World Bank undermines decades of progress on building protections for the rights of indigenous peoples

On the 4th of August 2016, the Executive Board of the World Bank approved its new safeguard approach, detailed in a text called the ‘Environmental and Social Framework’.

The Environmental and Social Framework (ESF) is intended to contribute to the so-called ‘twin goals’ of the Bank: eliminating extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity. It defines the approach that the World Bank will take to assess and minimise negative impacts from World Bank investments, and promote social and environmental goods.

Public letter to the World Bank from UN Special Mandate holders

The holders of the UN Human Rights Council Special Mandates related to the rights of indigenous peoples have written to the President of the World Bank to reiterate their concerns about the use of the ill-defined term ‘broad community support’ in place of international standards requiring consent from indigenous peoples prior to projects that impact on their lands, lives, identities and resources.

Joint Civil Society Letter to the World Bank

Civil society organisations are expressing concern about the format of the third round of consultations for the World Bank safeguard review, requesting broad face-to-face consultations on specific issue areas as well as targeted consultations in Bank borrower countries.

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Joint AIPP and FPP submission to the World Bank

The purpose of this submission is to highlight key issues for indigenous peoples in the new Environmental and Social safeguard system proposed by the World Bank. The policies referred to herein are the Environmental and Social Policy (ESP) and the Environmental and Social Standards (ESS), 1 through 10, with particular focus on ESS7 on indigenous peoples.

US Congress raises heat on World Bank over China fears

The US Congress is putting new pressure on the World Bank to preserve its social and environmental rules for projects in developing countries amid fears that the emergence of rivals  backed by China may force it to weaken standards.

The World Bank is next year expected to wrap up a review of its safeguards, which were introduced in the 1980s in response to criticism of environmental damage and rights violations linked to bank-funded megaprojects.

Tanzania Indigenous Peoples Civil Societies voice serious concerns over proposed World Bank Environmental and Social Framework

Tanzania indigenous organisations have written to the World Bank to express their concern at the overall weakening of the policy requirements for indigenous peoples in the draft of the proposed World Bank Environmental and Social Safeguards (ESS). Concerns include implications for the denial of the existence and rights of indigenous peoples under international human rights law, lack of meaningful and effective participation, forced eviction and lack of access to information.

World Bank's Consultations a Big Failure

Two years ago, the World Bank decided to undergo a review of its environmental and social policies. At the time when this process was launched, the Bank stated that the multi-stage review was being undertaken in response to the need "to better address environmental and social issues that countries face today, to deliver better environmental and social outcomes in the projects and programs the Bank supports."

Civil Society warns of the impact of the World Bank’s proposals for safeguards

360 civil society groups and indigenous peoples’ organisations have endorsed a statement warning the World Bank that the newly proposed safeguard system risks increasing the burden on vulnerable communities and undermining years of progressive developments in the recognition by financial institutions of the need to adhere to best standards in development.

Click here to read the statement.

Civil Society Statement on ESS6- Biodiversity, World Bank Environmental and Social Framework CODE Draft

Proposed changes to safeguards for forests, natural habitats and biodiversity raise serious concerns among civil society organisations around the world. These concerns have been raised with the Committee on Development Effectiveness (CODE), the Board committee tasked with determining if the current draft proposals are ready for public consultation.

Civil Society Statement ESS6 Biodiversity

Latin American and Caribbean civil society organisations concerns on the World Bank Environmental and Social Policy and Environmental and Social Standards First Draft

49 civil society organisations in Latin America and the Caribbean sent a collective statement to the World Bank highlighting their concerns with the structural changes to safeguard policies in the Bank being proposed that would, if adopted, weaken social and environmental standards for affected peoples and the environment.

Rear the statement here (PDF):


World Bank Safeguard Draft Rolls-Back Protections for People and the Environment Key Human Rights Concerns

A statement from the Bank on Human Rights Coalition submitted to the World Bank Executive Board. The World Bank has repeatedly committed to producing a new safeguard framework that results in no-dilution of the existing safeguards and which reflects prevailing international standards. Instead, the draft safeguard framework distributed this month to the Committee on Development Effectiveness represents a profound dilution of the existing safeguards and an undercutting of international human rights standards and best practice among development institutions.

World Bank to undermine regional and global legal standards on indigenous peoples' rights

The World Bank has been reviewing its suite of safeguard policies since late 2010 (see prior FPP newsletters from May 2014, Oct 2013, April 2013, Oct 2012 and Oct 2011). The Bank has spent these past 4 years in ‘listening mode’ as thousands of comments came in from constituencies around the world with little or no concrete feedback from the Bank. Much is at stake with this process of review, as the Bank seeks to incorporate critical project level protections for social and environmental outcomes into the wider process of reform in the Bank overseen by President Kim.

Urgent letter from indigenous peoples’ organisations to the World Bank President: respect our rights in the new safeguard policies

A letter endorsed widely by indigenous peoples’ organisations and support organisations, including FPP, was sent to the President of the World Bank Group, Dr. Kim, to ask him to support the inclusion of a requirement for free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) in the new safeguard policies, and to ensure that the policies respected the rights of indigenous peoples, regardless of the governments under which they live.

How the World Bank will design its work in the future

As part of the on-going changes and reforms at the World Bank under the leadership of Dr. Jim Kim, the Bank has recently made public, and started consultations on, an important new policy process which they are calling “a new approach to Country Engagement”. This process is a two-step method through which the Bank will design all its interventions and activities in a given country.