The World Bank consists of four closely linked institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Development Association (IDA), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency. Unless otherwise specified, the term "World Bank" as used here refers to the IBRD and IDA.
Maurice Strong continued as Senior Advisor to the President of the World Bank Group on environmental matters. In May, David Freestone joined the Environmental Affairs Unit as the new Legal Adviser. In June, the Unit was renamed the "Environment and International Law Unit" so as to emphasize its enhanced mandate in dealing with the many international and environmental law issues arising in the course of the Bank's activities.
In 1996, loans and credits were again made available by IBRD and IDA for both freestanding environmental projects and projects that combine sector- specific and environmental components. During the 1996 fiscal year, 20 environmental projects were financed by the Bank through $1.6 billion in credits and loans. These projects included full environmental management projects, aimed to equip the member countries with adequate institutions and appropriate legal frameworks to address their overall environmental concerns. By year's end, the Bank's active portfolio of projects, aimed primarily at helping borrowing countries improve their environmental management, stood at approximately $11.5 billion for 153 projects in 62 countries. The majority of these projects were new, and over $9 billion was scheduled to be disbursed over the next few years. Some of the projects will assist with the development of laws and institutions.
In addition to environmental projects, the Bank implements the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol for Substance that Deplete the Ozone Layer (MFMP). Over the past fiscal year, $126 million was committed for 15 new GEF projects, bringing the total GEF portfolio to $506 million for 59 projects spanning the four focal areas: biodiversity, climate change, ozone depleting substances phaseout, and international waters. The MFMP portfolio also grew and now totals $214 million approved for 461 subprojects.
The World Bank continued to provide technical assistance to its member countries in developing environment-related laws and regulations in the