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BP 8.00 - Rapid Response to Crises and Emergencies

These policies were prepared for use by World Bank staff and are not necessarily a complete treatment of the subject.
BP 8.00
March, 2007

This Bank Procedure statement was updated in June 2010 to clarify the use of the Rapid Response Committee (RRC).

NOTE:  OP and BP 8.00, Rapid Response to Crises and Emergencies, together replace OP/BP 8.50, Emergency Recovery Assistance, dated August 1995.  These statements apply to emergency operations submitted for the approval of the Executive Directors on or after March 1, 2007.  Questions on this policy should be addressed to




1.      Initiation of Bank1 Emergency Response.  Emergency situations are immediately reported to the Regional Vice President (RVP)/Managing Director (MD) of the affected Region with a notice to the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and the Vice President, Operations Policy and Country Services.2  In consultation with the affected Region(s), the MD may decide to declare a “corporate emergency” in situations that require the mobilization of technical, financial, or institutional resources that are beyond what the RVP can provide and/or involve a degree of reputational risk that argues for a corporate review/response.  The MD’s decision is communicated to the relevant departments internally.  

2.      The Rapid Response Committee.  In case of “corporate emergencies,” the MD convenes the Rapid Response Committee (RRC) on the basis of an expanded membership of the Operations Committee (OC).3  For other emergencies, depending on the extent and nature, the RVP determines whether to establish an RRC in consultation with the country director (CD).4 All emergency operations to which OP 8.00 applies are coded as such in Bank operational and financial systems, making them subject to streamlined procedures and reduced turnaround standards.5

3.      Designated Emergency Staff.  To ensure adequate legal and fiduciary support to emergency operations, task teams include designated emergency staff from the Regions (Legal, Financial Management, Loan, Procurement, and Safeguards), supported by designated staff from the anchor units.  Additional operational and technical support is provided, as necessary, through the callable roster, with decisions on cross-country and cross-Regional staff deployment recorded through the RRC.6

4.      Internal Review of Emergency Operations.  Emergency operations undergo a single Decision Review Meeting that confirms completion of appraisal and authorizes negotiations.7  The Decision Review Meeting is held following a combined identification-preparation-appraisal mission and is based on a review of a complete negotiations package, eliminating the need for sequential clearances from the Bank’s various safeguards and fiduciary departments.  The minutes of the Decision Review Meeting include a record of clearances and, as appropriate, conditions for concluding negotiations.

5.      Negotiations and Borrower Readiness for Signature. At negotiations, agreement is reached with the borrower on all key aspects of the project and on the terms and conditions of the loan as set out in the legal agreement(s).  To the maximum extent practicable, at negotiations, task teams obtain all legal documentation necessary to facilitate the borrower's timely signature of project legal documents.8

6.      Effectiveness.  Following Board approval,9 legal agreements are signed and projects are declared effective in accordance with simplified Procedural Guidelines.

7.      Project Implementation.  The rapid delivery of emergency assistance is facilitated through streamlined financial management, procurement, and disbursement procedures:

a) rapid processing of withdrawal applications and additional flexibility on financing eligibility and direct payments/use of letters of credit;

b) the application of higher prior review thresholds;

c) increased flexibility on the use of simplified procurement methods;

d) the ability to draw on pre-qualified procurement and project management agents through sole-source or qualification-based selection; and

e) expedited procedures for establishing and activating trust funds.10 

The risks associated with the need for greater speed in the processing and implementation of emergency operations are addressed through more intensive supervision on the part of task teams.

8.       Delegation of Decisionmaking Authority.  The rapid preparation and implementation of emergency operations should be facilitated through the delegation of decisionmaking authority to task teams and country based Bank officials.  Delegation of authority could be provided through the country director to enable country-based Bank officials to approve Project Preparation Advance (PPAs), sign legal agreements and coordinate with sector teams.  Similarly, task teams are normally given a higher degree of clearance/decisionmaking authority for procurement, financial management, and safeguards actions.

9.       Processing Timelines.  For emergency projects of a simple design, task teams should aim to seek Board approval within 10 weeks from initiation of project discussion with government.  For simple project restructuring, task teams should aim to seek approval within 4 weeks.11

  1. "Bank" includes IBRD and IDA, “loans” includes credits, IDA grants, advances under Project Preparation Facility, and trust fund grants.  All references in this BP 8.00 to “emergency operations” include emergency recovery loans, credits, IDA grants and grants under trust funds that support emergency response activities, as well as investment projects restructured or redesigned in response to an emergency situation under sections c) and d) of  paragraph 2 of OP 8.00, including additional financing.  This BP also applies to emergency operations financed by trust fund grants, including multi-donor trust funds.
  2. In line with streamlined procedures, the country director consults early in the preparation process with the CFO’s office on the availability of adequate financial resources. 
  3. The role of the RRC is to a) ensure timely decisions on the Bank’s strategy and response to an emergency, including its involvement in any immediate damage/needs assessment and its role vis-à-vis other donors; b) advise on the mix of instruments to be used; c) ensure adequate institutional response from Bank teams/departments; and d) resolve procedural bottlenecks that could cause delays in the preparation, appraisal, approval, and implementation of emergency operations.  The RRC also discusses the need for cross-Regional staff redeployments.     
  4. The decision to establish a Rapid Response Committee (RRC) may be delegated top the country director for emergencies in which the Bank's response does not require cross-departmental deployment of administrative budget or staffing. 
  5. Staff should refer to the Procedural Guidelines  for detailed information on streamlined processes and turnaround standards.  The procedural guidelines are not subject to additional Region-specific guidelines and/or requirements.
  6. Task teams should refer to the Board Paper  Strengthening the World Bank’s Rapid Response and Long-Term Engagement in Fragile States (SecM-2007-0018), January 19, 2007, for details on the three-tier approach for strengthening the Bank’s staffing and organizational support to improve Bank response to emergency situations.
  7. When it is determined that a given emergency operation merits a corporate review, such a review is held in lieu of the Decision Review Meeting.
  8. Legal documents may include authorizations of signature, including authority to sign Statutory Committee Report/Recommendation, signatories to Designated Accounts, and agreed formats for legal opinions.
  9. Approval authority for restructured projects is defined in the provisions of OP /BP13.05, Project Supervision.
  10. Detailed guidelines on simplified procedures are available in the Procedural Guidelines. 
  11. These processing timelines are indicative and can be subject to factors outside the Bank’s full control.

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