A study by NGO Rainforest Action Network of a World Bank-funded oil palm plantation in Papua New Guinea reports violations of Bank performance standards by thrice funding the palm oil plantations of agribusiness giant Cargill with no record of a consultation process.
As the International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank, announces plans to increase investment in agribusiness by up to 30 per cent in the next three years, NGO reports shed light on the IFC's role in 'land grabs' and flaws in its approach to the food crisis.
Summary of the first consultation on their new environment strategy, which they will develop next year.
The World Bank's planned energy strategy review focusses on energy access for the poor and environmental sustainability, but NGOs fear it will justify continued fossil fuel finance.
Originally drafted as internal operational policies to guide staff, World Bank safeguard policies evolved after pressure from environmental and social groups in the 1980s and were first officially implemented in 1998. They aim to protect people and the environment from the adverse effects of Bank-financed operations and are based on international agreements, even if these protections are not explicitly provided for in the borrower country's national law.
As the World Bank's private lending arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), expands its role in the African oil and gas sector, civil society groups are insisting that it adopt a requirement for full contract transparency in all of the extractive industries projects that it finances.
Violations of the IFC's performance standards in a palm oil project in Indonesia could have far reaching effects, drawing attention to the IFC's responsibility for the impact of whole supply chains as a review of their social and environmental standards gets under way.
The International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) is facing an explosion of cases and increasingly vocal criticism from Latin American countries. Questions remain over whether it helps channel productive investment to developing countries or serves as a tool for multinational corporations to get their way.
The World Bank Group has recently admitted that some crucial assumptions of its Doing Business report were misguided, and faces a fundamental critique of its knowledge role.
Trends in the relationship between World Bank and IFC technical assistance policies and the IFC's investment portfolio raise interesting questions over possible conflicts of interest. Disclosure at the IFC remains opaque making specific details of projects and policies hard to come by.