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In the Face of a Messy World, Non-State Actors Offer a Positive Outlook

Natalia Agapitova's picture

In a lecture hosted by the World Bank in Washington, DC on February 19, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright highlighted that the rise of non-state actors is one of the few positive trends in provision of public goods and services. She argued that non-state actors, like those supported by the Development Marketplace’s grants and capacity building programs, have unique on-the-ground knowledge and resources.

Unfortunately, Albright noted, the policy infrastructure does not support active dialogue and engagement of the non-state actors in the policy-making and service delivery. “These changes are not supported by collaborative structures,” she continued, “Modern states like the U.S. and India are not equipped to collaborate with these non-state providers.”  In the face of growing distrust of governments, she argued, these non-state providers cannot be ignored as they offer hope to those in dire need.

“One way to break a dysfunctional situation is to engage with local private sector companies and stake holders,” she stated, “Food security, solutions to hunger, and productivity are all cases where local solutions work best. Civil society groups and corporations need to be involved up front and deeply in delivery.”

Albright also discussed the moral implications of a conflict like Kosovo, her encounters with fellow Czech Vaclav Havel, and the implications of climate change.

The talk was part of the DEC Lecture series and Secretary Albright was joined by World Bank Group President Dr. Jim Yong Kim and Kaushik Basu, Chief Economist of the World Bank Group.

To read more about Secretary Albright's lecture read the World Bank's Staff Connection article, and in case you missed the talk, watch the playback.

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