Update on the World Bank safeguards review

4 October 2013

A July presentation to the World Bank board (see Update 86, 85, 83) summarised phase one of the consultation process and included parts of a proposed integrated framework and next steps.  The draft framework is expected in early 2014, followed by consultations. During phase one of the process, 1257 organisations submitted 81 position papers.  The review team’s “aspirations” for the new framework included increased focus on outcomes and enhanced country ownership, with “complementary but distinct accountabilities between the Bank and borrower” and a “risk-based approach, based on the principle of proportionality”. Of the three proposed levels of “engagement and activities with borrowers”, only the project level would be mandatory.

In a July report international NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) argued that current Bank safeguards are inadequate to protect human rights, citing three case studies of Bank funded human rights violations, including the “forced villagisation” in Ethiopia (see Update 86). Jessica Evans from HRW commented that the Bank “pays tens of billions of dollars every year to support development efforts around the world. But it needs to stop undermining its efforts by making sure it isn’t contributing to human rights abuses.”