The future of government is open

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The World Bank Group sees the pillars of a more open and citizen centric government--transparency, citizen participation, and collaboration--as strategic priorities in its work on governance because they suggest concrete ways to promote shared prosperity. Having made significant strides to increasing openness in the Bank's own work, we seek to build on this progress to support client governments in their own efforts to make the development process more inclusive. 

Within the World Bank’s Governance Global Practice (GGP), we are excited by the potential of openness for governance and development. At the same time, we recognize that the true value of openness has yet to be fully realized. That is why within our work, we are rethinking the way we support open government in an effort to ensure our commitments to openness translate into tangible improvements in service delivery, citizen engagement and development outcomes.

In June, we sponsored a series of strategic events to explore the future of the open government agenda within the World Bank and beyond. These sessions helped us to reflect on the challenges and lessons learned from the Bank’s approach to open government and fostered conversations among Bank staff and partners on how to more systematically mainstream open government in World Bank operations. We are now working to ensure these conversations lead to lasting changes in the way we support our clients.

The creation of the Governance Global Practice provides a critical opportunity for the World Bank to adopt a more strategic and integrated approach to governance that systematically leverages openness in responding to the needs and demands of developing countries. In order to do this, we formed the Open Government Global Solutions Group (GSG) to pool ideas, expertise and knowledge in order to better assist our clients in tackling the complex, multifaceted challenges they face in governing in a more open environment.

The Global Solutions Group is fundamentally shifting how the Bank supports and promotes open government through the following three ways:

  1. Providing ecosystems for collaboration and delivering integrated solutions. Through the Global Solutions Group, the GGP will foster a more cohesive and proactive approach to open government that allows us to align priorities and leverage one another’s knowledge and expertise to better identify what works, how it was achieved, and what can be replicated. This push for collaboration not only applies within the Bank, but extends to external actors, such as the Open Government Partnership (OGP), Making All Voices Count (MAVC), etc..
  2. Embedding open government in World Bank operations across regions and sectors. The World Bank has dedicated staff and resources to mainstreaming open government in Bank country strategies and portfolios.  As a result, the Bank is better equipped to support governments in learning how to navigate and govern in a more open environment. This effort includes more effectively using the Bank’s funding instruments, such as Investment Lending instruments (“IPFs”), in supporting open government commitments and reforms. 
  3. Measuring and demonstrating the tangible value of openness for development. We are working to strengthen the evidence base for open government in developing countries through coordinated research that draws on diagnostic tools, international benchmarks and evaluation methodologies to better assess progress and measure impact in various sectors.
In these ways, we are establishing open government as a core priority and approach to improving development outcomes, both within the World Bank and among our partners and clients. In this context, within the Governance Global Practice, we have already advanced our operations in several countries such as Morocco, Philippines, Tanzania, and Tunisia. At the global level, we now have 161 projects or products that have direct linkages with OGP commitments.

Looking forward, we will continue to build and strengthen coalitions among internal and external partners to ensure the “open” approach to governance is no longer treated in isolation, but becomes a standard part of governance thinking and practice throughout the development community.  That approach must be rooted in evidence based research, concrete demand, with a focus on results.

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Govts that are more open are govts that are in a position to spend more resources more effectively #goodgov 

​See how the World Bank supports and promotes open government through the following 3 ways. #goodgov 


Stephen Davenport

Global Lead, Anticorruption, Openness, and Transparency

Raphael Lionel Shepard

Consultant on Open Government and Citizen Engagement

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