World Bank lifts suspension on financing palm oil
The long running struggle to get the World Bank Group, which includes its private sector arm the International Finance Corporation (IFC), to adopt a more responsible policy on the palm oil sector has entered a new phase. A final draft, submitted by Bank staff to the Board was adopted at the end of March, but NGOs including the Forest Peoples Programme, Oxfam, Greenpeace and World Resources Institute all raised concerns with the World Bank’s Executive Directors about it. Although it is clear that the text has been markedly improved after taking on board some of the comments made by NGOs and government agencies during the last round of consultations, other provisions remain weak. The policy would discourage but still allow the takeover of indigenous peoples’ and local communities lands without their Free, Prior and Informed Consent. The policy has weaker provisions on the clearance of peatlands and forests than industry best practice. The policy is also still unclear about how implementation will be monitored and evaluated. Nor are the IFC and World Bank offering to make reparations for harms caused by previous investments, something indigenous peoples and local communities in Indonesia have strongly demanded.
World Resources Institute website summary: http://www.wri.org/stories/2011/03/world-bank-group-palm-oil-and-poverty