Culture Counts: Partnership Activities of the World Bank and Italian Development Cooperation on Cultural Heritage and Sustainable Development

This report reviews and analyzes the partnership between the Italian Government and the World Bank on advancing the role of culture in sustainable development and with the goal of advocating the fundamental role of culture as a resource to be leveraged for the development process. This partnership was developed in the form of a Trust Fund for Culture and Sustainable Development, which was established in 2000 and closed in 2013. During this time, Italian Government contributed nearly $8 million, which has been entirely allocated in the form of grants to 49 activities. This report is a final program evaluation of this Trust Fund, with the goal to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of the funds granted and to formulate lessons learned for the programs of this kind in the future.

We reviewed various Implementation Completion Reports for the World Bank operations, interviewed task managers, analyzed the World Bank portfolio in this sector, and examined all the grant proposals and mid-term reporting and monitoring documents. Sixteen of the 49 activities under the Trust Fund have been spent on project preparation (reaching approximately $3.4 million or 43 percent of the total). Some of these resources have contributed to the preparation of components or of entire projects in the area of cultural heritage and sustainable tourism for a value of $1.2 billion of Bank lending, nearly half of the Bank’s portfolio in this area (about $2.7 billion since its inception). The projects whose preparation have been supported via the partnership have had a total value of nearly $2.2 billion via the contributions of recipient Governments and other development agencies, with a significant additional multiplier effect. In addition to project preparation, some of the grants were used in policy support and analytical work (18 activities) and some were used in knowledge exchange activities (10 grants).

The report is publicly accessible here.