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Message from the Board of Executive Directors

The 25 resident Executive Directors, representing the 188 World Bank Group member countries, are responsible for the conduct of the World Bank’s general operations under delegated powers from the Board of Governors. As provided in the Articles of Agreement, 5 Executive Directors are appointed by each of the five members having the largest number of shares; 20 Executive Directors are elected by other member countries to form constituencies in an election process every two years. The Executive Directors select a President, who serves as Chairman of the Board. The current Board was elected or appointed on November 1, 2012.

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Executive Directors fulfill an important role in deciding on the policies that guide the general operations of the Bank and its strategic direction, and they represent member countries’ viewpoints on the Bank’s role. They consider and decide on proposals made by the President for loans, credits, and guarantees from IBRD and IDA; new policies; and the administrative budget. They also discuss Country Partnership Strategies—the central tool with which management and the Board review and guide the World Bank Group’s support for a country’s development programs. They are responsible for presenting to the Board of Governors an audit of accounts, an administrative budget, and the annual report on fiscal year results.

Executive Directors serve on one or more standing committees: the Audit Committee, the Budget Committee, the Committee on Development Effectiveness, the Committee on Governance and Administrative Matters, and the Human Resources Committee. These committees help the Board discharge its oversight responsibilities through in-depth examinations of policies and practices. The Executive Directors’ Steering Committee plays an important role in preparing the Board’s work program.

Directors periodically travel to member countries to gain firsthand knowledge of a country’s economic and social challenges, visit project activities financed by the World Bank Group, and discuss with government officials their assessment of the collaboration with the World Bank Group. The stakeholders they meet include government officials, beneficiaries, representatives of nongovernmental organizations, other development partners (including those in the business community), and Bank staff. In 2013, Directors visited countries in southeast Africa and East Asia.

The Board, through its committees, attends to the effectiveness of the World Bank Group’s activities by regularly engaging with the independent Inspection Panel and the Independent Evaluation Group—which report directly to the Board—as well as with the Internal Audit Department and the external auditor.

Board Achievements of 2013

Although development challenges persist and the global economy remains fragile, the Bank continues its drive toward ending extreme poverty and pursuing shared prosperity in an environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable manner, which are goals the Executive Directors and Governors recently endorsed. The Executive Directors also engaged with senior management on the upcoming World Bank Group Strategy, which will guide the institution in carrying out these goals. Relatedly, the Board discussed the paper “A Common Vision for the World Bank Group,” which the Governors considered at the Spring 2013 Development Committee meeting.

Central to the Board’s discussions on achieving the Bank’s goals were the themes of jobs, disaster risk, and gender. The jobs theme was covered extensively in the World Bank’s flagship report World Development Report 2013: Jobs and its subsequent policy directions. “Managing Disaster Risks for a Resilient Future: The Sendai Report” informed Board conversations on disaster risk issues. Other discussions on the topic of disaster risk included food security concerns; strategies and support for specific natural disasters, such as those in Haiti and Samoa; and the issues raised by the United Nations (UN) Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio + 20) and the UN Climate Change Conference in Doha. And the Update on the Implementation of the Gender Equality Agenda at the World Bank Group reported on gender challenges. The Directors also discussed the flagship report Global Monitoring Report 2013: Rural-Urban Dynamics and the Millennium Development Goals. Fragility and conflict-affected economies were at the forefront during discussions of strategies and operations. The Executive Directors look forward to the World Development Report 2014: Risk and Opportunity—Managing Risk for Development, which will be published in time for the Annual Meetings in Washington, DC, in October of this year.

To streamline the Bank Group’s operational effectiveness, the Board discussed and approved changes to investment lending policies with the aim of focusing lending on performance and results. It also considered reforms to the procurement framework and greater disclosure of Board records. The Executive Directors endorsed a series of measures to enhance the effectiveness of corporate governance by setting criteria for identifying IBRD/IDA operations for Board discussion and aligning them more closely with corporate priorities. The Board also welcomed the Bank’s reengagement with Myanmar after a 25 year absence and with Suriname after a 30-year absence.

The Board approved $31.5 billion in World Bank financial assistance in fiscal 2013, comprising $15.2 billion in IBRD lending and $16.3 billion in IDA support. The Executive Directors also reviewed 22 Country Partnership Strategy products, 21 of which were prepared jointly with the International Finance Corporation (IFC). The Board approved an administrative budget for the World Bank of $1.9 billion for fiscal 2014. (See worldbank.org/en/about/leadership/directors.)

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