The Trust Fund for Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development (TFESSD) was established in December 1999, to support the World Bank Group's (WBG) fight for sustainable poverty reduction. The trust fund provided flexible additional financing for innovative analytical and project work, while acting as a catalyst for encouraging WBG personnel to incorporate environmentally and socially sustainable development issues in all their work. TFESSD was jointly funded by the governments of Norway and Finland. Working in active partnerships, Finnish and Norwegian researchers, activists, as well government officials interacted with WBG staff, constantly challenging one another to do more for the world's poor and marginalized peoples.
TFESSD provided grant resources for WBG activities aimed at mainstreaming the environmental, social, and poverty-reducing dimensions of sustainable development into Bank work. It developed WBG and client country capacity, promoted inclusion of sustainable development issues into Bank operations, and fostered cooperation between different units on the WBG and with external agencies and groups.
Emphasizing an integrated approach to development, the trust fund brought together four interrelated themes, managed in four windows, corresponding to four sector boards within the World Bank Group: Environment, Poverty, Social Development and Social Protection and Labor. Through this cross-sectoral approach to development and the financing of catalytic analysis and activities, TFESSD has had a major impact on the WBG's work. The trust fund has now phased out its activities.
TFESSD supported the World Bank Group's overall efforts in helping client countries pursue environmentally and socially sustainable development. The trust fund played an important role in supporting the analytical foundation for mainstreaming environmental management efforts in country dialogue and country assistance programs. Through the Environment Window, environmental objectives were mainstreamed in adjustment and investment operations, support to policy and institutional reforms was expanded, and environmental health outcomes were more thoroughly emphasized.
The activities under the Environment Window consistently supported the overall objectives of the World Bank Group Environment Strategy under the five key strategic themes:
1. Natural Resource Management
2. Environmental Health
3. Poverty-Environment Linkages
4. Environmental Policies, Governance and Institutions
5. Reducing Vulnerability to Climate Change and Natural Disasters.
Under the Environment Window, TFESSD-financed projects addressed linkages between poverty and environment by investigating the relationships between poverty, environmental degradation, and health. The trust fund also financed studies intended to mainstream environmental considerations into key private sectors such as agriculture, energy, and transportation.
The World Bank Group mission is to deepen understanding of the relationship between policies, institutions, and the poverty reduction process. Poverty encompasses lack of opportunities (and capabilities), lack of voice and representation, as well as vulnerability to shocks. WBG support for sustainable poverty reduction centers on action to broaden opportunity, enhance empowerment, and strengthen security. Within this framework, promoting broad-based growth is a critical priority, considering its proven importance in reducing poverty. Through the Poverty Window, TFESSD supported evidence-based policy-making using household survey data analysis and often real-time responses to specific client demands. The Window operated in four main areas:
1. Shocks and vulnerability
3 Inequality of opportunity
4. Impact evaluation
The Poverty Window's activities focused on strengthening in-country capacity and analytics. Grants funded research to define and measure empowerment, as well as training and capacity-building activities to support the decision-making and planning processes at the grassroots level. Most of these activities were upstream WBG studies that influenced policy formulation and assessment. The trust fund also supported downstream monitoring and evaluation, using participatory and quantitative mechanisms.
The Social Development Window of the trust fund was established to provide support for innovation and experimentation to move the WBG's social development agenda forward. The agenda aims to empower people by transforming institutions into entities that are:
1. Inclusive: promoting equal access to opportunity for every citizen
2. Cohesive: working together to address common needs, overcome obstacles, and balance diverse interests
3. Accountable: becoming transparent and responding to the public interest in an effective, efficient, and fair way.
The activities under this window supported analytical innovation and capacity development, and focused on empowering poor and marginalized peoples to become active participants in the development process. Furthermore, these activities paved the way for governments to craft policies and build institutions that respond to the needs and demands of the poor. The program also facilitated knowledge sharing in client countries and in many instances fostered strong collaborative programs and partnerships in areas such as social inclusion, community empowerment, violence prevention, as well as community adaptation and resilience in response to shocks and climate change.
The Social Protection and Labor Window aimed to support innovation and new thinking on social policies and programs of WBG projects. The window's objective was to strengthen the quality and impact of social protection activities in the WBG country assistance programs as well as member countries' own poverty reduction strategies and policies.
Traditionally, social protection has included policies that provide social safety nets, social funds, labor market interventions, and social insurance. A newer component of social protection is social risk management which focuses specifically on the most vulnerable and the poorest, as they are most susceptible to risks and typically lack effective risk-management instruments. In this view, the role of risk management, protection of basic livelihoods and promotion of risk-taking for financial gains, are emphasized. In practice, social protection involves:
1. Labor market interventions (regulation, programs, and wage-setting rules)
2. Social insurance programs (pensions, unemployment insurance, family benefits, and sick pay)
3. Social assistance (transfers in cash or kind, subsidies, and workfare)
4. Special programs to assist particularly vulnerable groups (the disabled, orphans, underprivileged children, and the elderly)
TFESSD also played a key role in mainstreaming the disability theme in WBG projects. Here a few examples of these activities:
|Promotion of Inclusivity in Education, Employment and Health of Persons with Disability in South-East Asia: Report (PDF, 1.5 mb)|
|Afghanistan, Pension Administration and Safety Net (P113421): Project|
|India, Exploring Multi-sectoral Engagement in Building Linkages Between HIV/AIDS and Disability Programs: Report (PDF, .3 mb)|
|Columbia, Making the New Bus Rapid Transit System Accessible (P101356): Project|
|Mexico, Accessibility Training for Bus Drivers: Toolkit (PDF, 2.5 mb)|
|Disability and Labor Markets in LAC, Empirical Evidence and Analytical Challenges: Report (PDF, .9 mb)|
|Accessible transport in Africa, The Dakar Diamniadio Toll Highway (DDTH) Case Study: Project; Report (FR) (PDF, 3.9 mb)|
|Towards Equity and Participation for Students with Disabilities in African Higher Education, The Case Studies of Ghana and Tanzania: Report (PDF, .4 mb)|
|Sierra Leone, Social and Economic Situation of Persons with Disabilities: Report (PDF, .9 mb)|
|Accessible Transport, Lessons from Urban Transport Projects in East Asia (China, Vietnam, and the Philippines): China Report (PDF, .8 mb); Vietnam Report (PDF, .3 mb); East Asia Report (PDF, 1 mb)|