This post is also available in: Arabic
Without accessible and comprehensible information, stakeholders cannot meaningfully engage in development. Bank Information Center, Fundar-Center of Analysis and Research, Yemeni Observatory for Human Rights, and Egyptian Association for Collective Rights organized a session during the World Bank Spring Meetings Civil Society Policy Forum titled “Breaking Down Barriers to Accessing Development Information”.
The panelists presented case studies and anecdotal evidence from Egypt, Mexico and Yemen to depict the challenges faced by civil society and affected communities when accessing information on development programs and projects financed by the World Bank Group.
The following list of recommendations to ensure that stakeholders can more easily access such information were discussed in this session:
- Regional departments should adopt a translation policy that best addresses their constituencies’ needs, similar to the Middle East North Africa department’s Enhanced Action Plan – Status and Way Forward for the Yemen Institutional Reform Development Policy Grant (IRDPG) in 2009.
- Attend to language barriers that are “easy fixes” on the Bank’s website and portals. The following two examples of such barriers were mentioned: i) the instructions to create an account to submit an information request on the Bank’s online portal are only in English, ii) regional departments, such as the Middle East North Africa department, routinely posts documents in Arabic that are hidden behind a menu in English. Such barriers are hindering affected constituencies from accessing information readily available in their native languages.
- The Bank has a plethora of highly useful information readily available on its website. Therefore, it should share this with communities and CSOs by conducting in-country trainings on how to access information on its website.
- Implement a policy on disseminating a flier in communities affected by its development projects in the local language. This flier should have information that discloses that the Bank is funding a project in their area, list their basic rights according to the Safeguards and contain links for more information.