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The World Bank introduced an Environmental Assessment (EA) policy as an Operational Directive (OD) 4.01 in 1989. This policy was expanded to Operational Policy (OP) 4.01 and Bank Procedures (BP) 4.01 in 1999 and most recently updated in March 2007.


OP/BP 4.01 applies to any Bank-financed or implemented investment loan if there is the potential for that project to result in adverse environmental impacts. It is also designed as a tool to improve project performance and to enhance the quality and sustainability of projects. It does so by providing the guidance that allows borrower decision makers and Bank operational staff to ensure that the project options under consideration are environmentally sound and sustainable. Projects which were appraised after March 1999 have to comply with the OP/BP 4.01.


Operational Policy 4.01


The World Bank's Operational Policies are short, focused statements that establish the parameters for the conduct of operations. They describe the circumstances under which exceptions to policy are admissible and spell out who authorizes exceptions.

  Operational Policy (OP) 4.01, Environmental Assessment

  OP 4.01 Annex A, Definitions 

  OP 4.01 Annex B, Content for an Environmental Report for Category A Project 

  OP 4.01 Annex C, Environmental Management Plan 

Operational Policy 4.01 should be read in conjuction with the Bank Procedures 4.01 on Environmental Assessment.

Bank Procedures 4.01

The World Bank Procedures explain how Bank staff carry out the policies set out in the Operational Policy. They spell out the procedures and documentation required to ensure consistency and quality across the World Bank.

Bank Procedures (BP) 4.01, Environmental Assessment

BP 4.01 Annex A, Environmental Data Sheet for Projects in the IBRD/IDA Lending Program 

BP 4.01 Annex B. Application of Environmental Assessment to Dam and Reservoir Projects

BP 4.01 Annex C, Application of Environmental Assessment to Projects Involving Pest Management 

Last updated: 2010-04-26