After much delay, a revised draft Forest Strategy and Operational Policy were released 14 May. A coalition of NGOs working on forest issues charges that the new policy ignores advice given to the Bank by civil society and its own Technical Advisory Group.
The proposed policy opens the door for Bank investment in logging in all types of forests except those defined as ‘critical’. Marcus Colchester of Forest Peoples Programme sees two problems with the new approach. First of all, it is Bank operational staff who will decide what areas of forest are ‘critical’. Secondly, the draft forests policy relies on the procedures of the current Natural Habitats policy; this policy allows investment in commercial activity even in critical areas if it is determined that there are no feasible alternatives.
The World Bank is inviting comments on the draft Forests Policy until 2 August, after which time it will go to the Bank Board for final approval. World Rainforest Movement is calling on the Bank to delay finalisation of the policy and rewrite it in line with recommendations made during the Bank’s consultations.
Send comments to Freview@worldbank.org
For more information, contact Tom Griffiths of Forest People’s Programme firstname.lastname@example.org