How do World Bank staff perceive institutional opportunities and bottlenecks for undertaking citizen engagement (CE) as part of projects? The Accountability Research Center (ARC) at American University sought to answer this question by going beyond formal institutional directives and asking the staff themselves. ARC interviewed 30 World Bank staff involved with stakeholder and civic engagement in different capacities. Respondents represented the World Bank’s six administrative regions and a range of Global Practices, as well as operational, analytic, advisory, and managerial roles. The Open Society Foundations funded this independent research, which took place in consultation with senior World Bank management, without their direct involvement in the research or writing.

During the February–August 2019 research period, the World Bank initiated an internal restructuring process which included changes to the leadership of the citizen engagement agenda. This report offers important insights that continue to be relevant for the Bank’s crucial CE work, particularly for its Citizen Engagement and Social Accountability Global Solutions Group in the new Social Sustainability and Inclusion Global Practice. The findings can also contribute to the efforts of public interest groups interested in strengthening the World Bank’s work in this area.

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