AT A GLANCE
Parliaments and Parliamentary organizations and bodies have taken an increasing interest in the allocation and use of development aid, including in the role of the World Bank Group. With the gradual introduction of open budgets in developing countries, often with WBG support; and increased transparency and focus on results in donor countries, the role of Parliaments in development is only going to be more important.
The World Bank Group has engaged systematically with Parliaments since about 2000, with Parliaments and their members becoming an increasingly important constituency for the WBG, both in borrowing countries and in donor countries. A 2009 survey showed that Parliaments were involved in 3 out of 4 Country Assistance Strategy consultations, with the new WBG Country Partnership Framework putting an even higher premium on upstream consultative processes.
Opening the WBG to Parliamentarians
MPs in the Field
Parliamentarians – as elected representatives – can be powerful advocates for development. They pass laws, debate, and approve foreign aid budgets; review development policies; and hold governments accountable for World Bank-financed programs. The World Bank Group, in turn, is an important focus of parliamentary interest, both because of the amount of aid it channels to the many countries in which it operates, and because it is an important source of knowledge and information on how to achieve development results.
How does the World Bank Group engage with parliamentarians?
The World Bank Group interacts with parliamentarians through regular workshops, information sharing, seminars, informal briefing sessions, and parliamentary field visits. The World Bank Group regularly receives parliamentary delegations visiting its headquarters in Washington D.C. and the Bank is also regularly invited to speak at events organized by parliamentary organizations. World Bank Group Senior Management often has informal meetings with foreign policy, finance or development policy appropriation committees when visiting member countries.
In partnership with the IMF and the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank & IMF, the World Bank Group organizes Parliamentary Workshops around the Spring and Annual Meetings. The Workshop focuses on key themes of the Spring and Annual meetings, and gives visiting parliamentarians a platform on which to engage with senior management and experts of the IMF and the World Bank Group.
The World Bank Group recognizes transparency and accountability as essential to the development process and central to achieving the Bank’s mission to alleviate poverty. Driven by a desire to foster public ownership, partnership and participation in development from a wide range of stakeholders, the World Bank Group shares its wide-ranging development knowledge freely and openly. The World Bank Group provides free and open access to a comprehensive set of data about development in countries around the globe, allowing policymakers to make better-informed decisions and measure improvements more accurately. Organizations like the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank & the IMF
During the past 10 years, the World Bank Institute (WBI) has trained more than 10,000 members of parliament in partnership with parliamentary organizations. Acting both as a knowledge broker and a centre for action research the Bank works with development partners around the globe to strengthen the capacity of institutions, individual parliamentarians, and parliamentary staff. Consistent with the Bank’s mandate, WBI seeks to enhance the capacity of parliaments to effectively perform their functions (oversight, representation and lawmaking) in order to better contribute to open and collaborative development.
WBI does this by strengthening regional parliamentary networks to act as platforms for south-south exchange, structured learning, and knowledge sharing. Action-planning and peer-review mechanisms assist in translating global and regional best practice into national level action. In particular, WBI works in the area of open budgeting, climate change, and extractive industries. WBI also sits on the Board of the multilateral portal for parliamentary development, www.agora-parl.org
The World Bank Group involves parliamentarians in the preparation of its Country Assistance Strategies, soon to be replaced by the Country Partnership Framework (CPF) through which the World Bank Group will strengthen the focus of its country programs by developing a more evidence-based and selective country engagement model. The new CPF will be developed in the context of country ownership and national priorities, and in coordination with other development partners. The goal is to have a more systematic and rigorous identification of the key opportunities and constraints in a country, as well as mechanisms to adjust and learn over the course of the engagement. A survey of World Bank Country Office engagement with Parliamentarians showed that the World Bank was involving parliamentarians in three out of four Country Assistance Strategies in 2009. Parliamentarians are also invited to comment on sector strategies: the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC) for instance commented on the update of the World Bank strategy to strengthen engagement on Governance and Anticorruption (GAC).
Through the ‘Parliamentarians in the Field’ program more than 300 members of parliament from over 50 countries have visited World Bank projects on the ground in Asia, Africa, the Balkans, Latin America and the Middle East. The majority of the visits have been organized in partnership with the ‘Parliamentary Network on the World Bank & IMF’, but the World Bank Group has also organized visits in partnership with other parliamentary organizations, including the ‘NATO Parliamentary Assembly’; ‘Assemblée Parlementaire de la Francophonie’; and the ‘Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development’. The most recent visits have been organized jointly with the Parliamentary Network and with the IMF.
Although the World Bank Group works with parliamentarians in various capacities, the Bank maintains its official relationships with the governments of its 188 member countries, whose ministers of finance, economy, development, or foreign affairs sit on its Board of Governors. As mandated by its charter, the Bank does not involve itself in the domestic political affairs of a country.
The Bank interacts with a number of parliamentary organizations, including the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank and IMF; the Global Legislators Organizations (GLOBE); the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU); the NATO-Parliamentary Assembly (NATO-PA); the Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (AFPPD); the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC); the ‘Assemblée Parlementaire de la Francophonie’ (APF); the Climate Parliament; and Women in Parliament (WIP). Its interaction with regional parliamentary bodies, such as the European Parliament and the Pan African Parliament is also regular and growing.
The Parliamentary Network on the World Bank and IMF
The Global Legislators Organisation (GLOBE International)
The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU)
The NATO-Parliamentary Assembly (NATO-PA)
The Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (AFPPD)
The Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC)
The Assemblée Parlementaire de la Francophonie (APF)
The Climate Parliament
The Women in Parliaments Global Forum (WIP)
FIND MORE INFORMATION
Visit the World Bank’s website for parliamentarians and subscribe to the monthly e-Newsletter: www.worldbank.org/parliamentarians
Contact the Bank’s Parliamentary Relations Team firstname.lastname@example.org.
Updated March 2014