Environmentally Sustainable Development Vice Presidency

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Environmentally Sustainable Development Vice Presidency

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The Environmentally Sustainable Development Vice Presidency (ESD) was one of three vice presidencies created during Bank President Lewis Preston's reorganization of January 1, 1993. Following the abolishment of all senior vice presidencies on December 1, 1991, Preston initiated a larger reorganization in 1993 that aligned the Bank's organization with the priority areas of its poverty reduction effort. The result was three new thematic vice presidencies: the ESD; Finance and Private Sector Development (FPD); and Human Resources Development and Operations Policy (HRO).

The vice presidencies were responsible for:


  • Providing operational support to the Regions through participation in Sector Operations Division (SOD) task teams, undertaking specialized assignments for the Regions, providing ad hoc advice, distilling lessons of operational experience and disseminating best practices, and definition of sector and operational policies;


  • Assisting in identifying and addressing the Bank's skills mix and training needs;


  • Providing information and intellectual support to interested actors outside the Bank;


  • Liaising with the UN and other official and private organizations;


  • Delivering complete products to the country directors in the 'clustered' subsectors, where the small number of expert staff can most efficiently be located in the central Vice Presidency.

At the time of its establishment, ESD had the following subordinate departments: the Agriculture and Natural Resources Department (AGR); the Environment Department (ENV); and the Transportation, Water and Urban Development Department (TWU). It was also responsible for the Secretariat of the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). Each sector department maintained the following functions:


  • prepare policies, guidelines, standards, handbooks and analytical tools relevant to the sector;


  • identify, codify and disseminate best practices and lessons of experience, and evaluate weaknesses;


  • provide advice to the Regions as needed;


  • monitor and track work in the sectors assigned in order to identify generic issues and identify, evaluate and influence trends and patterns;


  • perform surveys of experience and practice within the Bank and elsewhere, and develop innovative approaches;


  • participate in Bank-wide efforts to assess skill requirements, and to upgrade skills through recruitment, training, orientation, seminars, newsletters, etc.;


  • represent the Bank to external communities of interest; and


  • maintain an awareness of relevant external practices and viewpoints.

In 1997, the thematic vice presidencies were reorganized to strike a better balance between country focus and sectoral excellence. To facilitate sharing of expertise and knowledge, the Bank established networks that linked Bank-wide communities of staff working in the same field across organizational boundaries and with external partners. Each of the three thematic central vice presidencies was transformed into the central units, or anchors, of each network and consisted of the existing sector departments. The result of the 1997 restructuring was four networks: the Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development Network (ESSD); the Finance, Private Sector Development, and Infrastructure Network (FPD); the Human Development Network (HDN); and the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network (PRM). The former sector departments of ESD were placed in different networks. ENV, AGR (as the Rural Development Department [RDV]), and the CGIAR Secretariat were placed in ESSD while TWU was placed in FPD.

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