World Bank Poverty reduction is now more firmly at the center of the Bank's country assistance strategies, with increased efforts to improve the quality of poverty assessments, enhanced monitoring and evaluation of poverty outcomes, and the integration of quantitative with participatory methods.This annual publication reports on World Bank activities in fiscal year 1998, which continued to be aimed at fostering labor-based growth while investing in the development of human capital and providing safety nets. At the same time, Bank activities reflected several new themes: the need to protect the poor from shocks, the role of institutions in implementing policies and providing services, and the importance of participation, partnerships and social capital. The amounts lent under the Program of Targeted Interventions (PTI) has grown from 29 percent of total investment lending in fiscal year 1997 to 40 percent in fiscal 1998, reflecting increased PTI lending in education, social protection, the environment, and to countries in South Asia. The amounts lent for poverty-focused adjustment operations also increased from 52 to 64 percent of total adjustment lending, reflecting efforts to protect the poor hit by the recent crisis in East Asia.The report concludes that the East Asian crisis, as well as other events of the last decade—persistent conflict in some of the poorest African countries, the continuing pain of transition in former socialist economies, and the experience with policy implementation across the world—call for a re-examination of the Bank's poverty reduction strategy, building on the strategy presented in 'World Development Report 1990' but incorporating new elements as well. This work was begun in preparation for the 'World Development Report on Poverty' published in September 2000.