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Taking the Pulse: [How] Can the World Bank Group Perform Better?

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Taking the Pulse: [How] Can the World Bank Group Perform Better?
We will explore new initiatives to help improve quality and performance of projects across the Bank Group. We will explore new initiatives to help improve quality and performance of projects across the Bank Group.

Results and Performance of the World Bank Group (RAP) 2017

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This year's report focuses on selected questions related to the contribution of the WBG to environmental sustainability.This year's report focuses on selected questions related to the contribution of the WBG to environmental sustainability.

Results and Performance of the World Bank Group (RAP) 2016

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results and performance of the world bank group 2016, rap 2016
This year’s Results and Performance of the World Bank Group review report addresses the theme of managing for development results (M4R).This year’s Results and Performance of the World Bank Group review report addresses the theme of managing for development results (M4R).

Concept Note: IEG Results and Performance of the World Bank Group 2015

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This annual account of what recent IEG evaluations reveal about the effectiveness of the World Bank Group focuses on progress the Bank Group has made in integrating gender into its work. 2015 will end with a new Bank Group gender strategy. This concept note sets out IEG's approach to report on the results and performance of the World Bank Group's gender Show MoreThis annual account of what recent IEG evaluations reveal about the effectiveness of the World Bank Group focuses on progress the Bank Group has made in integrating gender into its work. 2015 will end with a new Bank Group gender strategy. This concept note sets out IEG's approach to report on the results and performance of the World Bank Group's gender integration efforts, distill lessons from evaluations to support efforts to enhance Bank Group effectiveness, and report on the level of management actions in response to recommendations of previous IEG evaluations.

Results and Performance of the World Bank Group 2014 - Appendixes

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Doing More While Doing Better

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Doing More While Doing Better
Watch IEG launch its annual flagship report on the results and performance of the World Bank Group.Watch IEG launch its annual flagship report on the results and performance of the World Bank Group.

Conversations: Reflections on the 2017 Results and Performance of the World Bank Group Report

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Reflections on the 2017 Results and Performance of the World Bank Group Report
The Results and Performance of the World Bank Group (RAP) report is IEG's annual review of the development effectiveness of the World Bank Group (WBG), which includes IBRD/IDA, IFC, and MIGA. The report synthesizes existing evidence from IEG evaluations, validations, and other products, complemented by relevant information from other sources (e.g., WBG corporate documents). Beginning with RAP Show MoreThe Results and Performance of the World Bank Group (RAP) report is IEG's annual review of the development effectiveness of the World Bank Group (WBG), which includes IBRD/IDA, IFC, and MIGA. The report synthesizes existing evidence from IEG evaluations, validations, and other products, complemented by relevant information from other sources (e.g., WBG corporate documents). Beginning with RAP 2013, the first chapter of each year's RAP has focused on a special theme. This year's report focuses on selected questions related to the contribution of the World Bank Group to environmental sustainability. In this brief interview, IEG Director-General and World Bank Senior Vice President for Evaluation Caroline Heider gives us a brief summary of the 2017 RAP report, and reflects on its implications for the World Bank Group. This week, IEG published its annual results and performance of the World Bank Group report. Tell us more about this report and why it matters. The RAP, as we call it, matters because it checks annually the “pulse” of the World Bank Group’s portfolio of projects. At a glance, shareholders, management, and other stakeholders can tell whether the portfolio is meeting its goals, client countries are benefiting from the operations as intended, and the development effectiveness of the Group is as expected. The report also discusses performance to explain the drivers of success and failure with the intention to identify opportunities for course-corrections to achieve better results. Read the Report Results and Performance of the World Bank Group (RAP) 2017 How is this report different than the Bank Group’s own annual report? Is there any connection between the two? The RAP summarizes data from a portfolio of projects that was approved roughly seven years ago as compared to the current and forward-looking aspects of the Bank Group’s annual report. At times we are asked whether these “old” projects are still relevant. My answer is yes. For one, when investment projects are completed at the World Bank, they start their normal operational life that lasts often 20-30 years. For instance, a road project is “operational” at the World Bank during its construction phase; but its true operational life, namely when it is in use starts after. A completion report that shows poor results does not bode well for the long-term performance, rates of return, and development results of projects. Secondly, when we look at the portfolio rather than individual projects, we see larger patterns that point to institutional or systemic issues, such as processes or well-ingrained practices. For instance, we have flagged for several years now problems with monitoring systems that undermine achieving development outcomes. But, fixing systemic issues is difficult and time-consuming, so that findings even from so-called “old” projects continue to be relevant. This year’s report took a close look at the environmental sustainability of World Bank Group’s portfolio. Is the Bank Group’s portfolio getting greener? It is, but only gradually. In our report, we do not evaluate the percentage increase – 4 percent, comparing period FY08-10 with period FY15-17 – because the World Bank Group does not have a target. But, the report invites the shareholders and management to discuss whether this is green enough or they want to see greater investments in the clean, green, and resilient agendas. The report looks separately at IFC, World Bank (IBRD and IDA), and MIGA. How does the performance break out by institution? The World Bank meets its targets when the portfolio is analyzed by dollar amounts committed, but not when we look at the number of projects. This means that larger projects are producing better results than smaller ones. Two years ago, we wanted to know what explains this pattern. Were larger projects better from the outset, maybe got more resources for preparation? We found that these large, successful projects had started out roughly the same size as others, but had received additional resources when they were highly performing. The IFC portfolio has seen a second year of decline. Over the past 18 months, we spent time with IFC to unpack the reasons for the decline. These analyses identified a number of systemic issues, which have been discussed at various levels to identify necessary actions to improve portfolio performance and results. It will take a couple of years for the trends to turn around, but IFC tackles the problems with the same commitment they have shown as in discussing with us solutions, they should be on a good path. MIGA’s performance has been steady for the last 10 years at 62 percent.   Are there other variations in the performance trends, for example by region and sector? Ratings within World Bank regions varied.  Comparing ratings within each region (between the group of projects closed in FY11-13 and those closed in FY14-16) indicates improvements in the Africa region and the East Asia and Pacific region, both by number of projects and by volume.  Ratings within each Global Practice also varied over time. By volume, most Global Practices improved on outcome ratings and World Bank performance ratings between the two periods.  However, four Global Practices did not improve on outcome ratings and four did not improve on World Bank performance ratings. What explains these differences? Since the RAP is a review (relying mainly on existing evaluative information rather than generating new information), the reasons for ratings patterns for specific Regions or Global Practices are not explored in the document.  RAP 2017, did, however, use a structured literature review of sources inside the World Bank and in peer-reviewed literature outside the World Bank to answer this question by looked at the degree of consensus about factors associated with development performance of World Bank projects. Commonly identified project-level success factors included supervision quality and the ratings record of projects managed by the task team leader.  Other success factors were incorporation of lessons learned and analytical work, quality of the project’s results chain, and quality of project design.  For community-driven development, the extent and quality of collaboration with local stakeholders was identified as essential to project success. Factors associated with less successful projects included projects with early warning flags, or projects of longer durations. Also, project outcome was negatively associated with the cost and time of both preparation and supervision. At the country level, the most commonly identified success factor was economic growth, while project success is less likely in fragile and conflict-affected situations and when civil liberties are limited. In your view, where should the institution be investing its efforts to improve development outcomes? Based on our analyses, outcome ratings are highly dependent on what we call “quality at entry”, meaning the quality of project design when it is approved. This finding is not surprising. Put simply, it means that the better the preparations are, the better the results will be. What do we mean by that? Strong diagnostics of the development challenge at hand, a clear articulation of intended results that is shared by stakeholders in the country and the World Bank Group, and metrics that help measure and monitor whether things are on track simply help align efforts towards goals. That’s key to success, and it also helps manage in uncertain times when tactics need to adjust to changing circumstances. It is like sailing. Once you set your course towards a goal, wind, currents, and waves might force you to change your tactics to get there. But, you won’t get anywhere if skipper and crew have no or different ideas about where they are heading; then, at best progress will be slow, at worst the boat will break apart. Does IEG have a role in ensuring that the Bank Group’s management acts on your report? What’s the mechanism for translating the report’s findings into potential corrective action? The RAP does not provide recommendations. The reason is that is provides a synthesis of other evaluations – trend data comes from project reporting, theme chapters are based on sector, thematic, and corporate evaluations – which have made recommendations. Nonetheless, as mentioned previously, in the case of IFC, we had an intense set of engagements to discuss how IFC can turn around its portfolio. A promising start; we will see how their efforts are reflected in results and performance in a couple of years’ time. In addition, we hope the discussion of how “green” the portfolio is will stimulate discussions among shareholders and management to decide whether they want to raise the bar. More importantly, though, is this year’s third chapter, which we have not yet talked about. It provides the usual summary of follow-up actions the World Bank Group has taken in response to our recommendations. But, this year we have piloted something new. In line with the theme chapter, we did a retrospective of 10 years of recommendations on environmental sustainability. We wanted to understand what kind of recommendations we had made over time, and whether things have changed at the World Bank Group since then. The review has obvious limitations – we have not corroborated our analyses with direct observations in the field – but it shows interesting patterns that are useful to us and to managements. The analysis led to useful discussions as yet another step to support learning from independent evaluation.  Read the related #WhatWorks post, 2017 RAP Edition  Are World Bank Group Projects Getting Cleaner, Greener, and More Resilient?

Results and Performance of the World Bank Group 2013 Volume I: Main Report

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The global extreme poverty rate has fallen by half since 1990, but inequality has increased. Robust progress on both poverty reduction and shared prosperity will require sustained growth in developing countries in the face of major financial, economic, and environmental risks and uncertainties. Lending by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) has fallen back to pre- Show MoreThe global extreme poverty rate has fallen by half since 1990, but inequality has increased. Robust progress on both poverty reduction and shared prosperity will require sustained growth in developing countries in the face of major financial, economic, and environmental risks and uncertainties. Lending by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) has fallen back to pre-crisis trend levels. In FY13, for the first time ever, International Development Association (IDA) commitments exceeded IBRD commitments. Investments by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) reached historically high levels in FY13, driven by rapid growth of short-term finance. Commitments by the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) rose on the heels of a new instrument covering risks of the non-honoring of sovereign financial obligations.

Doing More and Doing Better: Key Takeaways from the Launch of the Results and Performance of the World Bank Group Report

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Key Takeaways from the Launch of the Results and Performance of the World Bank Group Report
For me, what was most insightful: in areas where Management had set clear goals, we observed positive trends. In others, investments even declined. What is empowering about this finding is the “power of signaling effects” and how responsive the institutions are to well-articulated and understood goals. Ongoing and future work of the World Bank, IFC, and IEG will follow. TWEET THIS In areas Show MoreFor me, what was most insightful: in areas where Management had set clear goals, we observed positive trends. In others, investments even declined. What is empowering about this finding is the “power of signaling effects” and how responsive the institutions are to well-articulated and understood goals. Ongoing and future work of the World Bank, IFC, and IEG will follow. TWEET THIS In areas where World Bank Group management had set clear goals, IEG observed positive trends. What is empowering about this finding is the “power of signaling effects” and how responsive the institutions are to well-articulated and understood goals. IEG has found that improving quality at entry leads to improved development outcomes. The reason why? Simply put: if one has and pursues a clear vision, one is more likely to apply one’s resources to and achieve set goals. IEG and World Bank Group Management are aligned on the need for strategic prioritization when it comes to recommendations and follow-up actions to IEG evaluation findings. At last week’s launch of IEG’s 2017 Results and Performance report, World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva, IFC Vice President Hans-Peter Lankes, and World Bank Group Executive Director Otaviano Canuto joined us to reflect on the report’s findings. They also shared what they felt were key actions to follow-up from the perspective of senior leadership and the Board. Our team leaders—Soniya Carvalho, Aurora Siy, and Stephen Hutton—presented the report’s highlights. The report is IEG’s flagship report, which tracks trends in the development outcomes of World Bank Group projects. This year’s report looked at projects completed between fiscal years 2014 and 2016. In addition, the report included a special chapter the assessed the extent to which the World Bank Group has mainstreamed environmental sustainability across its projects and activities. For more on the report’s findings, read our earlier blogs here and here, or download the full report. When sitting down with Kristalina, Hans-Peter, and Otaviano, I wanted to know what they thought about the findings, and more importantly: what would happen because of the evidence we had presented. The report shed new light on the question whether the portfolio was getting any “greener” and unpacked trends along the three pillars of the World Bank Group strategy: clean, green, and resilient. Whether the 4 percent increase is “good enough” is for the Board and Management to decide. All three panelists reiterated the importance of this agenda and need for discussion. For me, what was most insightful: in areas where Management had set clear goals, we observed positive trends. In others, investments even declined. What is empowering about this finding is the “power of signaling effects” and how responsive the institutions are to well-articulated and understood goals. Ongoing and future work of the World Bank, IFC, and IEG will follow. But, we also discussed some messages that were not new: performance trends and how to turn them around. Over the years, we have observed that improving quality at entry—the design of projects, including their “theory of change” which explains how inputs provided by the project would lead to expected results—would lead to improved development outcomes. The reason why? Simply put: if one has and pursues a clear vision, one is more likely to apply one’s resources to and achieve set goals. Otaviano reiterated the importance of quality at entry, including consistent and high-quality economic analyses. He reinforced the report’s call for improvements in this area. As Kristalina noted in her remarks, one of IEG’s findings was that by portfolio size, the World Bank’s outcome ratings are reaching and exceeding targets. That is a good thing. But the flipside, namely that smaller projects, often in smaller client countries, did not have the same development effectiveness was problematic. Working in countries with large portfolios and on large projects tends to be more attractive. To fix this, noted Kristalina, the World Bank Group will need to create incentives for the World Bank’s best staff to work on smaller, more difficult projects. Hans-Peter reflected on the engagement IEG has had with IFC to understanding better performance trends and underlying signals. IFC has taken a comprehensive approach to addressing several issues that surfaced through diagnostics undertaken with and without IEG. These initiatives link analytics and ex-ante assessments of expected results with score-cards, tracking systems, and incentives through the project cycle to its results. I tend to agree that there is not one proverbial silver-bullet that solves all problems, but several mutually reinforcing measures need to be in place to support such change. Finally, we also delved into the implementation of our recommendations. Regular readers know that this “standard fare” in the Results and Performance report. What’s new this year is the deeper analysis of recommendations related to environmental sustainability. While we—Management and IEG—did not have agree on all points, notably the degree to which recommendations were followed through, we are aligned on the need for strategic prioritization, when it comes to recommendations and follow-up actions. Within IEG, we have invested in improving the quality of our recommendations. But we have also observed that each recommendation we make might trigger many actions that do not necessarily address the strategic intent of the recommendation, or get implemented. This is where our counterparts in Management can also step up. Following the request from the Executive Board with whom we discussed the Results and Performance report, IEG and World Bank Group Management have committed to work together to start a process to review and improve the Management Action Record system.   Watch the Re-play of the Launch of the 2017 Results and Performance of the World Bank Group.

Are World Bank Group Projects Getting Results?

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Are World Bank Group Projects Getting Results
Have projects delivered measurable results for their clients – and are the World Bank Group’s constituent institutions meeting their corporate targets?Have projects delivered measurable results for their clients – and are the World Bank Group’s constituent institutions meeting their corporate targets?