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IBRD Funding Program | World Bank Bonds

Sustainable Development

  • Focus on Social Development

    The World Bank is the single largest provider of financing of projects and programs across a range of sectors that deliver social impact worldwide with an average of $22 billion committed annually to more than 100 new projects each year. The World Bank projects aim to:

    • Improve health care, nutrition, childhood development and education
    • Strengthen social security, pension and legal systems
    • Protect and empower the most vulnerable groups of society, including women and the poor in rural areas
    • Reduce poverty, improve living standards and raise incomes and productivity.

    Focus on the Environment

    The World Bank is the single largest financier of environmental projects worldwide with a portfolio of USD 12 Billion in projects with clear environmental objectives that:

    • Address biodiversity conservation and pollution and natural resource degradation challenges
    • Prepare national plans and legislation to protect the environment
    • Foster clean energy investments to help meet the needs of developing countries in an environmentally responsible way, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help countries adapt to climate change.

    Focus on "Social Returns"

    Investment strategies that integrate social and environmental criteria into investment decisions are becoming increasingly popular.

    "Sustainable Investing" is one of many terms used to describe strategies that aim to maximize social good and financial returns. Others include "social", "sustainable", "ethical", "mission-based" or "impact" investing. The World Bank's mission to fight poverty in a sustainable way, through education, health, and environment, make World Bank bonds suitable for investors with such an investment strategy.

  • All of the work at the World Bank is anchored in two goals: ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity in a sustainable manner. Reaching these ambitious goals requires the World Bank to deliver the world’s best ideas, knowledge, and experience in development. Country-based teams are the chief interface with clients and are responsible for developing country and regional strategies. They foster selectivity in country programs, ensure that these programs account for the relevant country's individual context and political economy, and integrate public and private sector solutions. To support the country-based programs and marshal the best development knowledge available, the World Bank Group has Global Practices that bring together knowledge and expertise in 14 sectors and 5 cross-cutting areas that range from adapting to climate change to boosting food security or increasing access to energy. Sector Global Practices provide world-class, integrated, evidence-based solutions to help clients address their most complex challenges, while Cross-Cutting Solutions Areas focus the World Bank’s resources on corporate priorities.

    I. Use of Proceeds

    Supporting sustainable development in IBRD’s member countries.

    The net proceeds from the sale of the Notes will be used by IBRD to finance sustainable development projects and programs in IBRD’s member countries. IBRD’s financing is made available solely to middle-income and creditworthy lower-income member countries who are working in partnership with IBRD to eliminate extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity, so that they can achieve equitable and sustainable economic growth in their national economies and find sustainable solutions to pressing regional and global economic and environmental problems. Projects supported by IBRD are designed to achieve a positive social impact and undergo a rigorous review and internal approval process aimed at safeguarding equitable and sustainable economic growth.

    IBRD integrates five cross cutting themes into its lending activities helping its borrowing members create sustainable development solutions: climate change; gender; jobs; public-private partnerships; and fragility, conflict and violence.

    IBRD’s administrative and operating expenses are covered entirely by IBRD's various sources of revenue (net income) consisting primarily of interest margin, equity contribution and investment income (as more fully described in the Information Statement). Examples of projects include:

    • Invest in people, particularly through basic health and education
    • Protect the environment
    • Strengthen the ability of the governments to deliver quality services, efficiently and transparently
    • Promote reforms to create a stable macroeconomic environment, conducive to investment and long­term planning
    • Focus on social development, inclusion, governance, and institution building as key elements of poverty reduction

    In addition to meeting the eligibility criteria, all World Bank projects are subject to the World Bank's environmental and social safeguard policies. A description of these safeguard policies can be found at:

    II. Process for Selecting Projects

    All World Bank projects are carefully selected in partnership with client countries prioritizing the areas where the World Bank can help the most. The process involves five steps.

    1. Step 1: Perform a systematic country diagnostic study to identify the biggest constraints and opportunities for reducing poverty and inequality based on analysis of the country’s conditions and its own development aspirations.
    2. Step 2: Define a Country Partnership Framework (CPF) that lays out which of the country’s own development objectives the World Bank can help the government achieve based on its comparative advantages and the alignment with the World Bank’s own mission of ending extreme poverty and increasing shared prosperity.
    3. Step 3: Identify, assess and appraise individual projects and programs identified with the country including conducting feasibility studies that assess the environmental, social and financial sustainability of the proposed projects.
    4. Step 4: Present every project for approval by the Board of Executive Directors: a resident Board with 25 chairs representing its member countries approves projects that demonstrate consistency with the agreed Country Partnership Framework and how they contribute to achieving the twin goals of the World Bank to reduce poverty and promote shared prosperity in a sustainable manner.
    5. Step 5: Monitor and learn from project implementation: government agencies report the projects’ progress and the World Bank monitors the agreed milestones towards achieving the project’s objectives including a formal review at least twice a year. The World Bank also conducts a review of the lessons learned at the conclusion and each project is also subject to an independent evaluation.

    III. Management of Bond Proceeds

    The proceeds of the World Bank bonds are invested in accordance with IBRD’s conservative liquidity policy until they are used for the support of the World Bank’s financing of eligible projects and programs. Disbursement requests for eligible projects take place in accordance with IBRD’s established policies and procedures. Disbursements are often made over a period of several years, depending on when each project milestone is reached.

    IV. Monitoring and Reporting on Impact of Projects

    The World Bank supervises the implementation of all its projects. Client countries implement the development projects in accordance with the project loan agreement. This includes regular reports by the implementing government agency on project activities, including a mid-term review of project progress. The project's progress, outcomes and impacts are monitored by the government and the World Bank throughout the implementation phase to obtain data to evaluate and measure the ultimate effectiveness of the operation in terms of the objectives it was set to achieve. This documentation is publically disclosed with the project documentation. There is also an audit by the World Bank’s Independent Evaluation Group following completion of the project.

    V. Ensuring Transparency and Compliance

    The World Bank safeguards, policies and procedures apply to all projects. This includes reviews by the World Bank’s financial management and procurement specialists to ensure that adequate fiduciary controls on the use of project funds are in place at the country/project level.

    In terms of transparency, there is access to documents, results data and information about projects and operations through the World Bank's Open Data initiative. The World Bank Treasury website provides links to selected projects' information and to newletters that also provide highlights of the World Bank's activities.

  • The World Bank is a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world. It is not a bank in the ordinary sense but a unique partnership to reduce poverty and support development across all sectors including education, health, nutrition, and access to essential infrastructure.

    The World Bank works across intersecting and complex sectors supporting client development priorities around the world. In FY17, IBRD committed $22.6 billion through over 125 projects to help developing countries find solutions to the toughest global and local development challenges.

    Some examples of individual projects that are eligible for World Bank financing are highlighted below. This is provided for illustrative purposes only and no assurance is given that disbursements for projects with these specific characteristics will be made by the World Bank during the lifetime of the any specific bond. There is no specific allocation of the proceeds of a World bank bond to one specific project.

    For information on all World Bank projects please see: