World Bank Group: South-South & Triangular Cooperation Partner of the Month

Vision and Objectives

The World Bank Group (WGB) and the global development community increasingly recognize that knowledge sharing, or peer-to-peer learning, is a powerful instrument to share, adapt and scale-up what works in development, using the convincing power of peers – and their practical knowledge. South-South peer learning at the political level inspires and motivates leaders to implement reforms, while at the technical and operational levels it serves as an avenue for exchanging practical ‘how-to’ knowledge for improved project design and implementation.

South-South Cooperation (SSC) is a country-led and country-owned way of exchanging resources, technologies and knowledge. Consequently, since the beginning of the century, emerging economies and other MICs have mobilized substantial financial resources, while also invested in their institutional and operational arrangements to provide SSC and share knowledge with peers and partners around the world. This dynamic context provided an outstanding opportunity for the WBG to expand, deepen and continuously fine-tune its menu of support options for country-led SSC, particularly in the area of knowledge sharing.

Watch video above: Knowledge management methodologies developed on urban transformation by the World Bank, harnessed by Colombia’s ACI Medellin.

Featured Good Practices

The WBG has been one of the institutions pioneering programmatic approaches to supporting South-South knowledge exchanges, for instance through dedicated trust funds, capacity development suites for knowledge sharing institutions and high-level events on country-led knowledge hubs, all of which are of high value for the country efforts to scale up SSC and knowledge sharing, while also mainstreaming SSC support in a practical and concrete manner. As part of the Agenda 2030 and in line with the twin goal of ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity, the WBG expects to scale up its support to country-driven knowledge sharing. This will be done in full awareness of SSC’s potential to mobilize highly relevant, practice-proven and locally adapted solutions improving country capacities and service delivery of its clients and of the WBG itself.

Role of the WBG in South-South Cooperation & Country-led Knowledge Sharing

The WBG is among the multilateral institutions that have advanced most in mainstreaming support to SSC and knowledge sharing in its strategies and operations in practical ways:

The World Bank Group Strategy that was adopted in 2014, focused on the ambitious goals of ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity. The Strategy leverages the combined strength of the WBG institutions and their unique ability to partner with the public and private sectors to deliver customized development solutions backed by finance, world class knowledge and convening power.

The Strategy has three components: (1) maximizing development impact by engaging country clients in identifying and tackling the most difficult development challenges; (2) promoting scaled-up partnerships that are strategically aligned with the goals; and (3) crowding in public and private resources, expertise and ideas. The Strategy highlights South-South knowledge exchanges as a key component of WBG and inter-country collaborative partnerships (Box 1). Every country that has experienced sustained high growth, has done so through absorbing knowledge, technology and ideas from the rest of the world, and adapting them to local conditions (United Nations, 2013).  This is a guiding principle of both the WBG and the South-South Facility.

Forward Look: A Vision for the World Bank Group in 2030

The WBG’s “Forward Look:  A Vision for the World Bank Group in 2030”, shapes a common view among shareholders on how the WBG can best support the development agenda for 2030. The Forward Look identifies knowledge as a core driver that is key to the WBG’s comparative advantage.

The Forward Look underlines the essential contribution of knowledge for development and emphasizes the key role of the South-South Facility as a mechanism that helps clients apply relevant knowledge to developmental challenges.

The WBG is mainstreaming its South-South cooperation work into the broader knowledge exchange activities. Apart from being a strong broker and voice for support to SSC and knowledge sharing in international fora, the WBG offers the following opportunities to clients interested in setting up and expanding their SSC agenda:

Since July 2019, the South-South Facility is housed is the Development Economics Knowledge and Strategy Unit, in the World Bank’s Development Economics Vice Presidency (DEC). DEC is the WBG’s premier research and data arm. Under the leadership of the Chief Economist, DEC shapes the Bank’s research and knowledge agenda and enhances understanding of development policies and programs by providing intellectual leadership and analytical services to the Bank’s core operations, policymakers, and the broader development community.

With support from development partners, DEC has been able to invest in the production of global public goods in research and data, build the evidence base for holistic and systematic design of development financing and policy instruments, and empower governments, businesses and citizens by building capacity and sharing lessons and good practices for actionable learning.

DEC’s Signature Partnership Vehicles: Umbrella Programs

Knowledge for Change Program Umbrella Program (KCP)

The primary objective of KCP is to generate high quality, cutting-edge, policy-relevant research and data on development economics to contribute to the global public good and catalyze policy changes for poverty reduction and shared prosperity. Since its inception in 2002, KCP has disbursed over $70 million, supporting more than 370 projects for research, data and capacity building activities. High-quality papers, databases, policy notes, and research tools financed by the KCP cover a broad range of development topics and issues. The team is now preparing for the launch of KCP’s fourth phase, which will be set up as an Umbrella trust fund.

Impact Evaluation to Development Impact Umbrella Facility (i2i)

The objective of the i2i Umbrella Facility is to increase the use of impact evaluation (IE) in the design and implementation of public policy and to develop institutional capacity and motivation for evidence-based policy. The program develops customized data and evidence ecosystems to produce actionable information and recommend specific policy pathways to maximize impact. To enable mid-course corrections and motivate scaling up of proven interventions, the team also pioneered a model of co-production with agencies on the ground that transfers capacity and know-how to partners. The i2i has received over $70 million in donor contributions since its establishment in 2014. Replenishment discussions are underway for Phase II.

Global Data Facility
(GDF)

The objective of GDF is to enhance the availability, quality, and usability of data at the global, national, and sub-national levels, by refining measurement methods, promoting innovation, and supporting countries transform their national data systems. The global data community – led by the UN High-level Group for Partnership, Coordination & Capacity-Building for Statistics – has initiated a call for action requesting the World Bank to create a global data mechanism, to: leveraging IBRD/IDA resources to support investment in data, supporting & catalyzing national data system transformation, coordinating data-related investments across a wide range of donors, engaging in partnership with relevant development agencies. The GDF will be a new Umbrella program that will incorporate several existing stand-alone trust funds, while designing new activities to fulfill its expanded scope and range of functions.

Featured Publications

PublicationsWB Featured Publications POM
November 16, 2020

The Art of Knowledge Exchange: A Results-focused Planning Guide for Development Practitioners

This planning guide by World Bank is for anyone who wishes to design, implement, and measure a results-oriented knowledge exchange initiative. While it can be used by anyone, it is…
PublicationsWB Featured Publications POM
November 16, 2020

The Art of Designing and Implementing Study Tours

Designing and implementing Study Tours that get results can be a big undertaking. This Guide by World Bank, "The Art of Designing and Implementing Study Tours", aims to take out…
PublicationsWB Featured Publications POM
November 16, 2020

Becoming a Knowledge Sharing Organization

This handbook by World Bank offers a simple, systematic guide to creating a knowledge-sharing practice in your organization. It shows how to build the enabling environment and develop the skills…
PublicationsWB Featured Publications POM
October 26, 2020

Trading Together — Reviving Middle East & North Africa Regional Integration in the Post-COVID Era (World Bank, 2020)

Trade and integration — within the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and with the rest of the world — will be critical to lowering poverty, empowering the poor,…

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