Syndicate content

Introducing 'Governance for Development' and The Governance and Anti-Corruption Portal

Sina Odugbemi's picture

Although the World Bank Group adopted the Governance and Anti-corruption (GAC)  Strategy in March 2007, it has not done as much as it could have to let relevant global publics know what it is doing on governance, what it is learning and what it is achieving. Thankfully, all that is now about to change.

First, beginning this week is a new blog: Governance for Development. According to Brian Levy, editor of the new blog, the goal is 'to provide a forum among World Bank Group staff engaged in the GAC-mainstreaming endeavor and the wider development community for sharing, reflection and discussion as to the implications of GAC mainstreaming for development work'. The new blog is a collective effort, and it promises to be a fascinating forum for, hopefully, robust exchanges and sharing in the months and years ahead. I will be contributing to the new blog from time to time. Do check it out.

Measuring Afghan Media

Shanthi Kalathil's picture

A newly released assessment of the Afghan media, conducted by Altai Consulting with funding from USAID, is noteworthy for a couple of reasons. First, its findings shed valuable light on the current state of Afghanistan's media, as well as Afghans' perceptions of the media. One of the more interesting findings is that many Afghans praise state-run network RTA, despite its government bias, partly because the privately run stations are considered too "uncontrolled." The study highlights the importance people accord to respect for local culture, as well as their distaste for divisive politics. Ultimately, though, the roles many Afghans want their media to play - watchdog, agenda-setter, and provider of relevant information (such as on national reconstruction) - coincide with the "ideal" roles of the media enumerated in the recent CommGAP-published edited volume Public Sentinel. An interesting case of academia and the real world meshing, ever so slightly.

Are CSOs Welcome at the World Bank?

John Garrison's picture

This question may have been hard to respond in the affirmative some years back, as Civil Society Organization representatives were still a rare sight at the Bank. It may be hard to believe today, but 20 years ago visiting CSOs had to be physically escorted throughout the buildings, and it was not uncommon for some CSOs to be refused entry.  Today, CSOs are actively welcomed and some even have long-term building passes to facilitate their daily meetings at the Bank.  As a matter of fact, the recently concluded Annual Meetings represented a milestone for CSO presence at the Bank.  Not only was it the largest gathering of CSOs in a Washington-based AMs, but CSO leaders were invited, for the first time, to participate in the official Opening Plenary.

Something for Nothing?

Sabina Panth's picture

My blog posts have been highlighting the significance of empowered citizens and active civil society in driving development efforts.  But in doing so, have I been focusing solely on the voluntary spirit and good-will of the ordinary citizens? If so, is it practical to expect that the momentum will persist long enough to give the continuity and dedication required to realize the undertaking?   There is also a reoccurring theme in my blog posts about aid dependency and the project-based ethos of civil society organizations. Given the scenario, it is difficult to assess the strength and spirit of ‘naturally grown’ vs. ‘project instigated’ community activism.  As it is, community members are hard pressed to make ends meet and can barely afford to partake in community activities. And even when they do, their voluntary contribution is often directly proportional to their incentives. 

Elephants on the Autobahn?

Tanya Gupta's picture

When it comes to use of social media in development, development institutions remind me of lumbering elephants walking down the autobahn.  In any other sphere, development organizations would not be at such a disadvantage.  We have been building roads for ever.  There has not been any fundamental change in the technology of building roads.  Development organizations learnt slowly but well about development challenges in various sectors and are now legitimate experts in these areas.  All the same the title of “knowledge institutions” is a bit hard to swallow.  The reason, probably somewhat unfair, is that knowledge today, for most people is intimately tied to technology, social media too is viewed as a medium for knowledge, much like the network of roads and highways are a medium for commerce.  
 

“Missions Suspended”: Does The Bank Need to Worry about ‘Political Risks’ - and What Does That Mean?

Verena Fritz's picture

For World Bank staff, it’s the announcement on the intranet: at a rate of about once a month, missions are being suspended to some country. All upcoming trips to the concerned country are being cancelled. Sometimes, the events – a disputed presidential election, riots against rising food prices, an increase in bus fares or the price of electricity, or a sudden clash between different ethnicities who previously seemed to live together peacefully – makes international news. At other times, the country concerned is too obscure and the instability is either too short-lived or too recurrent and there is barely a mentioning in the media.

Impending Tragedy of the Digital Commons?

Antonio Lambino's picture

Earlier this month, the Financial Times published a piece by Misha Glenny entitled “Who Controls the internet?”  The article tells the story of USCybercom, the military command in charge of securing vital U.S. interests from attacks on the web.  Last week, it was widely reported that U.S. Legislators asked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for more information on the revelation that third-party applications running on the ubiquitous social network he founded were transmitting personally identifiable data to private companies.  It may not be immediately apparent, but these two stories and others like them are inextricably related.  These developments run counter to the realization of a global digital commons, one envisioned to enable an unprecedented number of people around the world to freely express themselves and come into contact with the ideas and opinions of others.

Quote of the Week: Jonathan Bernstein

Sina Odugbemi's picture

"If pressed, I’d probably say: get the politics right, and you’ll get the policy right. But I’m sure of one thing: get the politics wrong, and it doesn’t matter what policy you want, because it ain’t gonna happen anyway. Probably not now, and certainly not in the long run."


-- Jonathan Bernstein, Get the Politics Right, October 21, 2010

The Revolution Will Not Be Donor-Harmonized

Shanthi Kalathil's picture

It's hard not to be inspired by Nick Kristof's article on "The D.I.Y. Foreign Aid Revolution" in the New York Times. His detail-rich story of energetic, socially conscious people routing around the bureaucracy of large aid organizations to tangibly and directly improve people's lives in the developing world is both important and thought-provoking. And it helps reframe the ongoing debate about the effectiveness of development assistance from one of "nothing works" to "there are so many ways to make this work."

The Fisherman and the Royal Engineer

Anne-Katrin Arnold's picture

At the "Reinventing Governance" conference in Boulder, Colorado, earlier this month I learned about a participatory method that made a lot of sense to me: community-based research. In principle, this is a partnership between experts in some technical area and members of the community in which some project is supposed to be carried out. Boyd Fuller and Ora-orn Poocharoen from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy reported how members of the Phrak Nam Daeng community in Thailand took on dam building engineers and public water management and in a series of public meetings with community members, experts, and authorities found a solution for a watergate on the local river that would benefit the communities in the area while at the same time maintaining high technical standards.

Pages