«The “Parliamentarians in the Field” Program Executive Summaries and Main Findings of Field Visits 2001 - 2007 Executive Summaries and Main ...»
The “Parliamentarians in the Field”
Executive Summaries and Main Findings
of Field Visits 2001 - 2007
Executive Summaries and Main Recommendations of the
‘Parliamentarians in the Field’ program
On behalf of the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank (PNoWB), and the World Bank, we are
delighted to present to you the executive summaries and main findings of the ‘Parliamentarians in the
Field’ field visits program. The program has been running for over five years and has brought over 120 members of parliaments from both developed and developing countries to countries where the World Bank carries out its projects on the ground.
"Parliamentarians in the Field" is one of the key activities of the PNoWB, organized jointly with the World Bank and supported by a grant from the government of Finland.
To date, successful field visits have taken place in Kenya, Albania, Uganda, Burundi, Serbia and Montenegro, Ethiopia, Yemen, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Ghana, Madagascar, Nigeria, Rwanda and Lao PDR.
There is a growing recognition of the role parliamentarians can play in the development debate by opening up dialogue between the World Bank and the communities it serves. But if they are to have an impact on development policies and projects, it is essential that they get a chance to make political assessments and check results on the ground. Hence the program which aims to foster a better understanding among MPs of the World Bank’s work where it matters most: in schools, roads and hospitals all over the world. Through these visits, the World Bank aims to broaden the input of MPs in the design and review of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper process.
A key objective of the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank- which has over 1,000 parliamentarians from 110 countries is to involve elected representatives in the work of the World Bank and in the PRSP process. The involvement of the legislative branch is also a central component of forging global partnerships for development (Millennium Goal 8).
As you will see in this document, the field visits typically involve a delegation of members of parliament from around the world to a PRSP country for the four-day visit. It includes discussions with government officials, donor community, civil society representatives, and the World Bank’s own country teams. We also encourage discussion with local parliamentarians who have a wealth of experience of the development priorities which need to be addressed. For MPs from donor countries, the visits aim to build awareness and capacity to make decisions on the allocation of development aid budgets in their national assemblies. For MPs from recipient countries, the visits are a useful vantage point to examine the Bank’s work, not least in their own countries.
The visits aim to:
• Enhance, through the case study of the country visited, parliamentary understanding of the activities of the World Bank particularly in tackling the HIV/Aids pandemic;
• Review the participatory process and the outcome of the country-owned Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper;
• Encourage dialogue among the MPs on the delegation and between the delegation and World Bank staff, parliamentarians and civil society.
• Produce a report by an independent rapporteur, targeting donor governments and senior World Bank management with recommendations for future action at the end of each visit Special thanks are due for the financial support of the government of Finland in both the publication of this report and the funding of the field visits’ program. We hope that you will find this document useful and that it will inspire parliamentarians to take a more active role in the oversight and ownership of poverty reduction policies.
The PNoWB and the World Bank would like to express their gratitude to the Government of Finland for their support of the Parliamentarians in the Field Program.
For more information about field visits and to learn more about the PNoWB please visit www.pnowb.org. For information on how the World Bank works with parliamentarians please visit www.worldbank.org/parliamentarians.
Field visit executive summaries and main recommendations:
Kenya Field Visit II
Lao PDR Field Visit
Rwanda Field Visit
Ghana Field Visit
Madagascar Field Visit
Vietnam Field Visit
Serbia and Montenegro Field Visit
Nicaragua Field Visit
Yemen Field Visit
Ethiopia Field Visit
Albania Field Visit
Kenya Field Visit I
Burundi Field Visit
Uganda Field Visit
Nigeria Field Visit
List of MPs who attended field visits………………………………………………………42
DRAFT A delegation of fourteen parliamentarians participated in a PNoWB field visit to Kenya organised on September 10-14, 2006 with the support of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR1) and the World Bank. The delegation included parliamentarians from Canada, Colombia, Finland, Iceland, India, Liberia, Poland, South Africa, Sweden, Tanzania and Uganda The delegation was also accompanied by seven Kenyan PNoWB members in visits to the research centres supported by the CGIAR in Kenya and to World-Banksupported educational and health projects. While agriculture provided the main focus, MPs had the opportunity to assess the Poverty Reduction Strategy process, in Kenya, in addition to issues such as corruption and trade through discussions with various stakeholders and representatives from the Kenyan Parliament and government, the World Bank, bilateral and multilateral donor community, civil society groups.
The main aims of the visit were two-fold:
• To present and review topics of relevance to Parliamentarians and related to the work of agricultural research and enhance, through the case study of the country visited, parliamentary understanding of the activities of the CGIAR and encourage more informed parliamentary engagement in the development debate;
• To provide MPs with a general understanding of Kenya’s development challenges, its Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRSP) and encourage dialogue among the MPs on the delegation, National MPs, the donor community, CSOs and think thanks.
CGIAR is a strategic alliance of countries, international and regional organizations, and private foundations supporting 15 international agricultural centres that work with national agricultural research systems and civil society organizations including the private sector. The alliance mobilizes agricultural science to reduce poverty, foster human well being, promote agricultural growth and protect the environment. The science that made possible the Green Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s was largely the work of CGIAR centres and their national agricultural research partners. The scientists' work not only increased incomes for small farmers, it enabled the preservation of millions of hectares of forest and grasslands, conserving biodiversity and reducing carbon releases into the atmosphere.
Page 4 / 44 The World Agroforestry Centre and International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) organised field trips, where parliamentarians spoke directly to farmers, discussing the benefits and disadvantages of new crop varieties and farming systems. The Centre presented briefings on climate change, agriculture, regional trade, agricultural subsidies, biotechnology, avian flu, donor harmonisation throughout the week, which stirred up debates among parliamentarians. One outcome was a request from PNoWB members for readily accessible and coherent information, which would enable them to influence national and international policy in favour of agriculture, science and technology.
Climate change, while it was not an issue of major focus to begin with, stimulated a lot of discussion and interest which left a profound impression on visiting and Kenyan PNoWB members. Both developed and developing country members felt they like many of their counterparts round the globe, were only beginning to grasp the true extent of the problem. Urgent action was needed to overcome climate change as the single biggest threat to poverty reduction. In addition delegation members saw a clear role for greater cooperation between researchers and legislators in facing the climate change challenge and in forcing stronger policy responses from governments North and South.
So why the need to focus on agriculture? Kenya, like many of the countries visited in the PNoWB field visit program, is hugely dependent agriculture as the main source of subsistence for its poor and as a foreign exchange earner. Yet a huge gap in policy exists; agriculture’s importance is not suitably reflected in both the Kenyan government and donor priorities in poverty reduction. CGIAR argues that in a world where 75 percent of poor people depend on agriculture to survive, poverty cannot be reduced without investment in agriculture. Many of the countries with the strongest agricultural sectors have a record of sustained investment in agricultural science and technology. The evidence is clear: research for development generates agricultural growth and reduces poverty.
The International Food Policy Research Institute, IFPRI2 estimates that if agriculture in Eastern and Central Africa remains in its current state, not a single nation in the region will achieve the Millennium Development Goal of halving poverty by 2015.
This is the first PNoWB field visit to focus on agriculture to allow parliamentarians to check results on the ground and observe the benefits of agricultural research for development. For CGIAR the visit represented an important milestone in engaging parliamentarians in the fight against poverty. Elected representatives as agents of change and advocates for development can vote for increased financial support for the network in donor countries, and in recipient countries, it will enable them to contribute to designing and overseeing implementation of CGIAR programs.
However Kenya’s chequered success in the development, and the rise and fall of its popularity with donors gave the delegation the ideal opportunity to discuss pros and cons of development aid with their counterparts from the Kenyan Parliament, donors as well as with civil society organizations. Kenya’s IFPRI report, Strategic Priorities for Agricultural Development in Eastern and Central Africa Steven Were Omamo, Xinshen Diao, Stanley Wood, Jordan Chamberlin, Liangzhi You, Sam Benin, Ulrike WoodSichra, and Alex Tatwangire, December 2006
While Kenya has highlighted corruption is one of the most central concerns of its development partners as well as of the Kenyan public, there still remains a big gap between rhetoric and reality. The Kenya Anticorruption Commission (KACC) has made some progress in strengthening public financial management and audit. However there remains a widespread perception even amongst Kenyans that that results from Kenya’s anticorruption efforts might be stagnating3.
Recommendations and observations
By and large, the delegation felt that they had got a lot of the field visit. However, some like Lotte Hedstrom, MP, Sweden, felt that they still needed more clarification of the World Bank’s role in Kenya before making a fully-informed decision on what the shortcomings if any were. Percy Downe, Senator, Canada, agreed recommending that just seeing what worked was hugely limiting and that the visits should also look at projects that don’t work in order to draw lessons. Where CGIAR was concerned there was overall consensus on the good work being done, however here too there was a recommendation that there was still a gap in translating it into terms of what role for parliamentarians.
Delegation leader Professor Ben Turok, MP, South Africa, said he was impressed with Kenya’s ambitions to fight poverty and the plans presented, “…the challenge now is whether Kenya implements those plans”, Professor Turok argued. He however echoed the sentiments of delegation members and paid particular tribute to the resilience and innovation of Kenyans in trying to improve lives with limited resources.
The success of the Kitengela project with the Masai, where CGIAR and ILRI had introduced innovations to improve incomes, as well as the teachers and pupils of Ayani school with meager resources were testament to this.
A stronger partnership between firstly, the legislature and research institutes, and secondly, research institutes/scientists and practitioners is needed if agriculture is to improve. Many of the Kenyan MPs came from both rural and urban constituencies where agriculture was key to their constituents. As Gor Sungu, MP Kenya, commented, “…science and technological amount to nothing if they do not reach those that need it most, the poor”. Greater efforts were needed on the part of donors to revolutionize agriculture, and the Kenyans especially felt that smaller tailor-made indigenous solutions would work Transparency International Kenya survey, June 2006 Kenyans interviewed felt that corruption was unchanged, the same number as in 2003. Respondents also reported that bribery increased in 2005 following declines in 2003 and 2004, source, World Bank report on Kenya Page 6 / 44 better than large-scale initiatives. The Green Revolution while it was great could not be replicated in the African environment they stressed.
Members of the delegation were impressed by CGIAR efforts to address poverty through science and technological innovation. However they felt that much of this effort was at risk unless governments, donor and recipient, were to place agriculture as a priority on the development agenda, especially in Africa where on average the Bank, as the leading development agency, still had some way to go and was only now beginning to focus on agriculture. More effort was needed here.