IDB-9: Assessment of the Social Strategy for Equity and Productivity

Mar 2013
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB, or Bank), as part of its Ninth General Capital Increase (IDB-9), committed to prepare strategic documents for one of its priority areas, social policy for equity and productivity. This paper assesses whether that requirement was implemented fully and effectively. The analysis concludes that the requirements were implemented fully, as a Strategy and sectoral guidelines for education were presented to the Board of Directors within the required timeframe. The assessment of the extent to which the documents represent an effective response to the IDB-9 mandate is more complex. The emphasis on "investing in people" is highly relevant to the Region, though the diagnoses and analyses in specific sectors as well as of country needs and priorities are uneven. The depth of the Bank's experience and expertise in the social sectors and the lessons to be gained from its previous experience are not fully reflected in the Strategy. The Results Framework, prepared for the IDB-9 Report prior to the Strategy, does not adequately reflect the priorities proposed, and targets could be met even if the priorities within each sector are not implemented. In addition, the Strategy does not identify specific actions to meet its objectives. The 2012- 2015 Action Plan, prepared in response to a request from the Board, details some of these actions, but it falls short of identifying staffing and budgeting requirements and intermediate milestones for monitoring. Further dissemination of the Strategy and broader discussion of its contents, both internally and externally, would help make the strategy more relevant, and updating the Action Plan would help to guide future implementation. In addition, an effort by the Board and IDB Management to lay out clear guidelines for future strategy exercises would help to clarify expectations and ensure a more meaningful and effective strategy setting process for IDB and its borrowing countries.