Overview

The World Bank's Policy on Access to Information has enabled the organization to become a global leader in transparency and has made a groundbreaking change in how the World Bank makes information available to the public. Now the public has access to more information than ever before—information about projects under preparation, projects under implementation, analytic and advisory activities, and Board proceedings.

Underlying the policy is the principle that the World Bank (namely the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Development Association) will disclose any information in its possession that is not on its list of exceptions.

The policy also outlines a clear process for making information publicly available and provides a right to appeal if information-seekers believe they were improperly or unreasonably denied access to information or there is a public interest case to override an exception that restricts access to certain information.

Access to Information Brochure
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How has the policy changed?

Over the past 20 years, the World Bank’s policy on disclosing information has gradually evolved. Before the adoption of the Policy on Access to Information, the World Bank’s approach had been to spell out what documents the World Bank discloses.

The World Bank’s Policy on Access to Information, which became effective on July 1, 2010, was a pivotal shift in the World Bank’s approach to making information available to the public. For more information see the Evolution of the World Bank's Disclosure Policies.

 

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2015
Modification to the AI Policy to clarify application to Board of Governors records. 5th Anniversary of the AI Policy. 
2013
Modification to the AI Policy to clarify declassification of certain board records.
2010
World Bank implements new Access to Information Policy, replacing the World Bank’s Information Disclosure policy.
2009
Board approved a new Access to Information policy, providing for disclosure of unprecedented amount of information. Interested stakeholders will be able to follow projects step by step through each stage of a project lifecycle. The new Policy includes clear procedures for making information available to the public and provides an appeal process in case access is denied to certain information.
2005
Executive Directors approved disclosure of more World Bank documents, simplified clearance procedures for disclosing information not on “positive list,” and proposed to pilot disclosure of Board drafts before Board deliberation (“simultaneous disclosure”).
2003
Board agreed to strengthen Public Information Centers (PICs), and adopted a Translation Framework that broadened access and dissemination of information to stimulate interest and encourage participation in the World Bank’s work.
2002
Unprecedented surge in demand for information leads to significant adjustments in World Bank facilities to cope with increased demand for information during the first year implementing the revised information disclosure policy approved in 2001.
2001
Board of Executive Directors approved major revisions to information disclosure policy, agreed to disclose a greater number of Board and program-related documents and use a more systematic approach to access historical information in the World Bank Archives.
1997
The InfoShop is established in Washington, D.C., as a one-stop shop for information about the World Bank’s work.
1993
Board of Executive Directors approved revisions to the World Bank’s Disclosure Policy expanding types of existing documents to be made publicly available, introduced the Project Information Document (PID), and creation of a Public Information Center (PICs) in Washington, D.C., and a network to disseminate information through the World Bank’s country offices.
1985
World Bank issues first instructions to staff on information disclosure, called the “Directive on Disclosure of Information”, establishing a “presumption in favor of disclosure” in absence of compelling reasons not to disclose. It divided information into 3 categories: published, available to specific audiences, or restricted, and listed the information that could be disclosed through a “Positive list”.

 

 

Last Updated: Sep 22, 2015