Fonds - Records of the Human Development Network

Identity area

Reference code



Records of the Human Development Network


  • 1993 - 2005 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

39.00 linear feet of textual records (approximate); 8 videocassettes; 4 VHS videocassettes: Betacam SP

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

The Human Development Network (HDN) was created in 1997 as part of President Wolfensohn's reorganization of the World Bank. The reorganization's objective was to strike a better balance between country focus and sectoral excellence. It was also motivated by recognition that the Bank's development programs were excessively driven by a culture of lending. The need to increase attention towards client needs and the quality of results was addressed.

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 were intended to link staff working in the same sectors throughout the Bank, whether the staff was located in the Regional Vice Presidencies, sectoral departments, Independent Evaluation Group (IEG, formerly the Operations Evaluation Group [OED]), World Bank Institute (WBI), or Development Economics (DEC). The objectives and responsibilities of the networks were many: reduce fragmentation; increase information flow; set priorities; manage quality; run the information system; consolidate external partnerships; vet staff promotions; and disseminate best practices. The work programs of network staff focused on:

  • 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 entire network. 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.

HDN was the first of three networks to be created in 1997; the others were the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network (PREM) and the Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Network (ESSD). Soon after, in 1997-98, the Private Sector and Infrastructure Network (PSI) was created. In 2000-01, the Operation Policy and Strategy Department became the Operations Policy and Country Services Network (OPCS). In 2003-04, the PSI became the Financial and Private Sector Development Network (FPSD) and in 2007 ESSD was combined with Infrastructure to form the Sustainable Development Network (SDN).

HDN is organized in the same way as the other Bank networks. Each network is headed by a Vice President and Head of Network. Under the Vice President is a network council which oversees the entire network. The council is composed of the top network managers from each Region and is responsible for setting the overall agenda for the network and for promoting effective deployment of skills across network units. It deliberates on issues relevant to the functions and objectives of the Network - e.g., strategy; people; knowledge; quality/business process; and external partnerships.

Each thematic network covers several related sectors of development. Each sector department has its own board, with representatives drawn from the Regions as well as from the network itself. The sector boards are accountable to the network council and are supported by a secretariat.

When the HDN was created in 1997, three sector departments from the former Human Development Department (HDD) were placed in the network: Education Team (HDNED); Health, Nutrition, and Population Team (HDNHE); and the Social Protection Team (HDNSP). In2003 an HIV/AIDS Global Program Team (HDNGA) was created and added to HDN. In or around 2004, an advisor position for Children and Youth was created in HDN. Similarly, an advisor position for Development Dialogue was moved to HDN in 2008 or earlier.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Records were transferred directly from sector units to the Archives using approved records retention and disposition schedules.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

The fonds consists of records that reflect the various activities of HDN and its oversight of, and involvement with, sector departments within the network. Note that a small amount of records in this fonds were created prior to the creation of HDN by Bank employees within the Human Development Department (HDD); they were brought into HDN's recordkeeping system as a result of staff transfer into HDN.

Included are records related to HDN Council's meetings and activities. Topics include: communications; budget; human resources; and strategy. Records include: minutes and agendas; strategy papers; correspondence with HDN sector boards, external bodies, external advisers, the regions, and other non-HDN sectors and networks within the Bank. Also included are records related to the launch of the HD network from 1996 to 1997. These include: informational memos for network employees; records related to professional associations; staff feedback; and records related to network staff training and development.

Also included in this fonds are records related to meetings, events, seminars, and conferences participated in or organized by HDN. These include records related to meetings of network council and Vice President with external bodies and government agencies as well as records related to HD Week events from 1997 to 2000. The latter includes records related to: exhibitors; budget; registration; keynote speakers; and programs. Video recordings of keynote speakers for HD Week 2000 are also included.

The fonds also consists of communications between HDN and Bank President Wolfensohn. Records include correspondence between the HDN Vice President and senior managers with Wolfensohn as well as correspondence from Wolfensohn to external agencies and governments that was forwarded to HDN. Briefing books prepared for Wolfensohn by HDN are also included.

The fonds also includes the correspondence files of the HDNVP unit from 1997 to 2005 as well as the chronological files of HDN Vice President Jean-Louis Sarbib from 1996 to 2000.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


Accruals are expected.

System of arrangement

The following arrangement is provisional. Records are arranged into six series:

  • HDN Council Records

  • Meetings, events, seminars, and conferences

  • Correspondence with Bank President

  • Briefing books for Bank President

  • HDN Vice President correspondence

  • HDNVP unit chronological files

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Records are subject to the World Bank Policy on Access to Information.

Conditions governing reproduction

Records are subject to the Copyright Policy of the World Bank Group.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

A finding aid for this fonds does not exist.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

  • See Records of the Population, Health, and Nutrition Sector (WB IBRD/IDA 89 WB_IBRD/IDA_89) and Records of the Education Sector (WB IBRD/IDA 88 WB_IBRD/IDA_88) for records created by the sector departments within the HDN.

  • See Records of Individual Staff Members - Debrework Zewdie files (WB IBRD/IDA STAFF-30) for records related to Zewdie's oversight and management and other functions as director of the Human Development Network Global HIV/AIDS Program (HDNGA).

Related descriptions

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

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Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used

Internal World Bank Group Archives rules based on ISAD(G).

Disclosure status

Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

6 August 2012




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