This week international negotiations concluded and agreed to the continued work and funding of the International Development Association (IDA, the part of the World Bank that provides assistance to the poorest countries) for the next three years. A key outcome of these negotiations has been the renewed UK Governments’ commitment to fight poverty by investing in the World Bank.
Over the next three years, IDA has set itself the target of:
- Providing 80 million people with access to improved water sources
- Providing 2 million people with access to improved sanitation facilities
- Immunising 200 million children
- Providing 30 million more people with health services, including 2 million pregnant women
- Recruiting and training 2 million teachers
Mr Andrew Mitchell announced:
‘The UK will provide an average of £888 million a year for the next three years. The result of the negotiations, following all the donor pledges and action from Bank management, is that IDA will have $49.3 billion (£32.4 billion) to invest in tackling poverty in the three years starting in July 2011, of which the UK’s burden share is 12% per cent.’
While we welcome the Governments’ commitment to tackling all aspects of poverty, some reservations still remain over the World Bank’s ability to deliver on health. With health being the worst performing portfolio within the World Bank (only 27 per cent of programmes were deemed satisfactory, as reported by the Independent Evaluation Group in 2009) and little mention of how the World Bank will track and monitor its activities, it is vital that donors use their influence to ensure that the World Bank is able to illustrate clearly and effectively where it is having the most impact on extreme poverty. In light of DFID’s Multilateral Aid Review currently under way, there are concerns that other multilateral organisations with a proven track record for producing results-focused and effective health programmes will receive the necessary funds to deliver health to millions of people around the world.