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OP 4.02 - Environmental Action Plans

These policies were prepared for use by World Bank staff and are not necessarily a complete treatment of the subject.
OP 4.02
February, 2000

This Operational Policy statement has been revised to ensure consistency with The World Bank Policy on Disclosure of Information, issued in 2002.

Note:  OP and BP 4.02 replace the versions dated October 1994.  Questions may be addressed to the Chair, Environment Sector Board.

1.  The Bank1 encourages and supports the efforts of borrowing governments to prepare and implement an appropriate Environmental Action Plan (EAP)2 and to revise it periodically as necessary. Although the Bank may provide advice, responsibility for preparing and implementing the EAP rests with the government, and the EAP is the country's plan.

2.  An EAP describes a country's major environmental concerns, identifies the principal causes of problems, and formulates policies and actions to deal with the problems.3  In addition, when environmental information is lacking, the EAP identifies priority environmental information needs and indicates how essential data and related information systems will be developed.  The EAP provides the preparation work for integrating environmental considerations into a country's overall economic and social development strategy.  The EAP is a living document that is expected to contribute to the continuing process by which the government develops a comprehensive national environmental policy and programs to implement the policy.  This process is expected to form an integral part of overall national development policy and decision making.

3.  The Bank draws on the EAP for environmental information and analysis to plan its assistance with appropriate attention to environmental considerations. The Bank encourages each government to integrate its EAP into sectoral and national development plans. The Bank works with each government to ensure that information from the EAP (a) is integrated into the Country Assistance Strategy,4 and (b) informs the development of program- and project-level details in a continuing process of environmental planning. 


4.  The Bank encourages the government to secure support for the EAP and to help ensure its effective implementation by (a) using multidisciplinary teams from appropriate agencies within the government to assist with preparation, and (b) taking into account the views of interested parties (including local nongovernmental organizations [NGOs]5), obtained through means that induce broad public participation. 


5.  While the EAP is being prepared, the Bank encourages the government to make drafts available to groups that will be affected by its implementation and to other interested groups, including NGOs.  When the EAP is completed, the Bank encourages the government to issue it to aid agencies and the public.  When the Bank has officially received an EAP and has obtained the government's consent, it makes the EAP publicly available.6 


  1. "Bank" includes IBRD and IDA.
  2. The term "EAP" may refer to a specific document formally designated as an EAP, or to a plan set forth in such comparable documents as a report of a task force, a conservation strategy, or an overall development strategy that treats environmental issues.  National reports on the environment submitted by member countries for the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) (Rio de Janeiro, June 1992) are in principle similar to EAPs.  If in scope and content a country's UNCED report is consistent with the requirements for an EAP, including those on broad public participation (see para. 4), the Bank may accept that report as an EAP.
  3. Bank staff can access more information on EAP from the ENV website.
  4. See BP 2.11, Country Assistance Strategies.
  5. See GP 14.70, Involving Nongovernmental Organizations in Bank-Supported Activities.
  6. See The World Bank Policy on Disclosure of Information, para. 29 (Washington, D.C.:  World Bank, 2002). 


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