After much delay, the World Bank’s new forest action plan is expected to be open for stakeholder comments for two weeks during the autumn. The plan, developed in response to a 2013 review by the Bank’s Independent Evaluation Group, was originally due to be signed off in early 2014 but was postponed as the Bank’s new organisational strategy was implemented (see Observer Winter 2014 Update 84). According to the Bank no public consultation will be held since the plan is not a strategy or policy.
Rachel Baker of US-based NGO the Bank Information Center said: “The forest action plan is a critical moment for CSOs to advocate for the Bank to set strong goals and commit to progressive engagement in the forest sector and sectors that impact forests, including land, agriculture, and transportation. The action plan takes on even greater importance in light of the significantly weakened protections for natural habitats within the Bank’s new safeguards draft, including the removal of current explicit policy requirements on forests and critical forests” (see Observer Autumn 2015).