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Examples of Government – Civil Society – World Bank Collaboration

Promoting Government Accountability in Argentina
Empowering Women’s Organizations in China
Consulting Citizens on the CAS for Belarus
Reaching out to Civil Society in Morocco  
Supporting the Roma Population of Eastern Europe  
Partnering to Reduce Pesticides in Africa
Promoting Government Accountability in Argentina

In Argentina, the World Bank is working with the federal government, leading CSOs, and other donor agencies, to promote a culture of greater public transparency and accountability as one of several responses to the serious economic crisis.  The initiative began in April 2002 with a workshop promoted by the Catholic University in Buenos Aires which brought together 200 representatives of NGOs, labor unions, church groups, research centers, government agencies, and international donor agencies to discuss experiences and approaches to participatory governance. 

These groups have launched a pilot initiative called Social Monitoring which will train and finance local CSOs to monitor government programs.   The local groups will survey beneficiary populations, gather and disseminate information, and provide regular feedback to government agencies on the quality and effectiveness of the public services being provided.  The program is being co-funded by the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and United Nations Development
Programme (UNDP). 

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Empowering Women’s Organizations in China

In China, the World Bank is supporting an agricultural development loan which fosters an active partnership between the government and local women’s groups.  The Anning Valley Agricultural Development Project in China’s southwest Sichuan Province aims to support local development and poverty reduction through the promotion of water resources, crops, livestock, agro-processing, and institutional building.  The $120 million dollar project covers 15 poor rural counties, many of which are in remote mountainous areas. 

Local Women’s Federations have been involved in the project planning, design and implementation.  In Panzhihua City, for instance, the women’s federation sits on the project management board; has organized 507 agricultural training workshops involving 49,000 women; and arranged for extensive field study tours.  These activities have not only served to increase women’s production capacity, but have empowered them to start reducing the gender gap within the community and households. 

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Consulting Citizens on the CAS for Belarus 

Mirroring the trend of greater dialogue and openness around the formulation of the World Bank’s Country Assistance Strategies (CAS), the Bank prepared its 2002-2004 CAS for Belarus through a broad participatory process. Like CASs in other countries, this one contained a brief analysis of the country’s principal development challenges, government plans to address them, and proposed World Bank development initiatives for the coming three years. Consultation meetings, which began in the spring of 2001, were held in 14 towns throughout the country involving over 1500 representatives from CSOs who work on health, HIV/TB, children, gender, veterans’ affairs, environment, and micro-enterprise issues.

Consultation was also carried out electronically via a web site that contained background documents, consultation meeting minutes, and summary of  comments received both in Russian and in English.  The information and comments received during the first round of consultations formed the basis for the first draft of the CAS, which was then circulated for a second round of consultations.  This unprecedented level of dialogue in Belarus not only generated useful feedback and specific recommendations for the CAS, but led to the establishment of two government - citizen task forces on health and sustainable development. 

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Reaching out to Civil Society in Morocco

In Morocco the World Bank organized a series of outreach meetings with leading CSOs  in order to better understand the impediments to greater collaboration among civil society, government, and donor agencies.   Interactive one-day workshops were held in Rabat and six other cities and towns throughout the country during the months of February – March 2002.   The design, agenda, and participants list were determined in close consultation with CSOs.   Over 200 representatives from policy advocacy, service provision, and research CSOs attended the meetings which were characterized by frank and open exchange of views. 

During these meetings several concrete recommendations were made including establishing a regulatory framework to guide government interaction with civil society; holding regular exchanges with donor agencies, establishing a fundraising database; and promoting training for CSOs in such areas as organizational management, gender, and communication.  A joint action plan is expected to intensify government – civil society – donor agency  interaction over the next several years. 

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Supporting the Roma Population of Eastern Europe

The World Bank has joined European NGOs and  foundations in an effort to promote the social and economic development of Roma peoples in Central and Eastern Europe.  The Roma have traditionally been socially stigmatized and economically marginalized in many countries and more recently have grown increasingly insecure with the political and economic transformations in the  region. The Pakiv European Roma Fund was established in Bulgaria in March 2002 to provide grants and interest-free loans for income-generating activities support leadership and organizational management training.

As an international foundation, Pakiv-Europe also facilitates networking and communication, through the hosting of training workshops and conferences, where the national agencies and partner organizations strengthen their skills, exchange  experiences, and develop ideas for cross-border cooperation. The Fund has begun working in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia, but hopes to expand to other countries over the coming years.

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Partnering to Reduce Pesticides in Africa

Virtually every African country has stockpiles of obsolete pesticides and associated wastes that have accumulated over the last four decades.  An estimated 50,000 tons of obsolete pesticides and tens of thousands of tons of contaminated soil not only contribute to land and water degradation, but pose serious health threats to both rural and urban populations. The Africa Stockpiles Programme (ASP) was launched in 2002 to clean up and safely dispose of all obsolete pesticide stocks from Africa and establish preventative measures to avoid future accumulation. 

The concept of a continent-wide stockpiles project grew out of informal discussions amongst CSOs and several inter-governmental organizations including the World Bank. ASP's objective is to clean up stockpiled pesticides and pesticide-contaminated waste (e.g., containers and equipment) in Africa in an environmentally sound manner; catalyze development of prevention measures; and provide capacity building and institutional strengthening on important chemicals-related issues.  Housed in the World Bank, the ASP brings together the skills, expertise, and resources of a diverse group of stakeholders, including the Pesticide Action Network, World Wildlife Fund, several governments, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP).

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