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Review and Update of the World Bank Safeguard Policies

The World Bank is updating its policies protecting the poor and the environment in Bank- financed projects. In this regard it has launched the 3rd round of consultations on the proposed Environmental and Social Framework, focusing on implementation and on an indicative list of complex issues that require further discussion. Between August and December 2015, the World Bank has held consultations in 18 countries across all regions. This is part of the third phase of one of the largest consultation efforts the Bank has undertaken. Feedback on a list of outstanding issues and on the implementation of the proposed safeguards requirements on the ground has been rich and valuable. The World Bank closed the year 2015 with consultations in Niger and Nigeria. In early 2016 consultation events are planned for Cameroon, Rwanda, Turkey, Egypt, Vietnam, and Belgium (for European constituencies). Original language: English. Text also available in other languages on the World Bank's website.Protecting the Poor and the Environment in World Bank Investment ProjectsEconomic development depends in part upon providing infrastructure and facilities that improve people’s lives and expand economic opportunities. This can be a road that allows a farmer to get goods to market. It can be access to electricity so hospitals can refrigerate medicines and children can do their homework at night. It can be clean water to reduce the incidence of easily preventable water-borne diseases that kill an estimated 1,400 children every day. Governments in developing countries often turn to the World Bank to help finance such projects and the Bank funds them because they know they can help to reduce poverty and improve living conditions.A cornerstone of the World Bank's work on investment projects is helping to ensure strong protections for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people and for the environment. The World Bank’s current policies – often called “safeguards” – were developed over the last 20 years to help identify, avoid, and minimize harms to people and the environment. These safeguards require borrowing governments to address certain environmental and social risks in order to receive Bank financing for development projects. Examples of such requirements include conducting an environmental and social impact assessment, consulting with affected communities about potential project impacts, and restoring the livelihoods of displaced people. World Bank safeguards are widely seen as an effective way to ensure that environmental and social concerns and community voices are represented in the design and implementation of our projects.Review and Update of the World Bank's Safeguard PoliciesWhile the current safeguard policies have served the development community well for more than two decades by protecting the environment and the world’s poor and vulnerable in World Bank investment projects, the world has changed and new and varied development demands and challenges have arisen over time. The issues our clients face have shifted dramatically, and their ability to manage them – as well as the Bank’s - has significantly increased. The World Bank is now in the process of reviewing, updating and strengthening its environmental and social policies to keep pace with the changing times. It is committed to developing an environmental and social Framework that is better for people, the environment, and Borrowers.The review began in 2012 with the goal to: Enhance protections for the poor and the environment through modernized standards; Provide inclusive access to development benefits through the introduction of a non-discrimination principle; Strengthen partnerships with borrowing countries through closer cooperation and increased use of borrower frameworks; and Strengthen the World Bank’s leadership through a modernized safeguards framework.This reform touches on complex development matters, including Human Rights, climate change, and a number of social issues. Consultations on the first draft Environmental and Social Framework showed a wide range of views among shareholder governments and civil society groups. When the Committee on Development Effectiveness (CODE) of the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors discussed the second draft of the proposed Framework, consensus emerged on the overall architecture and some of the proposed provisions. However, many issues remained open. CODE authorized consultations in order to continue efforts to find solutions where views are divided. Executive Directors requested the preparation of an indicative list of outstanding issues to guide discussions throughout the consultation process.Consultations will also focus on the feasibility to implement the proposed provisions on the ground and on the potential impact of the proposed Framework on Borrowers. Throughout consultations, the Bank will work with Borrowers to identify any additional support needed to implement the proposed provisions.The feedback received during consultations will inform the third draft Framework and the discussions of the World Bank’s Executive Directors as the reform of the safeguard policies proceeds.If you have comments or queries, please send them to [email protected]. Consultation meeting dates are being confirmed. They will be posted on the indicated website above after confirmation with the host country.

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