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World Bank safeguard policies


The World Bank’s environmental and social safeguard policies are a cornerstone of its support to sustainable poverty reduction. The objective of these policies is to prevent and mitigate undue harm to people and their environment in the development process.

These policies provide guidelines for bank and borrower staffs in the identification, preparation, and implementation of programs and projects. The effectiveness and development impact of projects and programs supported by the Bank has substantially increased as a result of attention to these policies.

Safeguard policies have often provided a platform for the participation of stakeholders in project design, and have been an important instrument for building ownership among local populations.

The World Bank’s current 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.

Access resources on the World Bank’s environmental and social safeguard policies.