Environmental and Social Policies for Projects

When we provide governments with financing to invest in projects — such as building a road, connecting people to electricity, or treating waste water — we aim to ensure that the people and the environment are protected from potential adverse impacts. We do this through policies that identify, avoid, and minimize harm to people and the environment. These policies require the borrowing governments to address certain environmental and social risks in order to receive World Bank support for investment projects.

The current environmental and social policies of the Bank are known as the Safeguard Policies, the mechanism for addressing environmental and social issues in our project design, implementation and operation, and they provide a framework for consultation with communities and for public disclosure.

In August 2016, the World Bank adopted a new set of environment and social policies called the Environmental and Social Framework (ESF). Preparations to implement the ESF are underway, with plans to be up and running during 2018. The ESF will incrementally replace the Safeguard Policies; the two will operate in parallel for about seven years to govern projects approved before and after the date the ESF starts to be applied.





The Environmental and Social 
Safeguard Policies

The World Bank’s current environmental and social policies, consisting of our 11 Operational Policies.

The Environmental and Social Framework (starting in 2018)

The new set of policies, consisting of:
 - The World Bank Environmental and Social Policy for Investment Project Financing, which define World Bank responsibilities.

 - The ten Environmental and Social Standards, which outline borrowing government responsibilities.