WDR_ovrvw-04[1]

WDR_ovrvw-04[1] - 02_WDR_Overview.qxd 8/14/03 7:22 AM Page...

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1 T oo often, services fail poor people—in access, in quantity, in quality. But the fact that there are strong examples where services do work means governments and citizens can do better. How? By putting poor people at the center of service provision: by enabling them to monitor and discipline service providers, by amplifying their voice in poli- cymaking, and by strengthening the incen- tives for providers to serve the poor. Freedom from illness and freedom from illiteracy—two of the most important ways poor people can escape poverty—remain elusive to many. To accelerate progress in human development, economic growth is, of course, necessary. But it is not enough. Scaling up will require both a substantial increase in external resources and more effective use of all resources, internal and external. As resources become more produc- tive, the argument for additional resources becomes more persuasive. And external resources can provide strong support for changes in practice and policy to bring about more effective use. The two are com- plementary—that is the essence of the development partnership that was cemented in Monterrey in the spring of 2002. This Report builds an analytical and practical framework for using resources, whether internal or external, more effec- tively by making services work for poor people. We focus on those services that have the most direct link with human development—education, health, water, sanitation, and electricity. Governments and citizens use a variety of methods of delivering these services— central government provision, contracting out to the private sector and nongovern- mental organizations (NGO)s, decentral- ization to local governments, community participation, and direct transfers to house- holds. There have been spectacular suc- cesses and miserable failures. Both point to the need to strengthen accountability in three key relationships in the service deliv- ery chain: between poor people and providers, between poor people and policy- makers, and between policymakers and providers. Foreign-aid donors should rein- force the accountability in these relation- ships, not undermine it. Increasing poor clients’ choice and partic- ipation in service delivery will help them monitor and discipline providers. Raising poor citizens’ voice, through the ballot box and widely available information, can increase their influence with policymakers— and reduce the diversion of public services to the non-poor for political patronage. By rewarding the effective delivery of services and penalizing the ineffective, policymakers can get providers to serve poor people better. Innovating with service delivery arrange- ments will not be enough. Societies should learn from their innovations by systemati- cally evaluating and disseminating informa- tion about what works and what doesn’t.
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