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The World Bank and Civil Society

Available in: العربية, Français, Español


The World Bank first began to interact with civil society in the 1970s through dialogue with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on environmental concerns.  Today the World Bank consults and collaborates with thousands of members of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) throughout the world, such as community-based organizations, NGOs, social movements, labor unions, faith-based groups, and foundations.  

The World Bank has learned through these three decades of interaction that the participation of CSOs in government development projects and programs can enhance their operational performance by contributing local knowledge, providing technical expertise, and leveraging social capital.  Further, CSOs can bring innovative ideas and solutions, as well as participatory approaches, to solving local problems.

The overview section of this website provides information on the Bank’s evolving relationship with civil society. It contains five sections:  Background on the history and current status of World Bank civil society relations;  Approach of the Bank’s work with civil society; evolution,  definition, and characteristics of Civil Society worldwide;  Staff which work with civil society; and  Frequently Asked Questions about the Bank’s work with civil society. In addition, the Issue Brief is an overview of the Bank's engagement with civil society.

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