The World Bank

The World Bank (WB) provides financial and technical assistance to developing countries in a variety of sectors. It was founded in 1944 as a result of the Bretton Woods Conference, with the purpose of preventing a repetition of the 1930s Great Depression. Today the World Bank comprises 185 member countries.

In 2008, the World Bank’s funding commitments totalled USD $24.71 billion. Like the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank’s stated overarching goal is poverty reduction. However, experiences on the ground with World Bank projects have often shown adverse economic, social and environmental impacts resulting in further harm to already vulnerable communities.

Oxfam Australia supports and works with partner organisations in the development banks network to monitor the World Bank’s activities, as well as joining them in campaigns on issues of concern.

Our Oxfam International office in Washington takes an active role in influencing WB policy and project decisions.

May 2009 update: The World Bank’s private sector financing arm, the International Finance Corporation, is currently reviewing its Performance Standards, which contain environmental and social requirements for IFC funded operations. Read Oxfam International’s recommendations for the review.

For information on World Bank policies and projects visit: