Washington DC, August 8 – Accountability Lab is pleased to announce the appointment of its Executive Director, Blair Glencorse, to the World Bank’s Expert Advisory Council on Citizen Engagement. Blair joins Mai E’leimat, Co-founder of the Al Hayat Center for Civil Society Development in Jordan, as the two civil society members on the new advisory council. The new members begin their three-year term on September 1.

A statement from the Bank acknowledged the critical role played by citizens in “advocating and helping to make public institutions more transparent, accountable and effective” and in contributing “innovative solutions to complex development challenges”. Blair forms part of a 12-member Advisory Council comprised of representatives from civil society, academia, government, development partners, foundations and the private sector.

Blair said he looked forward to making a valuable contribution to this important process.
“I welcome this opportunity to provide advice to the World Bank Group as it continues to integrate citizen voices into everything it does around the world. Citizens play a critical role in ensuring accountability of power-holders of all types – and I look forward to using this appointment to work with the Bank to push for more transparent, equitable and fair development everywhere,” he added.

The establishment of the Expert Advisory Council on Citizen Engagement followed the 2013 Annual Meetings where former World Bank Group (WBG) President Jim Yong Kim pledged to increase feedback to all Bank projects with clearly identified beneficiaries. This pledge was guided by the Strategic Framework for Mainstreaming Citizen Engagement which aims to improve the development results of WBG-supported policies, programs and projects, and contribute to the creation of sustainable national systems for citizen engagement with both governments and the private sector.

“We want to better understand what we are already doing and identify what types of engagement contribute most to results, so we can develop a coherent approach to citizen engagement, for the Bank and for our clients,” the Bank said in a statement.

The Bank added that there was growing evidence to confirm that under the right conditions, citizen engagement helps governments achieve sustainable development results. “The framework includes a comprehensive review of existing literature that found positive links between citizen engagement and improved public service delivery, public financial management, governance, and social inclusion/empowerment. Evidence also shows, however, that the outcomes of citizen engagement are highly context specific and sensitive to government and citizens’ capacity and willingness to engage. Effective engagement is also affected by social, political, economic, environmental, cultural, geographic and other factors, such as gender dynamics,” it said.

The full list of new members appointed to the Advisory Council is as follows:

Government:

  • Lily Fati Soale, Head of the Social Accountability Unit, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Ghana

Academia:

  • Paula Schommer, Professor of Public Policy at Santa Catarina State University, Brazil
  • Prachi Srivastava, Associate Professor and Chair of Critical Policy, Equity and Leadership Studies, Western University, Canada

Foundations:

  • Marinke Van Riet, Executive Director of VOICE, Netherlands

Civil Society:

  • Blair Glencorse, Founder and Executive Director of Accountability Lab, USA
  • Mai E’leimat, Co-founder of the Al Hayat Center for Civil Society Development, Jordan

The Bank is yet to fill two private sector openings on the Council and has thanked the following outgoing members of the Council for their service – Stephanie de Chassy, Anabel Cruz, Dr. Anuradha Joshi, Dr. Archon Fung, Betty Maina, Khaled Koubaa, Dinky Soleman.

*Download the statement here.

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