Developing National Capacities for Poverty and Social Impact Analysis

The Poverty and Social Impact Analysis (PSIA) project is implemented jointly by UNDP and the World Bank. The main objectives of UNDP-World Bank collaboration are to develop national capacities to carry out PSIA studies and to help countries use this analysis in designing their national development strategies. This is the first global PSIA project with developing country governments taking the leading role, which strengthens national ownership of the process. It also enhances cooperation between the World Bank and UNDP at the country level.

The role of the World Bank, which developed the PSIA approach, is to provide the technical expertise, tools and methodology. UNDP’s role is to help developing countries institutionalize this approach in their policy-making processes and to bring the civil society and other actors into policy discussions.

The project is implemented since 2005 with a US$ 3 million funding from the Government of Belgium (Belgium Development Cooperation) over five years.

The joint PSIA project develops national capacities by:

  • Providing training: Regional and sub-regional training courses increase awareness of the PSIA approach and equip participants with necessary tools. The training also help governments and research institutions to prepare proposals to conduct and fund PSIA studies.
  • Conducting country studies: Country studies provide hands-on experience to national experts to carry out Poverty and Social Impact Analysis using tools and methodologies and thereby help build expertise in developing countries. They also provide valuable insights into the impacts of policies and reforms.
  • Promoting policy dialogue: Policy dialogue improves the transparency of the policy-making process and promotes the voices of people affected by policies and reforms. It is also a vehicle for disseminating the results of studies which helps to use PSIA results in formulating policies.

Through this project, UNDP organized training workshops for 29 countries in Africa and the Arab States. Over 100 government representatives, researchers, representatives of civil society organizations, as well as UNDP and World Bank staff participated in these workshops.

Country studies were conducted in selected countries of Benin, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Gambia, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritania, Morocco, Namibia, Niger, Sierra Leone, Syria and Uganda. These countries were selected on the basis of proposals submitted by representatives of governments and national research institutions. Some key criteria for selection were: the policy relevance of the proposed studies, the technical merits of proposals, the financial contribution of governments to complement PSIA resources as a sign of ownership, proposed strategies for the dissemination of results, including organization of policy dialogues with participation from national stakeholders. Studies carried out in these countries focused on various issues: education, water reforms, mining reforms, food security, social protection, health, education, urban development and fiscal policy (See completed studies below in “Related Publications and Resources).

In the process of conducting studies, participating countries organized policy dialogues, engaging a wide range of stakeholders. In Malawi and Benin, for example, the experience of PSIA studies has been so valuable that their governments started to institutionalize Poverty and Social Impact Analysis in their policy making and to invest in developing national capacity to undertake PSIA studies on key policy issues. These countries are incorporating valuable lessons into their policy-making processes, such as doing the analysis early on to have greater opportunity to influence policies and fostering ownership across the government to guide policy reforms.