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This essay is organised in terms of several propositions for discussion that link advocacy and research dilemmas. Whether researchers can make a difference to the World Bank requires a broader assessment of whether the campaigns they work with are having an impact. While there have been some spectacular successes in terms of halting or redirecting potentially harmful Bank projects, the longer-term significance of these successes is less clear. As the Banks public discourse becomes more enlightened, the challenge for civil society organisations and researchers is increasingly to highlight contradictions among and lack of compliance with its own policies, and the failure of its loans and projects to achieve their declared aims. This calls for vertical integration or systematic coordination between diverse levels of civil society – from local to provincial, national, and international arenas to monitor the parallel partnerships between the World Bank, national, provincial, and local governments. Finally, a call is made for social development professionals who conduct consultancies for the World Bank to adhere to a code of ethics requiring transparency in their relationships with the communities and social organisations who are the target of their research.

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