The World Bank's environmental and social safeguard policies are a cornerstone of its support to sustainable poverty reduction. The objective of these policies is to prevent and mitigate undue harm to people and their environment in the development process. These policies provide guidelines for bank and borrower staffs in the identification, preparation, and implementation of programs and projects.
The effectiveness and development impact of projects and programs supported by the Bank has substantially increased as a result of attention to these policies.
Safeguard policies have often provided a platform for the participation of stakeholders in project design, and have been an important instrument for building ownership among local populations.