A number of NGOs, including World Rainforest Movement and the Italian World Bank Campaign have expressed concerns about the World Bank’s Forest Policy and Forest Policy Implementation Review process. They say it has not included sufficient field evaluations of ongoing projects and fear that the review process aims to dilute the Bank’s ban on support for logging in primary moist tropical forest.
The Operation Evaluation Deparment’s review of the extent to which the World Bank has implemented its own 1991 Forest Policy found that:
- staff lack the expertise, time, resources and incentives and reporting tools to observe the policy;
- the Bank has had a negligible effect on curbing deforestation;
- participation of civil society was weak;
- the importance of reforming land tenure regimes has been poorly appreciated;
- gender considerations were inadequately addressed in 99.5% of projects;
- governance issues were generally neglected and institution-building was weak.
- A joint NGO briefing ahead of regional consultation meetings welcomed the review for its frankness but contested some of its conclusions. The NGOs urge:
- changes to Bank incentive structures;
- more focus on the problems with large-scale plantations and the differences with community-based reforestation;
- measures to integrate the forest policy into Country Assistance Strategies, Economic Sector Work and adjustment lending.
Reforming the World Bank’s Forest Policy: A Check-List for Activists is on: www.wrm.org.uy/english/tropical_forests/WorldBank.html