This event discussed how to invest in agriculture in a responsible way, including research on the scale of the global rush for land, and explored potential solutions to the problem, including the role that the World Bank can and must play.
As mining projects in South Africa and Peru face violent opposition, critics are questioning the stakes held by the International Finance Corporation (IFC, the World Bank's private sector arm) in the corporations at the centre of the controversies. New IFC funding for mining projects in Mongolia and Guinea is also causing alarm, leading to a call for a return to the recommendations of the 2005 Extractive Industries Review.
The IFC should terminate its support to MRL's Philippine mining venture for not following their guidelines, and more than that, for ignoring the Philippine law concerning indigenous peoples.
In May, the Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman (CAO), the accountability mechanism of the International Finance Corporation (IFC, the Bank's private sector arm), closed the Maple Energy case, despite a new oil spill in April.
As the World Bank held its Annual Conference on Land and Poverty in April, campaigners accused it once again of facilitating and legitimising 'land grabs' that harm local communities.
Despite a 2011 victory in Cambodia, where a mass eviction in the centre of Phnom Penh was halted and remaining affected families finally gained legal title to the land they had been wrongly denied under a World Bank project, recent arrests have put justice in jeopardy and led to calls for a continued lending freeze by the Bank.
Minutes of IFC and extractives meeting, Washington DC, 21 April 2012
Civil society organisations met UK Executive Director to the World Bank and staff from the Department for International Development to discuss agriculture, land grabs, food security, the safeguards review process, the selection of the next World Bank president, the doing business indicators, and the debt sustainability framework.
As World Bank projects fail to reduce corruption in the mining sector in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), International Financial Corporation (IFC) investments in extractives are provoking complaints and protests around the world.
While the Bank prepares to revise its agriculture strategy, its focus on market liberalisation is criticised, its own complaints bodies issue damning reports on agriculture projects in Peru and Papua New Guinea, and critics fault its gender focus.