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Social Sustainability and Safeguards
A Bank-wide Practice Group

The Bank is faced with the unprecedented challenge of addressing adverse social impacts of major global trends such as the food, fuel and financial crises, climate change, demographic shifts, forced displacement, conflict and violence, and urbanization. At the same time, the doubling of the Bank’s infrastructure portfolio and rising inspection panel cases with social issues, have catapulted larger social risk management and social sustainability issues to the fore. However, these challenges also provide immense opportunities to design and implement pro-poor approaches and solutions. In order to better address these emergent challenges and opportunities, the Social Development Sector Board has launched the Practice Group on Social Sustainability and Safeguards.

The key objectives of the Practice Group are to:

  • provide a platform for articulating and addressing the operational dimensions of social sustainability;
  • help task teams find ways to enhance social opportunities and mitigate social risks, including those covered by the Bank’s social safeguard policies; and
  • provide guidance to task teams on the application of the principles of social sustainability and social safeguard policies in specific sector, country and institutional contexts.

The Practice Group is not a substitute for the corporate responsibilities of policy interpretation and compliance vested in OPCS and its regional OS Units. The group also aims to provide guidance on social due diligence instruments, such as social analysis and social assessments that should be used to identify and address

social development issues in investment projects.

The Practice Group will be guided by the Technical Committee consisting of Maninder Gill (LCR as the Coordinator), Afshan Khawaja (QACU), Alberto Ninio (LEGEN), Bhuvan Bhatnagar (SAR), Nina Bhatt (EAP), Erick Brusberg (ECA), Maria Cruz (AFR), Knut Opsal (MNA), Elena Correa, Chaogang Wang and Varalakshmi Vemuru (SDV). Requests for Guidance by Task Teams may be sent to the Secretariat by phone (202-473-8176) or by e-mail ( More details on the process and format are available at Request to Social Sustainability & Safeguards Practice Group Technical Committee. Recommendations of the Technical Committee will be shared with Task Teams within 10 working days following the receipt of request. Recommendations will also be shared with the respective Regional Sector Managers and Regional Safeguards Coordinators, and posted on the Practice Group website.

Regular Clinics will be organized to promote a community of practice and provide a common platform for sharing knowledge. The Clinics will provide an open forum allowing TTLs and Task Teams to share their problems on social sustainability and safeguards and discuss them with experienced practitioners from around the Bank.

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