Civic Space: The Missing Element in the World Bank's Country Engagement Approach

Date: October 2022
Author(s): Christian Donaldson, Katelyn Gallagher, Rachel Nadelman, Jennifer Shkabatur
Publication type: Joint Agencies Briefing Paper
Published by: Oxfam

The World Bank has publicly committed to mainstreaming engagement with project stakeholders and civil society to achieve more inclusive development results. Yet typically Bank projects forge ahead to achieve these objectives without comprehensively understanding the dynamics of a country’s ‘civic space’, the actual environment in which communities will be engaging.

This report, co-produced by Oxfam, the Bank Information Center (BIC), and ARC, presents an analysis of how civic space is currently accounted for in the World Bank’s existing tools for country engagement, based on textual analysis and semi-structured interviews with Bank staff.

It makes the case for the World Bank to more systematically incorporate civic space analysis when developing country strategies, demonstrating that this can be done through the Bank’s existing Country Engagement Approach, and provides guidance and practical tools for how to accomplish it.

Christian Donaldson (Oxfam)

Katelyn Gallagher (Bank Information Center)

Rachel Nadelman (Accountability Research Center)

Jennifer Shkabatur (independent consultant).