- 1947-2008 (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
Name of creator
The units responsible for World Bank operations have changed frequently in name and status since the beginning of Bank operations in 1946. A summary of organizational and functional changes relevant to Bank operations in Central and South America and the Caribbean since 1946 is provided in this description. Units responsible for operations in the region include:
1946-1952 Loan Department (LOD) Economic Department (ECD)
1952-1965 Department of Operations - Western Hemisphere (WHM) Technical Operations Department (TOD)
1965-1969 Western Hemisphere Department (WHM) Projects Department
1969-1972 Central America and Caribbean Department (CAC) South American Department (SAM) Projects Department
1972-1987 Latin America and the Caribbean Vice Presidency (LCN)
1987-1997 Latin America and Caribbean Vice Presidency (LAC)
1997-present Latin America and Caribbean Vice Presidency (LCR)
1946 - 1952
The operations function of the World Bank has, in one form or another, been organized according to geographic region throughout the history of the Bank. Upon the Bank's opening in 1946, operational lending was executed out of the Loan Department (LOD). Parallel to the LOD was the Economic Department (ECD) which conducted sector analysis and research work. Both Departments were organized along geographical lines.
The LOD was responsible for developing loan operation policy, receiving and investigating loan inquiries and presenting them to Bank management for consideration, and negotiating loans. The organizational structure of LOD fluctuated over its seven year history. It initially consisted of seven divisions of which the Eastern Latin American Division and the Western Latin American Division were two. In 1948, the seven divisions were briefly consolidated into two (the European and United Kingdom Division and the Latin American, Asiatic and African Division) and then, in November of 1948, divisions were abolished altogether, as loans were assigned to loan officers on an ad hoc basis. In 1950, LOD was again divided into three geographical areas, of which the Latin America Division was one.
Beginning in 1946, the ECD was responsible for both functional and geographic analyses, i.e. general economic studies and country specific studies. Their work supported the LOD and its loan administration and advised member countries on their economic and sector development plans. The ECD also liaised with international organizations on economic research and provided staff for Bank missions. The Department initially consisted of three area divisions (Latin America being located in its "Development Areas Division") and an Economic Technology Division responsible for specialized sector studies. In August 1948 a new organizational structure featuring two area divisions was installed. Area Division I was responsible for Europe and Area Division II was divided into four sections of which Central America and South America were two. In March 1950 another reorganization divided the Department into an advisory staff and an area staff, the latter consisting of three divisions of which Latin America was one.
The first loans to the region were to Chile: World Bank loan 0005 - Power and Irrigation Project (P006578) and loan 0006 - Agricultural Machinery Project to Chile (P006577) Both loans were signed on 25 March 1948 and related to hydro-electric development, forest industries, railway electrification, transportation facilities and port mechanization. These loans were also the Bank's first development loans, as the four previous loans were all to European countries and were for post-war reconstruction.
In July of 1951 the first Country Office in the region was opened in Managua, Nicaragua. Offices in Panama City, Panama (October 1953), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (May 1954), Guatemala City, Guatemala (February 1955) and Bogota, Colombia (July 1955) followed.
1952 - 1972
A sizable reorganization that took effect in September of 1952 created an operational structure that would endure for the next twenty years. LOD staff were combined with the country-related staff from the ECD to form three distinct geographical Area Departments: Western Hemisphere (WHM); Europe, Africa and Australasia (EAA); and Asia and Middle East (AME). These units were primarily responsible for World Bank-member country relations. Functions included: loan policy and plan development; country development program appraisal and review; preparation of proposed loans; and country economic monitoring.
As part of this 1952 reorganization, the sector-oriented staff of the former ECD formed the Technical Operations Department (TOD) and was placed in charge of project appraisal and supervision. Specifically, the TOD was responsible for: the appraisal of proposed projects; advising Area Departments on proposed projects and assisting in negotiations; supervising approved projects and assisting borrowers in procurement efforts; and monitoring and reporting on member countries' sector economies.
A significant reorganization of regional departments' country groupings occurred in 1965. This also included a name change for the Region to the Western Hemisphere Department (WHM). A subsequent reorganization in 1969 resulted in the division of WHM into two new departments: the Central America and Caribbean Department (CAC) and the South America Department (SAM). This development was solely an organizational change, as functional responsibilities from WHM remained the same. Primary responsibility for regional lending projects remained the responsibility of the sector-oriented Project Departments, which had succeeded the TOD in 1965.
1972 - 1987
A more significant reorganization of the operations complex took effect in October 1972. The seven departments that made up the Area Departments were elevated to five Regional Vice Presidencies (RVP). South and Central America and the Caribbean were reunited in the Latin America and the Caribbean Vice Presidency (LCN). The RVPs reported to the new Senior Vice President, Operations (SVPOP). In order to more effectively fuse country knowledge and sectoral skills, the reorganization removed most of the Bank's operational project work from the Project Departments to the RVPs. Regional units within RVPs were given "line authority" to analyze, decide and act on country development operations while the remaining staff was organized into sector-oriented departments within each RVP; these were known as Central Projects Staff and constituted each Region's Project Department.
Each RVP was responsible for planning and executing IBRD/IDA development assistance programs subject to the overall framework of Bank policies, priorities and operating procedures. The RVPs created regional plans and budgets, ensured the effective implementation of approved plans, created country economic and sector reports, and developed and implemented loan, credit, technical assistance, and other forms of development projects. The RVPs were also responsible for maintaining sound relations with governments of assigned countries and with aid organizations and donors involved in those countries.
Upon the completion of the 1972 reorganization, the organizational structure in LCN included two Country Programs Departments (with four divisions reporting to each) and a Projects Department containing five sector divisions (Agriculture; Development Finance Companies; Education; Public Utilities; and Transportation). The Country Program Departments were staffed by country economists and loan officers whose primary responsibilities were: conducting area reviews of Bank activities and countries' economic and political developments; formulating country lending and economic and sector work programs and implementing country programs; and reviewing loan applications, negotiating loans, and administering loans. The Projects Department provided technical assistance and advice to members and borrowers on sectoral issues, priorities, and project development from identification through operation. The Projects Department, consisting of economists, financial analysts, and sector specialists, was specifically responsible for: creating sector policies; assisting countries with the identification and preparation of projects; appraising potential projects and assisting the Country Programs Departments in loan negotiation and credit agreements; and helping borrowers manage consultants and procurement.
Note that not all operational responsibility was transferred from the Projects Departments to the RVPs. Staff in sectors too small to decentralize to the various regions continued to provide a complete "operational package" of technical services to the regions. These units, such as Population and Nutrition and Urban Projects, were known as Central Operating Projects Departments and were located in the newly formed Vice President, Central Projects (CPSVP) which, like the RVPs, reported to the SVPOP. In addition, those former Projects Department units which had their operational functions dispersed to the RVPs still maintained a core staff in the CPSVP with responsibility for policy and advisory work only.
1987 - 1997
While the make-up of the Country Programs Departments and Projects Department changed between 1972 and 1987 (most notably with a considerable increase in the number of Projects Department sector divisions), the organization and functions of the departments as well as the RVPs were consistent until 1987. In July of 1987, however, a Bank-wide reorganization under President Barber Conable altered the structures of the RVPs considerably. The changes were brought on by a desire to strengthen the Bank's country focus by making the Country Department the basic program and budget unit.
The new Country Departments which replaced the Country Program Departments in the 1987 reorganization combined the macro-economic work of the former Country Programs Departments and the sector work of the former Projects Department. Each Country Department would consist of a Country Operations Division (COD) as well as multiple Sectoral Operations Divisions (SOD) made up of staff from the former Projects Departments. The COD was composed of Lead, Country and Specialized economists as well as Country Officers and was responsible for: liaising with state governments and developing knowledge of issues in the country; preparing and supervising the country's aid strategy; and providing full responsibility for certain country-wide operations such as Structural Adjustment Loans and country economic work. SODs were responsible for overall sectoral strategy and for planning, programming and implementing development activities for the countries in their respective sectoral specialties; this would include the provision of full lending project management as well as lending and sector evaluation work.
Not all staff was moved from the former Project Departments into the Country Departments' SODs in the reorganization of 1987. Those remaining formed a new Technical Department within each RVP. It was responsible for higher level knowledge collection, assessment, and dissemination. The Technical Department, which was organized into sector-focused divisions, was to stimulate innovation in operational work and undertake strategic thinking by providing advice, operational support, regional studies, staff training and the dissemination of materials to Bank staff, donors, and other institutions outside the Bank. The Department would continue to offer operational help in the form of task management, task support, and advice. They would also work closely with Policy, Planning and Research (PPR) staff in conducting regional studies and reviews and advising on sector policy and research priorities.
During the 1987 reorganization the number of RVPs was decreased from six to four. However, the Latin America and Caribbean Vice Presidency remained constant in its name. It did, however, change its acronym to LAC. Beginning in 1987, LAC had four Country Departments.
A subsequent reorganization in 1993 strengthened the Country Departments' SODs through unit reorganization and a transfer of staff from the Regional Technical Departments to the SODs. The Technical Departments were greatly reduced in size and were restructured to reflect the emphasis on sectoral and thematic responsibilities of the SODs. The Technical Departments operational support function was consequently reduced.
1997 - present
A 1996-1997 reorganization modified the changes made in 1987 and 1993. The RVP continued to be responsible for all aspects of country development assistance for its member countries, including: country assistance strategy; lending operations; technical assistance operations; and economic and sector work. However, the primary objective of the reorganization was to deepen the country focus and responsiveness to client needs. This was accomplished in a number of ways. The most striking changes concerned the new Country Management Units (CMUs) which replaced the former Country Departments. The CMUs were smaller than their predecessor (that is, each was responsible for a smaller number of countries) while their number correspondingly increased. In the Latin American Region, the number of CMUs rose from four in 1996 to seven in 1998. In addition, there was an increasing decentralization of CMU staff and country directors from Bank headquarters in Washington to locations within client countries. Already by 2000, new CMUshad been established in Mexico City, Mexico (LCC1C), Brasilia, Brazil (LCC5C), Lima, Peru (LCC6C), and Buenos Aires, Argentina (LCC7C). At the same time, an increase in authority with regard to strategy and budget was given to the country directors. The CMUs continued to be responsible for overall preparation and supervision of the country's assistance strategy, full lending project management, and evaluation of lending and sector work.
During the reorganization, the former Technical Departments were changed into Sector or Technical Families. The role of the Technical Families, which consisted of sector and project economists and selected specialist staff, was to formulate knowledge on technical subjects and best practice and to suggest innovation through research and development. A group of Technical Families was placed alongside a number of CMUs within each Regional Vice Presidency.
As a result of the 1997 reorganization, the Latin America and the Caribbean Region retained its original name but again changed its acronym, this time to LCR.
Management of World Bank records was originally undertaken according to a central filing system adopted in 1946. It included records originating from all parts of the Bank, with the exception of the records of the offices of the President, the Secretary, the Treasurer, and the personnel and legal departments. The records were filed in four sections: operational files by region and country; general files on all topics not specific to a region or country; membership, bond, and finance files; and official documents. From this early period, it is the "Operational Files" which are included in this fonds.
In 1972, separate Regional Information Service Centers (RISCs) for the new regional vice presidencies were established under the general control of the Central Files Unit. Within these RISCs the records were maintained in the same basic order as they had been during the 1946-1971 period; that is, the regional general files were handled as one body of records followed by files maintained on each country.
It was the responsibility of the Region and its units to regularly transfer their records to their RISC. In practice, however, RVPs, Country Departments, and Technical Departments did not always do this. Records were often maintained by the unit (and thus not filed according to the RISC's classification scheme) and later were transferred directly to the World Bank Group Archives rather than to the appropriate filing center. This practice of transferring directly to the World Bank Group Archives only began after 1991.
The RISCs were discontinued in 1998 and all records-keeping responsibilities were turned over to the regional offices. According to the Bank's Administrative Manual Statement 10.11: Management of Records, "Individual units maintain custody of their active records until such time that they are either transferred to the Archives or destroyed in accordance with approved records retention and disposition schedules. The WBG Archives has custody and control over access to records over 20 years old." In practice, this means that records are often transferred to the Archives at a point before they reach 20 years of age and are therefore still technically the property of the originating department even though physically they are in the care of the Archives. While the records are still less than 20 years old the originating department is able to request and use the records they have transferred to the Archives.
Some of the records in the "Country operational records" and "Regional operational records" series were subject to archival processing in the early 1990s that resulted in new series classifications being created and ascribed. Initially, the country files from the period 1946-1971 were intellectually arranged in alphabetical order by name of country and a new series was created for each country. After the termination of the RISCs in 1998, the Archives added the 1972-1998 country files maintained in the RISCs to the files of each country from the period 1946-1971. Those records that had been transferred directly to the archives rather than to the RISCs (as described above) were not included in this exercise. No action was taken on the general regional files (1946-1998) which were thus maintained separately.
2.4 Immediate source of acquisition or transfer: Records were transferred from Regional units either directly to the World Bank Archives or first to the Region's Information Service Center and then to the Archives. In all cases, approved records retention and disposition schedules were used.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
Content and structure area
Scope and content
This fonds consists of records created by the departments and vice presidencies that were responsible for World Bank operations in Central and South America and the Caribbean.
Country operational records
The majority of the records of this fonds are country operational records. These records broadly consist of project records relating to the negotiation and administration of loans and general country records relating to economic and sector study. These records were created by Area Departments (1947-1972), Country Departments (CDs, 1972-1997) and Country Management Units (CMUs, 1997-) as well as Regional project departments (1972 - 1987), technical departments (1987 - 1997), and sector departments (1997 - ).
Records related to the Bank's projects overseen by the LCR are contained in the "Country operational records" series. These records relate to investment, structural adjustment, and other development projects financed, co-financed, or managed by the Bank. Note that projects funded or co-funded by external bodies such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), national governments, and trust funds and which were executed by the Bank are also included.
Information about specific projects from their conception through negotiation and completion is found in this series; records relating to all phases of the World Bank Project Cycle are included here. Project records contained in this fonds were created by both the unit identified as the designated record keeping unit within the Region and, in smaller number, the Regional units that provided project support. Included are records relating to not only completed projects but also to abandoned projects (i.e. projects that were abandoned in course of preparation or that failed to gain Board approval) and suspended projects (i.e. approved projects, including those partially disbursed, which have been suspended and not resumed). Records related to the discussion and negotiation of projects that were never initiated are also included.
Correspondence files make up the bulk of the project records and relate to the identification, preparation, appraisal, negotiation, approval, supervision, disbursement of funds, completion, and review of each individual project. Correspondence is in the form of letters, memoranda, telexes, and faxes. Accompanying materials most often include aide-memoires, minutes of meetings, Terms of Reference, back-to-office reports, etc. Correspondence is between the Bank and government officials, ambassadors, institutions, and consultants.
Project records may also include: Project Files documents; Project Implementation Index File (PIIF) documents; executive project summary/project concept documents; annual progress reports; supplemental documents; consultant reports; supervision reports; and final versions of mandatory reports. Note that reports included in this fonds are occasionally available through the Bank's Projects & Operations site. A small amount of project-related newspaper clippings, financial statements, photographs, hand-written notes, maps, engineering plans, and copies of loan agreements and related documents may also be found, as well. External documents received from borrowers, governments, consultants, etc., including studies, reports, plans, specifications, Project File documents, PIIF documents, etc., are also included.
Country Economic and Sector Work (ESW) records
General country files are also included in the "Country operational series". These refer to background correspondence and other records of the Region's support activities for IBRD/IDA lending programs, other than those maintained for individual loans and credits. These relate to economic, social, and sector work study and analysis and the development of sector and country programs, policies and strategies. Specifically, these records might relate to: capital markets; indebtedness; investment law; missions to the country; technical assistance; disbursement; government relations; inquiries; local bond issues; co-financing; Consultative groups (including the Caribbean Group for Cooperation in Economic Development [CGCED]); aid groups; country liaison; programs and missions; resident representatives; Country Program Papers (CPP) preparation; and Project Implementation Review (PIR). Records relating to and filed according to the various sectors of investment are also included. In each series, sector files may include but are not limited to: agriculture; education; energy; industrial development and finance; industry; population; health; nutrition; telecommunications; tourism; transportation; urban development; water and sewage; and social development. General country file records take the form of correspondence, memoranda, minutes of meetings, notes for files, briefing papers, back-to-office reports, aide-memoires, briefing papers, and reports. Records relating to analytical and advisory activities (AAA) and the related collection of data for these activities may also be included.
Country-specific records relating to country program management and aid coordination are also included in the country operational record series. These records were maintained primarily by the Country Department headquarter units and were used to document Bank Group assistance planning and strategy for each country. Records may pertain to the creation of Bank reports such as: the Country Assistance Strategy (CAS); Country Briefs; Country Strategy Papers; Country Economic Memoranda; Medium Term Framework Papers; and policy statements. These records take the form of: agendas; briefings and reports of country team meetings; final versions of reports; and background materials used in the preparation of reports. Briefing papers prepared for Annual Meetings and other reports to management may also be included. Materials generated from aid coordination activities not specific to projects, such as co-financing arrangements, donor meetings, Consultative Group meetings, and Country Team meetings, may also be included.
Also included are informational records related to each country and to development issues specific to that country. These records primarily contain externally created reference material, although a small amount of internally generated material (such as speeches and addresses and material related to internally sponsored conferences and seminars) may also be included. Reference materials may include: lists of government officials; information on external consultants; newspaper clippings related to country matters; press releases related to Bank and country activities; correspondence with government officials and/or ministries; and documents related to the operations of field offices in the country. Also included, in small amounts, are books, journals, magazines, articles, extracts, directories, manuals, handbooks, guides, and dissertations originating from elsewhere in the Bank Group or of external origin. Topics include common development sectors (agriculture, transportation, education, etc.) as well as: resettlement; indigenous peoples; participation; Global Environment Facility (GEF); World Bank operation policies; country politics, legislation, and economic situation; and natural resource management. Also includes some reports and other resources relating to countries and regions outside of Latin America.
Regional operational records
Operational records related to the Latin America & Caribbean region are also included in this fonds. Included are the project records of projects that span more than a single country, such as the founding of new regional banks, the establishment of a common market, tourism projects, and the creation of regional infrastructure, such as roads, ports, electric power generation and telecommunications. The types of project-related records are similar to those described in the "Country operational records" series section above. Also included are general records related to economic, social and sector work study and analysis and the development of sector and regional programs, policies and strategies. In terms of topic and form, these records are similar to the general records of the country operational series described above; this includes records related to sector study and development and analytical and advisory activities (AAA). However, records relate to either the region as a whole or to multi-country areas of the region. Also included are records relating to multilateral institutions that work together with the Bank.
Departmental reference materials
Reference materials maintained by Regional departments are included in this fonds. Topics include the various development sectors as well as Bank operational topics such as: project identification; loan procurement; consultants; exports; macroeconomic stability and growth; and private sector assessment.
Department directors' project records (reference)
Project file reference copies maintained by the CD and CMU directors' front office are also included in this fonds. These include project-related records circulated from project managers to the departments for information, monitoring, review, or input. These records are arranged by project and then, in most cases, by project cycle component or phase.
Departmental directors' chronological files
Also included are chronological files created and maintained by the directors of CDs and CMUs. Specifically, the records of directors from LCC7C (Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay) and LCC1C (Mexico) are included; records date from 1992 to 1998.
Business plan and budget management records
Fonds includes records relating to business plan and budget management (i.e. planning, implementation, monitoring, and review) activities of the Region. The VP's Chief Administrator's annual budget records are contained in this fonds. These records include Business Plans covering three-year periods as well as Retrospective Reviews. Multi-volume annual budget files created by the Region's budget and administrative units are also included. Records relating to the budgets of Country Departments are also included primarily in the form of correspondence and budget reports and tools. Budget records created by both the Regional VP and Country Departments relating to country field offices are included. A small number of the Region's Budget Committee records from between 1996 and 2000 are also contained in the fonds.
Management and oversight of unit functions
Records relating to the management and oversight of the Region's functional responsibilities, work program, and policy development are included in this fonds. Topics include: work program development; unit policy and procedures; agency structure and organization; management improvement studies; coordination and direction; departmental reviews; Regional objectives and operational directives; and staffing. Records include: work program agreements and monthly reports; research program materials; general correspondence; various task force records including some final reports; unit reviews; LAC evaluation and restructuring records; records of the Region's Resource Management Group; and general correspondence. Records relating to the Funding Coordinators Group (trust funds) are also included.
Front office administration and oversight of field offices
Fonds also includes those records maintained in the Region's front office relating to the activities of the Region's field offices. Records may include: correspondence; reports; and contracts. Records may also relate to: establishment agreements; leases; renovation; capital budget; local staff; resident representatives; mission statement; and other information of substantive nature. Records were created between 1978 and 1993.
VP chronological files
Fonds includes the chronological files of the Region's VP S. Shahid Hussain for the years 1990 to 1992.
Front office reference material
A variety of front office reference material is included in this fonds. This includes a collection of reports and articles created between 1987 and 1995. Topics include: development; governance; Bank-Fund collaboration; Bank operations; information technology; communications; and human resources. Records take the form of: photocopied articles; Bank-authored reports including task force reports; Bank Executive Director memoranda; reports from external institutions; workshop publications; and seminar reports. Also included are subject files of the LAC front office. Records date from 1977 to 1993 and cover a variety of topics related to sector development, operations, budget, other Bank units, and external institutions.
Fonds contains records relating to the Region's cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with respect to development planning. Included are UNDP authored country programme records relating to LCR countries. Other reports authored by the UNDP are also included as is correspondence between the Bank concerning development activities in member countries in the Latin America and Caribbean region. Records are organized by country and date from 1981-1996. Note that project records from projects funded in whole or in part by the UNDP but executed by the Bank are included in the country and regional operational record series.
Also included are records related to the Region's communications activities. These consist of press releases authored by the World Bank dating from 1949 to 1997. Files are arranged by country and relate to: relations between the Bank and member country; projects funded by the Bank; and other pertinent topics.
Fonds contains records relating to a number of committees, task forces, working groups, etc., that establish, recommend, or monitor implementation of policy and procedures and on which the Region or its units are represented or about which they are kept informed. Included are the Reorganization Steering Committee (1988), Evaluation Monitoring Implementation Committee, Operational Committee, and LCR's Office of the Director Filing Project committee.
Training, seminar, and workshop planning and management
Fonds includes records related to the establishment, organization, proceedings, and output of conferences, meetings, seminars, and training organized by LCR units. Records include back-to-office reports, presentation notes and outlines, planning materials, reports, and correspondence. Many of the records relate to events undertaken in conjunction with the World Bank Institute (WBI). Records relating to training, seminars, and workshops organized by the Region's Environment Unit (LATEN) between 1992 and 1995 are also numerous. These events were organized for both Bank staff at headquarters and at country offices as well as for member governments and other institutions and groups.
Information technology management
Also contained in this fonds are records related to the management of information technology strategy for the Region. Included are files related to regional information strategy such as the LAC Enterprise Network pilot, the LAC communications link, imaging and the IRIS system, and files on LAC modernization and restructuring.
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling
System of arrangement
The following arrangement is provisional. Records are arranged in 15 series:
- Country operational records
- Regional operational records
- Departmental reference materials
- Department directors' project records (reference)
- Departmental directors' chronological files
- VP business plan and budget management records
- Committee records
- Management and oversight of unit functions
- VP chronological files
- Front office administration and oversight of field offices
- Front office reference material
- UNDP liaison
- Information technology management
- Training, seminar, and workshop planning and management