Search

Displaying 1 - 10 of 3074

Meet the Evaluator: Joy Butscher

Web Resource
Joy Butscher
An early interest in learning about the factors that influence development sparked by a fascinating upbringing led IEG’s evaluation analyst, Joy Butscher, to the evaluation practice and to our team at Bank’s Independent Evaluation Group. She has made important contributions to multiple infrastructure and sustainable development evaluations and played a key role in the production of IEG’s recent Show MoreAn early interest in learning about the factors that influence development sparked by a fascinating upbringing led IEG’s evaluation analyst, Joy Butscher, to the evaluation practice and to our team at Bank’s Independent Evaluation Group. She has made important contributions to multiple infrastructure and sustainable development evaluations and played a key role in the production of IEG’s recent Natural Resource Degradation and Vulnerability Nexus report. Listen to Joy as she discusses her experience and issues close to her heart including the complex relation between people and the environment. IEG · Meet the Evaluator: Joy Butscher

Five Ways to Continue Closing Gender Gaps: Lessons from Albania and Rwanda

Web Resource
Doctors congregating outside a hospital in Tirana in 2004. Despite gains made in closing gender gaps in the past decade, the COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating inequalities. Photo: Albes Fusha/The World Bank.
With the COVID-19 pandemic aggravating inequalities, closing gender gaps has become ever more urgent. We look to recent evaluations of World Bank Group supported programs in Albania and Rwanda for five lessons on how to keep Show MoreWith the COVID-19 pandemic aggravating inequalities, closing gender gaps has become ever more urgent. We look to recent evaluations of World Bank Group supported programs in Albania and Rwanda for five lessons on how to keep pushing the agenda. The ongoing social and economic disadvantages that women around the world face, known collectively as ‘gender gaps’, has left them especially vulnerable to the many impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Women have lost jobs at higher rates, often losing out on education to become care-givers, and their already unequal decision-making power has diminished even further (World Bank, 2020 and 2021). This development calls for policy makers to act strategically to reverse the disproportionate impact of the pandemic and make progress towards reducing gender gaps, which persist despite decades of initiatives and efforts (e.g. UN, World Bank, and IDA). The World Bank Group supports the closing of gender gaps through the implementation of its Gender Equality Strategy, which emphasizes strengthening a country-driven approach, with policy dialogue informed by better country-level diagnostics and sex-disaggregated data to achieve results. IEG’s Country Program Evaluations assess the outcomes of World Bank Group support to client governments; they often include a focus on how this support helps reduce gender gaps and advance gender-specific goals in specific countries. Drawing from recent IEG evaluations of Albania and Rwanda, this blog highlights five general recommendations for governments and development partners seeking to make greater progress in closing gender gaps: 1. Integrate a gender perspective in Country Programs While many country strategies mention gender issues, a gender perspective is not always well integrated. For example, the World Bank Group’s Country Partnership Strategy for Rwanda for Fiscal Years 2014–18 described gender as an overall cross-cutting issue to be pursued – however, it provided little explanation of how gender would be integrated into the Word Bank-supported program or how progress would be reported on. Other common pitfalls include (i) making gratuitous reference to gender mainstreaming without identifying clear areas of action; (ii) reporting on gender using results indicators from individual projects, rather than focusing on outcomes at a higher level e.g., the program or country level; and (iii) inconsistent treatment across sectors – it is often the case that sex-disaggregated indicators appear in education and health sector projects, but not in energy and transport sector projects (World Bank, 2016: 20-23 and World Bank, 2019). 2. Leverage analytical work to build consensus Use analytical work to engage government authorities, citizens, and other stakeholders to articulate and build support and consensus for reforms. In Albania, in-depth analytical work undertaken by World Bank staff helped diagnose gender inequities, and inform the articulation of policy options to address vulnerabilities and gender disparities in a range of areas including labor force participation rates and wages, shortcomings in agency and property rights for women, and significant levels of domestic violence. In Rwanda, several gender-focused analytical products, including ones from the Adolescent Girls Initiative, informed World Bank-supported country strategies and operations. 3. Push most difficult reforms to remove legal and regulatory constraints In Albania, despite recent improvements, legal and regulatory constraints, combined with implementation gaps, still hinder economic opportunities for women. To address the significant gender gap in land ownership, in 2019, the World Bank Group encouraged inclusive land and property registration and policy reforms through the first gender-focused Development Policy Financing Operation. Some of the reforms supported included increasing registration of women as co-owners of properties and improving regulation that allows women to use property to access financing.  At the same time, the Bank worked closely with bilateral donors to coordinate complementary support to build institutional capacity to support the property registration reforms. 4. Ensure data availability While more sex disaggregated data has become available in recent years, data availability remains a challenge. In Albania, the absence of up to date household survey data makes it difficult to update analytical work, calibrate reforms, and gauge progress toward reducing gender disparities. Given the essential role of household survey data in effective project design and in advancing the gender agenda, the Bank will need to be more assertive in encouraging authorities to prioritize publication of future surveys and that these surveys are carried out regularly. 5. Monitor and evaluate using sex disaggregated indicators It is key to include and utilize results indicators to measure progress toward gender objectives. In Rwanda, the results framework for the Bank-supported country strategy included gender-disaggregated indicators, such as the number of female-headed households benefiting from social protection programs. The Rwanda Country Program Evaluation provided some evidence that the Vision 2020 Umurenge Program[1], which the World Bank has consistently supported, has had beneficial effects on the empowerment of women by increasing their access to labor earnings and financial services, in turn enabling precautionary savings and better coping in the face of shocks. A Way Forward Better integrating a gender perspective, using analytical work to build consensus among stakeholders, encouraging policy reform, investing in data availability and monitoring using sex-disaggregated indicators, are five ways governments and development partners can more effectively help clients bridge gender gaps. IEG aims to contribute to this effort through several upcoming evaluations including of Bank-supported programs in Bangladesh, Chad, and Madagascar, as well as of World Bank Group Support in Closing Gender Gaps in Countries Affected by Fragility, Conflict and Violence.   [1] An Integrated Local Development Program initiated by the Government of Rwanda in collaboration with development partners and NGOs to accelerate poverty eradication, rural growth, and social protection.   Pictured above: Doctors congregating outside a hospital in Tirana in 2004. Despite gains made in closing gender gaps in the past decade, the COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating inequalities. Photo: Albes Fusha/The World Bank.

Building a path for the clean energy transition: Lessons from World Bank support for renewable energy

Web Resource
Manik, a solar pump operator for Nusra works near the solar panels in Rohertek, Bangladesh on October 12, 2016. Nusra is an NGO working to bring solar irrigation to farmers and solar home systems to families in Rohertek. Photo: © Dominic Chavez/World Bank
The ongoing dominance of fossil fuels in global energy production accounts for more than 60% of overall greenhouse gas emissions. The Clean Energy Transition —the pathway for decarbonizing global energy— is essential for addressing climate change and will also provide a key means for the poor to access affordable, reliable, clean electricity. The transition will be central to achieving both the Show MoreThe ongoing dominance of fossil fuels in global energy production accounts for more than 60% of overall greenhouse gas emissions. The Clean Energy Transition —the pathway for decarbonizing global energy— is essential for addressing climate change and will also provide a key means for the poor to access affordable, reliable, clean electricity. The transition will be central to achieving both the goals of the Paris Climate Accords and key elements of the Sustainable Development Goals, and experts agree that Renewable Energy (RE) has a vital role to play in the Clean Energy transition. The Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) recently released its first systematic assessment of World Bank Group support for the supply of electricity from renewable energy. The evaluation looked at the evolution and the outcomes of the Bank Group’s approach from 2000 to 2017, and how well it helped developing countries address the myriad obstacles in the way of adopting renewable energy and seizing the opportunities presented by advances in RE  technology, ranging from battery storage to solar and wind technology to system planning and integration of renewables. In short, the World Bank Group has an important role to play. It is the single largest global contributor to RE in developing countries, where it is forecast that 70% of the required scale up in RE to meet the Clean Energy Transition goals will take place. The Bank Group’s role in the development of RE extends beyond its financing, with support such as policy advice to create the right environment for RE scale up and the convening of partners to mobilize financing and technical support also having an  important impact. Based on lessons drawn from almost two decades of Bank Group interventions, IEG has identified three key recommendations for leveraging the Bank Group’s comparative advantages to maximize the impact of its support for RE. Recommendation 1: Focus on integration of renewable energy into the grid  The technical advances and the falling costs of wind power and solar photovoltaic present significant opportunities, but to seize them will require overcoming a common challenge presented by these RE technologies. They are variable because wind power only generates electricity when the wind is blowing, and solar photovoltaic only works when the sun is shining.  Countries will need to adapt their power systems to cope with these variable sources of electricity.  Variable sources of power are projected to have the largest role in the RE scale-up, and the share of wind and solar photovoltaic in Bank Group RE projects has surged in line with global trends.  Integrating these variable sources of power into the grid to expand the power supply and replace higher carbon alternatives requires robust power system planning, adequate grid codes and standards for grid-friendly equipment, stronger and expanded transmission infrastructure to reach the often remote locations of RE installations, and the deployment of batteries or other storage technologies to convert variable sources of power into  a continuous supply to the grid, known as base-load power.    Hydropower, which represented US$1 billion of the Bank Group’s US$4.5 billion RE portfolio from financial years 2018 to 2020, has the advantage of being able to store ‘fuel’. By building a reservoir along with the hydropower dam, water can be stored and released to generate more electricity when the grid calls for it. This flexibility can be used to balance the load on the grid and compensate for the intermittency of solar photovoltaic and wind power. However, the scale of hydropower projects with storage are typically more complex to develop and can have greater environmental and social challenges. The Bank Group is supporting a decreasing number of large-scale hydropower projects with storage, with a shift to smaller-scale projects that rely solely on the flow of river water. In view of its track record as a dependable replacement for fossil fuels and its role in meeting the integration challenge, attention to developing hydropower with storage that meets high environmental and social standards should be a priority. IEG found that less than 7% of the Bank Group RE portfolio in the evaluation period focused on integrating RE into power systems. With notable exceptions, such as the power system planning support to Egypt to develop its wind power, the majority of Bank Group projects focused primarily on addressing policy and regulatory barriers. While the latter is critical, developing countries will need support to meet the integration challenge to take advantage of the rapid expansion of wind power and solar photovoltaic.  Both China and Nicaragua had ambitious plans to expand wind power, and both faltered over lack of power systems planning to ensure the grid could handle the expanded source of intermittent power. The Bank Group is helping both countries address this issue, and lessons from experience should help guide similar integration challenges in other countries. Recommendation 2: Take comprehensive approaches to addressing the barriers to RE  IEG found that RE development proved more successful when the Bank Group engaged systematically over time, strengthening its relationships, and progressively and comprehensively helping countries implement the necessary reforms to remove barriers to RE development. These barriers include the right policies and regulatory environment to encourage the development of RE, power systems capable of integrating variable sources of power, the capacities to undertake new investments in RE and operate ongoing projects, and the ability to create the right environment to attract investors and mobilize the high up-front investments needed for RE. The Bank Group can build on the comparative advantages its constituent institutions to provide the kind of comprehensive support that addresses multiple barriers. While the World Bank  can utilize its lending and technical advisory capacity to focus  on RE policies and integration, the Bank Group’s private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) can work on  mobilizing  private capital and promoting the adoption of environmental and social performance  standards and mechanisms for scaling-up, and the Bank Group’s risk guarantee agency, the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency can further extend its risk mitigation portfolio to cover a wider range of RE technologies. This coordinated and comprehensive support can have a significant impact. In 2002, the World Bank and IFC coordinated to rehabilitate the Pamir hydropower plant in the very poor Badakhshan region of eastern Tajikistan, mobilizing private finance and development partners for the first private investment in the country’s energy sector.  Following the collapse of the region’s diesel plant, the local population in Badakshan had been forced to resort to wood as fuel, schools and other public institutions closed during the winter, and indoor pollution rose as economic activity stalled. The Pamir hydropower plant now ensures 96% of households in Badakhshan enjoy 24 hours of electricity per day, all year-round. Recommendation 3: Keep Bank Group knowledge and skills up to date While there have been notable successes, keeping up with the dynamic nature of RE requires cutting-edge knowledge. It is important for the Bank Group to keep its knowledge up to date of technological changes and the evolving nature of policy and regulatory requirements on RE overall and specifically on integration, including storage and distributed generation, as well as financial structuring skills to mobilize private capital investment in RE. This will require constantly updating knowledge on issues ranging from power systems planning to pricing policy and procurement. Conclusion There are a range of studies that propose different pathways to the Clean Energy Transition, but they are unanimous in calling for a momentous expansion of RE. The Bank Group has an important role to play in working with developing countries to achieve this goal. To maximize the impact of Bank Group support, IEG recommends prioritizing interventions that focus on integrating RE sources into power systems, as part of comprehensive, long-term country engagements, with coordinated Bank Group solutions, backed by specialized skills that are continually updated to help developing countries address their pressing and rapidly evolving challenges to scale-up RE.   Read IEG’s Evaluation of the World Bank Group’s support for electricity supply from renewable energy resources, 2000–2017 Pictured above: Manik, a solar pump operator for Nusra works near the solar panels in Rohertek, Bangladesh on October 12, 2016. Nusra is an NGO working to bring solar irrigation to farmers and solar home systems to families in Rohertek. Photo: © Dominic Chavez/World Bank

Madagascar: Third Environment Program Support Project (PPAR)

PDF file
The closure of the Third Environment Program Support Project (EP3) brought an end to the World Bank’s programmatic series of loans to implement the Madagascar National Environmental Action Program (NEAP). The Madagascar NEAP—implemented between 1990 and 2015—aimed to “reconcile the population with its environment to achieve sustainable development” by simultaneously conserving the country’s Show MoreThe closure of the Third Environment Program Support Project (EP3) brought an end to the World Bank’s programmatic series of loans to implement the Madagascar National Environmental Action Program (NEAP). The Madagascar NEAP—implemented between 1990 and 2015—aimed to “reconcile the population with its environment to achieve sustainable development” by simultaneously conserving the country’s critical biodiversity and improving the livelihoods of local communities dependent on natural resources. The World Bank’s programmatic series of loans to implement the NEAP is considered a flagship program because of the focus on its long-term objective of biodiversity conservation, depth of financing, innovations introduced, and the convening role played by the World Bank in coordinating donor support. This evaluation focuses on the overall effectiveness of EP3’s simplified and revised objectives and outcomes regarding improved biodiversity conservation and livelihoods. In particular, the PPAR focuses on EP3’s support for the establishment or extension of PAs to reduce deforestation. It tests the project assumptions that the critical PAs supported by the project can reduce deforestation. The PPAR also assesses how the EP3 supported communities through CDAs. Project ratings for the Third Environment Program Support Project are as follows: Outcome was moderately unsatisfactory, Overall efficiency was modest, Bank performance was moderately unsatisfactory, and Quality of monitoring and evaluation was negligible. The assessment offers the following lessons: (i) A project designed and implemented with a narrow focus on the protection of biodiversity resources without addressing the underlying human pressures on those resources is unlikely to achieve the long-term goal of biodiversity conservation. (ii) When PAs restrict the long-term access of rural households to forest resources that are indispensable for their livelihood, safeguard activities are inappropriate instruments for promoting the sustainable use of forest resources in the long term. (iii) Any intervention supporting the conservation of biodiversity in Madagascar is likely to be ineffective without complementary efforts to improve the policy environment that shapes incentives for sustainable biodiversity resource management. (iv) The overarching objective of a programmatic series to support higher-level development objectives around biodiversity conservation is undermined when design issues, such as overambition and complexity, persist across all projects in the series.

Malawi CLR Review FY13-17

PDF file
This review of the World Bank Group’s (WBG) Completion and Learning Review (CLR) covers the period of the Country Assistance Strategy (CAS), FY13-FY17. Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world. It is an agrarian landlocked country, with a population of 18.6 million (2019) growing at 3 percent per year. Between 2013 and 2017 real GDP and real per capita GDP grew at 4.0 and 1.2 percent Show MoreThis review of the World Bank Group’s (WBG) Completion and Learning Review (CLR) covers the period of the Country Assistance Strategy (CAS), FY13-FY17. Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world. It is an agrarian landlocked country, with a population of 18.6 million (2019) growing at 3 percent per year. Between 2013 and 2017 real GDP and real per capita GDP grew at 4.0 and 1.2 percent per year, respectively. The poverty headcount ratio at the national poverty line was 51.5 percent in 2016, slightly above the 50.7 percent in 2010. The Gini index (World Bank estimate) stood at 44.7 in 2016, below its 2010 level of 45.5. The Human Development Index improved from 0.441 in 2010 to 0.47 in 2015 and to 0.477 in 2017. During the review period, Malawi faced several challenges including the governance and public financial management crisis in September 2013 and two natural disasters- the flooding in 2015 which affected half of the country and the drought in 2016. The “cashgate” led to temporary suspension of donor budget support and sharp reduction in disbursement of aid funds through government systems with the consequent impact on the fiscal deficit.

World Bank Operations Evaluation Department : the first 30 years

PDF file
During the course of 2002-03 the Bank’s Operations Evaluation Department (OED) held a series of major events, including seminars and workshops, leading up to the thirtieth anniversary of the founding of OED by Robert McNamara on July 1, 1973. This volume captures the history of OED as related by many of those who participated in making that history. It is divided into four sections. During the course of 2002-03 the Bank’s Operations Evaluation Department (OED) held a series of major events, including seminars and workshops, leading up to the thirtieth anniversary of the founding of OED by Robert McNamara on July 1, 1973. This volume captures the history of OED as related by many of those who participated in making that history. It is divided into four sections.

The Natural Resource Degradation and Vulnerability Nexus:

Web Resource
The Natural Resource Degradation and Vulnerability Nexus:
This evaluation assesses how well the World Bank has addressed natural resource degradation to reduce the vulnerabilities of resource-dependent people. This evaluation assesses how well the World Bank has addressed natural resource degradation to reduce the vulnerabilities of resource-dependent people.

Albania Country Program Evaluation

Web Resource
A Picture of Albania
This evaluation assesses the development effectiveness of the World Bank Group’s country engagement in Albania over the period Fiscal Years 2011–19. This evaluation assesses the development effectiveness of the World Bank Group’s country engagement in Albania over the period Fiscal Years 2011–19.

Mobilizing Technology for Development

Web Resource
Mobilizing Technology for Development  Image Credit shutterstock/ Vladimir Vihrev
This evaluation assesses the preparedness of the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation to help clients harness the opportunities and mitigate the risks posed by disruptive and transformative technologies. This evaluation assesses the preparedness of the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation to help clients harness the opportunities and mitigate the risks posed by disruptive and transformative technologies.

The COVID pandemic and global hunger

Web Resource
Social Distancing in the Market, April 22, 2020, KENYA.  Photo: World Bank / Sambrian Mbaabu
Lessons from past crises to improve food security. Lessons from past crises to improve food security.