The Boards of Executive Directors reside at Washington, D.C. and they function in continuous session at the Bank. Regular meetings are usually held once or twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Other meetings are held whenever the Bank's business requires.
Role of the Executive Directors
The Executive Directors have a dual responsibility, as representatives of the Bank's member country or countries that appointed or elected them, and as Bank officials who represent the interests and concerns of those countries.
Executive Function of the Executive Directors
The Executive Directors are responsible for the conduct of the general operations of the Bank and exercise all the powers delegated to them by the Boards of Governors under the Articles of Agreement. The Executive Directors select a President who serves as Chairman of the Boards. The Executive Directors approve the President's contract and have the authority to remove the President from office.
Bank’s business requires Executive Directors consider and decide the proposals made by the President on:
- IBRD loans and guarantees
- IDA credits and grants
- IFC investments
- MIGA guarantees
- Policies that impact the World Bank's general operations
The Executive Directors are also responsible for presenting to the Boards of Governors, at the Annual Meetings, an audit of accounts, an administrative budget, and an annual report on the Bank's operations and policies as well as other matters. In shaping Bank policy, the Boards of Executive Directors take into account the evolving perspectives of member countries on the role of the Bank Group as well as the Bank's operational experience.
One of the most important and unusual powers given to the Executive Directors by the IBRD Articles of Agreement is the power to interpret the Articles. Interpretations by the Executive Directors, unless overruled by the Boards of Governors, are binding on Bank member countries. The Executive Directors frequently made use of this power in the early years of the Bank, but since 1964 only two interpretations have been made. In October 1986, the Articles were "interpreted" in respect of the valuation of the Bank’s capital. In July 2010, the Articles were "interpreted" to permit France and the United Kingdom to appoint Executive Directors when, as a result of a shareholding realignment, both members hold equal number of shares and both will be the fifth largest shareholders in the Bank.
Oversight Function of the Executive Directors
There are two Bank units reporting directly to the Board:
- The Independent Evaluation Group’s objective is to provide an independent assessment of the results of the Bank’s work. Its reviews provide an objective basis for assessing the impact and sustainability of the Bank's work and promote learning from experience.
- The Inspection Panel is a three-member body created in 1993. Its primary purpose is to address the concerns of the people who may be affected by Bank projects and to ensure that the Bank adheres to its operational policies and procedures during design, preparation and implementation phases of projects.
The two other functions that need to be mentioned in the Board’s oversight function are the following:
- External Audit. The Executive Directors are also responsible for an audit of accounts. To that effect, they approve the appointment and mandate of the External Auditor which is rotated every five years.
- Conflict Resolution System consists of: Ombuds Services (OMB), Mediation Services (MEF), Peer Review Services (PRS), and Respectful Workplace Advisors (RAWs). They discharge their duties independently of any influence from Bank Group management or each other. They report to the Office of the President for administrative purposes. Other internal justice services include Integrity Vice Presidency, the Office of Ethics and Business Conduct EBC), the Administrative Tribunal (WBAT) and Staff Association.