The Operational Policy on Forests (OP 4.36) emphasizes the management, conservation and sustainable development of forest ecosystems as essential to lasting poverty reduction and sustainable development. OP 4.36 sets out the terms for Bank projects in the forest sector, including requirements for project design, prohibition of projects that would involve significant conversion or degradation of critical forest areas or related critical natural habitats, and requirements for forest certification for any project involving industrial forests.
All Bank-supported investments are required to conform to the provisions and safeguards in OP 4.36, as well as to the provisions of the other existing Bank operational policies, including the safeguard policies on environmental assessment, indigenous people, natural habitats, cultural property and involuntary resettlement. Furthermore OP 8.60 on development policy lending requires due diligence with regards to impacts on environment, forests and other natural resources for all development policy lending activities. Together, these operational policies ensure that forest operations meet the high standards demanded by many stakeholders in the sector.
The Operational Policy is accompanied by a Definitions Annex, and a Bank Procedures document, which elaborate upon some of the implementation requirements raised by the policy. These documents are available below.