Early April saw the launch of the new World Bank Group strategy for engagement in the palm oil sector, which failed to resolve civil society concerns over several issues, including the rights of indigenous peoples and how performance standards will be applied across supply chains.
East Asia & Pacific
We are the residents of Boeung Kak in Sras Choc commune, Phnom Penh, Cambodia who submitted a complaint to the World Bank Inspection Panel in September 2009. Our land rights, including our right to register our land, were unfairly denied by the World Bank-financed land-titling project.
The World Bank Inspection Panel released an investigation report in March, which found that the Bank breached its operational policies by failing to properly design and supervise the Cambodia Land Management and Administration Project (LMAP), contributing to "grave harm" to affected families.
The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank's private sector lending arm, has been accused of neglecting the rights of indigenous people in the Philippines.
The International Financial Corporation's (IFC) proposal to establish a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Papua New Guinea (PNG) has caused concerns within the country.
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.
The World Bank’s draft framework for investment in the palm oil sector was met with dismay from civil society groups, who said that it failed to offer a credible strategy to address manifold social and environmental problems.
In April, the International Financial Corporation (IFC), the World Bank’s private sector arm, agreed to finance Chinese investment in a Tanzanian commercial complex in Dar es Salaam.
The World Bank is currently undertaking a major review of its controversial engagement in palm oil production, but critics warn that consultation has been inadequate and that the Bank seems to have already decided to continue investment in the sector.
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.
The allocation of special drawing rights to Zimbabwe have stirred controversy about whether the country should use these to bolster its flagging public finances, while the fragile coalition government struggles with an external debt burden projected by the IMF to hit almost $7 billion by the end of the year.
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.