Update on key World Bank policies

17 September 2002

The World Bank is in the process of ‘reformatting’ a wide range of its key safeguard policies. Many NGOs have raised concerns that this involves diluting their provisions and that the consultations on revising them have been poorly organised. Below is a summary of the situation with some important policies.

Forest Policy (OP 4.36)

Consultation on the draft closed in August. NGOs have called it “a sham”. Ricardo Carrere of the World Rainforest Movement said: “the proposed policy opens the door to extractive investments by the Bank in all types of forests, except those Bank bureaucrats deem to be “critical forests”. The Bank is preparing a response to NGO concerns and has tabled the policy for discussed by the Bank’s Board on 8 October.

Draft Forest Policy, World Bank

Bulletin 61, World Rainforest Movement

WB Forest Policy “fails to address deforestation”, Bretton Woods Update 29

Indigenous Peoples Policy (OP/BP 4.10)

A revised draft is to be submitted to the Board in late 2002 following a roundtable with indigenous peoples representatives. Continued concerns include: lack of protection from forcible relocation and inconsistency with international human rights law.

Draft OP on Indigenous Peoples, World Bank

Forest Peoples Programme

Indigenous Policy dilution threat, Bretton Woods Update 20

Rural Development Strategy

A fourteen week web consultation was closed 31 July (see Bretton Woods Update 28 for NGO concerns). The original Board review scheduled for July has been postponed until September. The Bank has produced a Q&A note “based on the themes arising from comments”, clarifying the strategy’s policy positions on food security, privatisation, conversion of small family farms to large corporate enterprises, biotechnology and pesticides.

Draft Rural Development Strategy, World Bank

Q&A on the Draft RDS

Little public consultation on Rural Development Strategy, Bretton Woods Update 28

Water Resources Sector Strategy (OP 4.07)

A draft was released 25 March. It may be go to the Board for approval in late 2002 or be postponed into 2003.

WRSS, World Bank

International River Network’s critique of WRSS

NGOs criticize the Bank’s water strategy, Bretton Woods Update 29

IFC review of safeguard policies

A web-based consultation by the IFC‘s Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO) ended 30 April 2002.A draft of the review was posted for public consultation in mid-September and a final report is due at the beginning of November.

Review of IFC‘s safeguard policies, Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman

IFC Information, Bank Information Center

MIGA review of safeguard policies

On May 21, 2002, MIGA‘s Board approved the agency’s continued use of its Environmental Assessment Policy and Disclosure Policy and adoption on an interim basis of issue-specific safeguard policies. NGOs complained that the policies were approved before any consultation and without defining any process for their adoption.

MIGA safeguard policies

MIGA attacked by NGOs and Congress, Bretton Woods Update 24

Bank Information Center overview of the World Bank’s safeguard policy revision