|Based on experience in what makes development programming effective, the World Bank has pioneered a country-driven, holistic approach to lending and country support. The approach is comprehensive on a number of levels: It is based on the evidence that economic growth alone does not necessarily achieve sustainable development and so takes in all aspects of development—the social, structural, human, governance, environmental, economic, and financial. And it must have the buy-in of all stakeholders—civil society and the private sector, as much as government and donors.
Called the Comprehensive Development Framework (CDF) and piloted in 1999, the mechanism requires that countries themselves, and not the Bank, outline development agendas.
In 1999 the Bank and International Monetary Fund called on the governments of the poorest countries to prepare Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSP). Based on the Comprehensive Development Framework approach, these are comprehensive and transparent plans aimed directly at fighting poverty and are used by all donors to determine assistance and, where applicable, debt relief.
The strategic framework then is used by the Bank to prepare Country Assistance Strategies, the documents which outline the level and composition of Bank assistance to each country. Whenever possible, pending individual governments’ consent, Country Assistance Strategies are publicly available.
The fundamental principle of the Comprehensive Development Framework is achievement of faster, sustainable poverty reduction. With the international endorsement in 2000 of the Millennium Development Goals, these targets drive the CDF process. The development community—donors and developing governments themselves, agencies and institutions—have come together around the challenge of meeting the goals, and for the World Bank, as for other agencies, this challenge now provides a starting point for all operations.
Additionally, the Bank has recently reviewed its role, activities, and effectiveness and the development needs of countries in specific circumstances: Low Income Countries Under Stress, Middle Income Countries (770K PDF), and Small States.