The World Bank is committed to transparency and accountability and welcomes opportunities to explain its work to the widest audience possible. Openness promotes engagement with stakeholders, which in turn, improves the design and implementation of projects and policies, and strengthens development outcomes.
Today Frances M. Allen, a Communications Officer in the World Bank’s Access to Information Policy Unit, explains how the appeals process works when a request for information is denied:
The World Bank’s Policy on Access to Information (AI), effective in July 2010, was a pivotal shift in the institution’s approach to making information available to the public. Underlying the policy is the principle that Bank will disclose any information in its possession that is not on a list of exceptions.
The goal of the Bank’s Open Agenda is to support development. In fact, several research findings show that Open Access leads to tremendous positive societal, academic and economic benefits. Today’s guest contributors, Duncan Omole, Knowledge and Information Officer, ITS Knowledge and Information with input from Eliza McLeod, Sr. Team Lead, ITS Knowledge and Information share some of these findings:
In 2009, the World Bank envisioned “open” in exactly the same way you “see” the word . . . an open door . . . and waiting behind the door . . . access to buildings and ideas, people and events. And in the Bank’s case, access to a plethora of information on projects throughout the world, current ‘of the moment’ information on open projects, outcomes and lessons learned culled from closed projects, small grants that showed impact and improvement, research into cutting edge topics that affect everybody like climate change and displacement, and much more.
Today is “End Poverty Day.” This is an important marker in the fight to end extreme poverty by 2030—a time for us to renew our collective commitment to do more and better to end poverty, and reflect on what the global community has accomplished together.
Since 1960, the International Development Association, IDA, has stood at the frontlines of our work in the poorest countries. IDA investments help spur greater stability and progress around the world by preventing conflict and violence, generating private sector investment, creating jobs and economic growth, preventing the worst effects of climate change, and promoting gender equality and good governance.
With IDA’s help, hundreds of millions of people have escaped poverty—through the creation of jobs, access to schools, health facilities, social safety nets, roads, electricity, and more. Our most recent results show quite simply that IDA works. For example, from 2011-17, IDA helped more than 600 million people receive essential health services, 30 million pregnant women receive prenatal care from a health provider, recruit 8 million teachers, and immunize a quarter of a billion children.
Video: Land ownership for women prevents fears of uncertainty
Around the world, rural women are a major provider of food and food security. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations argues that improving women’s access to productive resources (such as land) could increase agricultural output by as much as 2.5% to 4%. At the same time, women would produce 20-30% more food, and their families would enjoy better health, nutrition, and education.
These discussions, covering dozens of sectors in every region of the world, offer many innovative solutions that affect millions – if not billions – of people globally. Looking back, all the small gains from many initiatives from 1990 to 2013 led to a reduction of global extreme poverty of more than one billion people.
Sounds simple, maybe even jargony, but no – they are concrete, with real impacts. All of a sudden, we had an internationally negotiated soft law or a set of guidelines on (land) tenure navigating successfully through the global web of interests on land, reaching a common ground. The consensus at the CFS was further strengthened by the endorsement of the VGGT by the G20, Rio+ 20, the United Nations General Assembly, and the Francophone Assembly of Parliamentarians.
This journey started with an inclusive consultation process started by the FAO in 2009, and finalized through intergovernmental negotiations. Importantly, no interest group – governments, CSOs, academia, private sector – felt left behind, and the States were engaged in word-by-word review of the guidelines.
This can be seen in the result. The VGGT’s power stems from the consensus on its principles that States were to:
Recognize and respect all legitimate tenure right holders and their rights;
Protect tenure right holders against the arbitrary loss of their tenure rights; and that
Women and girls [were to] have equal tenure rights and access to land.
Thirty years separate these two photographs. When I returned to the LSE to give a lecture the memories flooded back of my year at the university as a British Council scholar. Still there, close to the main entrance, was the local branch of the NatWest Bank, the first bank where I ever opened an account.
The circumstances of my arrival in London were all down to perestroika. Gorbachev was urging the eastern bloc to open up to the world. Suddenly we were allowed to apply to study overseas, beyond the Iron Curtain. My first hurdle was to learn English – I have the BBC World Service to thank for accomplishing that task in a very narrow timeframe. Added to my PhD in environmental policy — a relatively rare subject for an east European at the time — got me a British Council scholarship and an entry into life on the other side of the Iron Curtain.
While historically confined to medical and academic research, challenge funds – competitive financing for innovative solutions to entrenched problems – have gained traction in the international development field over the last decade.
Pioneered by the UK Department of International Development (DFID), challenge funds have championed transformational disruptive technologies, such as M-Pesa, Kenya’s mobile money transfer service. The electronic payment system, which allows users to withdraw, deposit and transfer cash through their mobile phones, started as a pilot project funded by DFID’s Financial Deepening Challenge Fund. Today, more than two thirds of Kenyans use the channel, and the innovation has changed the scope of financial inclusion programs globally.
India’s state of Chhattisgarh faced a daunting challenge in the mid-2000s. About half of its public food distribution was leaked, meaning that it never reached the intended beneficiaries. By 2012, however, Chhattisgarh had nearly eliminated leakages, doubled the coverage of the scheme, and reduced exclusion errors to low single digits.