Fonds - Records of the South Asia Regional Vice Presidency

Identity area

Reference code



Records of the South Asia Regional Vice Presidency


  • 1947 - 2008 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

6125 linear feet of textual records (approximate)

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

The units responsible for World Bank lending and technical assistance have changed frequently in name and status since the Bank began operations in 1946. A summary of organizational and functional changes relevant to Bank operations in the South Asia Region (SAR) since 1946 is provided in this description. Units responsible for operations in the South Asia Region include:

1946-1952 Loan Department (LOD) Economic Department (ECD)

1952-1957 Department of Operations - Asia and Middle East (AME)

1957-1965 Department of Operations - South Asia and Middle East (SME)

1965-1966 South Asia Department (SAS)

1966-1968 Asia Department (ASI)

1968-1972 South Asia Department (SAS)

1972-1974 Asia Vice Presidency (ASN)

1974-1987 South Asia Vice Presidency (ASN)

1987-1991 Asia Regional Office - Asia Vice Presidency (ASI)

1991-present South Asia Vice Presidency (SAR)

The operations function of the World Bank has, in one form or another, been organized according to geographic region throughout the history of theBank. It is important to note that the South Asia Region, in the earlier decades of the World Bank's existence, oscillated between inclusion in larger and broader organizational units consisting of, on one hand, East Asia and Pacific countries and, on the other, African and, especially, Middle Eastern countries. As of 2014, the South Asia Region includes the following countries: Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

1946 - 1952

Upon the Bank's opening in 1946,operational lending was executed out of the Loan Department (LOD). The LOD was responsible for developing loan operation policy, receiving and investigating loan inquiries, presenting loan inquiries to Bank management for consideration, and negotiating loans. The organizational structure of LOD fluctuated over its seven year history but was, for the majority of the time, organized geographically. The Bank's focus in these early years was on post-World War II reconstruction - particularly in Europe - and this is reflected by the initial divisional organization of the LOD. Of the seven original divisions, four dealt with Europe and two with the Western Hemisphere. One division was responsible for the two continents of Asia and Africa: the Asiatic-African Division.

In 1948, the seven divisions were briefly consolidated into two (the European and United Kingdom Division and the Latin American, Asiatic and African Division). 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 Asia and the Middle East Division was one.

Parallel to the LOD was the Economic Department (ECD) which conducted sector analysis and research work. Between 1946 and 1952, the ECD was responsible for both functional and geographic analyses, i.e. general economic studies and country specific studies. Its 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. Like the LOD, the organization of the ECD reflected the Bank's focus on post-war Europe. The department initially consisted of three area divisions (South Asia 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 divisionswas installed. Area Division I was responsible for Europe and Area Division II was divided into four sections of which Asia was one. In March 1950 another reorganization divided the department into an advisory staff and an area staff, the latter consisting of three divisions of which Asia was one.

The first funding to the region was to India for railway reconstruction and development (Railway Project - P009588). The loan was approved on 18 August 1949 and provided $34 million dollars. During the period 1946 to 1952, the only SAR country to receive funding other than India was Pakistan, which received its first Bank loan in March of 1952 (Railway Project - P010002). During this period, the Bank sent missions to the Region, including India and Pakistan in 1949 and Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in 1951. In January of 1952, Bank President Eugene R. Black visited India, Pakistan, and Ceylon as part of a trip that also included stops in Thailand and Australia.

Early in the Bank's existence, the institution took on the occasional role of mediator between countries in instances of financial and/or resource disputes. While the Bank played this role only a small number of times, the instances when it did were generally of a high profile. One of the more significant examples of this was the dispute between India and Pakistan with regard to the water resources in the Indus Basin. Bank President Black approached the leaders of the two countries and suggested that the Bank could offer technical assistance to resolve their dispute.The first meeting was held in the offices of the World Bank in the summer of 1952 and involved the participation of engineers representing each country. Negotiations continued for nine years before a final treaty was signed by both parties in 1960.

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. AME consisted of four divisions created according to geographic region; while the first and fourth divisions contained Middle Eastern and East Asian countries respectively, Division II contained Ethiopia, Iran and Pakistan while Division III contained India, Burma and Ceylon. AME had two department directors between 1952 and 1957: Joseph Rucinski (22 September 1952 - 10 February 1953 and 11 May 1955 - 1 April 1957); and Francois Didier-Griegh (10 February 1953 - 11 May 1955).

As part of the 1952 reorganization, the sector-oriented staff of the former ECD formed the Technical Operations Department (TOD) in the new Area Departments 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.

During this period the World Bank began establishing resident missions in SAR countries. These included Pakistan in 1956 and India in 1957. Also, in 1958, the Aid-India Consortium was established. The consortium, made up of bilateral and multilateral leaders, was the first of the consortia and consultative groups that the Bank set up for its developing member countries. Later, in 1960, a similar consortium would be created for Pakistan.

Growing membership and operational responsibility in the Middle East and Asia was the main reason for the division of AME into two new units in 1957: the Department of Operations - South Asia and Middle East (SME) and the Department of Operations - Far East (FEA). As part of this organization, SAR countries were split up between the two new departments: Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan were placed in SME while Ceylon and Burma were located in FEA. Note also that the Indus Basin Settlement was treated as an organizational unit and was located in SME.

Joseph Rucinski, former department director of AME, was retained as department director of SME. He was briefly replaced by Geoffrey Wilson (1 January 1962 - 14 September 1962) and then, permanently, by Escott Reid (15 September 1962 - 18 January 1965).

It was during these years, beginning in 1958, that the Bank assumed its first major role in coordinating external financial aid in two South Asia Region countries that were threatened by major balance of payments crises. The Bank-organized India Consortium which first met from 25-27 August 1958 in Washington, DC was chaired by World Bank Group President Black to consult with the five other member countries already financing projects in India and explore solutions to India's foreign exchange situation. A second consortium for Pakistan followed in 1960. The purpose of both consortia shifted from providing emergency financial aid to providing long-term aid to India and Pakistan's development plans.

The Bank would go on to participate in many more consultative groups. Most of the functions involved in the operation of a consortium or consultative group were already carried out by Bank department staff in its relations with countries, however they wouldperform these functions "more intensively or more frequently" when sponsoring groups. The operations of the groups varied according to their different circumstances but in most cases the Bank's responsibilities were, as defined in 1965: providing periodic, comprehensive reports on the country's development possibilities, problems, and performance as a basis for the consultative group's deliberations; analyzing the country's aid requirements and problematic debt commitments, and recommending types and termsof aid; assisting the recipient government to prepare or revise a development program or advise on problems in its implementation; assisting in identifying projects and other technical assistance and arranging for feasibility studies; and advising participants on which sectors and projects deserve priority for external funding. The role of the group's chairman, typically the Bank's Area or Country Director for consultative groups, encouraged dialogue at meetings and coordinated donor efforts to meet the country's financing needs. The department also drafted the minutes or summary of proceedings and the list of delegates of group meetings. These functions essentially remained unchanged through 1999.

In January of 1965, SME was replaced by the South Asia Department (SAS), while countries in the Middle East region were merged with countries in the Europe Region to form the Europe and Middle East Department (EME). This marks the first time that the South Asia Region was organizationally autonomous. Alexander Stevenson served as department director of SAS for this period. However, this arrangement only lasted for a year and a half. In July of 1966, the FEA, which had remained untouched during the 1965 reorganization, was merged with SAS to form the Asia Department (ASI). Stevenson was named associate director while I. P. M. Cargill, formerly department director of FEA, was made department director of ASI.

This reorganization of the regional operations units also did not last long. In October 1968, due to theincreased volume of lending operations anticipated over the next several years, the World Bank executed a major reorganization of its regional departments. One of the results was that ASI was again divided into two separate departments: South Asia Department (SAS) and East Asia and Pacific Department (EAP). Cargill served as the Department Director of SAS through 1972 while Raymond J. Goodman served as Director for EAP during this time.

1972 - 1987

While projects funded by the World Bank in the South Asia Region from the Bank's inception through the 1960s focused primarily on infrastructure projects like transportation and energy, in the 1970s a shift towards agriculture, rural development and the social sectors occurred. This shift mirrored a more general trend in the Bank and, generally, in development dialogue at the time.

As part of a massive 1972 reorganization, the geographical organization of the Regional units was again redefined. The seven departments (including SAS) that made up the Area Departments were elevated to five Regional Vice Presidencies (RVP). As a result, SAS and EAP were again combined to form a single Regional Vice Presidency: the Asia Vice Presidency (ASN). The RVPs reported to the new Senior Vice President, Operations (SVPOP).

A more significant aspect of the 1972 reorganization, however, was the integration of the former Projects Division with the new RVPs. The period between 1952 and 1972 had been characterized by frequent reorganizations of the geographically-based area units responsible for country liaison and loan policy and negotiation. However, the division of responsibility between these units and the TOD (renamed the Projects Division [PRJ] in 1965) was maintained. But in 1972, in an attempt 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 five new Regional Vice Presidencies. Each Region's Project Department staff was organized into sector-oriented departments and were known as Central Projects Staff. Thus, rather than one Projects Department that supported projects in countries on an ad hoc basis, each RVP would maintain its own projects staff. Each RVP was, in turn, given "line authority" to analyze, decide and act on country development operations. 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, ASN was divided into two Country Program Departments in addition to the new Projects Department. The countries overseen by the former SAS constituted Country Program Department 2. Note that oversight of operations in Afghanistan was moved into the new Europe, Middle East and North Africa Regional Vice Presidency (EMN) and would not return to the South Asia Region until 1991. 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 Region's Project Department was divided into five sector-based units: Agriculture; Development Finance Companies; Education; Public Utilities; and Transportation. 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 Program Departments in loan negotiation and credit agreements; and helping borrowers manage consultants and procurement.

Note that not all operational responsibility was transferred from the former PRJ 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 PRJ units which had their operational functions dispersed to theRVPs still maintained a core staff in the CPSVP with responsibility for policy and advisory work only.

I. P. M. Cargill served as the Regional Vice President of ASN from 1 October 1972 to 30 June 1974. In 1974, the Asia Vice Presidency was again divided into separate Vice Presidencies: the South Asia Vice Presidency (ASN) and the East Asia and Pacific Vice Presidency (AEN). Subsequently, Mervyn L. Weiner was named Regional Vice President (1 July 1974 to 1 October 1975) of the new ASN. Ernest Stern (1 October 1975 to 1 January 1978) and W. David Hopper (1 January 1978 to 30 June 1987) succeeded Weiner.

1987 - 1997

While the make-up of the Country Program 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 RVPs was 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 that replaced the Country Program Departments combined the macro-economic work of the former Country Program Departments and the sector work of the former Regional Projects Department. Each Country Department would consist of a Country Operations Division (COD) as well as multiple Sectoral Operations Divisions (SOD) made upof staff from the former Regional 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 each Region's Project Department into the Country Departments' SODs. Those remaining formed a new Regional 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.

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.

During the 1987 reorganization the number of RVPs was decreased from six to four. This involved the merger of ASN and AEN in the formation of a single Asia Regional Office (ASI). Attila Karaosmanoglu was named Regional Vice President of ASI. ASI initially contained five Country Departments and a single Technical Department. This internal organization was maintained through 1991 when the four regional Vice Presidencies were again expanded to six and ASI was divided into two separate Vice Presidencies: South Asia Vice Presidency (SAS) and East Asia and Pacific Vice Presidency (EAP). However, the two new reformed Vice Presidencies continued to share a single Technical Department (AST) until 1997.

D. Joseph Wood was named Regional Vice President of the newly constituted SAS. Note that in 1991 Afghanistan was returned to the oversight of the South Asia Vice Presidency but Myanmar remained in EAP. From 1991 to 1996, SAS had three Country Departments and a single Technical Department. In 1996, the number of Country Departments was decreased to two.

1997 - 2014

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 South Asia Region, the number of CMUs rose from two 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. 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 Technical Families group was placed alongside a number of CMUs within each Regional Vice Presidency.

As a result of the 1997 reorganization, the South Asia Vice Presidency retained its original name but changed its acronym, this time to SAR. Mieko Nishimizu was named Regional Vice President of SAS in Feburary of 1997; upon the completion of the reorganization and the official creation of SAR on 1 July 1997, Nishimizu became the SAR Regional Vice President. Praful C. Patel replaced her on 1 July 2003. Isabel Guerrero succeeded Patel on 1 July 2008 and most recently, Philippe Le Houerou replaced Guerrero on 1 July 2013.

Archival history

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 began to be 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. Note that between approximately October 1972 and April 1976 and then between July 1987 and the closure of all RISCs in 1998, SAR and the East Asia Region shared a single RISC.

It was the responsibility of the Region and its units to regularly transfer official country and regional operational records to their RISC. In practice, however, regional front offices and the various RVP units did not always do this and would instead maintain their records on their own. By the late 1980s it became apparent that gaps in the Records Centers' holdings existed. In part to rectify this situation, the Regional units began, in 1992, to send records directly to the Archives rather than to the appropriate filing center. The "official" records of the regional operations were still required to be transferred to information centers until 1998 when all RISCS were terminated.

When the RISCs were discontinued in 1998, 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.

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.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Note that the countries included in the South Asia Region fonds and, in particular, the "Country operational records" series, fluctuated over the years; countries were moved from one Region to another and Regional Vice Presidencies were merged and separated. This is reflected in the inclusion of records from, specifically, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Myanmar (Burma). While the inclusion of records partially depends on the nature of their transfer (see "Archival history" for explanation), generally operational records related to Afghanistan from 1972 to 1991, Pakistan from 1987 to 1991, and Myanmar from 1987 to the present will not be included in the records of this fonds. See the "Related units of description" field of this description for the location of those records not included. There were fluctuations in the countries overseen by SAR prior to 1972, as well. However, these changes are not reflected in the inclusion of records in this fonds as a result of the reaccessioning exercise described in the "Archival history" field.

Also note that this fonds has been arranged into eleven provisional series. Sub-headings are used to break the content of this field up according to series. For a complete list of the provisional series, see the Arrangement field below.

Country operational records

The majority of the records in this fonds are country operational records. The records in the Country operational records series 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- 2009) as well as Regional project departments (1972 - 1987), technical departments (1987 - 1997), and sector departments (1997 - 2009).

Records related to the Bank's projects overseen by SAR are contained in the "Country operational records" series. These records relate to investment, structural adjustment, technical assistance 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 but which were executed by the Bank are also included.

Records relating to all phases of the World Bank Project Cycle, from conception through negotiation and completion, are found here. Project records contained in this fonds were created by both the unitidentified 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 negotiationof 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, fund disbursement, completion, and review of each individual project. Correspondence is in the form of letters, printed email, 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, contractors, and consultants.

Project records may also include: Project Implementation Index File (PIIF) documents; executive project summary/project concept documents; annual progress reports; supplemental documents; Project Completion Reports (PCRs, also known as Completion Reports); consultant reports; supervision reports; andfinal versions of mandatory reports. 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, etc., are also included.

General country files are also included in the "Country operational records" 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. Records 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; 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 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; external reports (particularly from the International Monetary Fund [IMF]); meeting summaries and notes; and background materials used in the preparation of reports. Briefing papers prepared for Annual Meetings and other reports to management may also be included.

Also included are informational records related to each country and to development issues specific to that country. Much of the topics covered in these records are focused on various development sectors. These records primarily contain externally created reference material, although a small amount of internally generated material (such as speeches and addresses and material relatedto 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.

Regional operational records

Operational records related to the South Asia 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 and sectorwork 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 external institutions that work together (co-financing, sector research, information sharing, reporting) with the Region; these include, for example, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the South Pacific Regional Development Bank. Also included in this series are records related to the Bank's role in the resolution of the dispute between India and Pakistan over the use of water resources in the Indus Basin.

External aid coordination

Series consists of records relating to the development and implementation of aid coordination activities not specific to projects, such as cofinancing arrangements, donor meetings, consultative group meetings, and Country Team meetings. Records originate in country and sector departments and relate to cooperative relationships between the Bank Group and donors, cofinanciers, development agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and other concerned organizations. Specifically, records may relate to: collaborative development assistance; consultative groups and meetings; Bank-sponsored seminars and conferences; cofinancing and trust funds; the Consultant Trust Fund Program (CTFP); and external funding for consultants. Records may include: copies of agreements and other legal documents; initiating briefs; reports and memoranda concerning disbursement of cofinanced funds; periodic reports to cofinanciers; and other related materials.

The series contains records documenting the establishment, proceedings and activities of the consortia, aid and consultative groups convened and chaired by the Bank to coordinate external financial assistance and which the Bank provided secretarial support to. Includes India Consortium (1958), Pakistan Consortium (1960), Ceylon - Sri Lanka Aid Group (1965), Bangladesh Aid Group (1974) Burma Aid Group (1976), Nepal Aid Group (1976), Maldives Consultative Group (1984) and Timor Leste Consultative Group (1999). The groups met bi-annually for several successive years, some continuing over decades as in the case of the India Consortium which met until 1993 when it evolved into the India Development Forum and was constituted as an annual meeting to include private investors.

Aid coordination group files contain a large body of correspondence between the country department staff, the chairman who was typically the Area or Country Director but on occasion was the Bank Vice President or Regional Vice President, and members of the consortia and consultative groups including the recipient country. Correspondence includes copies of outgoing memoranda and letters, cables, original letters from member government officials (some addressed to the Bank President), notes to the file, minutes of pre-consultative group meetings, sector, and/or local meetings organized by country staff in between consultative group meetings, and drafts of documents. Topics covered by the correspondence include policies and practices of the consortia, consultative group or aid group; its origins and establishment; changes in membership or participation; pledges and terms of aid by donor countries; and collaboration with the International Monetary Fund and other multilateral participants or observers.

Also included are the set of official meeting documents of the earliest Bank-chaired consortia and other groups aforementioned that contain: preliminary meeting summaries, notice of meeting, agenda, list of delegates, Bank-authored or government authored memoranda or economic reports and policy papers, Chairman's report of proceedings, transcripts or verbatim proceedings, participants statements, and press release. Meeting files also contain a small amount of administrative correspondence authored by Secretary's department or the Area or Country Department concerning meeting preparations, distribution of documents, or announcements about participants in attendance of the meetings.

Department directors' project records (reference)

Project file reference copies maintained by the CD, CMU, or Sector Family directors' front office staff 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.

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. These records include annual budget files created by the Region's budget and administrative units as well as Business Plans covering three-year periods and Retrospective Reviews. Records relating to the budgets of Country Departments are included primarily in the form of budget reports, tools, and correspondence. Budget records created by both the Regional VP and Country Departments relating to country field offices are included (these offices also go by the names "resident mission" or "country office"). Records related to the quarterly VP Business Review Meetings are also included.

Management and oversight of unit functions

Records relating to the management and oversight of the Region's country and technical departments' 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; procedural and budget guides; management team meeting records; management retreats; records related to the 1991 reorganization of the Asia Region and subsequent reorganization of the Technical Departments; and general correspondence.

VP Chronological files

Fonds includes the chronological files of the Region's VP Mieko Nishimizu for the years 1997 to 1999. (See 5.3 of this description for the locationof other SAR VP chronological files.)

Front office administration and oversight of field offices

Fonds also includes those records maintained in the Region's front office relating to the administration and management 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; job grading; staff reassignment; Internal Auditing Department (IAD) reports; ad hoc reports related to staff issues in country offices; and other information of substantive nature.

Conferences, meetings, and seminar attendance

Fonds includes records related to the establishment, organization, and output of conferences, meetings, seminars, and training organized or attended by SAR staff. Events include externally organized conferences and seminars as well as internally organized events by Bank units. Records related to the Bank's Spring and Annual Meetingsare also included. With regard to events organized or sponsored by the Region, records may relate to identification and selection of themes, topics, and speakers in addition to other planning, administrative, and logistical topics.

Committee Records

Fonds contains records relating to a number of temporary and standing 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. Committees include, among others: Committee on Regional Initiatives; Research Committee; Information Management Group. Other committees internal to the Regional VP or Country Department relate to research, briefing and sector work. Records may include terms of reference, agenda, agenda papers, decisions, member lists, supporting or background documentation, and minutes and reports.

Front Office Reference Material

A variety of front office reference material is included in this fonds. Topics include: development (including specific sector work); regional economic and political issues; corruption; governance; Bank-Fund collaboration; Bank operations; information technology; communications; privatization and private sector development; cofinancing; human resources; the Quality Assurance Group (QAG); World Development Report (WDR); and World Debt Tables. 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. Records received from other Bank Vice Presidencies are also included.

Briefing books

Series also consists of briefing books prepared for senior officials created by SAR units. Briefing books included were prepared for both SAR senior officials as well as other senior Bank staff in preparation for visits to South Asian countries as well as for meetings and seminars. Briefing books commonly contain: program of country visit; country overview; World Bank Group activities; visit and meeting briefs; project meeting briefs; as well as other World Bank authored reports which serve as background information.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


Accruals are expected.

System of arrangement

Arrangement is provisional. Fonds has been arranged into twelve series:

  • Country operational records

  • Regional operational records

  • External aid coordination

  • Department directors' project records (reference)

  • Business plan and budget management records

  • Management and oversight of departmental functions

  • VP chronological files

  • Front office administration and management of field offices

  • Conference, meeting, and seminar attendance

  • Committee records

  • Front Office reference material

  • Briefing books for senior staff

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

While a finding aid specific for the records of this fonds does not exist, researchers interested in operational projects (loans, credits, grants and trust funds) executed by SAR are encouraged to reference the Projects and Operations Database on-line. Lists of archival records for many of the Bank's projects can be found there as well as some final reports and contextual information specific to each project. The database search can be narrowed to include only those projects related to SAR. Should researchers wish to access the archival records related to these projects, cite the Project ID number when making a request.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

  • See Records of the East Asia and Pacific Regional Vice Presidency (WB IBRD/IDA EAP) for: records of the Asia Vice Presidency from 1987-1991: records created and maintained by the shared Asia Technical Department (AST) from 1987 to 1997; records classified in the Asia class of the Regional Information Service Center classification system; and country operational records for Myanmar/Burma from 1987 to the present.

  • See Records of the Middle East and North Africa Regional Vice Presidency (WB IBRD/IDA MNA) for country operational records for Afghanistan from 1972 to 1991 and Pakistan from 1987 to 1991.

  • For records of the Economic Committee, which contain draft versions of early country economic reports and country program papers (CPPs) and comments on those papers by the committee, see Records of the (Staff) Economic Committee (WB_IBRD/IDA_118).

  • See the various Sector Department fonds for records relating to policy development and project and regional support offered by the Sector Departments.

  • See Records of External Affairs - Documentation of institutional meetings, press conferences, and other events ("WB IBRD/IDA EXT-12:" for sound recordings of the consortia for India and Pakistan.

  • See Secretary's Department Consultative Groups (Meeting) general files for additional background records on the Bank's role in aid coordination, meeting procedures, and 1965 review of consultative groups.

  • See Documents and Reports for consultative group reports of proceedings and other selected documents. Calendars of aid meetings in the 1990s produced by the Operations Policy Department are also digitized and available in the database.

  • For records of past SAR and ASI Vice Presidents, see: Records of individual staff members - Ernest Stern files (WB IBRD/IDA STAFF-10); Records of individual staff members - Joseph Wood (WB IBRD/IDA STAFF-20); Records of individual staff members - W. David Hopper files (WB IBRD/IDA STAFF-04); and Records of individual staff members - Attila Karaosmanoglu (WB IBRD/IDA STAFF-23).

  • For oral histories of past SAR Vice Presidents, see the following interviews: Ernest Stern; Mervyn Weiner; David Hopper; and Attila Karaosmanoglu; Karaosmanoglu was the Vice President of the Asia Region from 1987 to 1991. Also see Records of the Office of the Historian - Records of the World Bank History Project - Interviews (WB IBRD/IDA HIST-01-10) for interviews of Ernest Stern, Mervyn Weiner, and Attila Karaosmanoglu.

  • See Records of Individual Staff Members - Bernard R. Bell files - Fourth Five-Year Plan and economic policy files (WB IBRD/IDA STAFF-03) for records relating to Bell's missions reporting on India's economy, aid requirements and development, as well as the India Consortium meetings.

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Rules and/or conventions used

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

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Dates of creation revision deletion

22 May 2014




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