Specific Environmental Assessment Sourcebook Updates can be found under the corresponding Chapters on the right
The Sourcebook is designed to assist all those involved in environmental assessment (EA). They include the environmental assessors themselves, project designers and World Bank task managers (TMs). This focus supports an important premise of EA, that sustainable development is achieved most efficiently when negative environmental impacts are identified and addressed at the earliest possible planning stage. The Sourcebook provides practical guidance for designing just such sustainable Bank-assisted projects.
Environmental assessment teams conducting EAs for borrowing governments need to know Bank policy regarding the project under consideration and which aspects of a project are of particular concern to the Bank. This Sourcebook provides specific information and common ground for discussion among those involved: EA professionals, the Bank, and borrowing governments.
Project designers need to know applicable Bank requirements and the environmental implications of their design choices. In addition, they need to understand the objectives of an EA team. The Sourcebook provides not only project-specific considerations, but establishes common ground for general discussion, such as that regarding country strategy.
TMs are responsible for ensuring that borrowers fulfill Bank requirements for environmental review, including EAs where indicated. The Sourcebook provides assistance for these advisory tasks, through discussions of fundamental environmental considerations (with emphasis on those with relatively more impact); summaries of relevant Bank policies; and analyses of other topics that affect project implementation (e.g., financial intermediary lending, community involvement, economic evaluation).
Additional audiences likely to be interested in the Sourcebook are other economic development and finance agencies, EA teams for non-Bank projects, environmentalists, academics and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
The Sourcebook focuses on those operations with major potential for negative environmental impact, such as new infrastructure, dams, and highways. Projects with relatively less negative potential, such as maintenance and rehabilitation, are not examined in detail at this stage; they merit a companion volume.
Bank policies and procedures, guidelines, precedents and 'best practice' regarding the environment have been scattered throughout the institution and its publications -- or have resided only in the heads of Bank staff. This Sourcebook now collects this corporate knowledge into a single source. It is planned to be an easy-to-use reference manual, hence the overlaps and repetition. Its format is designed to facilitate the frequent updating necessary in a rapidly changing field such as the environment. The Table of Contents is the most efficient entry point from which to locate sections relevant for an individual user. Comments are invited at any stage from users on ways the Sourcebook can better meet their needs.
From the Environmental Assessment Sourcebook 1991 Foreword