Research Handbook on International Environmental Law
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Research Handbook on International Environmental Law

Edited by Malgosia Fitzmaurice, David M. Ong and Panos Merkouris

This wide-ranging and comprehensive Handbook examines recent developments in international environmental law (IEL) and the crossover effects of this expansion on other areas of international law, such as trade law and the law of the sea.
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Chapter 7: The World Bank and Sustainable Development

David Freestone


David Freestone* This chapter will look at the ways in which the World Bank – particularly the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA) – has sought to address environmental and sustainable development issues within the context of its economic development mandate.1 It reviews the main instruments with which the Bank works with its member countries; it looks at the evolution of the environmentally and socially sustainable development mandate within the Bank, together with necessary internal technical capacity. It considers the development of the Bank’s environmental and social ‘Safeguard Policies’ and the role of the Inspection Panel in overseeing these. It then looks at the growth and evolution of the modalities to fund and encourage global environmental ‘public goods’, specifically at the Global Environment Facility (GEF), but also the Bank’s work on carbon financing in the context of the much wider spread of trust funds and partnership arrangements which involve the World Bank. It also considers the development of a Clean Energy for Development Investment Framework for the World Bank Group in the context of the very real threats that climate change now represents, particularly to the poorest groups in society, and finally discusses the relevance of human rights considerations to the work of the World Bank. Financing sustainable development The financial instruments available to the World Bank to promote sustainable development include the full suite of Bank Group financial and technical assistance. These include the normal loan arrangements of the IBRD, the long-term interest-free concessional...

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