The World Bank has recently undertaken on- and off-line consultations about its environment strategy, to be released next year. Whilst this will not have the status of a binding policy, it will influence the Bank’s overall positioning on sustainable development issues. The draft strategy suggests three objectives: improving health by reducing peoples’ exposure to environmental dangers, enhancing livelihoods by supporting sustainable management of natural resources, and reducing vulnerability to environmental risks such as national disasters and climate change.
A number of people consulted about the strategy have emphasized that it does not adequately address what the Bank will do in all its modes of operation, for example as a lending institution, think-tank and imposer of national policy conditions. It’s approach to reducing vulnerability to risks such as climate change is limited to the unambitious agenda of improving information flow and aiding adaptation to new conditions.
The delayed Operations Evaluation Department Report Environment Review, a major input to the strategy, has recently been released. It contains many criticisms of the current environmental performance of the Bank. The draft strategy document and the OED report are currently being discussed in an online forum.