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.
The Climate Investment Funds (CIFs) are financing instruments designed to pilot low-carbon and climate-resilient development through the multilateral development banks (MDBs). They are comprised of two trust funds - the Clean Technology Fund (CTF) and the Strategic Climate Fund (SCF).
The International Finance Corporation (IFC, the Bank's private sector arm) loan to Honduran palm oil producer Corporaci
Following a year of violence associated with IFC-funded mining projects, the IFC's mining investments in Guatemala, Mongolia, Peru and Colombia are still provoking controversy.
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).
The World Bank's Inspection Panel compliance body received two complaints in December relating to the Sustainable Development of Natural Resources Project in Afghanistan.
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.
The first phase of the Bank's safeguard review has been extended to mid-April with global consultations planned, including on seven emerging areas.
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.
The World Bank finally launched the two-year review of its environmental and social safeguard policies in October.