World Bank ignores IEG on logging

9 April 2013

The World Bank board’s Committee on Development Effectiveness responded in early February to a December evaluation of its forest strategy by the Bank’s Independent Evaluation Group (IEG, see Update 84), by accepting some recommendations but “disagree[ing] with the IEG’s recommendation regarding timber concession reform in tropical moist forest countries.” Furthermore, it was “not in favour of undertaking a parallel review” on the issue. Rick Jacobsen of NGO Global Witness said: “It’s time for the Bank to stop defending destructive logging practices in the name of development benefits that never materialise.”

The International Finance Corporation, the Bank’s private sector arm, is also under scrutiny for its proposed €22.7 million ($29.2 million) financing of French logging company Rougier Afrique’s activities in Gabon, Cameroon and Republic of Congo. The project aims to “creat[e] value in natural forests which is an important driver for forest conservation”, however, Simon Counsell of NGO Rainforest Foundation questioned “how removal of all the commercially valuable trees from a forest can ‘create value’ for conservation.”