The Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) is adapting long-standing products to increase their value and impact on increasing World Bank Group effectiveness. Evaluators consider the Bank Group’s results and performance in new ways, teams use machine learning to increase the breadth of research, and just-in-time products come to the forefront of IEG offerings.
Evaluating Results and Performance: A New Chapter
The Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) will publish its 10th Results and Performance of the World Bank Group (RAP), an annual review of the development effectiveness of the Bank Group, in November 2020. This year, IEG rethought the RAP’s focus and methods to increase both the utility and the value of the publication.
The RAP continues to analyze the Bank Group’s performance as assessed through IEG’s ratings of completed operations. Building on this analysis, which has always been and remains a core part of the RAP, the 2020 RAP identifies explanatory factors behind portfolio performance.
To provide a new perspective on performance, this year’s RAP classifies projects’ objectives according to their outcome levels, examines links between performance and outcome levels, and discusses ways in which the Bank Group can continue to enhance its results measurement systems and outcome orientation. This shift in focus beyond ratings was partially prompted by the Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors, who asked for more evidence on the Bank Group’s development outcomes and outcome orientation.
To provide a new perspective on performance, this year’s RAP classifies projects’ objectives according to their outcome levels, examines links between performance and outcome levels, and discusses ways in which the Bank Group can continue to enhance its results measurement systems and outcome orientation.
The analysis of performance showed positive ratings trends for World Bank and Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency projects almost across the board, and positive trends for Bank Group country programs in International Bank for Reconstruction and Development countries. Performance trends for International Finance Corporation projects and in countries affected by fragility, conflict, and violence are less positive. Less successful results were often linked to large shocks and issues with how projects and programs prepared for risks and responded when shocks occurred.
The analysis of the Bank Group’s outcome evidence reveals limited higher-level outcome data. Results measurement systems collect the evidence needed for ratings and for process and compliance monitoring, which is different from evidence of outcome achievement. Confronting trade-offs related to the purposes of the Bank Group’s results measurement systems is necessary for improving outcome orientation.
Increasing Just-in-Time Learning
Learning engagements, mainstreamed in fiscal year (FY)19, are demand driven, learning focused, and designed to meet the needs of the audience, including Bank Group operational teams, Bank Group management, and the Board of Executive Directors. As knowledge-sharing services, learning engagements synthesize evidence from evaluations to enhance learning and drive improvements in development effectiveness. The output takes on whatever form will be most useful to the requestor, ranging from good-practice notes to presentations to short papers. In FY20, IEG worked jointly with Bank Group staff to prepare nine learning engagements. Though many were initiated throughout the year on an as-needed basis, some strategically relevant topics were planned in advance. These advanced topics informed IEG’s work streams and included engagements on climate change monitoring and evaluation (climate change stream); risks to operations in situations of fragility, conflict, and violence (FCV stream); and improving development in the Middle East and North Africa (development effectiveness cross-cutting theme).