MAAREFAH: Annual Members’ Face-to-Face Meeting
DATE: November 26, 2014
TIME: 2:45 pm
More info @ www.maarefah.net
Ma’arefah Member Face-to-Face Meeting
Introducing the Governance Global Practice
To Governance Professionals
Across the MENA Region
As you know one of Maarefah’s major goals has been to create a “safe space” for dialogue among all stakeholders in the MENA region who work on governance issues (both on the demand and the supply side), but who have not always collaborated and shared common governance experiences and lessons. Since its re-establishment in September 2013, all Ma’arefah activities have been conducted online. Thus, Ma’arefah has achieved its aim of facilitating sustained and continuous peer-to-peer dialogue and capacity development plus expert knowledge transfer through the most cost-effective, accessible, flexible and adaptable mechanism available. Through its online activities, Ma’arefah has offered the World Bank’s clients, counterparts and staff in MENA the opportunity to have a dialogue and exchange knowledge and ideas on a continuous basis. In order to build a stronger, more vibrant and active Community, it is still necessary to bring all members of the Community of Practice (CoP) together in a face-to-face event from time to time. This approach also aligns with the conclusion/advice from several CoP experts who have extensive experience and have done research on the issue. Therefore as part of its 2-year strategy, Ma’arefah decided to hold such events on an annual basis. Subsequently, in May 2014, the World Bank’s Governance Partnership Facility awarded Ma’arefah an additional grant, which includes funds for this first annual face-to-face event.
The objectives of this event are to:
- (a) officially launch the CoP;
- (b) hold the first Annual Member Face-to-Face Meeting;
- (c) establish and convene the first meeting of the Steering Committee and
- (d) introduce the Governance Global Practice to the CoP members.
The participants will range from the Cop members, GGP staff in MENA and key stakeholders.
Natacha DRAGHI, Ma’arefah Coordinator
Gabriella Kusz, Senior Financial Management Specialist
Sarah Mousa, Consultant
The Ma’arefah Community of Practice (CoP) is a vibrant, interactive online platform introduced by the World Bank to facilitate dialogue and provide resources for governance practitioners and stakeholders in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Specifically, the online platform addresses the topics of: procurement reform, public sector management, public financial management, decentralization and corporate financial reporting. The World Bank developed this innovative platform in response to the need for a collaborating and sharing common governance knowledge, experiences and lessons among MENA practitioners.
Since its establishment in September 2013, Ma’arefah has served as the platform for numerous discussions, events and activities, all online. It has achieved its aim of facilitating sustained and continuous peer-to-peer dialogue and capacity development — plus expert knowledge transfer — through the most cost-effective, accessible, flexible and adaptable mechanism available. Through its online activities, Ma’arefah has offered key governance stakeholders, counterparts and World Bank MENA staff the opportunity to maintain a dialogue and exchange of knowledge and ideas on the subject of governance on an ongoing basis.
Early last year, in recognition of the need to continuously improve and build a stronger, more active Community, the World Bank decided to draw together members of the Ma’arefah CoP in a face-to-face event. This approach aligns with best practice in the area of CoP research and development. It offers an innovative way to complement the online activities of the CoP and to build strong bonds and relationships between members.
Ma’arefah Event Objectives
The first three-day Ma’arefah Member Face-to-Face Meeting was held on December 15-17, 2014 in Amman, Jordan. The objectives of the event were three-fold: to officially launch the CoP, to offer an opportunity for Ma’arefah CoP to connect in person and further fortify their online engagement and activities, and to introduce and familiarize members of the Ma’arefah CoP with the newly formed World Bank Governance Global Practice (GGP).
The Member Face-to-Face Meeting presented an important opportunity for the GGP to familiarize governance practitioners in the MENA region with the new structural organization of the World Bank, specifically what this means for governance-related projects and activities. The Member Face-to-Face Meeting introduced the CoP to the new design of the GGP, including its advantages and offerings.
The CoP was informed about the new World Bank integrated structural reorganization, which has sought to overcome the fragmentation of the past structure. Previously, governance-relevant professionals were spread among several sectors and regional units. The previous system made it difficult to coordinate and exchange information, and to cooperate in order to maximize the potential of a given project or task.
The new GGP structure solves this fragmentation by interconnecting the functions of financial management, procurement, and the public sector. For practitioners in the MENA region, this means that the GGP will be able to more effectively serve their needs. The new GGP enables enhanced cooperation, a more timely exchange of information, the building of local and global knowledge that can be adapted to client circumstances, the development of more integrated and innovative yet realistic interventions and solutions for real problems, and more timely evaluation of results.
Not only did the Member Face-to-Face Meeting offer an introduction to the GGP, but it also gave MENA practitioners involved in the Ma’arefah CoP a glimpse of the new GGP in action. Event sessions showcased the subjects that now fall within the scope of the new GGP. They also demonstrated the enhanced knowledge base of the GGP and improved services that the GGP can offer to client countries.
For the World Bank’s GGP, the Member Face-to-Face Meeting was also an important opportunity to gauge client reactions to the structural changes in general, and the formation of the GGP in particular. Client perspectives on these changes present an important source of insight and feedback for the GGP.
In terms of gathering CoP members face-to-face, the event successfully drew a total of 250 participants from the region. The participants included key governance stakeholders, CoP members, and World Bank staff from all countries in the MENA region. The event served as an important platform for generating dialogue and knowledge exchange about key governance issues and challenges facing the region.
The regional event promoted integrated knowledge-sharing on governance issues and institution-building, and fostered regional and country-level dialogue on these issues. The event also provided the opportunity to: disseminate regional and global expertise; share key relevant regional experiences; increase awareness regarding the different aspects related to the design and implementation of governance reforms; and reflect on the ways forward for the countries involved.
The event agenda was structured to offer a multifaceted view of governance. Event sessions focused on a number of different topics that reflected the scope of the new GGP including:
· Designing and Implementing Public Financial and Investment Management
· The Role of Audit Institutions and Demand-Side Governance Institutions
· Natural Resource Management
· State-Owned Enterprises
· Justice Sector Reform
· Exploring New Frontiers in Corporate Financial Reporting
· Public Procurement Capacity, Innovations, and Enabling Public Procurement Implementation
· Using Information and Data on Governance and Quality of Institutions
· Internal Controls
· Procurement Transparency in Budget Execution
· Strengthening Transparency and Accountability in Morocco as a Case Study
Ma’arefah Event Outcomes
Overall, participants were highly satisfied with the event. Indeed, many expressed their keen interest in engaging more actively in the Ma’arefah CoP. This was reflected in the surge in the number of discussion threads by Ma’arefah members and the rise in the number of new membership requests both during and after the Ma’arefah Member Face-to-Face event. In their feedback, participants praised the meeting’s successful approach to combining online and face-to-face meeting mechanisms as a means of enhancing peer-to-peer dialogue and capacity building. Finally, participants noted that the opportunity for multi-sectoral experience sharing was very innovative. It offered a chance for participants to break out of their sector perspective and obtain a broader view regarding the impact and activities of their discipline. This feedback reflects positively on the structure of the new GGP and its ability to garner knowledge for the enhancement of governance practices.
Following the conclusion of this successful event, Ma’arefah will continue to encourage active communication and dialogue between members. It will seek to provide high quality online events and opportunities for engagement. A key component of Ma’arefah’s success is its membership. We invite Connecting Voices MENA Magazine readers to join Ma'arefah. Please see the details below to log on and join today.