The Bank's support of agricultural in Uzbekistan has landed it in hot water suggesting that it does not take seriously the social implications of such lending.
As record high food prices have contributed to unrest in Egypt, Tunisia and beyond, the World Bank's unwavering faith in markets has stirred debate about how best to address the multitude of factors underlying a global crisis in food prices. Meanwhile, World Bank president Robert Zoellick continues to champion efforts to bring agriculture into carbon markets.
The World Bank is currently funding an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the Rogun dam in Tajikistan, demonstrating its interest in this controversial project.
In the lead up to Cancun climate negotiations, the Bank has used a conference on agriculture and climate as a platform to expand its agricultural activities and link them to its interests in carbon markets, despite new evidence of problems with investment in the sector.
In June the new UK coalition government announced a hasty review of its funding to multilaterals, including the World Bank Group.
A long-suppressed report by the World Bank remains supportive of large-scale land acquisitions in developing countries by foreign investors, despite highlighting significant risks for vulnerable populations. Civil society groups have argued that the Bank is complicit in violations of human rights associated with the so-called ‘land grabs’
The World Bank’s draft framework for investment in the palm oil sector was met with dismay from civil society groups, who said that it failed to offer a credible strategy to address manifold social and environmental problems.
The World Bank is currently undertaking a major review of its controversial engagement in palm oil production, but critics warn that consultation has been inadequate and that the Bank seems to have already decided to continue investment in the sector.
A set of voluntary principles for agricultural investment in developing countries, launched by the World Bank and other institutions in April, veils the promotion of investors' interests at the expense of host populations, warn civil society groups.