|Bank projects and activities are governed by Operational Policies, which are designed to ensure that they are economically, financially, socially and environmentally sound. The Bank's Operational Manualspells them out, and provides guidance on how to comply with them ("Bank Procedures" and "Good Practices"). Among the key types of policies catalogued in the manual are:
- Policies on business products and instruments, which establish rules for lending instruments, country economic and sector work, technical assistance, grants, guarantees and other Bank products.
- Safeguard policies, which include Environmental Assessments and policies designed to prevent unintended adverse effects on third parties and the environment. Specific safeguard policies address natural habitats, pest management, cultural property, involuntary resettlement, indigenous peoples, safety of dams, projects on international waterways and projects in disputed areas.
- Fiduciary policies, including rules governing financial management, procurement, and disbursement. There are also detailed guidelines for the selection of consultantsand the procurement of goods and worksin projects financed by the World Bank.
- Management policies covering such areas as project Monitoring and evaluation
The Bank has promulgated a Disclosure Policyin order to make information about its activities widely available. The policy establishes the Bank's general approach to opening its records, and details the many Bank documents available to the public. As the policy demonstrates, the Bank believes that widespread sharing of information is essential for development. It stimulates public debate, broadens public understanding, and enhances transparency and accountability. It also strengthens public support for efforts to improve the lives of people in developing countries, facilitates coordination among the many parties involved in development, and improves the quality of assistance projects and programs.
The Inspection Panelhelps ensure compliance with Bank policies. An independent body to which individuals and communities can turn if they believe that their rights or interests have been or could be directly harmed by a Bank-financed project. The panel includes senior compliance experts who report directly to the Board of Executive Directors.