What Factors Influence the Success and Failure of World Bank Environmental Projects?
This post is part of AidData's longer look at the relationship between development resources and the environment. For more on this series, check here.
When do environmentally focused assistance projects achieve their objectives? In an article recently published in Global Environmental Politics, we used outcome ratings from 157 independent evaluations of environmentally focused World Bank projects implemented since 1994. We found that recipient countries with strong public sector institutions receive higher project evaluation ratings. Projects with global environmental objectives receive lower ratings. Proactive supervision by World Bank staff during project implementation also results in higher ratings.
To show the substantive impact of government effectiveness, a focus on global outcomes (preventing climate change or protecting biodiversity), and the quality of project supervision on the probability of a project achieving different outcome ratings, we plotted our model’s predicted probabilities over the range of data for each variable. Government effectiveness and global outcomes approximately double or halve the probability of achieving a successful outcome rating. Good supervision makes successful project outcomes 30 times more likely than poor supervision.
Although our study does not offer the final word on the predictors of success in environmental assistance projects, it does underline the need for the researchers and policymakers to better understand the last two decades of experience with environmental projects, particularly as calls for expanded environmental assistance intensify with the creation of the Green Climate Fund.
This post was written by Elsa Voytas (AidData Senior Research Assistant at the College of William and Mary), Brad Parks (Co-Executive Director of AidData at the College of William & Mary), and Mark Buntaine (Assistant Professor of Government and AidData Faculty Associate at the College of William and Mary). For more information, find the full publication here.