• What is the World Bank’s track record in earlier high-risk projects?
  • Has the World Bank learned from past mistakes?
  • Does it have the necessary instruments to adequately appraise and implement high-risk projects?
  • Who will bear the burden of such projects if their high risks cannot be contained and mitigated? Who will reap the rewards?

This report examines these questions at a critical juncture. It analyzes how the World Bank’s approach to environmental and social risk has changed over time and evaluates the Bank’s track record in high- risk projects in the water, forestry, oil, gas and mining sectors. The report presents examples of alternative development approaches that are marked by low risk and high rewards and culminates with some general conclusions and a series of recommendations.