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BP 2.11 - Country Assistance Strategies

These policies were prepared for use by World Bank staff and are not necessarily a complete treatment of the subject.
BP 2.11
November, 2010

This Bank Procedures statement was revised in April 2012 to streamline clearance procedures by removing the requirement for legal clearance of ISNs.
BP 2.11 replaces the version dated June 2005, and the following Operational Memoranda: Public Disclosure of Country Assistance Strategies, September 21, 1998; and CAS Progress Reports, October 8, 1996. Staff should also refer to the CAS Guidelines on the OPCS website.
Questions should be addressed to
Note: BP 2.11 only applies to CAS products that have a Concept Note approved prior to 1 July 2014. Please see "World Bank Group Directive – Country Engagement" for additional information.

Revised April 2012

1. The Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) identifies the key areas in which Bank Group1 support can best assist a country in achieving sustainable development and poverty reduction.2 It is the central tool with which Management and the Board review and guide the Bank Group’s support for the country’s development programs. Oriented toward results and based on systematic Bank Group collaboration, it is prepared in consultation with country authorities, development partners, and other stakeholders as appropriate.

2. The CAS starts from the country’s vision of its development goals, which may be set out in a poverty reduction strategy (PRS) or other country-owned and -led strategy process. The CAS describes the Bank’s diagnosis of the country’s development situation. The CAS is grounded in a results framework that highlights the outcomes that are expected from Bank support during the implementation period. The CAS sets out a selective program of planned Bank Group activities in support of these outcomes. The program is tailored to the country’s needs, against the background of the government’s development objectives and strategy, the Bank’s ongoing portfolio, and the activities of other development partners. The document highlights any differences between the country and the Bank on the approach outlined in the CAS.

Frequency and Products

3. A CAS is normally prepared every four years for each country in which the Bank has a planned or ongoing program; its timing is aligned with country conditions (e.g., PRS preparation, election cycles).3 At the midpoint of the implementation of a CAS, the Bank prepares a CAS Progress Report (CASPR), a brief document focusing on key developments since the CAS, with a view to introducing mid-course corrections as necessary.4 For a country that is not ready for a CAS, the Bank may prepare an Interim Strategy Note (ISN),5 which normally covers a period of 12 to 24 months, until a CAS can be prepared.

4. Each year, the Bank, IFC, and MIGA, jointly agree on which CASs planned for the coming fiscal year will be prepared jointly.6 CASPRs normally reflect the same level of collaboration among the Bank, IFC, and MIGA as the CASs on which they are based. As appropriate, ISNs may also be prepared jointly.

Preparation and Consultations

5. The country management unit leads the preparation of the CAS, CASPR, or ISN.7 Throughout preparation, the task team leader coordinates closely with relevant Bank Group units, development partners (IMF, regional development banks, bilaterals, etc.), and other sources of expertise to elicit informed views on the key issues to be highlighted in the CAS, CASPR, or ISN. The task team leader informs the Executive Director representing the country of the status of the CAS, CASPR, or ISN and provides him/her with copies of any drafts that are sent to country officials.

6. The CAS and, to the extent possible, the ISN are developed in close consultation with the government, usually through several ministries and agencies and at various levels. To help increase the Bank’s understanding of country conditions, and to promote public acceptance of the CAS, the Bank seeks the government’s prior agreement to hold consultations (through workshops, roundtables, etc.) on the proposed CAS with nongovernmental stakeholders, such as community-based organizations and the private sector. CAS consultations for IDA-eligible borrowers build on the country’s PRS consultations.

7. The Bank collaborates with development partners to seek greater coherence across institutions and alignment of programs with the country’s development priorities. The Bank seeks to promote country-led aid management and to increase selectivity in line with the Bank’s mandate and comparative advantage.

8. Early enough in the preparation of a CAS to derive lessons for CAS design, the country team prepares a CAS Completion Report (CASCR), using the results framework set out in the previous strategy8 to review that program’s effectiveness in achieving progress toward the stated outcomes. The CASCR is reviewed together with the draft CAS during the Bank Group-wide review process, and the final version is included as an annex to the CAS. The Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) reviews the final CASCR to validate the self-evaluation by the country team.

Review Process

9. After the strategy concept is defined, but before detailed preparation of the CAS or ISN begins, the task team prepares a concept document that is reviewed according to Regional procedures and guidelines and is copied to the Bankwide distribution list. For a CASPR, the Region decides whether a concept review is necessary.

10. All CASs, ISNs and CASPRs are subject to one corporate review. For the CAS or ISN, after initial consultations with country authorities and other stakeholders, the Region consults with OPCS to determine the appropriate level of the corporate review: by the Regional Operations Committee (usually chaired by the Regional Vice President) or the Operations Committee (usually chaired by the Managing Director, Operations).9 Staff may refer to Guidelines and Procedures for Corporate Reviews of Operations and Country Strategies.10 The CASPR review is normally conducted by a Regional Operations Committee. Network anchors and other relevant Bank Group units are invited to participate and comment in the corporate review. The corporate review documentation comprises the final draft of the strategy, including annexes, and the decision note of any prior review meeting. The CAS Completion Report is circulated as part of the CAS corporate review documentation and discussed at the corporate review meeting.

Clearance, Board Distribution, and Disclosure

11. Upon completion of the review process, the task team leader seeks the clearance of the Credit Risk (CFRCR) Department (if the country is eligible for IBRD financing) and/or the Resource Mobilization (CFPIR) Department (if the country is eligible for IDA financing) and consults with and seeks the advice of the Legal Department on the final draft CAS, CASPR, or ISN.11 The country director sends the final draft CAS, CASPR, or ISN to the RVP (with a copy to Country Economics, OPCS) for review and clearance according to Regional procedures.

12. Once the RVP has cleared the document, the Region forwards the final draft to the Managing Director (with a copy to Country Economics, OPCS) for review and clearance; if the document is prepared jointly with the IFC or MIGA, the Region also sends it to IFC’s/MIGA’s Executive Vice President for clearance.12 After receiving the clearances, the Region submits the package to SECPO for Board distribution.13

13. Disclosure of the CAS, CASPR, or ISN, and the Chairman’s Summing Up summarizing the Board of Executive Directors’ discussion of any of these documents is governed by The World Bank Policy on Access to Information.14

Link with Operations

14. For each lending operation, the Project Appraisal Document (PAD) or Program Document (PD) notes the date of the most recent CAS, CASPR, or ISN and outlines how the proposed operation contributes to the results set out in the CAS, CASPR, or ISN. If an operation deviates significantly from the CAS, the PAD or PD explains why; such an operation is not eligible for presentation under streamlined procedures.


15. The Bank collaborates with the government and external partners in implementing CAS activities. The country team monitors and evaluates progress toward achieving CAS outcomes identified in the results framework. The CAS monitoring and evaluation system uses national monitoring and evaluation systems, where possible, and draws on the monitoring and evaluation arrangements built into Bank operations.


  1. "Bank Group" refers to IBRD, IDA, IFC, and MIGA; “Bank” refers to IBRD and IDA; and “lending operation” includes IDA credits and IDA grants.
  2. See OP 1.00, Poverty Reduction.
  3. CASs for IDA-eligible (i.e., IDA and blend) countries are normally based on the country’s PRS, and the CAS is presented to Executive Directors only after the presentation of the PRS on which it is based.
  4. Some flexibility is permitted in the timing of CAS and CASPR preparation to take relevant country developments into account. CAS teams should consult with OPCS if CAS or CASPR preparation is expected to deviate significantly from the normal frequency.
  5. For countries affected by conflict, the Bank prepares the ISN in accordance with OP/BP 2.30, Development Cooperation and Conflict. For further guidance on preparing an ISN in a fragile and conflict-affected state that is re-engaging with the Bank, staff should refer to Guidelines for Preparation of Interim Strategy Notes for LICUS Re-Engagement.
  6. For details on the collaboration between the Bank, IFC, and MIGA, and for workflow arrangements relating to such cooperation in CAS preparation, staff should refer to CAS Guidelines.
  7. For guidance on CAS, CASPR, and ISN content, staff should refer to CAS Guidelines, BP 2.30 for countries affected by conflict, and Guidelines for Preparation of Interim Strategy Notes for LICUS Re-Engagement for a fragile and conflict-affected state re-engaging with the Bank.
  8. The previous program may have been set out in a CAS, an ISN, or other strategy document. In some cases, the preceding strategy document may lack a results framework; staff should refer to CAS Guidelines.
  9. BP 2.30 provides that ISNs for countries affected by conflict receive technical advice during preparation from an advisory committee. For ISNs for fragile and conflict-affected states re-engaging with the Bank, staff should also refer to Guidelines for Preparation of Interim Strategy Notes for LICUS Re-Engagement.
  10. For guidance on the preparation and conduct of the Bank-group wide corporate review, staff should refer to CAS Guidelines and Guidelines and Procedures for Corporate Reviews of Operations and Country Strategies.
  11. If there are outstanding issues with the Credit Risk Department and/or the Resource Mobilization Department, the Region succinctly highlights these issues in a memo seeking MD guidance and clearance. For ISNs for countries affected by conflict, the ISN is cleared according to Regional procedures, as set out in BP 2.30.
  12. For guidance on the workflow processes related to CAS clearance, staff should refer to CAS Guidelines.
  13. CASs and ISNs are distributed to the Board of Executive Directors for discussion. CASPRs are normally distributed on an absence-of-objection basis—that is, unless Executive Directors request a discussion on a CASPR, minutes of a subsequent Board meeting record that Executive Directors noted the CASPR; however, when a CASPR entails a substantive change compared to the original document, the document is scheduled for a Board discussion. For workflow processes relating to Board distribution of CASs, CASPRs, and ISNs, staff should refer to CAS Guidelines.
  14. See The World Bank Policy on Access to Information. For workflow processes related to disclosure of these documents, staff should refer to The Staff Handbook.

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