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World Bank Safeguard Policies

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The World Bank has developed a series of safeguard policies to help staff promote socially and environmentally sustainable approaches to development as well as to ensure that Bank operations do not harm people and the environment. These safeguard policies include the Bank's policy on Environmental Assessment (EA) and those policies that fall within the scope of EA: Cultural Property; Disputed Areas; Forestry; Indigenous Peoples; International Waterways; Involuntary Resettlement; Natural Habitats; Pest Management; and Safety of Dams.

The World Bank conducts Environmental Assessments (EA) of each proposed investment loan to determine the appropriate extent and type of  environmental impact analysis to be undertaken, and whether or not the project may trigger other safeguard policies.  The Bank classifies the proposed project into one of four categories (A, B, C, and FI) depending on the type, location, sensitivity, and scale of the project and the nature and magnitude of its potential environmental impacts.

The government is responsible for the assessments required by the Safeguard Policies while the World Bank is responsible for overall compliance with these policies. The Bank's Legal Vice Presidency monitors compliance with the policies addressing international waterways and disputed areas. The Sustainable Development (SD) Network monitors all other safeguard policies through the  multi-disciplinary Quality Assurance and Compliance Unit (QACU).

During the appraisal process, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) identifies which of these policies are applicable to a project. If IFC invests, the project’s performance is monitored against these policies. Compliance is the expected standard, in addition to compliance with applicable local, national, and international laws.

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