World Bank Announces New Framework But Activists Cry Foul

The World Bank has announced a new environmental and social framework which they say will allow for added protections when it comes to bank-financed development plans. The new framework is the result of a four-year study, which they say involved over 8,000 stakeholders in 63 different countries.

President of the World Bank Jim Yong Kim told the press

“These new safeguards will build into our projects updated and improved protections for the most vulnerable people in the world and our environment. We also will substantially increase our financing of the safeguards to make sure this works as intended – with enough funding for both implementation and building capacity in countries so that they can play a more active role in protecting people and the environment.”

However, a number of environmental and social advocacy groups are crying foul over the idea that the World Bank’s new framework will actually help communities. While there have been new protections put in place — including protecting against labor abuse and discrimination, and requirements for free, prior and informed consent from landowners who might be adversely affected — it puts the onus on the borrowing countries to assess the environmental and social impacts these projects will have.

David Pred, the managing director of Inclusive Development International told Telesur that this won’t protect communities or the environment. “This is inviting abuse, given the bank’s track record of lending to some of the most repressive governments in the world,” he said.

Jessica Evans, the senior international financial institutions researcher with Human Rights Watch also says the framework will lead to issues in the future, saying that, “In refusing to acknowledge its rights obligations once again, the World Bank anticipates it will be able to violate human rights without consequence.”

The World Bank already has a marred track record when it comes to the development projects they fund. According to a study put out by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), between 2004 and 2013, World Bank funded projects that displaced  3.4 million people around the world.

The ICIJ says the World Bank also regularly fails to live up to its own human rights policies:

“The World Bank and its private-sector lending arm, the International Finance Corp., have financed governments and companies accused of human rights violations such as rape, murder and torture. In some cases the lenders have continued to bankroll these borrowers after evidence of abuses emerged.”

There have been some signs that the World Bank is paying attention to these issues. For instance, a road development project in Uganda was abruptly cancelled after allegations of sexual abuse by Ugandan-hired contractors surfaced. The World Bank says they are currently putting together a Global Gender-Based Violence Task Force to ensure “community safety on development projects.”

However, many watchdog groups and human rights defenders say the World Bank hasn’t gone far enough and failed to implement many of the concerns stakeholders had with the new framework. Rights groups worry this will lead to continued forced evictions, violence and impunity. The new rules are expected to come into effect in the next two years.

Photo Credit: SuSanA Secretariat/Wikimedia

42 comments

heather g.
heather gabout a year ago

Always revealing what so-called recipients have to say - the government always benefits

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Marie W.
Marie Wabout a year ago

Trust not the World Bank- operative word here is BANK.

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallusabout a year ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Doug G.
Doug Gabout a year ago

The World Bank and IMF are mechanisms the oligarchs use to secure resources and control thru underhanded deals. Don't expect anything but more of the same from either of them.

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Margie FOURIE
Margie FOURIEabout a year ago

Thank you

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Edith B.
Edith Babout a year ago

The World Bank is only interested in how much money they can make.

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Vivianne Mosca-Clark
Vivianne Mosca-Clarkabout a year ago

Rights groups worry this will lead to continued forced evictions, violence and impunity. The new rules are expected to come into effect in the next two years.

so what was done here? The bank is helping what? Can we just stop this and create real change and give real help?









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Ruth G.
Ruth Gabout a year ago

I HAVE FOUND THE WORLD BANK CORRUPT ON MANY OCCASIONS OR AT LEAST ACTING UNETHICALLY! THEY INVEST IN MANY IFFY PROJECTS INCLUDING ENVIRONMENTALLY DAMAGING BUSINESSES & PROJECTS WHICH UNDERMINE THE RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES!

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Anne Moran
Anne Mabout a year ago

Doubt anyone can stop them...

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M Quann
M Qabout a year ago

I haven't got a lot of faith in any banks, their prime interest is in themselves & how much money they can make.:(

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