Transparency and Accountability Initiative (T/AI) has a new Executive Director. As of mid May, 2016, Michael Jarvis has taken on this role after more than a decade at the World Bank.

During his twelve years at the World Bank, Michael has worked in a variety of roles, most recently heading the extractives governance team and helping to develop and launch the Open Contracting Partnership. He joined the World Bank working on corporate responsibility issues, and has worked on issues relating to anti-corruption, private sector roles in development, and multi-stakeholder governance. According to Michael, there are two elements that are interwoven into his approach all of these issues: engaging directly with affected communities – the problem holders - and working collaboratively

Michael recalled that he has always enjoyed connecting with players around issues of transparency and accountability, as well as the interactions between organizations. This is T/AI’s raison d’être. In his new role, Michael will focus on finding ways to bridge donors, practitioners and their networks so that all players can make smarter decisions. This includes pushing the agenda in core areas such as international tax, accessibility and use of data, and supporting meaningful civil society participation. This will also involve connecting organizations with learning dimensions such as Making All Voices Count (MAVC), the Global Partnership for Social Accountability (GPSA) and others.

As Michael joins T/AI during a period of transition to a US-based fiscal sponsor model, he will be fleshing out the donors’ outline vision, including a set of specific long term shared goals, into a concrete strategy. This will involve thinking through shared challenges, evaluating what is working and what is not, and how to complement other multilateral and bilateral donors. Michael confessed that it will be challenging given the scale of ambition, but that he and the donor members are ready to take it on. They look forward to receiving ideas and advice of GPSA partners.  

Over the last twelve years, Michael has seen how the World Bank has made progress in the areas of transparency and accountability. He noticed that the prominence and level of support for these issues has increased, and that the World Bank has played a useful role, not least through supporting global initiatives, such as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, and creating platforms such as the GPSA. Although citizen engagement and accountability have become part of the World Bank’s rhetoric, Michael believes that there are still challenges ahead to integrate citizen engagement components across day-to-day operations rather than in niche projects, but is hopeful.