Parliamentary Strengthening Program
The World Bank Institute’s (WBI) Parliamentary Strengthening Program (PSP) seeks to enhance the capacity of parliaments to effectively perform their functions (oversight, representation and lawmaking) to better contribute to open and collaborative development.
The three approaches to parliamentary capacity building are individual (Members of Parliament (MPs)/ professional parliamentary staff), institutional (whole-of-institution/ parliamentary administration/ committees), and through regional and global networks of like-minded Members of Parliament and committees.
Experience has shown that a strategy that combines all three approaches is adaptive to changing circumstances and needs, and that adopts participatory and adult-learning techniques achieves better capacity yields. Therefore, the PSP seeks to:
1. Identify innovative approaches to reform (supplemented by applied research);
2. Foster and strengthen parliamentary networks or communities of practice to act as platforms for south-south learning; and
3. Deliver targeted training to MPs and staff, including facilitating action planning processes, in order to bolster the effectiveness of specific oversight committees.
This model demonstrates our approach to facilitate knowledge exchange, maximize knowledge dissemination through networks and portals, and capitalize on global, regional, and geographic knowledge-sharing to strengthen parliaments’ functions at the national level. Throughout the five-step process, technical knowledge, experience, and data are captured and fed back into the networks, trainings, and country-level action.
The three focus areas for the PSP program are:
1. Open Budgeting (including Public Financial Management and Procurement Oversight)
Objective: Strengthen the capacity of parliaments to engage the budget process
How: By establishing and working with parliamentary budget offices and regional networks of parliamentary audit committees to enhance the capacity of parliaments to play a constructive role during the formulation of the national budget and overseeing implementation of projects funded under the national budget.
2. Extractive Industries
Objective: Improve parliamentary oversight and committee coordination in relation to the Extractive Industry sector.
How: WBI has developed a participatory process whereby parliaments themselves map how parliamentary oversight committees engage along the EI value chain. The aim of this participatory process is to: (a) identify where there are gaps or overlap in the responsibility of different parliamentary committees to oversee the EI sector; and (b) design organic mechanisms for internal coordination with an eye to improving oversight and transparency of the EI Sector.
3. Climate Change
Objective: Enhance the capacity of parliaments to address challenges posed by climate change, including oversight of international climate change financing.
How: Working closely with World Bank’s climate change unit, WBI (working with partners) has developed a global community of practice of like-minded MPs who seek to enhance their understanding of: (a) issues related to the changing climate; and (b) how parliaments' can use their functions (representation, law-making, and oversight) in order to enhance country responses to the climate challenge.
There are two cross-cutting initiatives aimed at supplementing programmatic efforts in WBI’s focus areas:
A. Parliaments in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Countries
Objective: To strengthen the capacity of parliaments in fragile and conflict affected states to play a constructive role in the national budget process and ensure that national development plans and annual budgets contribute to conflict prevention.
How: WBI facilitates the participation of parliaments from conflict-affected countries in regional networks in order to: (a) foster linkages between fragile states and neighboring parliaments; (b) encourage parliaments to learn from best practice previously implemented by neighboring parliaments; and (c) strengthen the capacity of the parliament to use the budget process as a conflict prevention mechanism.
B. Parliamentary Staff Training
Objective: Strengthen the capacity of professional parliamentary staff to support parliamentary operations.
How: WBI's parliamentary e*learning portal and e-Institute provides an open access training catalogue for the parliamentary community from around the globe. This is supplemented with concerted training of select mid-level parliamentary staff on topics like the budget process, committee operations, anti-corruption, etc.
Learn more about WBI's Parliamentary Strengthening Program
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