Publication: Building Coalitions for Change : Venezuela Judicial Infrastructure Development Project

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Kuehnast, Kathleen
In the early 1990s, the Government of Venezuela urgently requested assistance from the World Bank to combat corruption, improve the business climate, and create a sense of transparency and involvement of civil society in state matters. The country's judicial system was identified as the institution in which to begin such reforms, because it was widely perceived as lacking credibility and efficiency. The Judicial Infrastructure Project aimed to improve Venezuela's enabling environment for private sector development and to reduce the private and social costs of justice. In December 1993, the Bank began negotiations with the government to develop a project that would address failings in the judicial sector. This was the first stand-alone project of this type that the Bank has funded. The project design was refined during implementation, leading to greater participation and ownership. Social Development best practice elements were identified as: Organizational and institutional analysis to ensure intended outcomes; institutionalized mechanisms for participation and decentralized implementation; and ongoing monitoring and evaluation of social development outcomes by the government and community. Lessons learned included the following: Effective partnership with civil society can make a significant contribution to judicial reform. Capacity building workshops aid in creating partnerships among different groups of stakeholders. Measures to improve transparency and efficiency can be developed with the help of stakeholder consultation, which also builds ownership. Improved performance, lower transaction costs, and greater predictability in the judicial process increase public confidence in institutions.
Kuehnast, Kathleen. 2001. Building Coalitions for Change : Venezuela Judicial Infrastructure Development Project. Social Development Notes; No. 61. © World Bank, Washington, DC. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
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