Latest developments: World Bank Extractive Industries Review

4 February 2002

NGOs’ concerns have been taken into consideration by the Eminent Person, Dr. Salim, and they have managed to achieve substantial changes in the Extractive Industries Review (EIR) process. In a recent letter to all stakeholders of the review (30th January), Dr. Salim announced the following changes to the EIR process:

New timeframe

Time constraints have been major features of the EIR process, especially because a draft of the report was expected to be ready by the World Summit in Johannesburg. The timeframe has now been extended until June 2003. Hence, the World Bank’s evaluation units (Operations Evaluation Department and Operations Evaluation Group) reports on the performance of past and present projects in oil, gas and mining will be also available to the participants for their review. The first Regional Workshop will take place in Mexico in April.

Independence of the Secretariat

Many anxieties were expressed about the location of the secretariat being inside the IFC. Dr. Salim announced that from February 1st, the secretariat will be based in Jakarta, as many NGOs had suggested.

Inclusiveness of the Process

At the planning workshop in Brussels, one of NGOs’ first concerns was about a skewed representation and the little representation of Africa. Moreover, others were questioning World Bank involvement in this process. Dr Salim has reassured the participants that his team will do their “best to involve every stakeholder, and that everyone, the governments, the civil society, the business, and the World Bank Group can share their opinions in some way.”

Budget Concerns

Dr. Salim pointed out that, although he has control over the budget, the original budget of US$ 3.1 million “probably will not suffice.”. However, he retains the independence to raise funds if necessary.

New Terms of Reference (TOR)

The TOR came under fire, because it stated that the Bank “believes that such industries [extractive industries] make a positive contribution to sustainable development and poverty reduction”. NGOs felt that the Bank had predetermined the conclusions even before the EIR had started. That has now been changed to “questions have been raised about how and whether such industries can make a positive contribution to sustainable development and poverty reduction.”