IFC Announces Disclosure Policy Review, Seeks Comments

10 February 2004

The International Finance Corporation, the private sector lending wing of the World Bank, said in mid-January that it would accept comments on its current disclosure policy until March 12.

The call for public comments in a period of less than two months appeared on the IFC web site, but was not announced by an IFC press release. Navigation to the “View and Submit Comments” page is not obvious, but the basic site is located at http://www.ifc.org/externalreview.

The IFC did not provide a draft of a policy to replace the current one, which was last revised in 1998.

Unlike some development banks that recently have reviewed their disclosure policies, the IFC indicated that comments submitted will be posted on the web site, even without attribution upon request. E-mail comments maybe sent to disclosurepolicyreview@ifc.org.

Plans for the review have been underway for months, according to a “process & timeline” entry on the web site. The “scoping exercise” outlined includes benchmarking IFC disclosure policies against “comparator organizations, identifying best practices, evaluating the experience of IFC with its current disclosure policy, identifying relevant stakeholders, setting objectives, and establishing a design and work plan for the review.” That phase was to be completed by Jan. 30.

The statement also indicates that there will be an active consultation both internally and externally, and states that the goal is to have a new policy by the end of June 2004.

The web site also lays out preliminary objectives for the review, beginning with: “Determine the appropriate level of disclosure for IFC as a publicly-owned institution working in the private sector and respecting the business confidentiality of its client companies.”

The IFC is also conducting a review of its safeguard policies, which guide IFC lending through laying out environmental and social goals and setting minimum requirements for IFC projects.

By Toby McIntosh

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In this column, Washington, D.C.-based journalist Toby J. McIntosh reports on the latest developments in information disclosure in International Financial and Trade Institutions (IFTI).
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