How can the AfDB improve its safeguards compliance procedures? - Have Your Say!

Consultation closed on 31 August 2012.

Towards an Integrated Safeguards System - How can the AfDB improve its safeguards compliance procedures to effectively respond to the needs of African Countries without compromising its own obligations to other stakeholders?


Safeguarding the environment whilst facilitating economic development and social wellbeing are core pillars to achieving sustainable development. Since the early 1990s the Bank has put in place policies and procedures to ensure that the operations (projects, programs and policies) it supports do not result in adverse impacts on the environment or people. Specifically, for over 15 years the Bank has implemented the current Environmental and Social Assessment Procedures (ESAP); which are equally applied to both public and private sector operations.

However, the context in which development work is done has changed significantly over the last two decades and continues to evolve.  Challenges have emerged relating to climate change, and others that are gaining increasing importance include pollution and population. But in Africa, the high level of poverty continues to be the overriding priority.  

In order to be relevant and responsive to the needs of its clients, the Bank needs to upgrade its safeguards policies and procedures to meet current international standards and best practice.  


The ISS will govern the implementation of the Banks operations. It will aim to be responsive to the aspirations of its clients whilst also ensuring that the institution also fulfils its corporate responsibilities as a leader in Africa.  


The new system has been developed taking into account: lessons learnt from implementing the current ESAP (its limitations); the need to mainstream climate change; international best practice; and, how to counter the multiplicity of internal policies. The result is a system that:  

  • Integrates the requirements for both public and private operations
  • Introduces Operational Safeguards
  • Aims to strengthen Country Systems
  • Introduces requirements for policy and program lending
  • Explicitly  recognises social issues including those related to Indigenous People, and
  • Harmonizes with other MDB procedures

The ultimate objective is to facilitate sustainable development.  

Your Participation

The AfDB Group wishes to encourage all stakeholders to provide comments on this draft paper on the ISS.  Also provided for your information is the consultation plan.