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.
The Asia Indigenous Peoples’ Pact (AIPP) is proud to offer this community guide as a response to the continuing need to produce resource materials useful for advocacy work and community actions. In addition, the materials can contribute in strengthening the capacity of member-organizations for local, national and regional engagements. The Guide also hopes to contribute in building a fully-informed network of indigenous communities and advocates that actively addresses the multi-faceted challenges confronting the world’s indigenous peoples, particularly in Asia where majority of indigenous communities are found.
Projects and programme interventions of multilateral development banks have a record of systematic and widespread human rights violations for indigenous peoples in Asia. In many countries, indigenous peoples have been subjected to widespread displacement and irreversible loss of traditional livelihoods. Behind these human rights violations is the denial of indigenous peoples’ rights to their lands, territories and resources and to their right to give their free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) to projects and programme interventions, including those in the name of sustainable development and human development. Among them, the large infrastructure (dams and highway construction) and environmental “conservation” projects have had the most detrimental adverse impacts on indigenous peoples. There are a good number of examples of such projects that have negatively impacted indigenous peoples’ communities in Asian countries, some of which follow below.
The World Bank is currently undertaking a two-year “review and update” of eight of its ten social and environmental safeguard policies. NGOs have highlighted how the World Bank must use the review as an opportunity to upgrade its standards and bolster implementation and compliance systems to increase Bank accountability and deliver sustainable development outcomes. At the same time, they have raised concerns that the Bank’s plan to “consolidate” its policies, with greater emphasis on the use of country systems to address safeguard issues, could end up in weakened standards and less accountability of the Bank and borrower governments to affected communities and the public.
As multiple international agencies adopt and update their social and environmental policies, this special edition Forest Peoples Programme E-Newsletter reviews experiences of communities and civil society with the safeguard policies of various international financial institutions.
Dr. Jim Yong KimPresidentWorld Bank
March 4, 2013
Dear Dr. Kim,
SUMMARY OF INPUTS FROM INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
A. Substantive inputs for the content of the IP Policy in particular and safeguard policies in general
The importance of ensuring respect for the rights of forest peoples’ to control their forests, lands and livelihoods, becomes ever clearer and yet more contested. As the articles in this edition of our newsletter starkly reveal, land and resource grabs are not just being imposed by commercial developers but are being actively promoted by governments, whose principle responsibility should be to protect the rights of citizens. Yet these same impositions are also being resisted, sometimes at great personal cost, by local communities and indigenous peoples.