Caribbean to benefit from new World Bank initiative

Caribbean countries are expected to benefit from a new initiative announced by the World Bank that expands protection for people and the environment in Bank-financed investment projects.

The World Bank said its Board of Executive Directors approved the new Environmental and Social Framework that concludes nearly four years of analysis and engagement around the world with governments, development experts, and civil society groups, reaching nearly 8,000 stakeholders in 63 countries.

The World Bank framework is part of a far-reaching effort by the World Bank Group to improve development outcomes and streamline its work.

“The World Bank Group’s mission is to end extreme poverty and reduce inequality in the world, and this new framework will be a critical factor in helping us reach those goals,” said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim.

“These new safeguards will build into our projects updated and improved protections for the most vulnerable people in the world and our environment.

“We also will substantially increase our financing of the safeguards to make sure this works as intended with enough funding for both implementation and building capacity in countries so that they can play a more active role in protecting people and the environment,” he added.

The framework brings the World Bank’s environmental and social protections into closer harmony with those of other development institutions, and makes important advances in areas such as transparency, non-discrimination, social inclusion, public participation, and accountability including expanded roles for grievance redress mechanisms.

The World Bank said that in order to support the new framework and meet additional oversight demands, it is on a trajectory to substantially increase funding for the safeguards.

“Strengthening national systems in borrowing countries is recognized as a central development goal by the World Bank and most of its shareholders. In line with this goal, the framework places greater emphasis on the use of borrower frameworks and capacity building, with the aim of constructing sustainable borrower institutions and increasing efficiency,” it said.

The approved Environmental and Social Framework introduces comprehensive labour and working condition protection; an over-arching non-discrimination principle; community health and safety measures that address road safety, emergency response and disaster mitigation; and a responsibility to include stakeholder engagement throughout the project cycle.

The World Bank said that the new framework will promote better and lasting development outcomes. It provides broader coverage and access, and will benefit more people, especially vulnerable and disadvantaged groups.

It will also strengthen partnerships with other multilateral development banks, development partners, and bilateral donors, it said, adding the framework is expected to go into effect in early 2018.

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