The World Bank has revealed details of its new climate change strategy, including promotion of carbon markets despite concerns from indigenous groups. While new conversations about the Bank's energy investments are anticipated, further criticisms were made over its involvement in fossil fuels and hydropower projects
In late February the World Bank's private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) boards decided to spearhead a $4 billion dollar syndicated loan to a copper, gold and silver mine located in the Gobi Desert in Mongolia. An increasing number of people believe that it is going to lead Mongolia to dependence on one product and one corporation, driving the country into deep insecurity.
A November field study by Indian NGO the Research Collective has found that an International Finance Corporation (IFC, the Bank's private sector arm) supported coal-power plant run by GMR Kamalanga Energy Limited (GKEL), financed through a financial intermediary, has caused water pollution in the Odisha region.
The first phase of the Bank's safeguard review has been extended to mid-April with global consultations planned, including on seven emerging areas.
A leaked copy of an evaluation of the Bank's forest strategy criticises the Bank's failure to address social and environmental goals. Further criticism has also been raised over the Bank's Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF).
An audit of the IFC's investments in financial intermediaries reveals a lack of assessment of environmental and social impacts.
Criticism of the International Finance Corporation's lack of poverty focus has again caught the spotlight, as the IFC continues to fund projects that stretch the interpretation of development.
In late 2012 the World Bank announced its first lending to Burma in over 20 years. The concern among many grassroots activists, however, is that the areas to which this money will be funnelled are still in the earliest stages of the peace process, and that huge influxes of money will undermine efforts for sustainable peace.
A new Bank report warns about the impacts of climate change, but concerns have been raised about its own track record. While the Bank has increased its renewable energy share, its continued funding of fossil fuels and focus on large scale dams remain controversial.
The World Bank's new president Jim Yong Kim set out his vision for the institution at the Bank's annual meetings in mid October, but his desire to build a 'solutions' bank and end absolute poverty comes with few details or big changes at the Bank. Next year's replenishment of the International Development Association (IDA) will put Kim's vision to the test.