Population, Health, and Nutrition Sector

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Population, Health, and Nutrition Sector

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Functional responsibility for population-related activities was first articulated in the organizational structure of the World Bank after the November 1, 1968 reorganization of the Projects Department (PRJ). The PRJ's five divisions were upgraded to the department level and began reporting to the Director of Projects (DRP). In addition, three new departments were created, including the Population Projects Department (PNP). The Department did not begin operation until the following year, when its first Director, Dr. Kandiah Kanagaratnam, was appointed on Sept. 18, 1969 and served in this position until 1979. Most of the initial research and start - up work for the Department done prior to the appointment of the Director was carried out in the Population Studies Division of the Economics Department (ECDPO).

The Bank's first population loan was made to Jamaica in 1970. This and subsequent loans: supported services related to population management; created awareness of and provided information about population issues; and devised and implemented incentives and disincentives aimed at encouraging smaller families. The Population Projects Department was assigned responsibility for:

  • providing advice on population sector problems to the area departments;

  • preparing pre - investment studies to identify developmental priorities in the population sector of member countries;

  • appraising proposed projects, or assisting in the preparation of projects for countries unable to do so;

  • providing operational support in the negotiation and administration of loans and credits, in procurement matters, in selecting consultants and in writing terms of reference;

  • supervising projects as regards their operation;

  • monitoring developments in the population sector; and

  • cooperating with other international agencies (i.e. World Health Organization [WHO], United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization [UNESCO]) on programs of common interest.

At the time of its establishment, the Department had no divisionalstructure. The first division of the Population Projects Department (PNPD1) was established on January 1, 1971. On July 1, 1972, a Nutrition Unit (PNPD2) was created. The Department was subsequently renamed the Population and Nutrition Projects Department but retained its original acronym.

The Bank's massive reorganization in October 1972 attempted to more effectively fuse country knowledge with sector skills. Sectors with a sufficient number of experts and an established lending program were largely decentralized; these departments were referred to as Central Projects departments. The majority of the staff of Central Projects departments was dispersed to regional project departments in newly established Regional Vice Presidencies. Smaller departments, such as PNP, remained wholly centralized and continued to provide a complete operational package of technical services to the Regions. This included identifying, appraising and supervising projects, as well as performing advisory and quality control work. These units were known as Central Operating Projects departments. Both Central Projects departments and Central Operating Projects departments reported to the newly created Vice President, Central Projects (CPSVP). The CPSVP replaced the previous DRP and reported to the Senior Vice President, Operations (SVPOP).

On November 1, 1975, the nutrition functions of PNP (PNPD2) were transferred to Agriculture and Rural Development Department (AGR). PNP reverted to its previous title, the Population Projects Department (PNP). On July 1, 1977, the PNP was given the new acronym, POP.

The Bank's entry into health as a distinct area of lending had been gradual, from early support of health elements as part of projects in other sectors - such as rural and urban development, irrigation, education, and water supply and sanitation - to projects encompassing broad health policy and institutional and structural changes. In 1976, a formal agreement with the World Health Organization (WHO) was signed and health - related lending began to be coordinated with bilateral donor agencies.

In 1979, the Board approved an expanded role in the health sector. As a result, on October 1, 1979, the new Population, Health and Nutrition Department (PHN) was established. John R. Evans was named the Department's first Director. The Department was assembled from the previous POP, the Nutrition Division of the Agriculture and Rural Development Department (AGRNU) and the Office of the Environment and Health Advisor of the Project Advisory Staff (CPSEH) to provide a unified leadership for these closely related sectors. The PHN would function as a Central Operating Projects department, maintaining responsibility for policy formulation, research and operational support, as well as the planning, direction and supervision of project and sector work. The PHN initially reported to the CPSVP. With the restructuring of the CPS into the Operations Policy Staff (OPS) in February 1982, the Department began reporting to the Vice President, Operations Policy.

On the day of its establishment, the PHN was assigned the operational Divisions I (PHND1) and II (PHND2) and a Policy and Research Unit (PHNPR). On September 1, 1981, a third operational Division (PHND3) was established. In mid - 1983, the operational divisions were renamed to reflect their regional responsibilities: Division I - South Asia and Eastern Africa (PHND1); Division II - East Asia and Western Africa (PHND2); Division III - Latin America and Europe, Middle East, and Africa (PHND3). On February 1, 1984, the PHNPR was upgraded to a division but maintained its original acronym.

Similar to the Bank's pre - 1979 involvement in health - related lending, the Bank's role in nutrition had, throughout the 1970s, been primarily limited to aspects of the Bank's lending in related fields such as agriculture, education, and industry. Only four 'freestanding' nutrition projects were approved between 1976 and 1981, the first being to Brazil in 1976. Following the creation of the PHN in 1979, a reassessment ofthe Bank's role in nutrition was undertaken. This led to an operational work program in September 1980 that directed staff to include explicit nutrition objectives in Bank lending.

On July 1, 1987, a Bank - wide reorganization resulted in the termination of almost all organizational units. The Vice Presidency, Sector Policy and Research (PRE), was established in May 1987, and began reporting to the Senior Vice President, Policy, Planning and Research (PPR). The PRE shed all responsibility for managing operational activities and focused completely on operational support, the formulation of Bank - wide sector policies, and overseeing the ex - post evaluation of Bank - wide sector work and lending. The PRE changed its acronym to PRS on January 1, 1990.

At the time of its creation, the PRE had five departments reporting to it including the new Population and Human Resources Department (PHR). This Department integrated the functions of PHN and the Education and Training Department (EDT); it also assumed responsibility for activities related to 'strengthening the role of women in development.' The PHR had four divisions: Education and Employment Division (PHREE); Population, Health and Nutrition Division (PHRHN); Women in Development (PHRWD); and Welfare and Human Resources Division (PHRWH). On July 1, 1992, a Population Policy and Advisory Service Group (PPAS) was established in the Front Office of the Department to increase attention to population work. As with all departments in PRE, PHR had no operational responsibilities.

The PHR was responsible for:

  • formulating policies and strategies for human resource development and women in development, and developing new initiatives and Bank products;

  • conducting supporting research, including the improvement of research capabilities in developing countries, and management of external research funded through the Research Support Budget;

  • improving methodology and identifying best practices;

  • performing ex - post evaluation of the Bank's human resources sector work;

  • providing operational support;

  • liaising with non - Bank organizations and professionals in the field;

  • developing household data on living standards; and

  • assisting in the recruitment and training of staff.

On December 1, 1991, President Lewis Preston's first reorganization abolished all Senior Vice - Presidencies. The new Sector and Operations Policy Vice Presidency (OSP) was created as a result of this reorganization and adopted functions previously supervised by Senior Vice Presidents. On January 1, 1993, as part of a larger initiative to align the Bank's organization with the priority areas of its poverty reduction effort, the Sector and Operations Policy Vice Presidency was terminated. It was replaced by three new thematic vice presidencies: Human Resources Development and Operations Policy (HRO); Finance and Private Sector Development (FPD); and Environmentally Sustainable Development (ESD).

During the 1993 reorganization, the PHR was terminated and its functions were split between a reconstituted Population, Health and Nutrition Department (PHN) and a new Education and Social Policy Department (ESP). Both of these departments were placed in the HRO vice presidency along with an Operations Policy Department (OPR). The OPR absorbed the functions of: the former Central Operations Department (COD); the International Economic Relations Division (OPRIE); and the UN Office in New York (OPRNY) transferred from the External Relations Department (EXT). The PHN had no divisions but had task - specific teams including a Population Team, Health Team, and Nutrition Team.

On July 1, 1995, HRO became Human Capital Development and Operations Policy (HCO). At this time education, health, nutrition and populations functions were again combined in a single department named the new Human Development Department (HDD).

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. The networks formed a virtual overlay on the existing Bank organization, and were intended to link staff working in the same sectors throughout the Bank, whether the staff was located in the Regions, in the Central Vice - Presidencies' Sector Departments, or other Vice - Presidencies.

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. On a Bank - wide basis, sector specialists were grouped into regional sector units or into central sector departments that worked with country departments in a matrix relationship. Staff from the central sector departments could become part of the Regional operational teams when their sectoral expertise was required.

The work programs of Network staff focused on the following items:

  • Global knowledge - putting the best development knowledge in the hands of Bank task teams; ensuring that the knowledge base was accessible to external clients; and contributing to the growth of the knowledge base.

  • Enhanced skills - developing and providing content to training courses; establishing professional and technical standards for professional development.

  • Shared strategies - assisting regional and central units to develop a common sector agenda, and ensuring that skills are effectively deployed across the entirenetwork. Network leadership assumed responsibility for global programs, sector strategy development and evaluation, strategic partnerships, and learning and dissemination.

  • Best teams and best practices - improving the Bank's flexibility and mobility by building stronger task teams and delivering higher quality products.

  • Institutional initiatives - providing substantial support for new Bank - wide initiatives, such as Social Development, Rural Development, Financial Sector, Anti - corruption, Human Resources, and Knowledge Partnerships.

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).

As part of this reorganization, the HDD was broken into three teams that were linked to HDN. The teams were: Education Team (HDNED); Health, Nutrition, and Population Team (HDNHE); and the Social Protection Team (HDNSP). In 2003 an HIV/AIDS Global Program Team (HDNGA) was created and added to the HDN.


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