Further delays for World Bank safeguards review

20 June 2014

A first draft of a new safeguards framework was expected to be sent to a World Bank executive board subcommittee in June (see Observer Spring 2014), but this has been delayed until a Bank executive board subcommittee meeting at end July at the earliest. Internal sources have indicated that dissatisfaction within the Bank on initial drafts has led to the delay and to mid June vice presidential level meetings on contentious issues, such as labour, free prior and informed consent (FPIC) for indigenous peoples and human rights, with Bank president Jim Yong Kim personally settling any final disputes. One possible outcome is a more extensive period of internal review before sending the new framework to the board, resulting in even longer delays.

In a mid May letter to Kim the Bank on Human Rights NGO coalition called for eight minimum elements in a safeguards framework, including that it “require due diligence to ensure the Bank does not support activities that will cause, contribute to or exacerbate human rights violations.” An early June statement from the Asia Indigenous Peoples’ Pact to Kim called for the safeguards to include “the right to free prior and informed consent (FPIC) in accordance with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and ILO Convention 169, along with the recognition and respect of the rights of indigenous peoples.” In mid May, over 90 organisations endorsed the inclusion of a climate change assessment safeguard in the new framework.