CSOs await Guidance Notes for new Bank safeguards

27 September 2017

Following the World Bank’s approval of a new Environmental and Social Framework (ESF) in August 2016, civil society organisations (CSOs) continue to await their opportunity to provide input into Guidance Notes (GNs) detailing how the ESF will be implemented. CSOs were dissatisfied with the ESF, arguing that the new safeguards contained vague language, diluted standards, were over-reliant on ‘borrower systems’, and lacked clear commitment to human rights (see Observer Autumn 2016).

While CSOs were told throughout the consultation process that many of their concerns would be addressed in the GNs, the Bank has seemed reluctant to share the draft GNs for consultation and input. The timeline for the publication of the Tier 1 GNs, outlining implementation of the ten key standards of the ESF, remains unclear, with some indications that they could be published following the World Bank and IMF annual meetings in October. Elana Berger of International NGO Bank Information Center (BIC) commented after the August 2016 approval of the ESF, “it is critical that sufficient resources and tools, such as detailed guidance notes, are developed during this implementation process that emphasise the importance of meaningful engagement with civil society and communities – particularly those that are most vulnerable to the negative impacts of development.”