Forest Peoples Programme Supporting forest peoples’ rights

Update and Consolidation of World Bank Safeguard Policies (2012-14)

The World Bank is currently undertaking a comprehensive process for ‘Updating and Consolidation’ of eight of its so-called ‘Environmental and Social Safeguard Policies’ and its policy on the use of Country Systems. ‘Safeguard Policies’ are policies intended to establish minimum requirements to minimise or remove the risk of social and environmental harms being directly caused by World Bank financed activities. The Country Systems policy is intended to allow countries to apply their own social and environmental safeguard systems if they are judged to be equivalent to the Bank’s own standards.

The ‘Updating and Consolidation’ process will have immense importance for indigenous peoples and others impacted by World Bank financing. In addition to all the normal areas of Bank financing, including for infrastructure, agribusiness, extractive industries and development policy loans, the Bank is increasingly involved in financing climate change-related initiatives, including those aimed at reducing deforestation and those designed to improve the adaptive capacity of both eco-systems and communities.

Given increasing pressures on the World Bank to compete with financial institutions in developing countries, there is a genuine concern that the ‘Updating and Consolidation’ process could result in a weakening of safeguards and reduced accountability of the World Bank and borrower countries. There may even be risks that some specific policies could be lost altogether. Forest Peoples Programme and many indigenous organisations and NGOs are engaged in tracking this process in an effort to ensure that it results in strengthened standards and greater World Bank accountability.

Begun in 2010, the process is proceeding slowly, but it is expected that a new set of policies will be in place in 2014. Details of the current status of the review can be found on the World Bank's website.

This FPP website page will provide up-to-date information on the ‘Updating and Consolidation’ process and related critical issues as they emerge.

Relevant resources

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Joint AIPP and FPP submission to the World Bank

17 February, 2015

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.

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Feedback from members of the International Land Coalition to the World Bank E&S Framework

12 February, 2015

ILC

A compilation of a range of opinions from the members of the International Land Coalition regarding their analysis of the potential impact of the proposed changes to the World Bank Environmental and Social Framework on the situation of land tenure around the world.

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Latin American and Caribbean Civil Society Perspectives on the Draft of the World Bank’s New Environmental and Social Policy and Environmental and Social Standards

9 February, 2015

Lima, Peru, February 4, 2015 - We, the undersigned civil society organizations and social movements of Latin America and the Caribbean, wish to express our profound concern and dissatisfaction with the World Bank’s Environmental and Social Safeguard review process, as well as with the current draft of the new Environmental and Social Policy and Environmental and Social Standards published by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) (which is a part of the World Bank Group).  Likewise, we wish to highlight the lack of receptivity we have witnessed on the part of the Bank to the comments and suggestions we have submitted on previous occasions with regard to this issue.

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US Congress raises heat on World Bank over China fears

18 December, 2014

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.

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

17 December, 2014

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.

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UN Special Rapporteurs criticise new ESF framework

16 December, 2014

A letter from the UN Special Rapporteurs to the World Bank critiquing the new proposed environmental and social safeguard framework.

Read the letter here

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World Bank's Consultations a Big Failure

26 November, 2014

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."

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

24 October, 2014

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.

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FIPN letters to the World Bank's President Kim

7 October, 2014

Letters from Peter Kitelo, Kenya Forest Indigenous Peoples Network (FIPN), to President Kim of the World Bank on behalf of the requesters, the Sengwer indigenous people:

FIPN Pre-Board letter to President Kim

FIPN Post-Board letter to President Kim

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"World Bank pledge to resolve the land issues of the Sengwer forest indigenous community"

6 October, 2014

Thousands of homes belonging to hunter-gatherer Sengwer people living in the Embobut forest in the Cherangani hills were burned down earlier this year by Kenya forest service guards who had been ordered to clear the forest as part of a carbon offset project that aimed to reduce emissions from deforestation.

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