The World Bank has declined to take immediate action over identified issues on water availability, air quality and community services related to Eskom for the Medupi coal-fired power plant in South Africa.
The Bank will showcase new initiatives on oceans and the valuation of ecosystem services at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, or Rio+20, in Brazil in late June, but is attracting criticism from civil society groups for its approach to 'green growth'.
The Inspection Panel (IP), the Bank’s compliance body, issued a report in March considering “legitimate” environmental and human rights concerns regarding the Bank’s feasibility study for a project to channel water from the Red Sea to replenish the Dead Sea.
The World Bank participated in events and showcased investments in water services at the World Water Forum held in France in March. However, critics from civil society accused the Bank's private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation, of working closely with major water-using corporations to advocate for an increased role of the private sector.
Continued controversy over a coal power project in Kosovo, partly funded by the World Bank, and a catalogue of complaints over its projects highlight the impact of extractives and the lack of alternatives in the Banks energy lending portfolio.
Ugandan newspaper New Vision called attention to the "horrific sanitation conditions" of a Bank-funded waterway in Uganda in November 2011
A June 2011 academic paper that analysed health outcomes in Sub-Saharan Africa found that "when a country is under a World Bank structural adjustment loan it tends to have higher levels of child mortality".
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.
Bank-funded private water projects across the world are facing serious problems due to financial, socio-political and operational concerns, but recent trends show that more such projects are coming up in the name of innovative approaches.
Three civil society groups have filed a complaint with the World Bank's Inspection Panel, its complaint mechanism, over the Bank's feasibility study for a project to channel water from the Red Sea to replenish the Dead Sea.