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Lessons from Evaluation: Support and Financing to the Formal Private Sector in Response to COVID-19

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This note identifies core lessons for the Bank Group on addressing the impact of the crisis on business and enterprises, based on evaluative evidence from the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG). It particularly draws on Bank Group experiences in addressing earlier crises, including the global economic crisis of 2008–10, the food crisis of 2007–8, and the East Asian crisis of 1998. It also reviews Show MoreThis note identifies core lessons for the Bank Group on addressing the impact of the crisis on business and enterprises, based on evaluative evidence from the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG). It particularly draws on Bank Group experiences in addressing earlier crises, including the global economic crisis of 2008–10, the food crisis of 2007–8, and the East Asian crisis of 1998. It also reviews evidence from responses to other systemic shocks, such as natural disasters and crises arising from conflict. However, it does not reinterpret past findings in light of subsequent developments. Lastly, it incorporates IEG’s broader evaluative findings on instruments that support business and market development. It complements other IEG notes on crisis response topics under preparation, including those on distressed assets and trade finance.

Keeping the private sector alive during the coronavirus (COVID-19): 4 lessons from past crises

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How can the World Bank Group help keep the formal private sector alive during the current coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis?  Beyond its impact on public health, efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19 are taking a toll, damaging businesses and livelihoods across the world. Trade and transport are disrupted, many businesses are idle, and workers and households have lost jobs and income.  By Show MoreHow can the World Bank Group help keep the formal private sector alive during the current coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis?  Beyond its impact on public health, efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19 are taking a toll, damaging businesses and livelihoods across the world. Trade and transport are disrupted, many businesses are idle, and workers and households have lost jobs and income.  By providing timely and effective support and financing, development agencies can help the formal private sector survive. Here’s what the World Bank Group’s experience in earlier crises tells us.  As international financial institutions look to help the private sector cope with the economic shocks of the coronavirus pandemic, past global crises offer valuable lessons on what works.   At the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG), we have mined our evaluations of World Bank Group responses to a range of global crises, alongside assessments of programs to support the private sector, and identified four overarching lessons to guide efforts to help businesses survive the impacts of the coronavirus . In summary, the lessons suggest a need to find ways to act fast to support the private sector, to ensure that assistance reaches those enterprises in distress, to build on prior knowledge of business conditions and constraints, and to understand that restoration of growth and employment requires a sustained response.  1) Businesses need help quickly, so international financial institutions must act fast Governments are often the fastest way to get support to the private sector. The World Bank’s Development Policy Loans (DPL) provide general budget financing to governments to allow spending to address the crisis and fill crisis-induced revenue gaps.  Budget support allows governments to channel resources to banks and businesses to fund payrolls, provide guarantees, credit or loan forbearance to help firms survive although they cannot produce or sell. World Bank Investment Lending can get to enterprises faster when adding finance to existing loans and when designing new simple or repeater loans. The International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank Group, which is already engaged with private banks and businesses, can respond more rapidly to keep the private sector alive when it focuses on programs and instruments that already have a solid track record and have shown the capacity for rapid mobilization during a crisis. Following the 2008 global financial crisis, the IFC launched several new initiatives to support businesses but their set-up time and the lags in implementation limited their short-term impact.  On the other hand, IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program , an existing facility, was able to increase its support for trade finance and reach out to new banks.  New instruments may be more appropriate for the medium term.  2) Make sure projects reach the businesses that need the help Rapid project preparation is critical during a crisis, but it is vital that projects are designed with effective systems for targeting the hardest hit firms and monitoring to ensure the help has actually reached them. The primary aim of most crisis-related World Bank Group financial intermediary loans (FILs), was to increase bank credit for private sector groups most affected by the crisis, such as small and medium enterprises, exporters needing trade finance, rural businesses, and cooperatives.  FILS have been widely used during crisis -- including after the 2008 crisis. Subsequent evaluations found that few FILs were able to disburse rapidly, targeting was an ongoing problem for many of them and the monitoring of the impact of the crisis financing component was weak and often not reported.  Reaching micro, small and medium enterprises poses additional challenges due to their limited size and bargaining power. Besides loans, matching grants can be helpful and business development services appear to help improve firm performance and create jobs.  Yet a better understanding of how they work and how they can be used to respond to crisis is needed. Partial credit guarantees that cover a share of the default risk of loans can also help, but their effectiveness depends on the strength of a country’s legal and regulatory frameworks.   3)  Understanding the business environment is key to helping businesses Drawing from an existing stock of knowledge or carrying out new analytic and advisory work can ensure that interventions are aimed at the most important problems faced by the private sector, and that resources are directed to their best use. During the 2008 global financial crisis, earlier analytical work provided a platform for the World Bank’s response (and sometimes that of other donors as well). In situations of fragility and conflict, Risk and Resilience Assessments (RRAs) can complement private sector diagnostics and help guide interventions that both support businesses and address the drivers of instability.  In countries where pre-crisis engagement was low, knowledge gaps left the Bank unprepared to help map out actionable, forward-looking programs and the quality of lending suffered. 4) When the crisis is over, the private sector still needs support Even when responding to a crisis, there is a need for longer term planning. This should be focused on an enduring restoration of growth and employment, and sustained responses. A strategic roadmap for crisis engagement, that sequences interventions from short term to longer term can be beneficial. Such a roadmap for crisis engagement should be based on ongoing, systemic analysis of stress factors, a framework for coordination within the World Bank Group and with other international financial institutions, and a review of instruments for effective crisis support, meaningful growth and medium-term development. For more details, please see the learning note that elaborates on each of the lessons. Please visit the IEG Lessons Library for a range of resources relevant to the COVID-19 response   Image credit: Shutterstock/ ffikretow

Meet the Evaluator: Lauren Kelly

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Meet the Evaluator: Lauren Kelly
The Independent Evaluation Group’s Lauren Kelly speaks on the role of the evaluator during the ongoing pandemic – and infodemic. The Independent Evaluation Group’s Lauren Kelly speaks on the role of the evaluator during the ongoing pandemic – and infodemic.

Building the First-Ever Partnership Focused on Addressing Global Gaps in Evaluation Capacity

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Building the First-Ever Partnership Focused on Addressing Global Gaps in Evaluation Capacity
With the ten-year countdown to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) now underway, and countries across the globe struggling to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, the capacity to gather data to inform decisions, and to monitor and evaluate the impact of policies, is now an urgent priority. A broad coalition of governments and national and international organizations have agreed to establish the Show MoreWith the ten-year countdown to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) now underway, and countries across the globe struggling to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, the capacity to gather data to inform decisions, and to monitor and evaluate the impact of policies, is now an urgent priority. A broad coalition of governments and national and international organizations have agreed to establish the first-ever global partnership focused on addressing the worldwide gaps in monitoring and evaluation capacity. In June 2020, a range of donor countries and organizations met for the first time in a Co-Creation Workshop to discuss concrete steps towards establishing an inclusive partnership to meet the global demand from developing countries for stronger monitoring and evaluation systems and capacity. The aim of the partnership is to increase coordination for greater impact among the various national and international initiatives aimed at building evaluation capacity, and to pool resources and draw on local and global expertise and knowledge to scale up these efforts. The workshop was a three-day virtual brainstorming discussion focused on building consensus around a joint vision of the global partnership. Ahead of the workshop, a series of consultations were held with representatives from countries committed to strengthening their M&E systems and capacities, to understand the challenges they face, and how best to support their programs. {"preview_thumbnail":"/sites/default/files/Data/styles/video_embed_wysiwyg_preview/public/video_thumbnails/ftcYucMsIlE.jpg?itok=y3Fn6dDT","video_url":"https://youtu.be/ftcYucMsIlE","settings":{"responsive":0,"width":"854","height":"480","autoplay":0},"settings_summary":["Embedded Video (854x480)."]} Effective monitoring and evaluation systems are an essential ingredient for advancing the sustainable development goals as they foster accountability and evidence-based policy making. This innovative partnership will take us a step closer in addressing the worldwide demand from countries for stronger M&E systems and capacities for more inclusive and sustainable development results. Oscar A. Garcia, Director, Independent Evaluation Office, UNDP The current demand for evaluation capacity development far outstrips the resources and reach of any single institution, and the impact of the many programs launched to meet this need is diluted by a lack of coordination. Earlier this year, IEG and the UNDP’s Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) signed an agreement on closer collaboration on meeting this need. Recently, IEG also signed an agreement  with Canada’s École nationale d'administration publique (ENAP) in order to coordinate actions and pool expertise and resources towards meeting the need for stronger M&E systems and capacity in key, under-served regions of the world. The lack of robust monitoring and evaluation systems leaves many countries at a disadvantage and has become an ever more urgent development challenge in the face of the fast-moving coronavirus pandemic. Only by working together will we be able to address the global gaps in evaluation capacity, and ensure no communities or countries are left behind. Alison Evans, World Bank Vice President and IEG Director-General Along with developing a joint vision, the participants in the Co-Creation Workshop also discussed the key lines of business and activities in providing countries support on strengthening their monitoring and evaluation systems and capacities. They also discussed other important aspects of the partnership, such as its operational principles, budgetary and administrative arrangements, and its governance structure. The workshop concluded with an agreement amongst the participants on key steps and actions they will be taking in collaboration with the co-hosts of the workshop - the World Bank’s Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) and the Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)  - and other partners towards launching the partnership later this year.  Watch and hear from Wilson Braganca, the Director General of the Ministry of Planning and Finances from Sao Tome to learn more about the global demand for evaluation capacity development from countries. Read more about the current challenges in global M&E capacity and the need for joint action. Sign up to receive updates about the growing global partnership to close the gap in monitoring and evaluation capacity worldwide.

An Evaluation of the World Bank Group’s Support to Municipal Solid Waste Management, 2010–20 (Approach Paper)

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Municipal solid waste (MSW) has emerged as one of the most pressing challenges for urban areas across the world. This evaluation is the Independent Evaluation Group’s (IEG) first major study of the Bank Group’s support for MSWM. It is timely given the rapidly increasing scale of MSW in most MICs and LICs and considering the spectacle of massive open garbage dumps in cities as diverse as Manila, Show MoreMunicipal solid waste (MSW) has emerged as one of the most pressing challenges for urban areas across the world. This evaluation is the Independent Evaluation Group’s (IEG) first major study of the Bank Group’s support for MSWM. It is timely given the rapidly increasing scale of MSW in most MICs and LICs and considering the spectacle of massive open garbage dumps in cities as diverse as Manila, Lagos, and New Delhi. The evaluation will highlight the linkages of MSWM with other sectors and themes such as water supply and sanitation, environment, climate change, health, jobs, and social protection. This can point to how the Bank Group can better support the development of synergistic policy frameworks and regulations for MSWM in client countries. This has implications for developing systematic collaboration between various sectors within the Bank Group and among client government ministries and for leveraging opportunities for climate finance.

Addressing the ‘Infodemic’ to cope with the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic

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Coronavirus infodemia concept illustration. Sad Woman standing with mobile phone full of news and warnings about economy crisis and COVID 19 outbreak
In addition to tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, governments and professionals responsible for monitoring the progress of policies and evaluating their impact face a phenomenon that has particularly intensified in this crisis: that of an infodemic — a flood of information, some accurate and some not. As governments and average citizens face difficult decisions in the trade-off between protecting Show MoreIn addition to tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, governments and professionals responsible for monitoring the progress of policies and evaluating their impact face a phenomenon that has particularly intensified in this crisis: that of an infodemic — a flood of information, some accurate and some not. As governments and average citizens face difficult decisions in the trade-off between protecting public health while preserving the economy and livelihoods, this flood of information makes it hard to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they are needed the most. To help address this challenge, Clear Lusophone Africa and Brazil (LAB) officially launched the Monitor de Evidências Covid-19 (COVID-19 Evidence Monitor) during gLocal Evaluation Week 2020 that wrapped up earlier this month. Our aim is to provide our partners in government and the evaluation community, along with the various segments of society in the countries where we work, with a source of reliable information to support evidence-based decision making. Misinformation can lead to a great deal of harm, and many organizations, such as the UN, are now officially fighting it. On the brighter side, however, knowledge-production and information-sharing has skyrocketed. Technology giants have signed the Open COVID Pledge, making their intellectual property available free-of-charge under open license. Major scientific publications such as Elsevier and Springer have given free access to research related to the new coronavirus. Many relevant magazines and newspaper globally have also taken down their paywalls for their pandemic coverage - a decision that has often led to new subscribers. The  main role of the Monitor de Evidências Covid-19 is to help our audience navigate the infodemic associated with the new coronavirus crisis by curating  qualified, relevant, and evidence-based content from around the world about various topics, such as the economy, labor market, social policy, education, health, and early childhood, among others. The next step is to organize this data-gathering from multilateral bodies, governments, think tanks, and academic institutions into an online repository and make it available to our audience — public leaders, policy makers, academics, students, and so on, in Lusophone Africa and Brazil — through our social media channels and a brand new weekly newsletter, which is now available for subscriptions. For the next few months, the Monitor de Evidências Covid-19 will also add regular reviews of the evidence-based, curated content to the online repository. All communications products provided by the Monitor will be delivered in Portuguese, making it easier for our community to access quality knowledge and use it in their everyday work in the policy arena.  By focusing our efforts on filtering trustworthy sources and information, we expect to provide reliable guidance to professionals and the public at large seeking evidence to make decisions in these uncertain times of the COVID-19 pandemic and contribute to make them less susceptible to the toxic aspects of the infodemic phenomenon. This initiative is also part of the  commitments and efforts of the CLEAR global network to promote the planning and implementation of evidence-based public policies. It is an assertive way of strengthening systems and capacities for monitoring and evaluation, which will be a key element to produce the most effective and efficient responses to the new challenges posed by the current crisis.

Independent Evaluation Group and École nationale d'administration publique formalize collaboration towards building a new global partnership

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Independent Evaluation Group and École nationale d'administration publique formalize collaboration towards building a new global partnership
The World Bank's Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) and the École nationale d'administration publique (ENAP) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to pool resources and expertise to meet the global demand for stronger monitoring and evaluation capacity.  Working together, they will be in a much stronger position to meet this demand in key regions, including Francophone Africa, Show MoreThe World Bank's Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) and the École nationale d'administration publique (ENAP) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to pool resources and expertise to meet the global demand for stronger monitoring and evaluation capacity.  Working together, they will be in a much stronger position to meet this demand in key regions, including Francophone Africa, North America and the Caribbean, and the Middle East and North African regions.   The agreement comes at a time when there is a great need for evaluation capacity building around the world, which no single organization can meet on its own. Formalizing the collaboration between IEG and ENAP will enable the two institutions to work together to share knowledge and lessons learned, coordinated their efforts and expertise, and capitalize on their respective networks to advance evaluation capacity development in key areas of the world. The collaboration will help expand the delivery of ENAP's Programme International de formation en évaluation du développement (PIFED) to geographic and linguistic spaces that remain currently under-served. Watch IEG Director-General Alison Evans and ENAP Director-General Guy LaForest introduce this new collaboration for global evaluation capacity development. {"preview_thumbnail":"/sites/default/files/Data/styles/video_embed_wysiwyg_preview/public/video_thumbnails/oi7W5IK2YkQ.jpg?itok=GtdFWLJh","video_url":"https://youtu.be/oi7W5IK2YkQ","settings":{"responsive":0,"width":"854","height":"480","autoplay":0},"settings_summary":["Embedded Video (854x480)."]}  "This agreement will allow ENAP and IEG to go much farther in building and developing evaluation capacity in developing countries," said Guy Laforest, the Executive Director of ENAP. “I am pleased that our school's expertise in evaluation is now available on a wider scale, especially in this year of the 10th anniversary of the PIFED.” “IEG looks forward to strengthening its partnership with ENAP in order to generate synergies and thus extend the impact of the monitoring and evaluation support programs of our two institutions,” said Alison Evans, the Director General of IEG. “This partnership will enable us to support more governments and institutions in strengthening their systems and capacity to support data-based decision-making and results-based information, and thus accelerate their progress towards the sustainable development goals (SDGs).” As a step towards signing the MoU, ENAP hosted an event during the 2020 gLOCAL Evaluation Week, which took place from June 1 to 5, and was organized by IEG and the CLEAR Initiative. ENAP held a joint panel with the Francophone Evaluation Network of Canada and International Program for Development Evaluation Training (IPDET) on the theme "The Online Transition of Pandemic Assessment Capacity Building Practices: Challenges, Opportunities and Limits" in which hundreds of people participated. Note: This is a translated version of the original news story in French. Sign up to receive updates about the growing global partnership to close the gap in monitoring and evaluation capacity worldwide.  

Bangladesh Country Program Evaluation (Approach Paper)

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The Country Program Evaluation (CPE) for Bangladesh aims to assess the development effectiveness of the World Bank Group’s engagement with Bangladesh during the last 10 years (fiscal year [FY]11–20). The CPE will review the extent to which the Bank Group contributed to Bangladesh’s development outcomes. In so doing, it will assess the extent to which Bank Group support was aligned with the Bank Show MoreThe Country Program Evaluation (CPE) for Bangladesh aims to assess the development effectiveness of the World Bank Group’s engagement with Bangladesh during the last 10 years (fiscal year [FY]11–20). The CPE will review the extent to which the Bank Group contributed to Bangladesh’s development outcomes. In so doing, it will assess the extent to which Bank Group support was aligned with the Bank Group’s corporate twin goals—ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity—and with International Development Association (IDA) priorities. It also will assess how that support adapted over the evaluation period to changing circumstances and priorities. It will cover two country engagement cycles as defined in the Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) for FY11–15 and the Country Partnership Framework (CPF) for FY16–21.

The World Bank and global collaboration: Lessons for the COVID-19 (coronavirus) response

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The World Bank and global collaboration: Lessons for the COVID-19 (coronavirus) response
The coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) calls for an international response. But when and why does collective action work best? We studied the World Bank Group’s global collaborations to find out. The global health ecosystem is complex, with many actors, initiatives and competing priorities. The World Bank has been navigating this landscape and supporting a wide spectrum of collaborations for Show MoreThe coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) calls for an international response. But when and why does collective action work best? We studied the World Bank Group’s global collaborations to find out. The global health ecosystem is complex, with many actors, initiatives and competing priorities. The World Bank has been navigating this landscape and supporting a wide spectrum of collaborations for decades. In the early 2000s, the Bank helped create the Global Fund and GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance. Since then, the Bank has found itself contributing to important global public health issues, including responding to many epidemics that are now household names – SARS, MERS, Ebola, Avian Flu, and others. Unlike these past epidemics, the COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly morphed into a global health and economic crisis. Addressing the multiple impacts of the pandemic will require collective action on a greater scale and bringing together, or convening, multiple actors to draw on their respective comparative advantages. Lessons from Evaluating “the World’s bank” The Independent Evaluation Group recently finished a major evaluation of the World Bank Group’s global convening. Though the report was wrapped up just before the COVID-19 outbreak, some of its key findings and recommendations are relevant to the global response: We found high demand for the World Bank Group’s global convening. The high demand is because partners see the need to come together to develop joint solutions to pressing challenges and trust the Bank Group to do a good job. Trust is always important in a crisis. Now, more than ever, people look for experts and organizations that they can trust to lead. Several factors drive effectiveness. Our evaluation found that the Bank Group’s convening is more likely to be effective when global partners share a common understanding and sense of urgency that collective action is needed; internal capacities are strong; and initiatives have clear objectives, links to country programs, and sustained engagement. These conditions are all present for the World Bank Group’s COVID-19 response. There is value in focus and continuity. A clear sense of the specific goals of the Bank Group’s convening and the scope of its engagements are essential foundations for effective global work.  If an organization, any organization, tries to do everything, it does nothing well. If debt relief for the poorest countries is the key goal, stick to that goal for some time. Don’t introduce too many competing goals, and don’t abandon the goal before it is within sight. Set goals and track progress. The Bank Group often does not give itself enough credit for the results of its global work. When there often are no clear goals for the global work, and no tracking of progress, reporting the results becomes impossible. It would help the World Bank Group to better track, assess, and report the results of its global work. Manage tensions between – and within – organizations. There is some degree of tension and competition over roles and mandates in the global community. Tension may arise with other organizations as both they and the World Bank Group seek, or are perceived to seek, pieces of the COVID-19 agenda and the organizational prestige that comes from being at the forefront of the crisis response. Also, inside the World Bank, units may compete to stake out their piece of the action. Tensions are not necessarily a bad thing, but they do need to be managed. An understanding of when collective action works best and why, with the same focus on results applied to global and other work, will help lay the foundations for even more effective joint efforts to address a host of global challenges. A recent IEG evaluation traces the successes of international collaboration in tackling global challenges.   Laying the groundwork for global teamwork Digging down into the initiatives that are at the forefront to help developing countries cope with COVID-19, reveals many of the footprints of the World Bank Group’s global work. These build on years of concerted effort setting up partnerships, cooperation platforms, data exchanges, and financial mechanisms that allow countries and organizations to join forces on shared problems. Recent examples are the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board, which was co-convened by the Bank and WHO to ensure preparedness for global health crises, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), a global mechanism to finance and co-ordinate vaccine development for which the World Bank is a trustee. While these were launched in 2018 and 2017 respectively, they are in fact the fruits of the World Bank’s focused and sustained global engagements in health.  The G20’s push for bilateral debt relief for poor countries, to free up resources to cope with the impacts of the coronavirus, is another example of current global convening. This can be traced back to the World Bank Group’s and the International Monetary Fund’s convening of G20 member countries over many years, working on debt relief, crisis responses and diverse initiatives in many sectors. The global effort to address the COVID-19 pandemic will face many more challenges, and drawing on lessons from past experiences of convening can help individual actors navigate the complex terrain of collective action. The World Bank plays a large convening role in global health issues. Learn more in Appendix F of The World’s Bank: An Evaluation of the World Bank Group’s Global Convening. Image Credit: adapted from shutterstock/ GoodStudio and shutterstock/ Marish

IEG Work Program and Budget (FY21) and Indicative Plan (FY22-23)

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IEG will build on the strategic framework it adopted in FY 20, centering its work program around 6 work streams on i) Gender, ii) Fragility, Conflict, and Violence (FCV), iii) Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability, iv) Mobilizing Finance for Development (MFD), v) Human Capital, and vi) Jobs, Growth, and Shared Prosperity, and 2 cross cutting themes on i) Governance and Institutions, and Show MoreIEG will build on the strategic framework it adopted in FY 20, centering its work program around 6 work streams on i) Gender, ii) Fragility, Conflict, and Violence (FCV), iii) Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability, iv) Mobilizing Finance for Development (MFD), v) Human Capital, and vi) Jobs, Growth, and Shared Prosperity, and 2 cross cutting themes on i) Governance and Institutions, and ii) the WBG’s Corporate Effectiveness. IEG will also maintain an increased and balanced focus on country level outcomes. To contribute meaningfully to the WBG response to the COVID-19 crisis, in the near term, IEG will update its pipeline evaluations to contextualize findings and lessons where relevant. IEG will also respond to WBG management requests for just in time notes that synthesize evidence and lessons from past evaluations to inform the crisis response, and IEG will provide on-demand M&E advice to WBG operational teams working on crisis related programs and play an active role in sharing relevant evaluative insights and lessons drawn from past crises. In the short to medium term, IEG will also conduct early stage evaluations of the WBG’s response to the crisis, intended to offer evidence useful to enhancing implementation effectiveness. In the medium to longer term, IEG will undertake ex post evaluations of the impact of the Bank Group’s response and lessons to inform future crisis response.