In policy, terminology is important. Comparative analysis of social policy is a particularly challenging topic for maintaining terminological clarity and consistency. Over the years, I have worked to develop my own definitions for terms used in social policy (a defining feature of the applied-anthro website) to better ensure continuity in my writing. This lexicon is influenced by the IFI definitions, but it is adapted to accommodate discussion of broad phenomenological concerns.

Consider the following:

Most IFIs compile some form of operations manual comprised of policies for effecting the mandates of their institutional charters. In addition to board-approved policies and regulations, some IFI operations manuals also include notes of guidance for bank staff and clients that elaborate on the intended meaning of policy provisions to facilitate better implementation.

For example, while the Asian Development Bank's operations manual refers only to policies (which the ADB terms operational procedures, or OPs), the operations manual of the World Bank contains operational policies (OPs), bank procedures (BPs), directives, as well as interim instructions to staff (referred to OpMemos).

It can be hard to distinguish 'policy' from 'guidance', and still more difficult to discern what is "required" as opposed to that which is simply "recommended" (a question that my clients often pose when considering my recommendations for policy implementation).

It can also be challenging to identify the range of social policy that may be applicable to a given project or development initiative.

Safeguards are one aspect of </strong>social policy</strong>. Other aspects include social development policy (including initiatives to mainstream gender-sensitive development; initiatives to ensure the participation and empowerment of people and communities affected by development processes), social protection policy (including social assistance and welfare service programs including child protection and micro- and area based schemes to address poverty, and vulnerability; social insurance programs to cushion risks associated with unemployment, ill-health, disability, work-related injury and old age; and labour market policies and programs designed to generate employment, improve working conditions), human rights law, etc. Unfortunately, IFI institutional treatments of social issues (such as web and print publications touting institutional contributions to social development) seldom help to situate different institutional initiatives and activities within their greater policy contexts.

action plan : a document defining actions for ensuring compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and policy mandates
adverse possession : a method of acquiring title to real property by possession for a statutory period under certain conditions
affected communities : communities that are subject to risks or impacts from project operations
archaeological-sites :
artifact : a portable object that is created by past human activity
baseline :
biodiversity : variety of life in all its forms, including genetic, species and ecosystem diversity
community history : detailed account of the community’s past, detailing how things have changed, with a particular focus on relationships with external actors and the trends these relations have followed, as well as internal dynamics within the community
census :
census : the official process of counting a population of a given jurisdiction
civil society : a network of actors, associations, agencies and institutions operating between the state and the market
communication mapping :
community history :
compensation in kind : compensation for losses that cannot be easily valued or compensated for in monetary terms
consultation : a process of two-way communication between project developers and stakeholders in which views, preferences, and information are exchanged in a culturally appropriate manner, within locally-appropriate time frames, and using locally-understood languages and communication formats
Country Safeguard Systems (CSS) : national, subnational, or sectoral implementing institutions and relevant laws, regulations, rules, and procedures that pertain to the policy areas of environmental and social safeguards
cultural heritage : any non-renewable resource possessing cultural, scientific, spiritual or religious value
development : the act or process of growing (or causing something to grow), or become larger, more advanced, or more complex over a over a period of time
development paradigm : actions, activities, and programmes based on, and extending from, salient theories and beliefs about what consitutes 'development'
grievance : a concern or complaint raised by an individual or a group within communities affected by company operations
international financial institution : financial institutions that have been established (or chartered) by more than one country
involuntary resettlement : physical and/or economic displacement resulting from project-related land acquisition where affected individuals or communities do not have the right to contest their loss of land use and access
land-for-land compensation :
meta-phenomenon : a high-level categorisation and grouping of facts, acts, ideas or locution realized as phenomena
Performance Standards : policy guidelines for how to identify, avoid, mitigate, and manage environmental and social risks and impacts; initially, only IFC had Performance Standards
replacement cost : market value of assets plus transaction costs
replacement cost of public structures : the cost of purchasing or building a new structure, with an area and quality similar to or better than those of the affected structure, or of repairing a partially affected structure, including labor and contractors’ fees and transaction costs such as registration and transfer taxes
replacement cost of urban land : the market value of land of equivalent area and use, with similar or improved infrastructure and services preferably located in the vicinity of the affected land, plus transaction costs such as registration and transfer taxes
resettlement : the transportation of a people to a new area for settlement
retrenchment : the elimination of a significant number of employee positions or the dismissal or layoff of a significant number of employees by an employer
safeguard policy : policies intended to prevent and mitigate undue harm to people and their environment in the development process
social analysis : the practice of analyzing a situation or social issue, problem or trend through objective, systematic exploration—often with the aim of prompting change
social development : transformative processes of social change, usually intented to benefit human well-being
social development practitioner : a category of professionals (primarily comprised of social scientists) working (i.e., practising) in the field of international social development
social indicator : a value measured when conducting systematic evaluation or when defining performance targets and auditing criteria
social policy : 1) regulatory measures (guidelines, principles, legislation and activities) intended to ensure or effect the well-being of a society and its constituent members; 2) an interdisciplinary field of study and (applied) practice that is concerned with societies' responses to social need
stakeholder analysis : a technique to identify and assess the importance and interests of key people, groups, or institutions usually in relation to specific policies, programmes or communities
stakeholders : all individuals and/or groups who can reasonably be expected to be affected by, or can affect project operations
survey : a sampling, or partial collection, of facts, figures, or opinions
temporality : the state of existing within or having some relationship with time
triangulation : the technique of integrating multiple lines of investigation and analysis of a topic of inquiry to ensure the integrity of data sources, to enhance the insights of analytical inquiry, as well as to enhance confidence in the ensuing findings