International high-level dialogue forum

Shaping a globalised world

The World Bank: Quo Vadis?
Environmental and social safeguards under review

Christian Scheper
December 2013; 4 pages


For the first time, the World Bank is undertaking a comprehensive review of its environmental and social safeguard policies. This will crucially affect the future financing and design of development projects as well as the transparency of international financial institutions and the ways in which they are held accountable. The Bank’s safeguard policies set the standards needed to ensure that its development projects all over the world are socially equitable and ecologically sustainable. They also establish a duty of care for stakeholder institutions. The existing safeguard policies are inadequate and obsolete, however, and eighteen months into the two-year review process, it is still unclear if the reform will set the right policy course.

Christian Scheper, INEF Researcher, analyses the multi-faceted need for reform and gives an outlook regarding the effectiveness of the reform process.

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