From promise to action: World Bank’s 2030 vision

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim. Photo by: Simone D. McCourtie / World Bank / CC BY-NC-ND

The World Bank is set to change the world as we know it. By 2030, the institution claims that the poorest of the poor will live a better life and their incomes increase.

But the devil is still in the details.

Izabella Toth, senior corporate funding strategist of Dutch-based Catholic Organization for Relief and Development, suggests a few ways how the World Bank can go about this. The main focus, she said, should be on the fragile states.

Here’s our exclusive interview:

What should be the focus areas of World Bank in this vision?

For Cordaid, working primarily with partners in fragile states and situations, it is of utmost relevance to give sufficient attention and focus to approaches that are tailor made for those setting. Next to reaching the bottom 40 percent on economic prosperity, the World Bank strategies should target security of people, equity (shared prosperity and the right to a decent life) and sustainability on the long term.

The challenges in these countries are even greater, due to high risks and low capacities for response and weak systems, if at all, for support. Strong linkages with the ongoing IDPs agenda for state and peace-building are necessary, as the implementation of the commitments for the New Deal for Fragile States will have a strong impact on achieving sustainable systems and people in fragile states.

In strategies for fragile states, the World Bank should always include assessment of conflict and hazard-related risk assessments in all programs to ensure we foster positive drivers for change.

Based on your observations on the workings of World Bank, how can this vision be operationalized in terms of focus, programming, staffing, policies? What needs to change?

At the moment lots of parallel processes are ongoing in the Bank, besides the formulation of the future Strategy, amongst others the work on the World Development Report 2014 on Resilience, the implementation of the WDR 2012 Gender, the further development of tasks and responsibilities of the Fragile States Hub in Nairobi (working among others on the IDPS state and peace-building processes together with stakeholders), the IDA17 replenishment and the ongoing refocus of the different Bank institutions such as International Finance Corporation and Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency.

  1. In order to achieve the goals, the bank will have to closely monitor progress in an ongoing manner (…) All with the goal to reduce inequality and achieve shared prosperity, decent life.

  2. Towards sustainability, all activities of the b.ank will have to be benchmarked accordingly along economic, environmental lines, even along aspects of respect for human rights.

  3. Targeted country specific strategy development will contribute greatly to achieve results. Defined goals should be aligned with international goals as the present MDGs and the future ones under the Post-2015 framework.

  4. Huge coordination efforts amongst the different bank branches.

  5. Coordination and collaboration with other multilaterals, upscaled with other actors such as the EU, bilateral donors and not forget CSOs!

  6. Internally, the World Bank will have to reshape its human resources policies and implementation to respond with the best and most competent people for the different tasks.

Do you see any obstacle in implementing the vision?

At the implementation level, the bank will have to manage various expectations. Donor governments want the bank to perform even better with less financial means, recipient governments want more sovereignty whilst performing for results focus will keep putting a strain on them – rightfully so. CSOs want participatory approach and proper safeguards at all times, and private sector considers itself the natural counterpart in Bank activities on the ground and wants to keep that status. And on top of that the World Bank will have to work as one fully complementary and coherent organization and delivering the best result for effective development. Lots of balls to keep in the air.

Furthermore, how to achieve the content goals in countries that are rapidly growing and the goals are not convergent? Think of the emerging economies. There the bank will have a difficult time to apply selectivity.

The World Bank will have to partner on policy formulation as well with other stakeholders for joint policy formulation in order to keep its leverage more or less intact.

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About the author

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    John Alliage Morales

    As a former Devex staff writer, John Alliage Morales covered the Americas, focusing on the world's top donor hub, Washington, and its aid community. Prior to joining Devex, John worked for a variety of news outlets including GMA, the Philippine TV network, where he conducted interviews, analyzed data, and produced in-depth stories on development and other topics.