Civic Engagement Policies of the World Bank and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in Russia
Liliana N. Proskouryakova, OSI IPF Fellow 2005
Aims and objectives of the research
The primary objective of the policy paper is to raise public awareness through outlining analysis of civic engagement policies and practice of the World  (WB), European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), as well as Russian Federal Government. Another objective is to compare civic engagement policies of the two international institutions using a set of criteria of successful implementation of civic engagement policies an types of civic engagement with a view to have a broader inclusion of civil society groups and their beneficiaries in the process of preparation, development and oversight of implementation of decisions made by those in power. The criteria are developed in order to suggest the WB, EBRD and their counterparts in the Russian Federal authorities a set of recommendations on the possible ways of improvement of dialogue and meaningful input of civil society groups.
The present policy paper is based on the several months of research in the frame of the Open Society Institute International Policy Fellowship.
The methods of research included:
Content-analysis of policy-papers and sample project documentation of the WB and EBRD, containing issues of civic engagement in Russia;
Interviews with senior managers and specialists of the WB and EBRD who initiate and implement policies, project and programs, implemented in Russia;
Analysis of civic engagement events to find out opinions and attitudes toward the work (projects and policies) of the WB and EBRD in Russia;
Interview with selected representatives of civil society organizations (NGOs, non-commercial consulting companies, labor unions, etc.) which organized or took part in civil society consultations of the WB and EBRD in various Russia’s regions;
Interviews with private sector organizations – partners of IFC and EBRD in projects implemented in Russia;
Interlink between civic engagement policies of the WB and EBRD with civic engagement policies of the Russian federal Government and two Russia’s regions.
Rationale for Civic Engagement with the WB and EBRD
The World Bank and EBRD are those international institutions that play an important role in the global economic governance. Jan Aart Scholte, Director of the Centre for the Study of Globalisation and Regionalisation, University of Warwick makes a good rationale for civic engagement in his study “Democratizing the Global Economy. The Role of Civil Society”, stating that “Democracy is plainly lacking in present governance of the global economy. The shortcomings are both institutional and structural in character. In institutional terms, none of the various types of agencies that currently regulate economic globalization – states, suprastate bodies, substate organizations, and private mechanisms – has had anything approaching a good democratic record. Is civil society an answer to these troubles of democracy? Despite all limitations, civil society actors can in principle make five main (and at various points overlapping) types of contributions to democratic governance of the global economy. For one thing, they can undertake public education. Second, civil society activities can promote public debate. Third, civil society initiatives can enable public participation. Fourth, civil society organizations can increase the public transparency of governing authorities. Fifth, civil society work can enhance public accountability.” The study is based on interviews with over 200 various civil society organizations in seven countries, including Russia.
Special formal and informal policies of the WB and EBRD set and institutionalize the process of civic engagement in Russia. These policies are tasked to make the principles of public participation open and clear, which, in turn, should contribute to wide public awareness, understanding and support of economic development and reforms, as well as provide feedback to policy-makers.
The study of the civic engagement policies of the World Bank and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is of great importance for the success of implementation of reforms, carried out with the financial and consultative support of these powerful international financial organizations.
As of end of the year 2003 the World Bank (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and International Development Agency) portfolio in the Russian Federation included 33 projects and 3 grants, which constitute the amount of USD 9,7 billion of net obligations of the World bank to the Government of the Russian Federation. These financing goes in the form of projects, analytical work and consultancy of the Government. The World Bank supports educational, tax, pension, legal and other reforms, including the structural adjustment of the Russian economy aimed at poverty reduction.
Russia became a shareholder and a member of International Finance Corporation (IFC) in 1993. As of June 1, 2005, IFC has invested around USD 2 billion of its own funds and syndicated over USD 200 million in more than 100 projects across a variety of sectors, and its committed portfolio stands at USD 1,404 million. At present, Russia is the first largest country exposure in IFC. Recently, IFC has significantly increased its commitment to Russia, investing $486 million in FY04 and nearly USD 450 million in FY03. A growing part of these investments is in Russian owned companies - a strong vote of confidence in Russia’s private sector and a signal to other investors. To support Russia’s efforts to diversify its economy, IFC also increased its investments in the real sector, becoming a leading investor in Russia’s private infrastructure, forestry and IT. IFC's investments in Russia spread across the country’s most important sectors including banking, leasing, housing finance, mining, agribusiness, pulp and paper, construction materials, oil and gas, telecommunications, information technologies, aviation, retail, and health care.
As of the end of 2002 the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development invested EURO 4,9 bln in Russia in the form of direct and regional investments in such projects as credit lines to the Russian banks, construction of plants, development of corporate governance codes, program of restructuring of natural monopolies, construction of dam, etc. 25% of all investments of the EBRD are made in Russia. On average the Bank invests EURO 1,2 in Russia.
It is obvious that reforms and projects that have been carried out for over 10 years in Russia with the support from the international financial institutions continuer to exercise a complex influence on economic and social situation in Russia. From 1992 to 1998 the World Bank exercised considerable political influence over the Russian economy, however, the responsibility for mistakes (namely, the currency corridor 1996-1998 and privatization) made in economic and social sphere of Russia lie both with international financial institutions and the Russian Government. EBRD proved have less influence on political economy of the Russian Federation, while playing an important role of an international investor to economically viable and socially important business projects. Acknowledgement of expert knowledge (i.e. importance of taking into consideration the opinions of local communities and groups of population, as well as other forms of public participation) are by all means the key component for development and implementation of any reform and large-scale projects. Only under the condition of assuring the rights for public participation and access to information, citizens will have the possibility to meaningfully take part in development, express their opinion, have full access to information and understand the essence of reforms and changes, which means support and ultimate success of reforms in the Russian Federation.
Opinions differ on the extent to which CSOs (and their negative and positive positions towards projects and programs implemented by international institutions in Russia) influence public opinion and attitudes of local communities. Obviously the ability of a CSO to influence public opinion depends on its capacity (human, financial, etc.), political environment in a region, size of its membership and/or number of beneficiaries, organization’s visibility and information activities and other factors. Consequently the ability of a CSO to influence public opinion depends on a complex number of factors and can be assessed only on a case-by-case basis.
Practical importance of the research is consideration the research findings, disseminated in the form of special publication, by the WB and EBRD, the Russian federal ministries and regional authorities, containing recommendations on how to best arrange for civic engagement in the course of policy reforms and economic development.
An important condition for civic engagement is that participating civil society organizations themselves observe democratic principles of its operations. The mentioned above study “Democratizing the Global Economy. The Role of Civil Society” outlines the major area of special attention, including ensuring the necessary competence to deal with the issues in question; tackling challenges to offer equal opportunities of involvement to all people, regardless of age, class, faith, nationality, race, sex and other social categories; maximizing own visibility and their own answerability to stakeholders and the wider society.
Limitations of Civic Engagement
Consultations with civil society require additional funding and other resources (time, staff or contracted specialists, facilities, travel costs, etc.).
In certain cases it may be hard to reach out or to be able to accommodate all civil society stakeholders willing to take part in consultations.
It is hard to find qualified specialists that will effectively work on CE.
For some institutions it is hard to distinguish between PR and civic engagement activities.
It may be hard to link civic engagement policies of a number of institutions/ ministries working together. This is due to the fact that various institutions have different procedures, format and timing for adoption of their civic engagement policies.
In many cases population do not distinguish a lot between international organizations and authorities and therefore, popular opinion on one of the two actors significantly. In some cases traditional cautious/alert attitude of population towards authorities is also spread towards an international organization funding the project, especially given the lack of clear and basic information on these international organizations.
Who to Consult? Categories of Civil Society Organizations
One of the most comprehensive studies of civil society in the World – Civil Society Index (CSI) - has been developed and implemented by the World Alliance for Citizens Participation (CIVICUS). CSI has been implemented in Russia by the St.Petersburg Center “Strategy”, a national partner organization of CIVICUS, in cooperation with partner organizations, Coalition “We, Citizens” and others. An inclusive list of civil society organizations was composed by CIVICUS as part of CSI methodology, which was reviewed and adopted for the purposes of CSI project by the Russian CSI National Advisory Board. This list would be more then relevant as a check-list for those decision-makers in Russia, who wish to engage a wide range of civil society organizations:
“Civil Society – is an arena, situated for the most part outside family, state and market, at which people voluntarily interact for promotion of their own and public interests and the common good”.
Consultations with civil society are carried out in order to find out opinions of various social actors and stakeholders on issues of key importance for international institutions and national authorities, followed by optimization of own work with the end goal to increase efficiency of management and implementation of programs/projects; popular support and approval of these programs/projects, which ultimately contributes to the their success.
А) Consultations with stakeholders, including civil society. These consultations are carried out in order to find out supporters and opponents of a policy paper or program/ project. List of such stakeholders in Russia may include legislative and executive authority bodies of various levels, private sector organizations, various social groups of the society, political parties, etc.
Obviously the listed social actors may have various degree of influence on the issue in question. However, the possibility to influence should not be the only consideration for acceptance or rejection of the opinion of a social actor. Since programs/ projects of international financial institutions are aimed at social and economic development of a country (such as fighting poverty and attaining sustainable societal development), it is of key importance that all major contradictions and interests of social actors be addressed at the early stages of a program/ project.B) Consultations with civil society. These consultations are carried out with only one sector of a society – various formal and informal civil society organizations and groups. Usually, civil society consultations are carried out on policies, programs/ projects, which directly and considerably touch upon the interests of large social groups. For example the case may be when relocation of social groups of population is planned or international organization is adopting/changing its information disclosure policy.
2. Creation and providing for functioning of civil society consultative bodies
Civil society consultative bodies (councils) are created by international organizations/ national authorities themselves, usually as standing bodies, functioning of which implies regular meetings and discussions of current and pending programs/ projects of the institution/ ministry. CS consultative bodies replace a certain number of necessary ad hoc consultations on policies and programs/ projects and serve as a permanent source of information about opinions of various social groups. However CS consultative bodies do not exclude undertaking ad hoc consultations outside civil society consultative body when required. Ideally, a civil society consultative body should be formed with due considerations of regional, gender and age balance, as well as inclusion of representatives of marginalized social groups.
An important function of CS consultative body is representation interests and problems that appear to be pressing for a certain group of population. CSO that hold a place in a civil society consultative body may represent positions and interests of its members or clients on issues in question. Furthermore, position of a member of a CS consultative body may additionally be supported by results of a social opinion poll or research.
Important characteristics of a CS consultative body are openness, clearly defined criteria for selection and replacement of its members, democratic mechanisms of coordination (management) and decision-making and, finally, accountability to various social groups.
3. Research of public opinionIn case an international institutions or national authorities for some reason opt not to use (or consider insufficient) the already gathered by governmental and non-governmental organizations public opinion research data, they may decide to carry out such a research of public opinion on their own. A research may be carried out with the use of qualitative and quantitative data on a regular or ad hoc basis.
4. Carry out public and/ or independent expertise of programs/ projectsPublic and/ or independent expertise of programs and projects are carried out in order to obtain an alternative expert opinion on the strong and week sides of a project, in order to increase management and implementation efficiency, as well as track progress in project implementation and final post-project evaluation. Furthermore, public expertise (carried out by CSOs) is carried out in order to verify that the project in question has incorporated recommendations received in the course of consultations with civil society and other stakeholders.
5. Fundingа) Direct funding
In cases of direct funding, an agreement is concluded directly between an international institution and a CSO. Direct funding may be undertaken in the form of:
Grant agreement (dogovor tselevogo finansirovaniya, pozertvovaniya, договор целевого финансирования, пожертвования);
Funding through a foundation, created with the support of an international institution.
Despite multiple and obvious benefits of direct funding allocated to CSOs (particularly to watchdog anti-corruption and human rights organizations), there is a number of serious considerations associated with direct funding. These considerations imply dependence on grantees from an international institution/ national authorities that limit possibilities of grantees to express criticism of the work of their grantmakers. Other considerations include the complicated procedures of Russian legislation and practice for registration of foreign grantmakers in Russia, as well as establishment of a fair and effective procedure of grant competition and grant administration.
b) Indirect funding
Under this scheme funding is provided by an international agency to federal government, and the grant agreement is made between federal or regional government and CSOs. Alternatively an international agency or Russian authorities provide funding to an independent foundation that consecutively provides funding to CSOs. Here, again, an end goal is a fair competition process through which grantees are being selected, as well as escaping the conflict of interest.
6. Pro-active information dissemination and public awareness rising
Pro-active dissemination of information in accordance with organization’s Information Disclosure Policy, even if a PR element is an important integral part of civic engagement policy. Raising public awareness makes an institution/ agency and its work visible and understandable to Russia’s citizens. Information and the work of an international institution/ Russian authority should be disseminated not only by institutions/ authorities themselves, but also by CSOs that monitor and analyze their work.
7. Organization of special informal meetings and discussions
Depending on the necessity, international organizations and Russian officials organize informal meetings (for example, luncheon meetings) with CSO representatives. For CSOs such meetings may be part of their lobbying/ advocacy efforts. For international agencies and authorities the purpose of the meeting may be a good possibility to find out opinions of local communities, various social groups or professional associations.
Public hearings may be organized following individual or public consultations on projects, co-funded by international institutions (mainly EBRD and IFC). At the hearings results of project audit may be put forward for discussion. In Public hearings the role of regional authorities is vital and their participation is of particular value.
Civic engagement policies are formalized, i.e. developed in written form and adopted at the highest possible level of an institution/ ministry in the form of a law, a regulatory act, operational policy, directive, etc.
Upon adoption, civic engagement policy becomes obligatory for execution by all officials of an institution / ministry. Policies are effectively implemented by all responsible officials without simulation, delays or pretext to avoid implementation.
If needed, officials of institutions pass specific educational programs and training to learn how to better implement civic engagement policy.
All levels of officials of an institution/ ministry take part in development and implementation of civic engagement policies.
Principles of openness are observed in development and introduction of amendments (review, changes and updates) of civic engagement policies.
Civic engagement policies are linked and/or mainstreamed with other key policy documents of an institution/ ministry (i.e. corporate policies and strategies for example with the EBRD Country Strategy, WB Country Assistance Strategy, mid-term programs of social and economic development of the Russia Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, etc.);
Civic engagement policies of institutions that closely collaborate do not contradict each other, but are linked (civic engagement policies of the WB, EBRD and the Russian federal Government);
No projects, programs or comprehensive reforms that have substantial social and economic impact on groups of population or environment (verified through an independent Environment Impact Assessment, Social Impact Assessment, etc.) are adopted without an inbuilt civic engagement mechanism.
Civic engagement events are organized in such a way that various groups of stakeholders are represented (keeping in mind gender balance, geographic diversity/relevance, age balance, balance of different social groups, etc.). All participants of the consultation are equal and free to express their opinion and position on the issue in question.
Special budget and other resources are previewed for civic engagement activities.
CE Policy of the WB and EBRD in Russia
According to the WB data, around 70% of the Bank’s projects, approved since 2000, previewed various opportunities for civic engagement.
Members of the WB Board of Directors were broadly supportive of analytical research of the WB's paper “Issues and Options for Improving Engagement Between the World Bank and Civil Society Organizations”, and its key lessons and issues that have emerged over the past few years of the Bank's experience of engaging CSOs in implementation of concrete field operations, as well as in the process of policy dialogue, including the outlined 10-point action plan, aimed at improving the Bank's engagement with CSOs. The following provisions of the action plan are relevant at the national level and one may hope they will be implemented in Russia:
As of end 2003 the Bank’s structure comprised 120 specialists on interaction with civil society to cover the whole range of CE issues and to provide for all Bank’s obligations in this sphere. As a rule, these are social scientists and public relations specialists, which have the necessary qualifications to interact with civil society. Specialists on social and environmental sustainability are integrated in various Bank's Departments and Country offices (for example in IFC this is true for 60 percent of such specialists).
Recommendations on CE could be found in at least 15 operational policies of the Bank and operational directives. The recent reports of the International Development Agency (IDA), the World Development Reports for 2000 and 2004, cover a number of approaches to CE, integrated in the Comprehensive Development Framework (СDF) and Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs).  Comprehensive documentation on CE developed by the WB should become the matter of thorough study by the Russian executive authorities in order to build on this experience. Formal WB papers on public consultations are already in demand at the highest level. For example, heads of G8 states, upon the results of the 8 July 2005 Summit in Gleneagles, expressed their intention to suggest that the WB develops and implements, based on best practice and in consultation with the Governments of the host countries and local communities, the Guiding Principles tasked to provide for its investments into the climate-sensitive sectors, in order to define what impact could climate risks have and what are the possibilities to manage these risks more efficiently”. Furthermore, it was decided to suggest that other multilateral and bilateral agencies working on development issues approve the Guiding Principles of the WB or develop and implement similar Guiding Principles. 
In 1998 the WB issued the paper “The Bank’s Relations with NGOs: Issues and Directions”, which gives an overview of relations between the WB and CS from 1981 through 1998. The document, not being an official Bank’s document, was reviewed and adopted by the WB’s Board of Directors in August 1998. To make a comparison with similar research carried out by CSOs in Russia, it can be suggested that Russian executive authorities organize tender competitions for research on CE matters, the outcome of which would be later taken into consideration in development and implementation of comprehensive social and economic, sectoral development strategies.
An overview of the Bank’s relations with CSOs at a later (recent) stage from 1998 to 2003 was made in the paper “Issues and Options for Improving Engagement Between the World Bank and Civil Society Organizations”, first draft of which issued on 24 October 2003. In March 2005 the paper was finalized and considered at the Board of Directors. This documents introduces three categories of the WB’s interaction with CS: (1) facilitation, (2) dialogue and (3) partnership and consultation.
A multitude of CE forms ideally should be previewed at all stages of project, implemented with the financial support of the WB. Below are some examples of the WB CE practices in Russia.
A number of informal meetings with CSOs were carried out by the WB Country Director in Russia and the WB Vice-President for ECA region. The meetings were organized as one-time informal events (for example, luncheon meetings). In the course of the meetings, CSOs had an opportunity to express their concerns on a number of issues, to which they would like to draw WB’s attention. Among these issues of concern are: legislation unfavorable for Russian NGOs, facilitation of dialogue with the authorities, environmental matters, etc. In cases when high-ranking officials of members of the Board of Directors make business trips to countries of operation, their working schedule usually implies meetings with CSOs.
In December 2002, Russian country office of the World Bank for the first time gathered Civil Society Consultative Council. At the beginning, the Council was for the most part composed of Moscow-based CSOs. By the end of 2004, participants to the meetings of the Council were organizations from Barnaul, Novokuznetsk, Novossibirsk. Moreover, the Council had representation of various CS sectors, including credit unions, gender groups, research centers, national and ethnic minorities’ groups, organizations of people with special needs. It is obvious that possibilities for participations from various Russia’s regions and CS sectors to take part in the meetings, should be further widened.
The Council does not have a permanent membership, which may vary depending on the issues on the agenda. Each time around 15 CSO representatives attend the meetings, which makes the Council composition rather flexible.
The largest consultations with stakeholders (CSOs, business groups, etc.) were carried out on implementation of the Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) for the years 2003-2005. Consultations were organized in Russia’s regions in the summer of 2003. Unfortunately, for this term of CAS the Bank did not preview opportunities for consultations before CAS was approved at the Board of Directors, when there still existed a possibility to take into consideration comments received and incorporate them in the text of the Strategy.
The World Bank actively disseminates information about own activity and contributed to information awareness. However, most part of this work is concentrated at the global and regional (ECA) levels. Events at the ECA level include monthly newsletters in Russian and English, as well as weekly information updates (at the global level), reviews of press on the WB in general and thematic новости (например, по вопросам сокращения бедности, исследованиям и др.), electronic newsletters by country and by region, electronic newsletters on Bank’s partnerships initiatives and global programs. The WB’s staff called Civil Society Group (at the regional and departmental level) and the Civil Society Team (at the global level) also prepare newsletters on key issues of their work.
A separate part of the WB’s portal is devoted to CE matters and has references to WB’s publications and studies; announcements of CS consultations; lists of the WB’s civil society staff at all levels; links to web-sites of CSOs that specialize in monitoring of the WB, including those that take a critical stand with regard to WB’s operations.
Taking into consideration the obligatory maintenance and updates of web-sites and other e-resources by the Russian ministries and agencies, it is advisable to develop similar information resources with interactive options for dialogue with civil society.
Despite the serious efforts of the WB to organize efficient interaction with CS, a number of Russian CSOs, its members and experts are concerned with an absence of well-thought regional priorities and interaction with Russia’s regions (not only regional capitals) and limited practice of attraction of local experts. Many emerging conflicts or disputable matters from the part of sub-contractors – project executors (private sector organizations) tend to take long time until a decision from a higher-ranking authority is taken.
It may be concluded that the potential of interaction with Russian CSOs is not fully realized by the WB in Russia: complex hierarchy of decision-making and great bureaucracy, noted by Russian CSOs, seriously hamper interaction between CSOs and the Bank. A conclusion can be made here on the necessity of a more active public awareness, in particular provision of information to grassroot organizations, about Bank’s work in Russia. This may be done, for example, through electronic information updates of the WB Russia Country Office. Moreover, more widely should be used the practice of compiling short reports (including summaries of the comments received and the prospects of their consideration) by the end of the WB’s meetings and civil society consultations in Russia. Issues that are central at CE events, could be better worked through if additional time and resources could be devoted to their (issues’) preliminary development. In this case, at the CE events the WB would have an opportunity not only to facilitate opinions’ exchange, but also contribute to the search for solutions to pressing problems.
Educational and information programs on the WB in Russia may be organized by the research and educational centers that specialize in global economic issues. Most likely, there is also the need to provide multiple-approach information the journalists on the essence of the WB’s and other IFIs’ work in Russia, as the current publications are at best not properly structured. Furthermore, the international financial institutions should make efforts to recruit local experts (contact points) in Russia’s regions to work on information dissemination, awareness rising, and civic engagement with regional and local media and reach out the stakeholders, including NGOs, academia, policy-makers at regional and local level.
However, it should be stated that a well spelled out CE policy of the WB faces a number of challenges in its implementation in Russia, which not only lower the quality the policy, but also lower the quality of project and reforms. Among these challenges one could list regular cases of incompatibility of such policy and practice. For example, Russian authorities which are partners in implementation of the WB projects, at times only formally follow recommendations (i.e. invite co-opted organizations, publish information in newspapers with little circulation, etc.). Cases are often when certain Russian bodies of executive authorities force IFIs to interact with quasi-NGOs. In some cases, the WB’s rules for CE contradict the disabling Russian legislation on the matter. Furthermore, a number of Russian legislative acts, sectoral norms and practices of the Russian legislation contradict the exemplar practice of CE events. These inconsistencies should be minimized by development of the Russian legislative basis, in particular in the part of unmotivated complicated budgetary limitations and prohibitions that apply to all CSOs operating in Russia, with the use of open mechanisms of public discussion.
In cases of mistakes caused by difficulties in implementation of CE policy, Russian citizens would as a rule blame the Russian authorities and appeal to IFIs and other intergovernmental bodies (UN, European Court on Human Rights, Council of Europe, foreign national authorities, etc.).
EBRD does not have a separate document devoted to CE. Principles of CE are integrated in the sectoral and strategy policy papers in the countries of the Bank’s operation.
Certain principles of CE were published in the EBRD Public Information Policy (PIP) in September 1997. All Bank’s obligations to ensure transparency of its operations are based on PIP and on the Rules of Procedure on the establishment of the Independent Recourse Mechanism (IRM) created in 2004. Both of these documents and a number other key policy documents were translated into Russian and placed on the Bank’s web-site. In the course of formulating Country Strategies, EBRD previews the e-consultation process, organized at its official web-site. The people and CSOs may learn about any Bank’s project from its Project Summary Document (PSD), which contains brief project description, its goals, key financial indicators and an outline of its environmental impact assessment.
The institutional structure of EBRD does not preview specialists, responsible for CE in the EBRD country offices. Only two specialists, a manager and a consultant, are directly tasked to work on civic engagement issues at the EBRD headquarters in London, in the Communications Department, Outreach and NGO Relations Unit. There specialists provide for an effective information exchange on CE matters between the country offices and Bank’s headquarters. Outreach and NGO Relations Unit is responsible for gathering and processing comments, obtained in the course of consultations with civil society on Bank’s policy and strategy papers, as well as other information requests from CSOs, addressed to EBRD, which should not remain unanswered. Taking into consideration the number of countries of Bank’s operations, all of them requiring implementation of CE principles and actions, one can imagine the great volume of work of these specialists. By all means, the overall number of CE events and projects in general would have increased if EBRD introduced new positions of CE specialists in its country offices.
The key stakeholders and parties for interaction for EBRD are local communities, non-governmental organizations, international financial institutions, bilateral and multilateral environmental organizations and other structures, including national and sub-national authorities and business.
In 2005 EBRD for the first time prepared and disseminated the special NGO Newsletter, prepared in two Bank’s official languages – Russian and English. This newsletter is one of a series of information resources, which include EBRD News updates; e-consultations with civil society through EBRD web-site; NGO Dialogues mailing list (available to NGOs only upon request and registration of an NGO by the EBRD staff) and NGO updates (available also to the public). Of special attention is the worthy intention of EBRD to create separate web-sites for each country of its operation in local languages.
Useful advice for NGOs, also placed at EBRD web-site in 2005 is a brief overview of the Bank’s rationale to work with NGOs. Furthermore, the advice covers concrete opportunities/mechanisms for CSOs to actively engage with the Bank.
Like in the WB, in cases when EBRD senior managers or members of the Board of Directors travel to countries of operation, their working agenda as a rule includes meetings with CSOs.
In selecting from CSOs-candidates for participation in the Bank’s events, such as annual meetings or consultations with CS, EBRD, like the WB, relies of its country offices. However, unlike the WB country offices, EBRD, unfortunately, does not have specialists responsible for the work with CS. The key criterion for selection of the participants is the direct connection between the issues discussed with the organization’s field of activity, previous experience of interaction with the Bank, etc.
Like the WB, parallel to the official program of the annual meeting, EBRD arranges for a special agenda and meetings for CSOs that take part in the event as observers. In formulating such a side program, the Bank makes a effort to cover a maximum number of topics of interest for participants.
At certain formal and informal meetings of EBRD managers with CSOs, NGO Outreach Relations Manager would take notes and prepare minutes of the meetings, which is later disseminated for comments among all participants, including CSOs, disrespectable of the fact that such minutes are an internal Bank’s document.
EBRD organizes and hold consultations with CS on projects that require environmental impact assessment (EIA). CE events on projects, carried out with the financial support of EBRD in Russia are mostly linked with environmental and nature protection maters and take place at the project stage environmental procedures. The first consultations of a company-contractor, according to EBRD procedures (likewise with IFC) are carried out at the very early stage of a project called scoping meetings. Such practice, provided comments and concerns received in the course of consultations from CSOs and local communities are taken into account, could be called a model practice, and could well be replicated by the Russian executive authorities in implementation of budget-funded projects, as well as set in the environmental legislation as a key requirement to commercial companies.
A difficult project for EBRD in Russia in terms of CE became the projects of oil and gas industry development “Sakhalin” (especially “Sakhalin-2”). Judging by the number of stakeholders, contradicting interests and CS protest actions, “Sakhalin-2” may be compared with the oil pipeline construction project Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan.  EBRD developed “Sakhalin Oblast Action Plan” (April 2004), which was placed on EBRD’s web-site.
Watchdog CSOs, monitoring the work of IFIs, such as CEE Bankwatch,  claim that oil and gas companies working in Sakhalin Oblast since 1994, evoke irreversible damage to the endangered Western Gray Whales species, marine environment of the region and traditional lifestyle of thousands of local fishermen. According to these NGOs, who joined forced in the “Sakhalin Environmental Watch” coalition, most dangerous are plans to construct two 800-km oil and gas pipelines in the seismic regions, with the tentative support from EBRD. Russian and international CS organizations joined forces in a coalition and undertake a number of measures to advocate in favor of their position and the interests of the local population, including formal and informal meetings with EBRD officials and Russian authorities, also suggesting a number of changes, which should be accepted by the companies, implementing the project.
Despite all difficulties of interaction even in such large-scale and important projects, EBRD considers CE to be of crucial importance. The reason for such a position is that open information exchange and dialogue with CSO and local communities helps the Bank create a better impact in the region: a more effective project implementation, including: cutting down financial costs; prevent various risks; achieving mutual understanding between the companies, authorities, and local communities; escape unwanted delays in project implementation in the long run, etc.
Russian EBRD offices, as well as Bank’s office in other countries, do not publish large volumes of information materials on Bank’s work for wide public dissemination, as the Bank does not see such a need. With regard to concrete projects, responsible companies-contractors and Russian authorities initiate development and dissemination, as well as translation of project documentation for stakeholders.If required, for example at the final project stage, or after project completion, the Bank organizes public hearings with participation of interested CSOs from the project region.
The World Bank has a comparative advantage in the criterion “Civic engagement policies are formalized, i.e. developed in written form and adopted at the highest possible level of an institution/ ministry in the form of a law, a regulatory act, operational policy, directive, etc.”
EBRD has a comparative advantage in the criterion “Upon adoption, civic engagement policy becomes obligatory for execution by all officials of an institution / ministry. Policies are effectively implemented by all responsible officials without simulation, delays or searching for means to avoid implementation.
IFC and EBRD in many cases play the leading role in promoting complex environmental impact assessment in Russia, especially in the absence of an independent federal ministry in the Russian Federation tasked to deal with environmental issues.
Both Banks do not spend sufficient time and resources to pro-actively inform the public about own activities. Web-sites of both Banks remain sometimes too complicated for civil society activists to find relevant information, while web-site of EBRD is notably easier to navigate and contains a special section on NGO dialogue also available in Russian language. Both Banks issue civil society Newsletters, which are regularly disseminated in the electronic form. Special options at the web-sites of both Banks allow signing up for news updates. The World Bank, as compared to EBRD, prepares more printed materials which could potentially be widely used by people who have difficulties accessing Internet, if they would have had more targeted dissemination.
Following the Banks’ web-sites most popular information resources are Bank’s guidelines and project documentation (used by Banks’ sub-contractors and watch-dogs). Very really CSOs read Banks’ information brochures, annual and sector reports, environmental and social policy papers.
CE by the Russian Federal and Regional Executive Authorities.
The possible strategic approaches to develop and implement a CE policy of the Russian executive authorities are to:
1. Sustain interaction with CS (for example, sustain existing mechanism of CE), which is only based on the current political situation and addressing certain singular political goals of various ministries and regions.
2. Streamline and widen CE policy and practice (for example, through adoption of a suitable concept of CE or agreeing on a “societal concord”) based on concrete cases of successful interaction, which proved their efficiency in Russia; clear demands and open criteria of formulation, development, sustaining and implementation of the corresponding policies.
Today CSOs in Russia in many cases already are, and if
limitation are lifted, to a greater degree “could become good, really
partners of the state in resolution of most acute problems, such as
become good partners in fighting HIV/AIDS, drug abuse, harmlessness,
in social rehabilitation of disable persons, development of territorial
The Council on Civil Society Development and Human Rights by the President of the RF was created on the basis of the Commission on Human Rights by the President of the RF by the Decree of the President from 6 November 2004 #1417.  Only eight months later, on 20 July 2005 did the first meeting of the President with the Council members take place. The Council holds regular meetings and works on matters of social importance, with a special focus on providing feedback on cross-sectoral interaction between the society and authorities. The key instruments in such work, which partly overlap with the functions of the Civic Chamber, should be public expertise and public control.  At the meeting on 20 July 2005 the President put forward on the agenda four issues: informing the citizens on the reforms implemented by the authorities, creation of the Civic Chamber, development of NGO sector, as well as development of a multi-party approach to provision for human rights.
At the meeting, V.
raised the issue of interaction between the state bodies and CSOs. The
of the RF underlined that “special efforts should be made to build the
financial basis for independent work of human rights organizations, on providing grants for such work.
At the same time, it is impossible to allow for direct funding of
activity in Russia”.  In this
reading the term “political
activity” (politicheskaya deyatelnost)
may be understood two-fold: both as a strive to influence
process in a country (English word “politics”) and as a strive to
authorities in order to increase the transparency and accountability to
society, advocacy in favor of interests of the society in general and
particular social groups (English word “policy”). The activity of civil
groups, also known as public policy, is
an important component of the work of CSOs not only in Russia, but also
other democratic states. Furthermore, a separate category of CSOs
public policy as a key direction of their work. Centers
for public policy – are non-commercial non-governmental
organizations, working both in the sphere of analytics/ research, and
sphere of their practical implementation. The link between theory and
actively promoted by centers for public policy, surfaces centers’
communicative function. The more active are centers for public policy
implementing their communicative function, the more successful they
as a characteristics of CPP derives from their name, pre-supposes
the centers’ work for all stakeholders and social groups, pro-active
information dissemination about own work of various target groups. Other important functions of
CPP include: research, educational, creative, and implementation. 
The Law of the RF “On Creation of the Civic Chamber” was
the President of the RF, which he first voiced on 13 September 2004:
Chamber should become the place for conducting civic expertise of those
state decisions, and, first of all, legislation, that touched upon the
development perspectives of the whole country and have national
like for the majority of the Russian
consultative bodies, it will not be the Law, to define the importance
Civic Chamber, but the personalities of its members, representation of
various Russia's regions, and degree of their independence and
the political process of practical work of the Chamber. It is also
that the Chamber does not monopolize the public control function, but
contribute to the creation of a mechanism of public control at all
from municipal to federal. Furthermore, in the work of the Chamber it’s
important to escape lobbying of interests of particular narrow CSO
their target groups. 
According to public opinion polls of the beginning of 2005 (and still it is the case) the majority of people did not understand the goals for creation and key functions of the Civic Chamber – around 70% of respondents said they did not understand, while only 12% understood or approved of the idea to create the Chamber. Clearly, the work on public awareness rising is required, which should be combined with the practice of “real work” of the Chamber, which would prove its independence from authorities, representation and high expert potential.
At present a number of ministries and governmental agencies, as well as Committees of the State Duma of the RF explore the possibilities to create civic consultative and expert councils. Furthermore, interested authorities identify special forms of internal and external of interaction of own public relations specialists at the federal and regional levels, including interdepartmental groups of public relations specialists, consultative mechanisms, expert councils, sanding seminars, etc. Among such forms of CE by state authorities the following are worth listing:
Provided such councils operate openly, have clear and understandable criteria of their work, including professional qualifications and balanced representation of their representatives, such structures may considerably raise the efficiency of work of the authorities in question.
Worth mentioning are quasi-mechanisms of public participation that do take place from time to time. This for includes interaction with CSOs, created and fully funded by the authorities (quasi-CSOs). Funding of such CSOs is effectuated by closed and/or dependent grantmakers, etc. These mechanisms of “civic engagement” are not only nearly ineffective, but also pull more financial, human and other resources then real CE forms; and moreover may cause a number of unpredictable negative consequences (seizure of existing forms of inter-sectoral dialogue, protest campaigns, waves of publication in the Western media, etc.).
Practice shows that the usage of quasi-mechanisms of CE, as well as usage of CE for resolution of the current political issues are most likely to lead to the following unintended consequences:
How CE can be Improved. Conclusions and Recommendations.
This section contains some of the best practices and recommendations on successful strategies of development and implementation of civic engagement policies of the WB and EBRD together with the Government of the Russian Federation.
Giving the CS participants of CE events to set up the agenda is great. However, it is no good if one civil society group monopolized the agenda and the process. Inviting up to 5 competent and strong international, regional or network organizations will give the CS participants an opportunity to drive the agenda setting both time wise and thematically.
There may be 2 co-chairs at a CE event: one from the part of CSOs and one from authorities/ international agencies. Co-chairs may change each session, while representing various CSOs/ networks. If agenda or a meeting is agreed with an international agency/ authority in advance, this should be done in an open and transparent manner. Co-chairs should seek to be as neutral as possible towards issues discussed. Furthermore, CSOs that co-chair meetings should represent both independent watch-dogs monitors, as well as partner-organizations of international agencies/ authorities (for example those who were contracted to set up civil society consultations).
The procedure of election or selection of a Moderator for a meeting should be clear to all participating CSOs. Participating CSOs should be informed in advance of this procedure. Alternatively, this could be openly discussed at the beginning of the meeting.
If the Moderator of the meeting has a preliminary determined list of presenters/speakers, the procedure of composition of this list should be clear to all participating CSOs. Participating CSOs should be informed in advance of this procedure. Alternatively, this could be openly discussed at the beginning of the meeting.
During the meeting it is important to set time-limit for all interventions of CSOs. All participating CSOs should be treated equally in terms of time provided for comments/questions irrespective of the relative importance of an issue.
It makes sense to pro-actively inform NGOs from various regions and networks about possibilities to take part in annual meetings and other events open for public organized by international organizations; public hearings organized by national authorities; grant programs organized by international organizations and authorities. When selecting candidates for participating in an event (with a limited number of places) priority should be given to organizations that have professional analytical/ expert knowledge and organizations representing interests of sizable social groups (has big membership, has big network of partners in own and neighboring countries, is a member of a national or international network, has a sizable number of clients/ beneficiaries).
International organizations may be willing to launch a more active consultation process with civil society under the leading role of Resident/Country Offices, in addition to electronic consultations.
It makes sense to widen the scope of participants at public consultation meetings. Public or civil society consultation meetings may benefit from participation of national and transnational companies that implement projects in Russia. It may also make sense to invite federal and regional public officials from relevant executive and legislative authorities. Participation of public officials in consultations organized by international organizations may also have some added value for them in terms of learning the well-thought and spelled out CE policies. Public officials will have a chance to better understand EBRD and WB procedures for CE, from which they may borrow certain provisions for own CE policy.
It is advisable to compile the full list of participants of CS consultations, listing all affiliations to umbrella and network organizations, coalitions.
It is advisable to develop and disseminate evaluation forms to participants to assess the level of their satisfaction with the event and identify the week spots in logistics or thematic coverage. Participants should be reminded to complete evaluation forms and required time should be previewed in the agenda to fill in the forms.
In the room where a meeting is held or nearby it may make sense to preview a special place (table or showcase) for information materials and position papers of participating CSOs.
When an NGO-participant makes an intervention or asks questions he/she should identify himself/herself, including the organization the participant represents, as well as relevant coalition or other professional affiliation. Some times it is the practice when a participant tends to speak on behalf of a larger constituency then he/she really represents and management of an international institution of national authorities would get an impression that an intervention is made on behalf of all CSOs present. It is important to clarify whether a statement made on behalf of a single organization or it is a consolidated position of a number or organizations or a group of population. This in no way implies that position of a single expert organization is of less importance then a consolidated statement of a coalition of CSOs.
International institutions and national authorities may opt to keep CSO databases of their own and regularly updating them, or use existing databases. In either case it may be useful to request contact information of organizations by sector/region from NGO resource centers or from national/regional umbrella organizations. In Russia some of the possible sources are:International coalition “We, Citizens”, www.citizens.ru
List of AcronymsCE – Civic engagement
List of Interviewed People (formal interviews only)
Russian civil society organizations:Andreeva Natali, researcher, Institute of the Far East, Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow)
Russian federal and regional authorities:Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation
Senior Communications Officer of the WB’s Global Civil Society Team,
EBRD managers:Doina Caloianu, Manager, Outreach and NGO Relations
consultation evaluation on the Rural Development Strategy
for ECA region, Moscow 15-16 March 2001 
Russia in Numbers, Kommersant Vlast, P. 12
Web-site of EBRD, http://www.ebrd.org
Web-site of the World Bank Russia Country Office, http://www.worldbank.org.ru
Brown D., Fox J. Accountability within Transnational Coalitions/ Cборник Fox J. & Brown D. The Struggle for Accountability. - The MIT Press, 1998.
Herz S., Alnoor E. Call for Participatory Decision Making: Discussion Paper on World Bank – Civil Society Engagement. Draft for Public Comment. April 14, 2005. Commissioned and Presented by the Civil Society Members of World Bank-Civil Society Joint Facilitation Committee. Co-authored by.
Chiriboga M. NGOs and the World Bank: Lessons and Challenges// Montreal International Forum. Volume 1. No. 1. Fall 1999.
EBRD Plans to Increase Investment Flow// CEE Bankwatch Network News. Multilateral Development Banks in Central and Eastern Europe. 20 May 2000.
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Strategy for the Russian Federation/ Approved by the Board of Directors on 21 October 2002.
Issues and Options for Improving Engagement Between the World Bank and Civil Society Organizations/ March 2005. The World Bank.
Study of the World bank-civil Society Relations/ Concept Paper. Joint Facilitation Committee. August 15, 2002.Working materials of the EBRD 2005 annual meeting and NGO events<>