Listening to Leaders: Bridging the Gap between Leaders and Citizens

With the listening to leaders report, we wanted
to solve a critical gap in our information. We wanted to finally understand from the perspective
of low and middle income countries, leaders in these countries. What did they think are the most important
priorities to solve for their countries and what support do they need from the International
Development Community? We fielded a survey to over 55,000 policy
makers this includes government officials that middle
and senior level, uh, in all different types of agencies. We’re looking at civil society leaders, private
sector leaders, and the local representatives of development partners like the World Bank
or the United Nations that are active on the ground. we wanted to understand what leaders had to
say about their top priorities. And then we compared that against information
that we had gathered from another survey called the my world survey on citizen priorities. And then we actually looked historically at
what donors were investing in as getting a sense of they’re revealed priorities in terms
of how they were channeling their, their resources. We triangulated these data points to get a
sense of to what extent do these groups agree or disagree in terms of where to focus their
efforts. And some some interesting findings came out. Leaders value three things: education, jobs,
and strong institutions. I’ll also say that they put a lot of faith
in building industry as a gateway to brokering new prosperity for their countries. Donors are more willing to come alongside
leaders when it comes to their faith in industry as a way to broker and bolster economic growth
in their countries. Citizens are more concerned about issues proximate
to them ensuring access to food and jobs. They’re less concerned about the issues that
leaders care about when it comes to bolstering industry or creating jobs for everyone. I think we can see that there are some very
clear indications of certain parts of the sustainable development goals agenda where
there is broad consensus and those are education jobs and strong institutions. Leaders and citizens globally view these as
the most important problems for their countries to solve, and donors should pay attention,
and we actually see that donors maybe have an important blind spot when it comes to issues
around jobs and schools. I also think that there’s a challenge for
issues like the environment where there’s actually agreement but not in the direction
that we want to see. Whereas where we see donors and citizens and
leaders, while they may care about the environment, it’s not registering as a top priority for
them. And here it’s important to make the case,
I think, of how these global public goods issues like the environment matter now. And how do you make this more salient to citizens
and leaders? While we know they care about issues of jobs
and they care about issues of food security and so how do you connect preservation of
the environment to those issues that we know that citizens and leaders care about most.

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