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Scaling the Great Green Wall?

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View of the Fada Great Green Wall site, showing millet farms in the middle of acacia plantations. Credit: Nick Parisse, Dawning
As the recent One Planet Summit pivoted international attention to issues around climate and the protection of ecosystems, global leaders were eager to point to examples of successful efforts to protect and restore nature. While many efforts to stem environmental destruction have failed – and failed spectacularly – one effort, the project to plant trees across the Sahel known as the Great Green Show MoreAs the recent One Planet Summit pivoted international attention to issues around climate and the protection of ecosystems, global leaders were eager to point to examples of successful efforts to protect and restore nature. While many efforts to stem environmental destruction have failed – and failed spectacularly – one effort, the project to plant trees across the Sahel known as the Great Green Wall, has achieved many of its envisioned technical and environmental goals. But while there is much talk of taking this successful ecosystem protection effort to scale, backed by announcements at the summit of new investments totaling US$14 billion, there is a need to learn much more about the science behind the initiative, its differentiated impacts and their costs; including the social impacts on the resource-dependent poor. Along with the achievements, there are valuable lessons to be learned about what is working and for whom that can help guide the planned scale-up. The Great Green Wall and the World Bank Decades ago, several African Heads of State envisioned, and eventually lent their support to, the development of a Great Green Wall: a large belt of trees that stretches across twelve states of the Sahel. The concept of the Great Green Wall was developed to combat land degradation and desertification of the Sahel, a concept that has grown in importance as the threats posed by climate change intensify. Twenty-one African countries have signed on to the initiative, along with at least 11 international partners; including the African Union, European Union, and the World Bank. The World Bank has played a contributing role over the past two decades through the Sahel and West Africa Program in Support of the Great Green Wall Initiative (SAWAP), a programmatic approach using $1.2 billion from World Bank projects and $106 million of Global Environment Fund financing “to expand sustainable land and water management in targeted landscapes and in climate vulnerable areas in twelve West African and Sahelian countries”. The Independent Evaluation Group has evaluated a number of the projects under the SAWAP umbrella, including in Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Ethiopia, Mali, Niger and Togo. Some of these evaluations included site visits and extensive discussions with government counterparts and local community members to deepen understanding of the overall impact of Great Green Wall project and Bank support for it. Our findings point to some important issues to consider when designing future projects. {"preview_thumbnail":"/sites/default/files/Data/styles/video_embed_wysiwyg_preview/public/video_thumbnails/CtzIkAJJubA.jpg?itok=V0fim1IG","video_url":"https://youtu.be/CtzIkAJJubA","settings":{"responsive":0,"width":"854","height":"480","autoplay":1},"settings_summary":["Embedded Video (854x480, autoplaying)."]} The World Bank’s support for the Great Green Wall has been successful from a technical perspective. Earth observations (satellite imagery, drone footage) combined with site observations support this view. Vegetation has been successfully established, land has been rehabilitated through large commitments of labor for soil works, and the density of trees and shrubs have increased dramatically at rehabilitation sites (although observations at older rehabilitation sites suggest that these technical successes may be short-lived, due to limited funds for upkeep and necessary maintenance). Most notable amongst these positive effects is the large swaths of degraded land that have been reclaimed in critical watersheds in Ethiopia. However, a precise understanding of the change in vegetation cover across the Sahel, attributable to donor investments in the Great Green Wall, has been limited because of an underinvestment in measurement (e.g. a normalized difference vegetative index to measure the change in vegetation, recommended through a regional project by the World Bank at the beginning of the SAWAP, was never implemented). And, importantly, none of the World Bank projects estimated the effect of changing rainfall patterns on the greening effects. The misestimation of the role of rainfall variability as the key parameter affecting vegetative cover and agronomic productivity has a long history in the African drylands. Many unqualified statements have and continue to attribute Sahelian greening entirely to the actions of farmers. But in a region grappling with food insecurity, persistent violent conflict, and rural poverty, environmental gains supported by investments in the Great Green Wall must also benefit the poor. Just prior to the coronavirus pandemic, there were 30 million food insecure people in the Sahel, and that number continues to grow. This large cohort consists of farmers, agro-pastoral, and nomadic populations – all of whom engage in traditional land-use arrangements that provide mutual food and livelihood benefits. In these settings, even the most degraded land has value: these are important areas of passage and grazing for livestock, particularly during the rainy season, and are sources of wild plants and wood gathered by women. But the use of area enclosures – a land management practice that seeks to restore degraded land by excluding livestock and humans from openly accessing it in the short to medium term – runs the risk of exacerbating vulnerability; and in the absence of good land governance, possibly causing harm. Some policymakers point to the possibility of benefits “trickling down”, but given the very moderate economic benefits of many of the SAWAP projects, that is unlikely to play out. Increasing the value of degraded land, as was done by the Great Green Wall initiative, changes the decision-making calculation of land users – with enhanced farm value, these lands can be predated upon by elites, and can lead to encroachment by non-traditional farmers which risks displacing the local population. Such was the case in sites visited by IEG in Niger, where land was effectively restored, but where parcels were also sold outside of the community, in areas that lacked good land governance. Predation also occurs as a result of decisions to support crop agriculture alongside tree planting. While land restoration activities took place on communal land, the introduction of “inter cropping” facilitated individualized claims on community land. A lesson learned is that such projects should be designed with an understanding of customary, flexible tenure arrangements and the coping strategies of vulnerable resource users who access degraded lands as a social safety net. And, importantly, that emphasis should be placed on ensuring that clear, enforceable land-use agreements are in place prior to land restoration activities, to protect the land-use rights of the most vulnerable. Because land restoration mainly benefits those that have access to land, some women and youth are especially disadvantaged in the Sahel. In Niger, a very large number of women are forced to fend for themselves and their families because their husbands and sons have migrated to other West African countries, such as Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal, to look for work. This migration is often associated with a lack of access to arable land, especially for male youth. Projects that support land and resource restoration can ensure that women and youth benefit by addressing participation barriers, linked to social and cultural norms. For example, since in some conservative areas, some women’s participation in cash for work programs is prohibited, programs must propose alternative income generating options to ensure equity. The Great Green Wall has proved to be an effective approach to reclaiming land in a region coping with disproportionate impacts of climate change. Yet rather than delivering social benefits, the planned scale up could run the risk of increasing communal tensions without careful attention paid to unintended consequences. Evidence on the impacts of the investments on both the land and communities needs to be studied carefully as a first step to ensuring the Great Green Wall leads to equitable, inclusive and sustainable development. Pictured above: View of the Fada GGW site, showing millet farms in the middle of acacia plantations. Credit: Nick Parisse, Dawning

The World Bank Group’s Approach to the Mobilization of Private Capital for Development

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The World Bank Group’s Approach to the Mobilization of Private Capital for Development
This evaluation offers IEG’s first systematic assessment of the Bank Group’s approaches with Private Capital Mobilization (PCM) and the achievements of development outcomes in engaging with investors and project sponsors. This evaluation offers IEG’s first systematic assessment of the Bank Group’s approaches with Private Capital Mobilization (PCM) and the achievements of development outcomes in engaging with investors and project sponsors.

What works in public utility reform: Lessons from evaluations in the energy and water sectors

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What works in public utility reform:  Lessons from evaluations in the energy and water sectors
Utility reform has never been more important. The COVID-19 pandemic has badly impacted utilities across the world. Many utilities are now under intensified financial stress due to budget reductions and a loss of revenue, resulting from a sudden drop in collection rates, suspension of billing, and tariff adjustment in some countries. This, in turn, has made it more challenging to ensure continued Show MoreUtility reform has never been more important. The COVID-19 pandemic has badly impacted utilities across the world. Many utilities are now under intensified financial stress due to budget reductions and a loss of revenue, resulting from a sudden drop in collection rates, suspension of billing, and tariff adjustment in some countries. This, in turn, has made it more challenging to ensure continued service delivery. IEG recently published the synthesis Public Utility Reform: What lessons can we learn from IEG evaluations in the energy and water sectors?, a compilation of evidence of what worked and what did not work, and why, in World Bank support of public utility reforms in the energy and water sectors in its client countries. Its findings are even more relevant in the context of uncertainty about medium-to long-term outlook for recovery from the challenges imposed by COVID-19. Well before COVID-19, financial viability and institutional accountability were the two main challenges faced by public utilities in improving service outcomes in the energy and water sectors. Now, the effectiveness of utilities in these two fundamental areas remain critical for ensuring the quality and sustainability of these vital basic services during a post-pandemic recovery. Financial Viability IEG analysis reveals a range of World Bank interventions geared to support financial viability in both the energy and water sectors.   Recovering the cost of service is at the core of sector reform. Across both water and energy sectors, inadequate cost recovery is a key driver of financial underperformance. Poor bill collection and operational inefficiencies (including excessive network losses) also have a significant role. IEG finds that, while tariff reform is fundamental, improving operational efficiency of service providers is crucial for financial sustainability. The cumulative evidence indicates that when inefficiencies result in high-cost service provision, improving utilities’ operational efficiency should precede or go hand-in-hand with tariff increases. Additionally, the gains from reductions in technical and commercial losses, improvements in payment collection, financial management, and demand side management proved easier to sustain once implemented. Evidence points to the importance of strengthening utilities’ commercial orientation, which is vital for the provision of adequate and reliable services, regardless of whether the service delivery agents are under public or private ownership. Utilities that emphasize cost control, customer orientation, and responsiveness to incentives are more likely to make meaningful progress. For example, World Bank operations in Vietnam and Turkey helped improve financial sustainability of electric power utilities through technical support and policy reforms, incrementally implementing tariff and market regulations in the electricity sector. Utilities may need more financial support as they weather the economic crisis triggered by the pandemic. However, as the recently published IEG evaluation State your Business! An evaluation of World Bank Group support to the Reform of State-Owned Enterprises cautions, temporary subsidies introduced at the time of COVID-19 can pose “policy traps” supported by powerful vested interests, which can be hard to reverse once the crisis is over.   Institutional Accountability Creating the right accountability and incentives is essential for effective service delivery. In both energy and water sectors, institutional accountability is critically tied to performance.  Sustaining reforms requires competent institutions and strong administrative capacity.  Improved performance can be a first step towards attracting private sector investment.  Strengthening sector planning, utility management, capacity and skills, can improve sector outcomes. A solid sectoral fiscal, financial, and regulatory framework also defines and sets the context for leveraging markets and the private sector to support service delivery. There are multiple institutional pathways that could lay the foundation for improved and sustained service delivery. There is no single model but there are certain principles that work. In energy, improved accountability and regulatory performance drive sector outcomes. Good practices on corporate governance and regulation enable the sector environment to leverage markets and the private sector. In Rwanda, for example, the World Bank (through budget support operations), the International Finance Corporation  (through advisory services), and Public-Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility (PPIAF) helped the government develop sector regulatory structures and separate water and electricity utilities to improve governance, accountability and transparency. Institutional and policy reforms transformed the Rwanda Energy Group into a commercially operated state-owned enterprise and helped attract private finance. In water, improved capacity, incentives, and transparent rules on accessing funds can ensure good sector outcomes. Good financial and operational data systems are also important. In Peru, the utility Sedapal radically changed its corporate management approach and work culture, including adopting a new performance-based compensation and incentive system driven by reaching results targets. IEG’s field-based assessment confirmed a steady improvement in access coverage, basic service parameters, and operational and financial performance. Political and social challenges In both sectors, utilities' operations and management are closely linked to the political economy in which they operate. Political economy considerations can inform specific design elements, including choices of programmatic instruments vs. standalone operations, or front-loading vs. back-loading of important reform actions in a programmatic series. Experience shows that support to operations need to match the time frame in which effective government action can reasonably take place. The World Bank’s experience shows that complementary interventions and sustained support contribute positively to favorable and enduring results. Regarding tariff reform, the institutional, political, and social challenges are considerable. Public opposition to tariff reforms reflects a lack of confidence in public service improvements and that vulnerable groups will be protected. At the same time, it is important to address potential negative distribution consequences of reforms through such measures as differentiated tariffs and targeted assistance programs. Their success depends on the government’s ability to reach vulnerable households through fiscally sustainable programs. Read the report | Public Utility Reform: What lessons can we learn from IEG evaluations in the energy and water sectors? Pictured at top, clockwise from left: The main drinking water pipeline for 750 households in Alapars and Karenis communities (Kotayk region) being fully rehabilitated. Armenia. Photo credit: Armine Grigoryan / World Bank The control room at the thermal power station at Takoradi, Ghana, June 21, 2006. Photo credit: Jonathan Ernst/World Bank Electricity Transfer Station in Kenya. Photo credit: Andrew Stone Windmill, Nicaragua photo credit: Ihsan Kaler Hurcan Wegala Community Water Supply and Sanitation Project. Sri Lanka. Photo credit: Simone D. McCourtie / World Bank Girl gathers drinking water from a community water pipe. Photo credit: Dominic Sansoni / World Bank

Niger: Community Action Program and Community-Based Integrated Ecosystem Management Project Phase I and II (PPAR)

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The World Bank has played a key role in helping Niger to further its rural decentralization aims. The World Bank has supported the implementation of the rural code throughout its history. It approved the Natural Resource Management Project (1995–2003) to help Niger jump-start the code implementation and followed it with the Community Action Program (2004–20), a three-phase adjustable program loan Show MoreThe World Bank has played a key role in helping Niger to further its rural decentralization aims. The World Bank has supported the implementation of the rural code throughout its history. It approved the Natural Resource Management Project (1995–2003) to help Niger jump-start the code implementation and followed it with the Community Action Program (2004–20), a three-phase adjustable program loan designed to empower local governments and communities to progressively achieve their collective local development aims in a participatory and sustainable way. This Project Performance Assessment Report assesses the first and second phases of the Community Action Program (CAP-1 and CAP-2). Ratings for the First Phase of the Community Action Program are as follows: Outcome was moderately satisfactory, Overall efficacy was substantial, Bank performance was satisfactory, Borrower performance was satisfactory, and Quality of monitoring and evaluation was modest. Ratings for the Second Phase of the Community Action Program are as follows: Outcome was moderately satisfactory, Overall efficacy was substantial, Bank performance was moderately satisfactory, Borrower performance was satisfactory, and Quality of monitoring and evaluation was substantial. Lessons from both projects include: (i) Land and resource restoration projects should support—and make evident how they are supporting—existing customary flexible tenure arrangements to ensure distributional benefits among resource users and to mitigate conflict risks. (ii) The success of natural resource restoration depends on the extent to which private or communal resource users are compensated over reasonable, short-term time frames for abstaining from using those resources until the long-term public benefits of resource restoration are achieved. (iii) Projects that support land and resource restoration can ensure that women benefit by addressing participation barriers linked to social and cultural norms. (iv) Socioeconomic and anthropological analyses, conducted before project elaboration, can support the gender aspects of production and marketing better.

State Your Business: What are the keys to successful reform of state-owned enterprises?

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State Your Business: What are the keys to successful reform of state-owned enterprises?
State-Owned Enterprises SOEs are critical to many developing and emerging economies where the lives of millions of citizens are deeply affected by how these enterprises are run. Governments use SOEs to provide services across multiple sectors and to address the impacts of economic downturns or crises, such as the current COVID-19 crisis.  Show MoreState-Owned Enterprises SOEs are critical to many developing and emerging economies where the lives of millions of citizens are deeply affected by how these enterprises are run. Governments use SOEs to provide services across multiple sectors and to address the impacts of economic downturns or crises, such as the current COVID-19 crisis.   Although many SOEs are run well and have made important economic contributions, many others suffer from low productivity and efficiency, which have a detrimental impact on growth and consumer access to services. SOEs’ mixed institutional mandates and their political importance often pose performance and governance challenges. Poor performance can also generate substantial public fiscal losses. Aware of the importance of SOE reform to achieving economic development and service delivery goals, the World Bank Group (WBG) has long supported developing countries to address the associated challenges.   IEG recently published the evaluation State Your Business! An Evaluation of World Bank Group Support to the Reform of State-Owned Enterprises, its first systematic assessment of the Bank Group’s support for the reform of SOEs, focusing on the energy and financial sectors, where Bank Group investments in the last decade have surpassed USD 70 billion. The political importance of SOEs can impose substantial challenges to introducing and sustaining reforms. Such political economy risk factors help to explain why countries such as Bangladesh, Egypt, and Indonesia have signaled their intent to privatize state-owned banks but later halted efforts because of internal political constraints. The allocation and pricing of power and finance can evoke intense public reaction and mobilize vested interests.  Further, temporary crisis response programs can turn into irreversible “policy traps”, locking SOEs in to underfunded mandates even if it damages their long-term viability.    IEG’s evaluation sheds light on key factors driving successful SOE reforms and points to risks and obstacles that limit reforms with potentially dire consequences for SOE performance and delivery of services to the public. These factors include:   Sector competition  Research on the subject shows that enhanced competition improves SOE performance in both the financial and power sectors, both by itself and in combination with other reforms. First, there is strong evidence that SOEs perform better in the power sector (and in general) when competitive conditions prevail at the sector and enterprise levels. For example, an econometric assessment of power sector data for 36 developing and transition countries over 18 years found that gains in economic performance stemmed mainly from allowing private participation.   Privatization or regulatory reforms were less effective without a competitive market. Private sector participation can take various forms and involve different functions of the power market (generation, transmission, distribution, and retail). A key aim of Bank Group support has been to strengthen competition and regulation in SOE markets, in part to foster a level playing field between SOEs and private companies  One example of WBG support to achieve a more competitive power market is in Vietnam, where Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) and other SOEs dominated power generation. EVN also fully owned the entity that operates and maintains the national transmission grid.   The Bank Group engaged comprehensively in all aspects of the power sector (rural electrification, generation, transmission, distribution, load dispatch, renewables, development of wholesale and retail power markets, regulatory aspects, and SOE reform), using a wide range of instruments. The credibility and trust generated enabled the Bank Group to support the government in sequencing sector wide reform.  In 2012, EVN unbundled its generation subsidiaries into three separate generation companies, at the same time as the launch of Vietnam’s competitive generation market, in which independent power producers and generation companies compete in a power pool to sell to individual buyers. As of 2016, 24 percent of installed capacity in Vietnamese power generation was privately held.   In the financial sector, research shows bank concentration is more constraining to firms’ access to credit in countries with higher shares of state bank ownership. More competitive environments enhance the benefits of bank privatization.  The Bank Group's private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) has committed to promoting “competitive neutrality” in the SOEs that it invests in.   Given the greater success of reforms with better competitive conditions, the IEG report recommends that the World Bank Group should gear up to do more competition analysis at the sector and project level, as part of a selectivity framework for engaging in SOE reform.  Control of Corruption  The oversight and accountability challenges of SOEs noted above can make them hard to manage and frequently exposes them to corruption. Corruption powerfully undermines SOE performance. In Ukraine, for example, widespread corruption impeded the progress of SOE reforms. By June 2018, more than 194 of the 793 criminal proceedings handled by Ukraine’s National Anticorruption Bureau dealt with about 50 SOEs and their officials, according to an OECD report. In Kenya, petty corruption among field staff responsible for installing and reading electricity meters reportedly hindered efforts to stem power system losses.   The IEG report finds that a country’s control of corruption is strongly associated with the likelihood of SOE reform success. Other things being equal, a country with high control of corruption is more than twice as likely to see SOE reform interventions succeed as a country with low control of corruption. In conditions of low control of corruption, it is more difficult to strengthen the governance, regulation, or performance of public enterprises.  IEG thus recommends that the Bank Group apply a selectivity framework for its engagements on SOE reform that considers country governance conditions. Where corruption control in the country is weak, IEG recommends that World Bank Group either sequence SOE reforms (first addressing public governance) or actively mitigate corruption risks through close attention to the strength of client commitment, supervision, simplicity of project design, and appropriate sequencing.  Mobilizing Private Finance  In its review of the Bank Group's experience, IEG found positive experiences from collaboration across its institutions, a key to mobilizing private financing and capabilities. Yet, IEG found these examples somewhat infrequent. The IEG report recommends scaling up the collaborative approach known as “Maximizing Finance for Development” (MFD) to enhance internal coordination among WBG units and help mobilize private financing and capacity including through ownership reforms such as privatization and public-private partnerships.  However, the recommendation to prioritize private solutions for SOE reforms through an MFD “cascade” approach is not a call for privatization alone. Rather, the World Bank Group should consider a full range of options, including improving regulation and competition, strengthening SOEs’ corporate governance, or supporting ownership reform. The end goal may range from better preparing SOEs to tap private capital markets, to creating a level playing field for competition between private companies and SOEs, to public-private partnerships or outright privatization.    Sequential and Complementary Support  IEG found that sequential and complementary interventions, often involving more than one Bank Group institution, aid successful reform. This includes good prior analytic work. For example, over many years, WBG strategies and programs in Bangladesh’s power sector were aligned with successive government five-year plans. Since at least 2004, the Bank Group engaged in unbundling and building technical capacity through financing and technical assistance. This covered regulation, generation, transmission, and distribution.   The World Bank also supported the successful Power Cell, which channeled technical, planning, and coordination support to government while facilitating the role of private power producers. The regulator, Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission, benefited from WBG support since its creation. The World Bank, IFC, and MIGA (the WBG’s agency for insuring against political risk) were all involved in a “cascade” approach in supporting independent power providers. Over time, sector performance improved in reduced losses, reduced arrears, and an elimination of the energy gap, with the Bank Group as a trusted partner bringing expertise in the field, access to global expertise, long-standing relationships with key government agencies, coordination of donors, and a consistent policy view.  Through selectivity, coordination and sequencing, the Bank Group can help client countries better serve their citizens through SOE reform. This is especially pressing now as governments cope with the effects of the pandemic and launch economic recovery efforts.   Read IEG's Evaluation: State Your Business! An Evaluation of World Bank Group Support to the Reform of State-Owned Enterprises Pictured above, clockwise from top left: 1. The Akuapem Rural Bank Ltd., founded in 1980, in the town of Mamfe, Ghana, June 19, 2006. Photo credit : Jonathan Ernst / World Bank 2. Kabul Afghanistan: Mirwais Zamkaniwal, 27 years old, Northwest Kabul Breshna Sub Station Manager, on site. Photo credit: Graham Crouch / World Bank 3. A female entrepreneur is visiting a bank in Vientiane. Vientiane, Lao PDR. Photo credit: Stanislas Fradelizi / World Bank 4. Interior of power plant. Kenya. Photo credit: Curt Carnemark / World Bank    

Liberia: Integrated Public Financial Management Reform Project (PPAR)

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The project development objective of the Liberia Integrated Public Financial Management Reform Project (IPFMRP) was to improve the budget coverage, fiscal policy management, financial control, and oversight of government finances of the recipient. The project was restructured in 2016, but the project development objective remained unchanged. Four subobjectives are assessed for this review: (i) Show MoreThe project development objective of the Liberia Integrated Public Financial Management Reform Project (IPFMRP) was to improve the budget coverage, fiscal policy management, financial control, and oversight of government finances of the recipient. The project was restructured in 2016, but the project development objective remained unchanged. Four subobjectives are assessed for this review: (i) improve budget coverage, (ii) improve fiscal policy management, (iii) improve financial control, and (iv) improve oversight of government finances. Ratings for the Integrated Public Financial Management Reform Project are as follows: Outcome was moderately unsatisfactory, Overall efficacy is modest, Risk to development outcome was substantial, Bank performance is moderately unsatisfactory, and Quality of monitoring and evaluation is negligible. Lessons from this project include: (i) Effective support for enhancing revenue mobilization and administration can benefit from combining technical assistance with logistical support. (ii) The use of PEFA composite indicators as results indicators is often not advisable. (iii) Superficial reviews and overoptimistic ratings in ISRs can negatively affect project implementation and outcomes. (iv) Effective and sustainable PFM reforms require continuous engagement to overcome political challenges.

Brazil: National Biodiversity Mainstreaming and Institutional Consolidation Project and Sustainable Cerrado Initiative (PPAR)

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Brazil is the most biodiverse country in the world, holding an estimated one-fifth of all known flora and fauna species. It also contains a wide range of climate types in seven major biomes, including the vast Amazon and now largely depleted Atlantic rainforests, the Cerrado savanna (which covering 2 million square kilometers is second in size only to Amazônia), the semiarid Caatinga, the world’s Show MoreBrazil is the most biodiverse country in the world, holding an estimated one-fifth of all known flora and fauna species. It also contains a wide range of climate types in seven major biomes, including the vast Amazon and now largely depleted Atlantic rainforests, the Cerrado savanna (which covering 2 million square kilometers is second in size only to Amazônia), the semiarid Caatinga, the world’s largest Pantanal wetlands, and an extensive coastline. The National Biodiversity Mainstreaming and Institutional Consolidation Project (PROBIO 2) was funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF). Its project development objectives were (i) to promote mainstreaming of biodiversity at the national level in key public and private sector planning strategies and practices, and (ii) to consolidate and strengthen institutional capacity to produce and disseminate relevant biodiversity information. The project development objectives of the Sustainable Cerrado Initiative (GEF Cerrado) were to enhance biodiversity conservation in, and improve environmental and natural resource management of, the Cerrado in Brazil’s territory through appropriate policies and practices. Ratings from the National Biodiversity Mainstreaming and Institutional Consolidation Project are as follows: Outcome was satisfactory, Overall efficacy was satisfactory, Bank performance was moderately satisfactory, and Quality of monitoring and evaluation was modest. Ratings for the Sustainable Cerrado Initiative are as follows: Outcome was moderately unsatisfactory, Overall efficacy was modest, Bank performance was moderately unsatisfactory, and Quality of monitoring and evaluation was modest. Lessons from the project include: (i) A critical element for the success of projects that seek to promote the mainstreaming of biodiversity across sectors, both public and private, is strong ownership and active participation across the project’s life by the institutions involved. (ii) A firm up-front understanding of the underlying political, economic, and territorial contexts of the geographic area in which a project is seeking to establish new or expand existing protected areas is essential to properly gauge the possibilities of achieving such an objective. (iii) Experience in Brazil (and elsewhere) has shown that government commitment to project objectives and design can shift significantly over time due to changes in administrations, both at the federal and state government levels. (iv) Learning from environment projects that use concessional financing, both successful and unsuccessful, can have policy implications that extend beyond the original project’s intentions.

What the World Bank Group’s Performance Results Cannot Tell Us About Development Outcomes

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What the World Bank Group’s Performance Results Cannot Tell Us About Development Outcomes
Many World Bank Group projects display strong performance. These results however tell us little about the Bank Group’s aggregate contributions and higher-level development outcomes—the results measurement systems are designed to tell a different type of performance story. The World Bank Group’s (WBG) results measurement systems for projects, programs, and thematic areas are purposefully Show MoreMany World Bank Group projects display strong performance. These results however tell us little about the Bank Group’s aggregate contributions and higher-level development outcomes—the results measurement systems are designed to tell a different type of performance story. The World Bank Group’s (WBG) results measurement systems for projects, programs, and thematic areas are purposefully designed. Generally, they focus on collecting data on indicators that can be attributed to Bank Group interventions. They help verify whether targets have been met. They provide consistency in displaying results across portfolios. Importantly, they allow shareholders to hold the Bank Group accountable. In our flagship report, IEG aggregates and analyzes much of this data to give the big picture on the Results and Performance of the World Bank Group (RAP 2020). The 2020 RAP report finds that the World Bank and MIGA performs strongly overall, and that IFC’s decline in ratings that started ten years ago appears to have halted. We welcome you to dive deeper into how various arms and instruments of the Bank Group perform, and what factors help explain these trends. At the same time, while being able to attribute results to Bank Group projects remains important for reasons of accountability, there is also a need to better capture how the institution contributes to lasting positive change in client countries. We refer to this as higher-level development outcomes—social and economic change on the ground which Bank Group interventions cannot achieve singlehandedly, but which the institution can meaningfully add to, over time. How well does the World Bank Group contribute to these sorts of development results? RAP 2020 finds that answering this question would require searching beyond the institution’s existing results measurement systems. Limited evidence on higher-level outcomes is gathered Following an analysis of the Bank Group’s results reporting—from projects to country programs to thematic priorities such as gender and climate change—the RAP 2020 arrived at the conclusion that the World Bank Group collects limited systematic evidence on its contribution to higher-level outcomes. Higher-level outcomes stem from the interplay of different projects and types of Bank Group engagements—lending, knowledge, and convening—over time. The World Bank Group’s Board has requested more evidence on these sorts of development outcomes and how the interventions help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Better evidence on higher level outcomes would also help with learning, reflections on strategy, and course corrections where needed. Many of the World Bank Group’s existing corporate results measurement systems were designed to collect data needed for ratings and for process and compliance monitoring. These systems do what they were designed to do. For example, individual projects’ self-evaluations mostly do a good job at capturing project-level results. IEG rates these self-evaluations, as part of a system that provides consistency in displaying results across sectors, across types of projects, and across time. Yet combining performance ratings from individual projects cannot give a clear picture of the important development outcomes to which the Bank Group contributes—the Bank Group’s contribution to higher-level outcomes amounts to more than the sum of its parts. And ratings are not the same as outcomes. IFC, under its 3.0 strategy, has adopted tools to help it more clearly work toward outcomes. Through its AIMM system, IFC assesses all investments for their anticipated direct and indirect effects, including catalytic effects on markets. It is too early to tell how IFC’s new tools will influence outcome achievement and incentives. Although IFC can ensure alignment between projects and IFC’s higher-level goals because of its focused business model, the World Bank operates with objectives that are more diverse because of its diverse sector and country contexts. Results in thematic areas focus more on compliance than outcomes Consider gender and climate change. The Bank Group is committed to achieving important outcomes for its global work in key areas such as gender and climate change. Its measurement systems, however, place more emphasis on the input level—such as compliance with climate co-benefit commitments and gender tags—than on capturing changes arising from Bank Group operations. The climate change results measurement system, for example, uses 35 targets and indicators to monitor how well the WBG integrates climate change into operations and strategies. 90 percent of these indicators relate to actions under the Bank Group’s control, including inputs (such as financing for climate action), internal processes (such as greenhouse gas accounting), and outputs (such as the number of activities that support cities with climate-related policies). This approach is useful to track fulfillment of corporate commitments, drive accountability, and ensure operations adhere to process requirements. In a nutshell, the system creates incentives to mainstream climate action. But the system has limited focus on the quality of programs and on understanding the higher-level change the programs are meant to support. What an outcome orientation would mean Imagine a situation where staff spend less time checking boxes and collecting data that the Bank Group needs for its own internal reporting purposes and have more time engaging with clients on programs’ contribution to development outcomes. Imagine a situation where data, evidence, and systems oriented the Bank Group toward achieving higher-level outcomes. We call this outcome orientation. An outcome orientation means both generating evidence on what works, what does not, and why; and using this feedback to engage clients and adapt programs to boost contribution to development outcomes. Many parts of the World Bank Group are already studying their outcomes, learning from data and evidence, and adjusting interventions. Some of the corporate results systems could better support staff in this. IEG’s newly published evaluation on The World Bank Group Outcome Orientation at the Country Level finds that the country-level results measurement system does not effectively support teams in making course corrections to country programs. *** The World Bank Group’s results measurement systems bring rigor and discipline to performance assessment, and there remains a strong case for assessing Bank Group achievements at the project level so that they can be accounted for in a focused way. At the same time, more deliberately contributing to development outcomes requires shifting focus beyond the project level and beyond current results measurement and incentives structures. IEG is to this end committed to supporting the World Bank Group’s outcome orientation. Read Results and Performance of the World Bank Group 2020

Public Utility Reform: What lessons can we learn from IEG evaluations in the energy and water sectors?

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Public Utility Reform: What lessons can we learn from IEG evaluations in the energy and water sectors?
This synthesis provides a review of operationally relevant findings and lessons from World Bank-supported utility reforms in the energy and water sectors, as identified in IEG evaluation products.This synthesis provides a review of operationally relevant findings and lessons from World Bank-supported utility reforms in the energy and water sectors, as identified in IEG evaluation products.

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An Evaluation of World Bank Group Support to the Reform of State-Owned Enterprises, FY08-18
This is IEG’s first systematic assessment of World Bank Group’s support for the reform of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs), looking at what works and the factors of success. It parallels Bank Group efforts to provide more integrated support to SOE reform in client countries and to empower staff with new tools. This is IEG’s first systematic assessment of World Bank Group’s support for the reform of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs), looking at what works and the factors of success. It parallels Bank Group efforts to provide more integrated support to SOE reform in client countries and to empower staff with new tools.