Promoting Support for CSO Engagement in IDA20

PTF Joined International Development Association (IDA) Meeting to Call for Enhanced Support for CSOs in IDA20 Replenishment

By Rachel Ansley

The advocacy to increase meaningful funding and support for civil society engagement in World Bank operations has intensified against the backdrop of the new replenishment cycle for the International Development Association (IDA). At a recent IDA meeting with civil society organizations (CSOs), PTF joined to speak out in support of this cause.

On October 6, PTF Chief Technical Adviser Vinay Bhargava joined a meeting between IDA and CSO representatives to deliver remarks on the importance of support for civil society within the twentieth replenishment of IDA (IDA20). The World Bank launched the replenishment cycle early in order to provide more timely and comprehensive support for the poorest countries still struggling to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to conclude in December 2021 and amounting to $85-100 billion, the replenishment will assist the recovery and development efforts of borrowing countries from 2022-2025.

During the ongoing discussions to define the parameters of the replenishment, civil society and non-governmental organization (NGO) advocates have called for a dedicated funding mechanism for civil society engagement (CSE) in IDA20 and monitoring of the actual implementation of CSE in order to ensure transparency and accountability in the allocation and application of IDA funds and project implementation. PTF has joined this advocacy, and Bhargava joined the October 6 meeting to share the organization’s stance on the matter.

Read the transcript of his full remarks below:

Bhargava: Thank you for this opportunity to share three points relating to CSO engagement to improve results, inclusion, and accountability in IDA operations.

First, I would like to commend IDA for its strong commitment to citizen and CSO engagement. Thanks to these commitments citizen engagement activities are included in almost all projects funded by IDA since 2017. However, IDA does not report on the extent to which these plans are being implemented and the value of contracts awarded to CSOs in a similar way as it does for the not-for-profit firms. We recommend that IDA should submit a progress report on actual implementation of planned citizen engagement in operations approved since 2017 and modify its Contract Award Notices template to indicate whether the winner is an NGO. These actions should be completed no later than the IDA20 mid-term review planned in 2022.

Second, you asked our thoughts on the adequacy of IDA’s twentieth policy package. We believe it is a strong policy package. We would like to point out there is strong evidence that CSO engagement can improve results in all six special themes and that CSOs are important players in all these areas. There is thus a strong case for expanding CSO engagement under IDA20. However, the current package is missing appropriate actions for such expansion. The current mention of citizen engagement in the context of partnerships is not enough and we advocate for stronger actions under IDA20.

Third, we support the ambitious IDA20 financing package but believe it needs to have an equally ambitious accountability package. In our view, the traditional anti-corruption measures in IDA operations have done a good job of minimizing corruption and misuse of funds but are being overwhelmed by the scale and speed of expansion in government spending triggered by the pandemic. They should be strengthened by engaging CSOs to supplement the work of traditional accountability institutions through third-party monitoring and other citizen-led social accountability activities. At present such activities are ad hoc since there is no clear source for funding them. We recommend that IDA should establish funding instruments and mechanisms for this purpose. Along with hundreds of other CSOs around the world we endorse the recent statement by the Open Government Partnership (OGP) CSO steering committee in support of such a mechanism.

Let me conclude by mentioning that PTF is working on elaborating on all of these points in a study supported by Open Society Foundation (OSF) and welcomes the participation of IDA and other stakeholders. Thank you.

To learn more about the advocacy for CSE funding in IDA20, read: A Window of Opportunity for Civil Society? The Importance of CSO Monitors in IDA20

Rachel Ansley is the Communications Manager at the Partnership for Transparency.

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