Red Sea – Dead Sea project: World Bank intentions questioned

5 April 2012

The Inspection Panel (IP), the World Bank’s compliance body, issued a report in March considering “legitimate” environmental and human rights concerns regarding the Bank’s feasibility study for a project to channel water from the Red Sea to replenish the Dead Sea (see Update 77). The concerns, raised by Palestinian civil society groups Stop the Wall Campaign and Palestinian Farmers Union, point at potential adverse environmental effects on the Dead Sea and on sources of water used by the population in the West Bank, as well as the issue of legitimising current use of water from the Dead Sea. However, the IP added that it “did not recommend an investigation of whether the Bank has complied with its operational policies and procedures related to the study program because of certain unique and special circumstances and uncertainties at this stage.” Stop the Wall Campaign said that this “decision expresses an insufficient interest in addressing” the concerns raised and asked “donor countries to stop funding this project in order to reach a just and sustainable alternative.”