large-scale investments in fragile and conflict-affected settings might be.