This Bank Procedures statement was revised in March 2012 to take into account the provisions of OP/BP 9.00, issued in February 2012; and previously revised in August 2004 to reflect the term "development policy lending" (formerly adjustment lending), in accordance with OP/BP 8.60, issued in August 2004.
Note: BP 17.30 replaces the version dated August 1996. Questions may be addressed to the Division Chief, Board Operations.
Revised March 2012
This BP sets out the responsibilities of staff with regard to their communications with executive directors. These responsibilities should be understood in the context of the executive directors' own responsibilities as set out in the Articles of Agreement, and their communications with member countries. An executive director's relationship with a member country that has appointed or elected him/her covers all aspects of the Bank's relations with that country. The executive director and the member country have a two-way relationship: The executive director is expected to inform the country of issues before the Board, and to provide his/her views, recommendations, and advice; the executive director also takes into account the views of the country in coming to his/her own position. Executive directors who represent borrowing countries can play a particularly useful role in explaining the Bank's lending policies and procedures to delegations from such countries that seek their advice.
1. In order to assist executive directors to carry out certain of their responsibilities, it is Bank policy1 to provide each executive director with appropriate, timely information about significant activities and problems concerning the countries he/she represents and to seek his/her assistance as appropriate on major country problems and issues.
2. This statement codifies instructions and guidance to the staff for the provision of information to individual executive directors on matters of concern to their countries. It does not cover information provided to all executive directors in their collective, decision-making capacity as members of the Board; that information flow is covered elsewhere in Bank manuals.
3. For countries for which the Bank has a lending program, Regional vice presidents are primarily responsible for ensuring that executive directors are kept properly informed. For other countries, each vice president is responsible for ensuring that executive directors are kept properly informed of activities for which the vice president is responsible.
Action to be Taken
4. Executive directors representing both borrowing and nonborrowing countries are interested in a variety of information, whether about headquarters or field activities, which differs from time to time and country to country. Vice presidents and country directors need to keep alert to the informational needs of executive directors by maintaining a dialogue with the executive directors. The guiding principles for the staff in this respect are as follows:
(a) Executive directors are kept currently informed of important matters and receive at least as much important, current information on Bank plans and programs as do the officials of the countries they represent;
(b) Executive directors receive copies of important documents (including draft Country Assistance Strategies) sent to the officials of the countries they represent;
(c) Information is provided by the staff in advance of, as well as in response to, requests from executive directors; and
(d) Matters involving communications with executive directors involving interpretation or application of policy, future plans, important problems and the like are initiated by, or addressed or referred to, staff at the country director level or above. However, inquiries from executive directors about technical and other factual matters may be referred to and handled by staff below country department director level.
Missions and Visits
5. Executive directors are informed on a monthly or quarterly basis of all prospective Bank missions and visits to their countries. Such information is provided by the responsible department2 in memorandum form. The memorandum indicates purpose, composition, and timing of the mission or visit and is sent sufficiently in advance of departure so that the executive director may request a predeparture briefing. Missions send the executive director concerned copies of all aide-memoire they submit to the country authorities.
6. Likewise, executive directors are informed of all impending visits of delegations and important individuals from their countries to the Bank whether for technical discussions associated with negotiations, negotiations,3 or otherwise. Information is provided by the department handling the visit in memorandum form as soon as possible after the arrangements are confirmed and indicates timing and purpose of the visit, as well as the names of the visitors.
Communications with Country Officials
7. Executive directors receive copies of correspondence from or to the officials of their countries and are informed of important discussions with country officials (whether in person or by telephone). Departments and country offices receiving or originating the communication are responsible for sending copies to, or otherwise informing, the appropriate executive director.
Country Assistance Strategies and Lending and Operational Programs
8. Executive directors representing borrowing countries are kept currently informed of the status of the Country Assistance Strategies--including current programs, future plans, and problems--or their countries. Considerable operational information is provided to all executive directors in periodic reports (e.g., Monthly Operational Summary, President's Reports, etc.). This regular information flow is supplemented with meetings from time to time between a Regional vice president and/or a country director and an executive director to discuss the current and future programs for each of the executive director's countries. Such meetings, normally initiated by staff, are intended to provide executive directors with a better and deeper understanding of the content and direction of staff thinking on country programs, to exchange views on important problems and issues, and to seek assistance, as appropriate, from the executive director. Between such meetings, matters of importance are brought to the attention of the executive director in a timely manner.
9. In addition to the operational information mentioned above, there are other matters in which individual executive directors have an interest and a right to be kept currently informed. Nothing in this statement is intended to restrict the flow of such information; to the contrary, it requires the staff to be alert to the executive directors' information needs and to take action to meet them by providing information at an early stage in the process. On the other hand, nothing in it is intended to supersede or modify the respective decision-making responsibilities of the executive directors and the staff, nor the procedures and conventions by which the Bank makes decisions, protects confidential information, conducts negotiations, sets policy, and announces its decisions to interested parties.
10. When executive directors request information on Bank policy, and on matters of a general nature and those that do not fall within the purview of a particular vice presidency, the Corporate Secretariat (SEC) is responsible for receiving the requests and coordinating the responses to them. On other matters that are not country-specific, staff correspondence with executive directors is copied to SEC, which determines whether information provided at the request of one executive director should be circulated to other executive directors.
11. Staff consult with SEC before contacting executive directors to exchange views with them on policy matters or to seek their guidance on matters likely to come before the Board.
"Bank" includes IBRD and IDA.
When information covered by this BP is provided to an executive director by a department other than a country department about a country for which the Bank has a lending program, the information is provided through, or in coordination with, the responsible country department (see Administrative Manual Statement 2.00).
With reference to negotiations, BP 10.00, Investment Lending: Identification to Board Presentation, provides that SEC send the Notice of Invitation to Negotiate to all the executive directors and, in addition, that Regional staff send the individual executive director concerned copies of the actual Invitation to Negotiate sent to the government, draft legal documents, and prenegotiations Project Appraisal Document. BP 8.60, Development Policy Lending, has similar provisions. See also BP 9.00, Program-for-Results Financing. Staff should note that although the executive directors do not participate in negotiations, their staff may be present as observers.