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A multi-year project just came to fruition with the endorsement by the Board of the World Bank of its new set of safeguards—the social and environmental standards that govern Bank-funded projects in client countries. World Bank president Jim Yong Kim has also issued a presidential directive which, though not adopted by the Board as a policy, commits bank projects to not discriminate against people described as disadvantaged.
There’s been a lot of debate about this re-writing of the Bank’s own rules. Major changes include new standards on protecting workers rights, indigenous peoples, and vulnerable populations. But rather than a government being forced to meet the Bank’s own standards, countries will in future use their own laws to test if they are doing enough to protect people. Critics say that amounts to the Bank rolling back protections, because it will be relying on governments that might not have standards as high as they should.
CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.