The World Bank Group’s strategy is premised on two over-arching goals - to push extreme poverty to no more 3 percent by 2030, and to promote shared prosperity and greater equity in the developing world.
To achieve these twin goals, the World Bank Group needs to better understand what works and the reasons why, and draw lessons and good practices from experience. This is an area where independent evaluation can make a strong contribution. To this end, IEG has taken several steps over the past few years to re-align our work with the new WBG strategic directions. Our intention is to continuously generate the critical evaluation evidence needed to accelerate WBG development effectiveness.
Over the last three years, we have introduced new strategic objectives and a new results framework. And we refocused our work on three Strategic Engagement Areas: Inclusive Growth, Sustained Service Delivery for the Poor, and Environmental Sustainability. These changes were essential to ensure we have a clear focus on what we aim to achieve with our work, and to have a framework through which we can achieve synergies and efficiency in our work program. And, we will invest further work into refining and updating our results framework in the coming fiscal year.
So what else will be new in this coming fiscal year?
The External Review of IEG challenged us to do more: “while IEG is evolving and is at the beginning of a period of innovation and renewal, it is critically important that IEG make more substantive changes.” In particular, IEG was urged to pay greater attention to utilization of its work, and the value of fewer, shorter, and sharper products that build in double-loop learning.
We felt encouraged that our strategic directions were right, but that we needed to double our efforts to deepening the influence of IEG’s work. Increasing WBG staff use of IEG products is a top priority for us, which we intend to achieve through a number of avenues:
- Innovation and realignment of IEG business lines. We will continue to align major evaluations with WBG strategic priorities, especially in our Strategic Engagement Areas. This will include improving the process of engaging with WBG Management and building in more feedback loops during evaluation work. This initiative involves engaging earlier – for instance, some teams have first briefing sessions to learn from our counterparts at the World Bank Group about their programs – , having discussions on the design of the evaluation to determine the evaluation questions and scope. At the tail-end of the process, we will continue experimenting with workshops to discuss, revise, or develop recommendations with the aim to increase ownership of recommendations and follow-up actions. Importantly, we want to have more strategic discussions about changes that are taking place in the WBG as a result of our work.
- Enhancing the quality and credibility of IEG work. With the recruitment of a Methods Advisor in June this year, we are improving our strategic and technical leadership in methods and data work. This will include strengthening methodologies related to the assessment of inclusive growth, gender equality, and value for money, just to mention some examples. It will also involve systematizing the use of methods and updating our standards and tools for data, including more use of beneficiary feedback mechanisms.
- Improving learning and knowledge sharing. Over the last two years, we experimented with a new product line that was focused on learning. We took stock of the experience and concluded we need to significantly redesign how we deliver learning and knowledge services. This will be an exciting change where we want to focus on demand-driven services, deeply rooted in our independent evaluation evidence and with clear commitments to learning outcomes.
- Investing in Talent Development. I am excited about the Results Measurement and Evidence Stream of the World Bank Group. IEG is an active partner. Recent indications are that it might be upgraded and become a profession, which would make the World Bank Group one of the largest institutions to recognize and professionalize monitoring, results management, and evaluation. In addition, we continue to be committed to providing professional development opportunities to our staff. For instance, we will accompany our commitment to integrating gender into our evaluation with relevant training and tool kits. And, we will be offering specialized training in areas such as incorporating complexity into our evaluations to ensure staff can gain knowledge in addition to the hands-on support that the Methods Advisor will be providing.
With these investments, we are hoping to increase our influence and contributions to making the World Bank Group more successful at delivering results in its client countries. You can read IEG’s full work program here.