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World Bank Operations Evaluation Department : the first 30 years

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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.

What helps to reduce child undernutrition in crisis situations?

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text that reads: What have we learned from the world bank's support?
What helps to reduce child undernutrition in crisis situations? Find out what IEG has learned from evaluating World Bank support to reduce child undernutrition in crisis situations in the past decade. IEG has identified 9 lessons to help the ongoing pandemic response. Learn more about them in IEG's COVID-19 Lessons Note: Lessons from Health and Nutrition-Related Interventions During Crisis to Show MoreWhat helps to reduce child undernutrition in crisis situations? Find out what IEG has learned from evaluating World Bank support to reduce child undernutrition in crisis situations in the past decade. IEG has identified 9 lessons to help the ongoing pandemic response. Learn more about them in IEG's COVID-19 Lessons Note: Lessons from Health and Nutrition-Related Interventions During Crisis to Inform Future Responses  

Albania Country Program Evaluation

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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

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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

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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.

Madagascar Country Program Evaluation (Approach Paper)

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This Country Program Evaluation will assess the development effectiveness of the World Bank Group’s engagement in Madagascar between fiscal year (FY)07 and FY21, and will explore whether the Bank Group’s $3 billion engagement was appropriate for the Malagasy context of weak governance, widespread poverty, and economic stagnation and adapted to changing circumstances, priorities, and lessons from Show MoreThis Country Program Evaluation will assess the development effectiveness of the World Bank Group’s engagement in Madagascar between fiscal year (FY)07 and FY21, and will explore whether the Bank Group’s $3 billion engagement was appropriate for the Malagasy context of weak governance, widespread poverty, and economic stagnation and adapted to changing circumstances, priorities, and lessons from experience. It’s main goal is to distill lessons from experience to inform future engagement. The evaluation is timed to inform the formulation of the new CPF with Madagascar, and also aims to derive significant lessons for the broader development community. To these ends, it will (i) assess the relevance and effectiveness of the Bank Group’s support to Madagascar between FY12 and FY21 and (ii) examine the Bank Group’s contribution to improving governance and fostering rural development during FY07–21.

World Bank Support for Public Financial and Debt Management in IDA-Eligible Countries

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This evaluation provides an assessment of World Bank support to IDA-eligible countries for public finance and debt management between FY08–17. This evaluation provides an assessment of World Bank support to IDA-eligible countries for public finance and debt management between FY08–17.

World Bank Group Support for Domestic Revenue Mobilization (Approach Paper)

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Effective domestic revenue mobilization (DRM) is essential for developing countries’ abilities to finance their development goals in a sustainable and equitable manner. DRM—the generation of government revenues from domestic activities (World Bank and IMF 2015)—is relevant to at least 2 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This evaluation focuses on the World Bank Group’s support to Show MoreEffective domestic revenue mobilization (DRM) is essential for developing countries’ abilities to finance their development goals in a sustainable and equitable manner. DRM—the generation of government revenues from domestic activities (World Bank and IMF 2015)—is relevant to at least 2 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This evaluation focuses on the World Bank Group’s support to its clients to improve central government DRM, which includes revenue from tax (VAT, direct taxes, excises and customs) and nontax collections (including royalties from extractives). Recently, DRM has faced challenges aggravated by the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the attendant collapse of economic activity in many countries. The pandemic is expected to affect many aspects of DRM, including tax payments and tax compliance. This evaluation aims to assess the relevance, effectiveness, and coherence of Bank Group–supported strategies and interventions over FY16–19 to help clients improve DRM, as well as assess the extent to which the World Bank identified the distributional implications of its support to DRM in country interventions.

Borrow wisely, spend wisely: supporting public financial and debt management in low-income countries

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Sound management of public finance is critical to fiscal discipline and the efficient and effective use of scarce public resources. Weaknesses in public financial management and debt management (PFDM) can have wide-ranging implications for development, including by driving a wedge between public policy and its implementation. A new report from IEG assesses the impact of efforts to promote sound Show MoreSound management of public finance is critical to fiscal discipline and the efficient and effective use of scarce public resources. Weaknesses in public financial management and debt management (PFDM) can have wide-ranging implications for development, including by driving a wedge between public policy and its implementation. A new report from IEG assesses the impact of efforts to promote sound PFDM, which is now more important than ever in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as an increasing number of low-income countries (LICs) find themselves again at high risk of, or in, debt distress. As governments rapidly shift policy and spending in response to the pandemic, robust, responsive, and flexible PFDM systems are crucial for: using scarce resources efficiently to ensure value for money and prevent the unauthorized use of funds, accelerating budget execution and the release of critical funds to deliver essential and emergency public services, and managing the costs and risks associated with the inevitable short-term increase in indebtedness. Debt Crisis, Deja vu Even before the onset of the pandemic, a resurgence in debt stress among low-income countries (LICs) was evident, including among past recipients of large-scale debt relief. Since 2013, the number of countries eligible for financing from IDA, the World Bank Group’s fund for the world’s poorest countries,  at high risk of, or in, debt distress more than doubled (from 13 to 34) and the average debt-to-GDP ratio increased from 40% to 60% . Between 2013 and 2018, median interest payments among LICs rose 128%. And this all occurred as the Bank and others were scaling up support to debt management. Public financial management  and debt management are often looked at separately, even though the importance of addressing them together was clearly recognized in the 19th IDA replenishment: “the first challenge is to assist IDA countries to ensure that the benefits [of borrowed resources] exceed the costs of servicing their debt. IDA and other partners can help by supporting initiatives that enhance capacity in areas such as public finance management, public investment management … and debt management” (p 19). Complementarity between the pillars of PFDM is at the heart of IEG’s new evaluation, World Bank Support for Public Financial and Debt Management in IDA-eligible Countries. It focuses on the decade following the 2008 global financial crisis, during which many LICs increased non-concessional and shorter-term borrowing, much of it sourced bilaterally and often on relatively opaque terms. Many LICs were also impacted by low commodity prices and the realization of large contingent liabilities, including those associated with state-owned enterprises. The period was also characterized by increasing attention to “growth enhancing” public spending and investment to close the infrastructure gap and meet the Millennium Development Goals and, subsequently, the Sustainable Development Goals.   World Bank PFDM Support, Impactful but Uncoordinated The evaluation found that the Bank’s support to IDA-eligible countries to strengthen PFDM led to positive, albeit limited, results. It contributed to the rollout of financial management information systems to help track and manage public expenditures but was less successful in encouraging the extension of systems to include high-value transactions. There was also an increase in the number of IDA-eligible countries that met minimum standards for several dimensions of debt management capacity, including being able to prepare Medium-Term Debt Strategies and debt sustainability analyses. But, for many of the most vulnerable countries, debt management support was not systematically accompanied by, or coordinated with, efforts to improve public financial management, despite widely recognized synergies between borrowing, fiscal transparency, and the quality of public spending and investment. This is problematic, as many LICs were borrowing extensively from private markets and bilateral donors to finance investment projects, and thus could have benefited from improvements in institutional structures and systems to improve the quality and efficiency of public spending. As a result, opportunities to increase the growth-enhancing impact of debt-financed public investment have likely been missed, with potentially negative consequences for debt sustainability. Public investment management (PIM) diagnostics have been undertaken by the Bank for less than half of IDA-eligible countries, with demand concentrated among higher-income LICs. Of the 32 IDA-eligible countries at high risk of, or in, debt distress in FY18, only 10 received PIM support over the previous decade.  With the growing importance of improving the impact of scarce public resources in the face of rising debt levels, a more deliberate and coordinated approach to PFDM capacity building is warranted if the Bank is to achieve the IDA 19 objective of helping client countries ensure that debt burdens do not overwhelm their ability to reduce poverty or provide essential government functions. The decentralized and uncoordinated way PFDM diagnostics have been undertaken and used in the Bank suggests that there is scope to realize further synergies among PFDM pillars. A Way Forward The evaluation recommends that Bank staff maintain a clear and up-to-date picture of PFDM strengths and weaknesses for each IDA-eligible country, drawing on existing assessments of the main dimensions of PFDM. This has already been addressed within pillars of PFDM, but synergies across pillars remain underexploited. It also recommends that the Bank more systematically support PFDM in IDA-eligible countries with better sequenced and complementary lending and nonlending support. Implementation of the new Sustainable Development Finance Policy and the associated identification of performance and policy actions provide an early opportunity to take a more holistic view of PFDM at the country level. In the wake of the economic shock associated with the pandemic, efforts to maintain a broader focus on both borrowing and spending will only increase in importance.   Read the Evaluation: World Bank Support for Public Financial and Debt Management in IDA-eligible Countries Image credit: Shutterstock/AntartStock

World Bank Group Gender Strategy Mid-Term Review

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Colorful image of many silhouettes of women of all races and ages. Image adapted from shutterstock/ Angelina Bambina
The gender strategy Mid-Term Review assesses how well the implementation of the gender strategy positions the World Bank Group to contribute to closing key gender gaps at the midpoint of the strategy’s eight-year cycle (FY16–23). The gender strategy Mid-Term Review assesses how well the implementation of the gender strategy positions the World Bank Group to contribute to closing key gender gaps at the midpoint of the strategy’s eight-year cycle (FY16–23).