A recent report by UK NGO Christian Aid examines how as part of its structural adjustment programmes of the 80s and 90s, the World Bank encouraged developing countries to liberalise their mining laws to lower taxes and reduce environmental and social regulations to attract investment. With studies from Zambia, Bolivia and the Philippines, the report shows how Bank advice led developing country governments to sign binding contracts with companies which offered minimal financial returns and extracted millions of dollars into northern coffers.
This is echoed in a recent NGO submission on indigenous peoples, extractive industries and transnational corporations (TNCs) to the UN Special Representative on human rights and TNCs. The submission, by the UK’s Forest Peoples Programme and the Tebtebba Foundation in the Philippines finds that between 1990 and 2003, the World Bank funded or otherwise supported the revision of mineral, hydrocarbon and other related laws in over 100 countries. The Bank has failed to adopt much of the critical counter advice put forward in the extractive industries review, commissioned by the Bank and published in 2004.