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Role of Executive Directors

Executive Function

As the Boards of Executive Directors is resident at Washington, D.C., 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.

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 Board of Governors under the Articles of Agreement. The Executive Directors select a President who serves as Chairman of the Boards.

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; and decide on policies that impact the World Bank's general operations. The Executive Directors are also responsible for presenting to the Board 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 Board of Executive Directors takes into account the evolving perspectives of member countries on the role of the Bank Group as well as the Bank's operational experience.

The Executive Directors have a dual responsibility, as they represent the interests and concerns of their country or group of countries to the Boards and the Bank’s management, as well as the interests and concerns of the Bank to the country or group of countries that appointed or elected them.

One of the most important and unusual powers given to the Executive Directors by the Articles is the power to interpret the Articles. Interpretations by the Executive Directors, unless overruled by the Board 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 no specific interpretation has been made since July 1964 with the single exception of an “interpretation” issued in October 1986 in respect of the valuation of the Bank’s capital. Otherwise, the Executive Directors often agree on the tacit interpretation of the Articles by accepting their application in a certain way or by concurring with the interpretation submitted to them by the General Counsel of the Bank. back to top

Oversight Function
There are two Bank units reporting directly to the Board: the Independent Evaluation Group and the Inspection Panel.

Blue ArrowThe 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.

Blue ArrowThe 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.

There 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.

Last updated: 2010-03-22

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