United Nations and Its Relationship to the World Bank Group

Cooperation between the World Bank Group and the United Nations has been in place since the founding of the two organizations (in 1944 and 1945, respectively) and focuses on economic and social areas of mutual concern, such as reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development, and investing in people. In addition to a shared agenda, the Bank Group and the United Nations have almost the same membership: only a handful of UN member countries are not members of IBRD.

The World Bank's formal relationship with the United Nations is defined by a 1947 agreement that recognizes the Bank (now the Bank Group) as an independent specialized agency of the United Nations and as an observer in many UN bodies, including the General Assembly. In recent years, the Economic and Social Council has conducted a special high-level meeting with the World Bank Group, International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Trade Organization (WTO), and United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) immediately after the Spring Meetings of the Bank Group and the IMF. The Bank Group President is also a member of the UN System Chief Executives Board for Coordination, which meets twice annually.

In addition, the Bank Group plays a key role in supporting United Nations-led processes, such as the International Conference on Financing for Development, the World Summit on Sustainable Development and the Post-2015 Development Agenda. It also provides knowledge about country-level challenges and helps formulate international policy recommendations.

In terms of operations, the Bank Group works with other UN funds and programs to coordinate policies, aid, and project implementation. It also helps prepare for and participates in most of the United Nations global conferences and plays an important role in follow-up, especially in relation to the implementation of goals at the country level.


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