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Raising the Bar on Transparency, Accountability and Openness

Hannah George's picture

The World Bank has taken landmark steps to make information accessible to the public and globally promote transparency and accountability, according to the first annual report on the World Bank’s Access to Information (AI) Policy. 

The report, “Moving Forward Transparency and Accountability,” outlines the AI Policy’s central role in the Bank’s modernization and Open Development agenda, and describes the systems and infrastructure that have been put in place to help maximize public access to Bank information, including the Access to Information Committee’s policy interpretations and the appeals process.  

The First Year in Numbers (July 1, 2010 to June 31, 2011)

119,639 Bank documents released to the public. 
25 million page views on the Open Data website
4.5 million page views on the Access to Information external website
1.02 million
visits to the Documents and Reports website
795,000
documents downloaded.

According to the report, the policy is headed in the right direction for the development community.  The policy has encouraged other development institutions to adopt similar public access policies, and, equally important, fosters more systematic engagement with civil society organizations (CSOs). 

For example, local CSOs have leveraged the AI Policy to monitor project procurement plans, encourage access to information initiatives from their own governments, and conduct independent reviews of development outcomes.  Ghana, Uruguay, the Philippines, and Kenya are examples of countries engaged in these efforts against the backdrop of the AI Policy.

“The World Bank’s Access to Information Policy continues to set the standard for other institutions to strive for,” said Chad Dobson, executive director of the Bank Information CenterPublish What You Fund recently rated the Bank “best performer” in terms of aid transparency out of 58 donors for the second year in a row.  Furthermore, the Center for Global Development and Brookings ranked the International Development Association (the World Bank’s Fund for the Poorest) as a top donor in transparency and learning in its 2011 Quality of Official Development Assistance Assessment (QuODA).

Looking forward, the World Bank will identify new ways to maximize the amount of information available to the public and improve its ability to meet the public’s information needs.  For more information, visit the AI website, download our free mobile apps, or contact any of our Public Information Services worldwide.

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