World Bank Group Environmental, Health, and Safety Guidelines updated

30 April 2007

New versions of the World Bank Group Environmental, Health, and Safety Guidelines (known as the 'EHS Guidelines') are now in use. They replace IFC Guidelines and World Bank Guidelines previously published in Part III of the Pollution Prevention and Abatement Handbook and on the IFC website.

The new EHS Guidelines were developed as part of a two and a half year review process, details of which are available on the EHS Guidelines Update website. The EHS Guidelines are intended to be 'living documents', and will be updated on a regular basis going forward. Please check IFC’s site for future information on the update mechanism. The EHS Guidelines are technical reference documents with general and industry-specific examples of Good International Industry Practice (GIIP), as defined in IFC's Performance Standard 3 on Pollution Prevention and Abatement. Reference to the EHS Guidelines by IFC clients is required under Performance Standard 3. IFC uses the EHS Guidelines as a technical source of information during project appraisal activities, as described in IFC's Environmental and Social Review Procedure.

The EHS Guidelines contain the performance levels and measures that are normally acceptable to IFC and are generally considered to be achievable in new facilities at reasonable costs by existing technology. For IFC-financed projects, application of the EHS Guidelines to existing facilities may involve the establishment of site-specific targets with an appropriate timetable for achieving them. The environmental assessment process may recommend alternative (higher or lower) levels or measures, which, if acceptable to IFC, become project- or site-specific requirements.

When host country regulations differ from the levels and measures presented in the EHS Guidelines, projects are expected to achieve whichever is more stringent. If less stringent levels or measures are appropriate in view of specific project circumstances, a full and detailed justification for any proposed alternatives is needed as part of the site-specific environmental assessment. This justification should demonstrate that the choice for any alternate performance levels is protective of human health and the environment.

For more details please visit the IFC’s website.