What is the World Bank Policy on Access to Information?
The World Bank Policy on Access to Information sets forth a ground-breaking change in how the World Bank makes information available to the public. Now the public can get more information than ever before—information about projects under preparation, projects under implementation, analytic and advisory activities, and Board proceedings.
Underlying the new policy is the principle that the World Bank (namely the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Development Association) will disclose any information in its possession that is not on a list of exceptions.
The policy also includes a clear process for making information publicly available and a right to appeal if information seekers believe they were improperly or unreasonably denied access to information or there is a public interest case to override an exception that restricts certain information.
How has the policy changed?
Over the past 15 years, the World Bank’s policy on disclosing information has evolved gradually. Until now, the World Bank’s approach had been to spell out what documents the World Bank discloses. The World Bank Policy on Access to Information effective July 1, 2010, is a pivotal shift in the World Bank’s approach to making information available to the public. Under that policy, the World Bank discloses any information in its possession that is not on a list of exceptions. This policy positioned the World Bank as a leader in transparency and accountability among international institutions. For more information see the Evolution of the World Bank's Disclosure Policies.
On April 3, 2013 the World Bank’s Board approved revisions to the Policy on Access to Information. The new World Bank Policy on Access to Information, effective July 1, 2013, supersedes the World Bank Policy on Access to Information dated July 1, 2010. The changes to the AI policy are clearly aligned with the World Bank Group’s commitment to greater transparency, accountability and access to information. The Bank has long been recognized for its leadership in openness and transparency. A more progressive Access to Information Policy furthers the Bank’s commitment to development and the achievement of the World Bank Group’s mission to end extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity.