Minutes of a seminar at the 2010 annual meetings, 8 October 2010
Notes of a meeting between UK civil society and DFID staff.
Ongoing mining projects’ impacts on rights, gender and the environment suggest a new approach to the sector is needed, as the IMF and World Bank dole out contradictory advice on mining revenues.
Energy policy at the World Bank remains controversial, with escalating lending to coal projects and a delay to the energy strategy review. Past Bank-financed energy projects in Ghana and Albania are also proving problematic.
New evidence of worsening gender performance and persistent conditionality has led critics to ask if the Bank is fit for purpose.
A spate of human rights violations and environmental abuses by mining ventures backed by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank, is raising alarm over the inadequacy of its social and environmental standards.
The World Bank, Business Unity South Africa and the African National Congress got their way with a major loan for Eskom, the national power authority, despite broad based opposition from local people, the poor, community organisations, the churches, unions, and environmental and social justice NGOs locally and globally.
A spat between the US administration and some middle and low income shareholders highlights political tensions carried over from Copenhagen climate talks. And while the Bank showcases its 'clean' energy investments, projects in the pipeline for 2010 look set to continue large-scale investment in fossil fuels.
As the World Bank prepares to revise its energy strategy, Oliver Johnson of the Sussex Energy Group (Science and Technology Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex), reviews the Bank's chequered history in this sector. The conflicting agendas for energy are drawn out, and principles suggested to guide the Bank's support for low-carbon development.
For the first time ever, a tribunal of the World Bank's International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) will hear human rights arguments.