Archaeology and Economic Development 2012

Archaeology and Economic Development: The Perspective of the World Bank Group

The World Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) are two of five component institutions in the World Bank Group which includes 187 member nations.  The World Bank, originally established as the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, lends to governments for social and economic development; the IFC lends to private sector entities for similar purposes.  The policies and practices of the World Bank are influential with regional development Banks, and those of the IFC serve as guidance for numerous large commercial banks.

As financial institutions dedicated to improving social and economic conditions, both the World Bank and the IFC have, on occasion, included archaeology in lending operations where it is deemed a contributing factor to development, notably for stimulating tourism.  In a broader context, both institutions have mandatory ‘safeguard’ policies or standards that apply to projects involving earth moving or other modifications of the landscape.  The World Bank’s Operational Policy 4.11 – Physical Cultural Resources and the IFC’s Performance Standard 8 – Cultural Heritage require attention to archaeological sites and material that may be impacted by a project and its component activities.  Both institutions require that projects they finance comply with relevant national laws and regulations governing archaeological management and discovery of archaeological material during construction.

This paper and presentation will describe a development project financed by the World Bank or the IFC in each of the following geographical regions: Africa; East Asia and the Pacific; Europe and Central Asia; Middle East and North Africa; and South Asia. The examples illustrate attention to the identification, excavation, documentation, protection, and use of archaeological materials and the resulting social and economic benefits at national and local levels, as well as to the archaeological profession.

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