The World Bank has initiated a two-year review process (2012-2014) to overhaul its environmental and social safeguard policies. These policies symbolize core values of the institution and are the cornerstone of the Bank's efforts to protect people and their environment and to ensure sustainable development outcomes.

What are Safeguards?

"The World Bank's environmental and social safeguard policies are a cornerstone of its support to sustainable poverty reduction. The objective of these policies is to prevent and mitigate undue harm to people and their environment in the development process. These policies provide guidelines for bank and borrower staffs in the identification, preparation, and implementation of programs and projects."

These safeguards help to raise different voices from the community in the Institution's decision making process, to prevent the occurrence of any harm in the developmental process and to seek justice when harm does occur.

The Safeguards review

The World Bank was the first international organization to adopt safeguard policies, and since then it has been the most influential model, now being adopted by many other developmental banks and governments throughout the world.

Currently, these policies do not address the issue of disability rights. People with disabilities, often from the poorest parts of the world are left out of the design and implementation of many World Bank projects. Thus, it is important for them to get involved in the Safeguard review process and ensure that all Bank funded projects are inclusive in design, implementation and ensure a strong clear policy language on disability.

This review gives an opportunity to change the existing structure of these safeguards and include disability!

A range of CSOs and stakeholders from various countries participated in the review process, bringing in their own issues and priorities to the forefront. Many of DPI's members have actively participated in these in-country consultations. To read their feedback, please click hereExternal Website that opens in a new window

Please click on the following documents to know more about the process:

First Draft of Environmental and Social Framework

The World Bank Board on July 30, 2014 approved the first draft of the safeguard policies to be consulted on. To read the draft, please click here PDF file that opens in a new windowExternal Website that opens in a new window

The World Bank will now be holding the second phase of in-country consultations to gather feedback on the draft between September and December 2014. All information on the consultations is available atwww.worldbank.org/safeguardsconsultationsExternal Website that opens in a new window

If there is a consultation scheduled in your country and you would like to participate, please write to the Safeguards Review team at safeguardconsult@worldbank.org with a copy to us at secretariat.dpi@gmail.com

Civil Society reaction to the first draft of the framework

After the report was made public, many reactions on different issues have poured in. The Bank Information Centre (BIC) has put together the concerns of the civil society in a statement, issue wise which is currently open for endorsement and signatures and will be eventually sent to the World Bank. A specific paragraph on disability in the statement is as follows:

"Leaves out persons with disabilities as a distinct group often differently impacted by projects - While the draft does include persons with disabilities for the first time, it does not guarantee that the unique and differentiated impacts of World Bank projects on persons with disabilities will be assessed. Therefore, it does not provide adequate opportunity for persons with disabilities to proportionately share in project benefits and leaves open the possibility that persons with disabilities could be harmed by World Bank projects. Ultimately, persons with disabilities have unique needs that must be addressed throughout the draft."

Just mentioning disability in the draft is not enough. It needs to be intrinsic in each and every policy and needs to protect the rights of ALL persons with disabilities. If you agree with this statement, then please submit your endorsement online External Website that opens in a new window before October 6, 2014

We encourage you to visit this page regularly for more updates on the Safeguards Review process. To know more, please write to us at secretariat.dpi(at)gmail[dot]com