Imagine that you cannot receive your pension after 30 years of work because the records are lost. The title deed to your land cannot be located. Your medical records have been misplaced. You cannot vote because your name has been omitted from the electoral roll. Your daughter cannot compete for jobs because her school certificates cannot be located. You know that public services are deteriorating in many areas, but there is no public record of expenditure in your country.
Poor people around the world suffer daily because systems for creating, organizing, disseminating, and preserving accurate and reliable official information have broken down. The situation will be even harder to manage in an electronic environment.
Evidence Based Governance in the Electronic Age addresses this crucial problem. It will make a significant contribution to the global movement toward accountability, transparency, and the protection of human rights by building capacity to meet evidentiary proof requirements in both paper and electronic environments. The objective is to mainstream records management in public sector reform programs supported by the World Bank and other multilateral and bilateral agencies. The Bank has established a multi-donor trust fund to support the program.
The program builds upon an effective partnership between the World Bank and the International Records Management Trust:
- A video-conference workshop on Current Records Management, Poverty Reduction, and Corruption Control was held in June 2000. High-level civil servants from Ghana, Tanzania, and Uganda shared their experiences and concerns with World Bank task managers, senior managers, and anti-corruption specialists. The project was funded by the Bank's Information Solution Group (ISG).
- The Information for Accountability Workshops Project, completed in January 2001, developed a methodology for educating civil society and government representatives on the significance of well-managed evidence. Civil servants, records managers, and archivists working with civil society representatives, piloted the workshop in Tanzania and Ghana. The project was funded by the World Bank Danish Trust Fund for Governance.
- The From Accounting to Accountability Project, completed in March 2001, defined essential issues for managing financial records and created tools for evaluating and monitoring the performance of record-keeping systems. These are intended for use by those designing new systems and those wishing to improve existing ones. The project was funded by the World Bank InfoDev Fund.
This program addresses records management in countries worldwide based on the principle that well functioning records systems are fundamental to governance. The project seeks to :
- Sensitize governments, development institutions, international organizations, NGOs and civil society on records values as tools for financial systems and public sector reform.
- Provide solutions adaptable to local conditions by creating devices to aid country government agencies in assessing the quality, reliability and accessibility of their records management systems.
- Finally, this partnership program aims to make records management mainstream in public sector reform projects by integrating records management into financial systems, judicial systems and public sector reform projects.
Previous World Bank aid efforts involved work solely with central governments. Today the international development community works with a variety of partners to meet the demands for greater efficiency, respond to more pluralistic and decentralized political systems, and work together with the civil society. Evidence Based Governance in the Electronic Age builds upon this principle of cooperation, as evidenced by the following alliance of core and collaborating partners and donors.
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