INDR Joins 313 Organizations in Protesting the Attempt to Stop Dilution of The World Bank Safeguards

The International Network on Displacement and Resettlement, a 14 year old professional associations supports a global civil society protest to The World Bank sudden decision to abandon the core principles of its safeguard policies. The statement says:

Civil society statement on World Bank safeguards

We, the undersigned organisations, strongly object to the World Bank’s safeguards draft since it falls far short of the rules needed to protect the environment and respect the rights of affected communities, workers and indigenous peoples. The draft derogates from well-established international standards and would effectively dismantle 30 years of policy evolution, setting a dangerous precedent among national, regional and global actors. The draft represents a massive dilution of current Bank policy that undermines momentum for the upward harmonization of social and environmental standards and their alignment with universal human rights.

By eliminating key protections at a time when it has announced its intentions to expand lending to riskier infrastructure, large dams and mega-project schemes, the Bank fails to recognize that strong safeguards are essential to ensuring that project benefits are fairly shared and that the costs are not borne by the poor and marginalised. Weakening the existing safeguard policies would make the Bank’s goals of ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity impossible to achieve.

We fundamentally reject the way in which the review and update of the safeguard policies has been conducted to date, which has been marked by exclusion and a lack of transparency. Crucially, the revision process has failed to meaningfully incorporate the comprehensive inputs by civil society organisations, independent experts and scholars, indigenous peoples, labour unions, and project-affected communities.

The “Review and Update” exercise was expected to take as its basis the existing World Bank policies, which form the social and environmental contract of the World Bank with the world we live in. Consistent with this contract, this “Review and Update” was expected to incorporate additional and better provisions where needed, to correct or eliminate out-dated or unnecessary elements, and replace them — in a transparent manner — with alternative formulations that are subject to subsequent public discussion. Instead, the existing policy texts were discarded and replaced with entirely different texts with vague resemblance to the existing policies. No opportunity was offered during the first phase for a candid discussion about the fundamental changes that have been incorporated in the draft.

A meaningful process of multi-stakeholder consultation on how to operationalize and effectively implement international standards is urgently needed. This process must take the time that is needed to solicit and build on successful models of safeguards that are predicated upon decades of empirical research about how to ensure that development does no harm. It must be based on the understanding that human rights and sustainability are fundamental components of development, which are essential to achieving the Bank’s goals of eliminating extreme poverty and increase shared prosperity.

A revised set of safeguard policies must, at a minimum, address the flaws in the draft that are set out in the annex to this statement.

Annex

The draft Environmental and Social Framework:

Undermines the rights of Indigenous Peoples. Allowing borrowers to “opt out” of implementing the proposed Indigenous Peoples standard would directly undermine successive and hard-fought battles by indigenous peoples at the national, regional and international levels to have their rights recognized and respected, and thus contradict their rights to self-determination and collective ownership of lands, territories and resources. This would constitute a massive dilution of current World Bank safeguard protections and undermine the credibility of the world’s most prominent development finance institution.

Fails to protect the rights of workers. The proposed labour standard would have almost no impact in protecting the rights of workers because, by excluding third party contractors and civil servants, it would apply to only a small fraction of those who work on Bank-financed projects. In addition—unlike other development institutions—it fails to reference or live up to the ILO conventions and Core Labour Standards that must be the cornerstone of a credible labour policy. By needlessly narrowing who the standard applies to, the World Bank will perpetuate instances of unsafe working conditions, child labour, unpaid wages and denial of freedom of association.

Fails to guarantee critical human rights protections. The draft safeguard policy fails to articulate how it will operationalize its stated commitments to human rights, which must underpin an effective safeguard system. The protection of human rights is necessary to attaining the goals of development. The safeguard policy must explicitly identify how the Bank will adequately identify risks to human rights for activities it intends to support through a robust human rights due diligence process. This is crucial if the Bank is to succeed in its stated goals of eliminating extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity.

Does not meaningfully address climate change. Despite the Bank’s prominence in warning of the dangers that a warming world poses to development, the draft includes only sporadic mention of climate change. The draft does not ensure that projects are in-line with national climate plans, nor does it have clear requirements for assessing and managing the impacts of climate change on the viability of projects or the resilience of ecosystems or local communities in project areas. At the same time, the draft fails to require assessments of greenhouse gas emissions for all high-emission projects or to take steps to reduce emissions.

Tramples the rights and threatens the welfare of communities subject to forced displacement. The draft eliminates the fundamental development objective of the resettlement policy and the key measures essential to preventing impoverishment and protecting the rights of people uprooted from their homes, lands, productive activities and jobs to make way for Bank projects. The draft allows the Bank to finance projects that entail the physical and economic displacement of communities without first ensuring that there is a reconstruction plan and budget available to ensure adequate compensation, sound physical resettlement, economic recovery and improvement. This would be an unconscionable regression in Bank policy that will result in the large-scale impoverishment of affected people and exacerbate inequality, in flagrant contradiction of the Bank’s mandate and goals. The draft also fails to ensure a transparent accounting at project completion that no displaced people end up worse off than without the Bank project.

Lacks adequate protections to prevent deprivations in childhood. Despite an important new requirement to assess impacts on children among other vulnerable groups, the draft lacks critical requirements to address the unique risks to children. As such, Bank projects could continue to have the potential to employ child labour, resettle children far from educational opportunities, and result in the exploitation or trafficking of children, among other risks. Such negative impacts can result in long-term, irreversible deprivations that cause lifelong damage, preventing children from reaching their full potential while perpetuating the cycle of poverty.

Eliminates protections for forests and forest-dependent peoples. The newly rebranded biodiversity standard establishes a single-minded focus on species biodiversity at the expense of ecological integrity and the local communities dependent on natural resources for their livelihoods and cultural survival. Far from safeguarding forests and other natural habitats, the biodiversity standard permits projects in previous ‘no-go’ areas and provides loopholes for logging, while the standard’s heavy reliance on biodiversity offsetting leaves no natural areas off the table for destructive interventions. The draft must strengthen protections for the natural resources that the majority of people living in extreme poverty depend on.

Leaves out persons with disabilities as a distinct group often differently impacted by projects. While the draft does include persons with disabilities for the first time, it does not guarantee that the unique and differentiated impacts of World Bank projects on persons with disabilities will be assessed. Therefore, it does not provide adequate opportunity for persons with disabilities to proportionately share in project benefits and leaves open the possibility that persons with disabilities could be harmed by World Bank projects. Ultimately, persons with disabilities have unique needs that must be addressed throughout the draft.

Lacks protections for gender and SOGIE. By listing women, girls, sexual orientation, and gender identity and expression (SOGIE) within a string of ‘vulnerable groups’, the draft fails to fully grasp the unique impacts on each of these groups. The next draft must systematically address gender and SOGIE throughout the standards, and add a freestanding mandatory gender and SOGIE standard, which is long overdue. This is necessary to explicitly prevent and proactively address the negative impacts of gender and SOGIE-exclusion from project planning and benefits. It will be impossible to end poverty and boost shared prosperity without explicitly addressing gender and SOGIE issues.

Fails to protect and promote land rights. Despite the growing land-grabbing crisis displacing countless indigenous communities, small farmers, fisher-folk and pastoralists throughout the Global South, the draft fails to incorporate any serious protections to prevent Bank funds from supporting land-grabs. While the Bank pledged that the new safeguards would be informed by the Committee for World Food

Security’s ‘Voluntary Guidelines on Tenure of Land, Forests and Fisheries’, the draft fails to strengthen protection of the land rights of poor and vulnerable groups. Instead, it undermines them in many ways, such as by excluding the application of the land and resettlement standard to projects concerning land titling and land use planning.

Excludes nearly half of the Bank’s portfolio. The narrow application of the proposed safeguards to traditional investment projects would exclude the growing share of Bank lending channelled through other lending instruments, which account for nearly half of Bank lending, increasing the fractured nature of safeguards in the World Bank. This will lead to further weakening of a safeguard system that is already underfunded and lacking in independence, effective supervision and support for borrowers during implementation and genuine monitoring of impacts on the ground.

Abdicates Bank responsibility and riddled with loopholes. While there are positive new elements in the framework, including the recognition of free, prior and informed consent for indigenous peoples and an expanded scope for social assessments, these are undermined by: the clear attempt to institutionalize much greater discretion, loopholes which eliminate procedural protections, and a greater reliance on borrower systems without clear identification of when that option is appropriate or how minimum standards would be assured. At the same time, the draft outsources implementation and monitoring of safeguards to borrowers, which represents an unconscionable abdication of responsibility by the Bank.

Threatens to set off a race to the bottom. Ultimately, the policy proposals not only fail to protect the rights of communities impacted by Bank projects and the ecosystems that underpin sustainable development, they also lower the bar for development finance institutions that look to the World Bank to actually set the standards. The World Bank has fallen far short of its goal of setting a new global standard when it comes to protecting the rights of the poor and the environment. Instead, it risks setting off a race to the bottom that is likely to have negative consequences for social and environmental standards globally. The Bank should rather be focused on ensuring, at a minimum, upward harmonization with the strongest existing safeguards and surpassing these protections in order to deliver sustainable development results for the poorest with a focus on promoting global public goods, rather than competing for market share. The Bank should develop its stewardship role in support of principles of sustainability, human rights standards, international laws and their corresponding obligations.

 

Endorsing organisations

Organisation Country
1 ActionAid International International
2 Africa Europe Faith and Justice Network (AEFJN) International
3 African Biodiversity Network International
4 Asociación Interamericana para la Defensa del Ambiente (AIDA) International
5 CIVICUS International
6 Congregation of Christian Brothers International
7 Coordinación Grupo de Financiamiento Climática para América Latina y el Caribe (GFLAC) International
8 Coordination Regionale des Usagers des Ressources Naturelles du Bassin du Niger (CRUBN) International
9 Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee International
10 International Accountability Project International
11 International Network on Displacement and Resettlement International
12 International Rivers International
13 International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) International
14 International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA) International
15 Jeunes Volontaires pour l’Environnement International
16 NGO Forum on ADB International
17 Oxfam International
18 Pacific Network on Globalisation International
19 World Blind Union International
20 World Rural Forum International
21 World Wildlife Fund International
22 Human Rights House in Albania Albania
23 Pink Embassy Albania
24 Federation Algerienne des Personnes Handicapées Algeria
25 Entidades Representativas de las Personas con Discapacidad de la Republica (ENCIDIS) Argentina
26 Foro ciudadano de participación por la justicia y los derechos humanos (FOCO INPADE) Argentina
27 Fundación para el Desarrollo de Políticas Sustentables (FUNDEPS) Argentina
28 Grito de Alcorta Argentina
29 EcoLur Armenia
30 Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center Armenia
31 Centre for Ecology & Spirituality Australia
32 Christian Brothers Oceania Province Australia
33 Planet Wheeler Foundation Australia
34 EKOMED Azerbaijan
35 Oil-Workers’ Rights Protection Organization Public Union Azerbaijan
36 Union of Disabled People Organisations Azerbaijan
37 Bangladesh Krishok Federation Bangladesh
38 Community Development Association (CDA) Bangladesh
39 BARNOD-National Organization of the Disabled Barbados
40 11.11.11- Coalition of the Flemish North-South Movement Belgium
41 ACV-CSC Belgium
42 Centre National de Coopération au Développement, CNCD-11.11.11 Belgium
43 DGCD – SPF Affaires étrangères Belgium
44 FIAN Belgium Belgium
45 KVG Belgium
46 Mercy Home Belgium
47 Terre et eau ASBL Belgium
48 Centro de Estudios para el Desarrollo Laboral y Agrario (CEDLA ) Bolivia
49 Instituto Teribre Brazil
50 Organisation d’Appui à l’auto Promotion (OAP) Burundi
51 Parole et Action pour le Réveil des Consciences et l’Evolution des mentalités (PARCEM) Burundi
52 Union des Peuples Autochtones pour le Reveil au Developpement (UPARED) Burundi
53 Equitable Cambodia Cambodia
54 Global Network for Good Governance (GNGG) Cameroon
55 Mbororo Social and Cultural Development Association (MBOSCUDA) Cameroon
56 Réseau Camerounais des Organisations des Droiits de l’Homme (RECODH) Cameroon
57 Social Justice Connection Canada
58 Maison de l’Enfant et de la Femme Pygmées (MEFP) Central African Republic
59 Beijing Gender Health Education Institute China
60 Green Watershed China
61 Greenovation Hub China
62 Agrosolidaria Seccional Viani Colombia
63 Asociación Ambiente y Sociedad Colombia
64 Federacion Accion Campesina Colombiana Colombia
65 FUNCOP Colombia
66 Fundación Amazonia Sostenible Colombia
67 Groupe de Recherche et de Plaidoyer sur les Industries Extractives (GRPIE) Côte d’Ivoire
68 Forests of the World Denmark
69 LGBT Denmark Denmark
70 Action Communautaire pour la Promotion des Défavorisés Batwa (ACPROD-Batwa) DRC
71 Action des Chrétiens Activistes des Droits de l’Homme à Shabunda (ACADHOSHA) DRC
72 Action Paysanne contre la Faim APCF DRC
73 Association des Victimes de Kilwa DRC
74 Centre d’Appui à la Gestion Durable des Forêts Tropicales (CAGDFT) DRC
75 Centre de Développement Communautaire (CEDECO) DRC
76 Cercle pour la défense de l’environnement (CEDEN) DRC
77 Coalition Réformes et Actions Publiques (CORAP) DRC
78 Conseil régional des Organisations Non Gouvernementales de Développement (CRONGD) DRC
79 DRC Debt Coalition DRC
80 Dynamique des Groupes des Peuples Autochtones (DGPA) DRC
81 Etudes d’Impacts Et des Normes Environnementales (EIENE) DRC
82 Foyer de Développement pour l’Autopromotion des Pygmées et Indigènes Défavorisés DRC
83 Groupe d’Action pour Sauver l’Homme et son Environnement (GASHE) DRC
84 Hope for indigenous peoples (FDAPID) DRC
85 Jeunes Associés pour le Développement Intégral (JADI) DRC
86 Justice Pour Tous DRC
87 Kindu Maendeleo (KM) DRC
88 Nouvelles dynamiques pour le developpement rural integral (NODRI) DRC
89 Observatoire Gouvernance et Paix (OGP) DRC
90 Organisation Congolaise des Ecologistes et Amis de la Nature (OCEAN) DRC
91 Réseau CREF DRC
92 Reseau Ressources Naturelles DRC
93 Centro Andino para la Formación de Líderes Sociales (CAFOLIS) Ecuador
94 Centro de Derechos Económicos y Sociales (CDES) Ecuador
95 Centro Ecuatoriano de Derecho Ambiental Ecuador
96 Federación Nacional de Ecuatorianos de Discapacidad Física (FENEDIF) Ecuador
97 ُEgyptian Center for Civil and Legislative Reform Egypt
98 Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights Egypt
99 Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights Egypt
100 Habitat International Coalition – Housing and Land Rights Network Egypt
101 Seven Million Disabled Egypt
102 Asociación salvadoreña de Transgeneras y Transexuales (ASTRANS) El Salvador
103 COMCAVIS Trans El Salvador
104 HT503 Generacion Hombres Trans El Salvador
105 El Pueblo Indigena Bubi de la Isla de Bioko Equatorial Guinea
106 Committee for IDAHO-T International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia France
107 European Rivers Network (ERN) France
108 Amis de la Nature-Culture et Environnement Gabon
109 Association Gabonaise d’Assistance aux Femmes Indigènes et Indigentes (AGAFI) Gabon
110 Brainforest Gabon
111 l’ONG Hadassa Gabon
112 ONG – le Club de l’Amitié Gabon
113 Ecoteqi Georgia
114 Green Alternative Georgia
115 Amnesty International Germany
116 Interessenvertretung Selbstbestimmt Leben (ISL) Germany
117 TU Dresden Germany
118 Urgewald Germany
119 Ghana Federation of the Disabled Ghana
120 Oilwatch Ghana Ghana
121 Sightsavers Ghana
122 Volta Basin Development Foundation Ghana
123 Asociación pluriculturalidad jurídica de Guatemala (PLURIJUR) Guatemala
124 Association des Jeunes Filles pour la Promotion de L’Espace Francophone Guinea
125 Association Guinéenne pour la Transparence (AGT) Guinea
126 Centre de Commerce International pour le Developpement (CECIDE) Guinea
127 Guyana Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities (GCCD) Guyana
128 Organización Fraternal Negra Hondureña (OFRANEH) Honduras
129 Centre for Research and Advocacy India
130 Gujarat Forum On CDM India
131 Indigenous Perspectives India
132 Manthan Adhyayan Kendra India
133 Meghalaya Peoples Human Rights Council (MPHRC) India
134 ParyavaranMitra India
135 Puvidham Rural Development Trust India
136 Zo Indigenous Forum India
137 Centre for Sustainable Development (CENESTA) Iran
138 Little People Association in Baghdad Iraq
139 Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) Ireland
140 LGBT Noise Ireland
141 ICR Association Italy
142 Passionists International Italy
143 Ste.-Famille de Bordeaux Italy
144 Society for International Development (SID) Italy/Kenya
145 Combined Disabilities Association Jamaica
146 Japan Center for a Sustainable Environment and Society (JACSES) Japan
147 Disability Equality Society Jordan
148 Lawyers for Defending Human Rights Society Jordan
149 Phenix Center for Economics and Informatics Studies Jordan
150 Rights and Development Center Jordan
151 Indigenous Concerns Resource Center Kenya
152 Jamaa Resource Initiatives Kenya
153 Maa Civil Society Forum Kenya
154 Natural Resource Alliance of Kenya (KeNRA) Kenya
155 NGO Association of Parents of Disabled Children (APDC) Kyrgyzstan
156 Disabled Peoples International-Arab Region Lebanon
157 Lebanese Physical Handicapped Union Lebanon
158 Middle East Advocacy and Research Center (MARC) Lebanon
159 Human Concern (HUCON) Liberia
160 Libyan Organization for the Rights of People with Disabilities Libya
161 Citizens for Justice (CFJ) Malawi
162 Indigenous Peoples Network of Malaysia (JOAS) Malaysia
163 Partners of Community Organisations (PACOS) Trust Malaysia
164 Federation Malienne des Associations de Personnes Handicapées (FEMAPH) Mali
165 Institut de Recherche et de Promotion des Alternatives de Développement (IRPAD) Mali
166 Mer Bleue Mauritania
167 ONG Secours Net Mauritania
168 The Mauritanian Association for the Coalition of Women with Disabilities Mauritania
169 CIESAS Pacifico Sur Mexico
170 Consejo Civil Mexicano para la Silvicultura Sostenible Mexico
171 Fundación Paso a Paso A.C. Mexico
172 Fundar, Centro de Análisis e Investigación Mexico
173 Rodolfo Stavenhagen, Former UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples Mexico
174 Agencia Internacional de Prensa Indígena (AIPIN) México
175 Centre of Legal Assistance for People with Disabilities Moldova
176 Ecoline company Mongolia
177 Mongolian Environmental Civil Council Mongolia
178 OT Watch Mongolia
179 Steps Without Borders NGO Mongolia
180 The Mongolian Remote sensing society Mongolia
181 United Movement of Mongolian Rivers and Lakes Mongolia
182 Association culturelle ASIDD Morocco
183 Moroccans Coalition for Disabled People Organizations Morocco
184 Disability Human Rights Promotion Societies Nepal
185 Kirat Welfare Society Nepal
186 Both ENDS Netherlands
187 Netherlands Centre for Indigenous Peoples Netherlands
188 Organising Committee CHT Campaign Netherlands
189 Rutu Foundation for Intercultural Multilingual Education Netherlands
190 Visiion Pacific Charitable Trust New Zealand
191 Unión Nacional de Agricultores y Ganaderos (UNAG) Nicaragua
192 Association Tidawt à Agadez Niger
193 Conseil pour l’Action et la Solidarite Paysannes au Niger (CASPANI) Niger
194 Advocacy for Justice and Equality Nigeria
195 Community Policing Partners Nigeria
196 Foundation For Environmental Rights,Advocacy & Development (FENRAD) Nigeria
197 Foundation for the Conservation of the Earth (FOCONE) Nigeria
198 NGO Coalition for Environment (NGOCE) Nigeria
199 Rainforest Foundation Norway Norway
200 SLUG – Debt Justice Network Norway Norway
201 CREED Alliance Pakistan
202 Disabled Peoples International Pakistan Pakistan
203 Estanara Institute Pakistan
204 Disabled Without Borders Organization Palestine
205 General Palestinian Union for People with Disabilities Palestine
206 Asociación Indigena Ambiental Panama
207 Center for Environmental Sustainability, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia Peru
208 Derecho Ambiente y Recursos Naturales Peru
209 EarthRights International Peru
210 Federación Agraria Rumi Maki Peru
211 Tarpuymita Peru
212 Alyansa Tigil Mina (Alliance Against Mining) Philippines
213 Ateneo School of Government Philippines
214 Tebtebba – Indigenous Peoples International Centre for Policy Research and Education) Philippines
215 Associação Portuguesa de Deficientes Portugal
216 Quercus – ANCN Portugal
217 OCDE-Congo Republic of Congo
218 Association pour le Développement Global des Batwa au Rwanda (ADBR) Rwanda
219 Foundation Batwa Rwanda
220 Nuanua O Le Alofa Samoa (National advocacy organisation of persons with disabilities) Samoa
221 Enda Pronat Senegal
222 Fahamu Africa Senegal
223 Lumiere Synergie pour le Developpement Senegal
224 LGBT Vojvodina Serbia
225 ALLAT Network Sierra Leone
226 Disability Awareness Action Group Sierra Leone
227 Green Scenery Sierra Leone
228 BRICS from below South Africa
229 Centre for Civil Society South Africa
230 Earthlife Africa Jhb South Africa
231 Institute for Economic Research on Innovation South Africa
232 Jubilee South Africa South Africa
233 Keep Left South Africa
234 Media for Justice South Africa
235 Mupo Foundation South Africa
236 Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa (OSISA) South Africa
237 Southern Africa Resource watch South Africa
238 The Bench Marks Foundation South Africa
239 AEFJN Madrid Spain
240 Asociación Camino de Fe y Esperanza Spain
241 Ecologistas en Acción Palencia Spain
242 PROSALUS Spain
243 Sri Lanka Foundation for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled Sri Lanka
244 Sudanese National Union for People with Physical Disability Sudan
245 International Federation of Hard of Hearing People Sweden
246 Edmund Rice International Switzerland
247 English in Richterswil Switzerland
248 Friends of the Earth Switzerland / Pro Natura Switzerland
249 Cultural Forum for people with special needs in Syria Syria
250 Tanzania Federation of Disabled Peoples Organisations Tanzania
251 KWAT Thailand
252 The Gambia Federation of Disabled The Gambia
253 Worldview The Gambia
254 Groupe d’Action et de Recherche en Environnement et Développement (GARED) Togo
255 National Union of Domestic Employees Trinidad and Tobago
256 Organisation Tunisienne de Défense des Droits de Personnes Handicapées Tunisia
257 Tunisian Association of Transparency in Energy and Mines (ATTEM) Tunisia
258 Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive Turkey
259 Buliisa Initiative for Rural Development Organisation (BIRUDO) Uganda
260 Friends with Environment in Development Uganda
261 Karamoja Development Forum Uganda
262 National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) Uganda
263 Uganda Land Alliance Uganda
264 Initiative to protect the civil rights of people with disabilities Ukraine
265 Bretton Woods Project United Kingdom
266 CAFOD United Kingdom
267 Forest Peoples Programme United Kingdom
268 Global Witness United Kingdom
269 GMB United Kingdom
270 Indigenous Peoples Links (PIPLinks) United Kingdom
271 Rainforest Foundation UK United Kingdom
272 Trades Union Congress (TUC) United Kingdom
273 U of Oxford United Kingdom
274 Accountability Counsel USA
275 AFL-CIO USA
276 American Jewish World Service USA
277 Bank Information Center USA
278 Center for International Environmental Law USA
279 Due Process of Law Foundation/Fundacion para el Debido Proceso USA
280 Environmental Investigation Agency USA
281 Freedom House USA
282 Friends of the Earth – US USA
283 Gender Action USA
284 Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights USA
285 Heinrich Boell Foundation-North America USA
286 Human Rights Clinic at the University of Texas at Austin, School of Law USA
287 Inclusive Development International USA
288 Indigenous Environmental Network USA
289 Institute for Policy Studies, Climate Policy Program USA
290 International Development Exchange (IDEX) USA
291 International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) USA
292 JASS (Just Associates) USA
293 Local Futures/International Society for Ecology and Culture USA
294 NativeWeb USA
295 Oakland Institute USA
296 Physicians for Social Responsibility USA
297 Rainforest Foundation US USA
298 ReconcilingWorks: Lutherans for Full Participation USA
299 Sierra Club USA
300 SustainUS USA
301 Ulu Foundation USA
302 Diverlex Diversidad e Igualdad a Través de la Ley / World Trans Secretary of ILGA Venezuela
303 Centre of Research and Development in Upland Area Vietnam
304 PHM Vietnam
305 Al Saeeda Society for the Care and Rehabilitation of Deaf girls in Yemen Yemen
306 Min Haqqy – My Right Organization for Awareness and Development Yemen
307 Transparency Center for Democratic Development and Human Rights Yemen
308 Zambia Federation of disability Organisation (ZAFOD) Zambia
309 Centre for Natural Resource Governance Zimbabwe

 

 


 

world bank imageFirestorm Builds over Major Attempt to Eviscerate Involuntary Resettlement Standards

In a backroom move, The World Bank’s is attempting to substantially dilute, if not eviscerate,  social and environmental protections that have evolved over the past thirty years.  Under the guise of modernizing their “safeguard policies” and after a enigmatic global consultation with limited participation, a subcommittee of the Board of Directors, the Committee on Development Effectiveness – CODE)  unexpectedly approved a heretofore secret draft of a new safeguard policy framework.  The CODE cleared the draft for a brief 4 months of further consultation (Phase II). The brief draft and consultation program lacks plans for consultation with involuntary resettlement professional organizations. An initial review by David Pared and Natalie Bulgalski of Inclusive Development International  discovered substantial changes in involuntary resettlement policy development.  INDR members are conducting further analysis.  We are discover a substantial downgrading and dilution of the new draft compared to the current Bank’s Involuntary Resettlement policy.

A Statement on Land Rights in Draft World Bank ESF  is being prepared comparing the existing standard (Operational Policy 4.12) to the proposed new standard offers another preview of how serious this weakening is.  The World Bank’s shamelessly announced that they are strengthening the standards?

A flood of protest is rising. Near the end of July, 111 NGOs, Professional Organizations, including the International Network on Displacement and Resettlement (www.displacement.net) asked The World Bank to scrape this dilution of its international standards (see letter). The Bank on Human Rights strongly reject the Bank on Human Rights Letter to the Executive Directors on CODE -7.28.14 and demand The Executive Director’s to roll back their committee’s decision. And the firestorm builds.  The Bank Information Center (unaffiliated with The World Bank) is tracking scores of OpEds, press stories, CSO and public complaints not only to the proposed framework but the unorthodox manner the Bank intentionally avoided public consultation.


World Bank safeguards: Pushing more money out the door at the expense of the poor?

By Natalie Bugalski, David Pred 05 August 2014  Reprinted from Devex.com

Natalie bugalski   David pred profile

Last week, the World Bank released a draft of its proposed new environmental and social safeguards.

While over a hundred civil society groups, development practitioners and professional associations denounced the draft as a significant roll-back of standards, Devex reported last week how Kyle Peters, vice president for operations policy and country services, defended the proposed new rules because they “will uplift sustainable development” and represent “a strengthening of existing policies.”

However, after a careful analysis of the draft, we think that Peters’ assertions are wrong.

Let’s take the example of involuntary resettlement. Every year, some 15 million people are uprooted from their land and homes to make way for development projects around the world. The risks of displacement for poor families are well documented: homelessness, loss of livelihoods, food insecurity, psychological trauma, economic and cultural marginalization, to name a few. It is by now well established that in order to avoid these impacts, strong resettlement safeguards must be in place.

There’s a dearth of public information on the scale and impacts of displacement financed by the World Bank, or the effectiveness of its resettlement policy in achieving its objectives to date. Any credible policy review should be based on analysis of such information. But despite this, the bank is proposing to dismantle the fundamental architecture of its resettlement safeguards that has been in place since 1980 without presenting a shred of evidence that the changes will lead to better — and not worse — development outcomes.

Elimination of ‘front-end’ requirements

A hallmark of the bank’s proposed new Social and Environmental Framework is the elimination of “front-end” safeguard requirements to make it simpler, quicker and cheaper to get projects approved.

Gone is the 34-year old requirement that borrowers must submit a comprehensive resettlement plan before the bank commits to financing a project that causes displacement. The proposed new standards permit borrowers to submit resettlement plans at some undetermined point in time — but after financing has been approved. By that point, the bank will have lost the vast majority of its leverage to ensure that the plans are capable of preventing harms to displaced families. Affected communities would also be deprived of the opportunity to provide input into project designs and resettlement plans before funds are disbursed.

Once the money is out the door, it’s much less likely that the voices of impacted communities will be heard.

The draft also discards the requirement for thorough baseline socio-economic studies to be conducted prior to displacement. These studies are crucial to designing effective resettlement programs and preventing impoverishment, and without them it’s impossible to measure the impacts of resettlement and whether the objective of improving — or at least restoring — affected people’s living standards has been met.

This tectonic policy shift is part of the move away from so-called “rules-based” safeguards to a more flexible approach.

The World Bank asserts that this will deliver better social and environmental outcomes, but provides no evidence to support this claim. In contrast, the bank’s Independent Evaluation Group has examined the evidence and found that rules-based safeguards have “helped to avoid or mitigate large-scale social and environmental risks financed by the bank.”

Gutting of monitoring and supervision requirements

While the bank has repeatedly claimed it wants to shift resources from project preparation to implementation, we find nothing in the draft that indicates more robust oversight and support for borrowers to ensure that safeguard objectives are met.

In fact, monitoring and supervision procedures have been gutted alongside the front-end safeguards.

The bank procedures currently in force recognize the “importance of close and frequent supervision to good resettlement outcomes” and include detailed supervision requirements during implementation through to completion. These detailed procedures have been removed, and the bank’s role has been reduced to little more than reviewing progress reports and self-evaluations submitted by borrowers.

Gaping loopholes

For a borrower looking for a way to evade the safeguard requirements, the draft is littered with loopholes.

To name just a few, if the bank finances a project with multiple “sub-projects” that involve displacement, the resettlement safeguards only apply if the borrower classifies the sub-project as having a “high” social risk — a classification that is undefined in the draft. Sub-projects classified as having a “substantial risk” (also undefined) need only comply with national regulations. That may be fine for countries with their own strong land management laws and systems, but this is extremely rare among World Bank client countries.

If there is cofinancing with another agency — which is frequently the case for big projects that cause large-scale displacement — the borrower and financiers can agree on a “common approach” to managing risk. Rather than requiring the higher of the applicable standards, the draft ambiguously states that the common approach “will not materially deviate from the objectives” of the World Bank standards, allowing for considerable discretion with minimal accountability. The same loophole is available to financial intermediary clients, such as private banks and equity funds.

Also, to the outrage of indigenous peoples organizations and support groups, borrowers can also opt-out of applying the indigenous peoples safeguards in certain circumstances, a provision that undermines international human rights standards and is thus open to abuse.

Abdication of World Bank responsibility

Mark King, the bank’s chief environmental and social standards officer, said last week that “we’re trying to be clearer in knowing who’s responsible for doing what for our projects.”

But he didn’t mention that the proposed new framework eliminates the fundamental principle — long embedded in the bank’s safeguard policies — that the bank shares responsibility with the borrower for avoiding and mitigating the social and environmental risks of the projects it makes possible. The draft transfers all responsibility for compliance with the standards to the borrower, exonerating the World Bank from its obligations to the people displaced by its projects.

At the same time, the rules for the borrower are nebulous and elastic. Compliance has become an open-ended affair, required only “in a manner and time-frame acceptable to the bank” — which gives staff total discretion to decide when compliance is met and by what standard.

All of this would mean that, if the safeguards draft is adopted, the Inspection Panel would have no hard rules against which to hold the World Bank accountable. Communities displaced or otherwise harmed by bank projects would be left with little recourse.

We agree with Peters that the bank’s safeguards have not been “watered down” with this draft. They’ve been drowned to death.


Report on Railways Development Project in Cambodia

Something has gone dreadfully wrong with the forced population displacement and involuntary resettlement caused by a large Railways Development project in Cambodia. Co-financed by the Government of Cambodia, the Asia Development Bank (ADB) and by the bilateral Australian Aid Agency (AA), the project is expected to follow international involuntary resettlement standards. It does not…Read More.

Last Updated (Wednesday, 30 April 2014)


A KOSID-INDR Study Examines Mining-induced Involuntary Resettlement in Kosovo

INDR President Downing has completed a report on a proposed forced displacement by a proposed Kosovo lignite mine.

The Government of Kosovo is taking preparatory actions to involuntarily displace over 7000 people to make way for an open pit lignite mine as part of the Kosovo Power Project (KPP). Kosovo Civil Society (KOSID) invited Ted to determine whether this preparation complies with the international involuntary resettlement standards (OP 4.12, PS5, PR5, OECD, and Equator Principles) that must be met for the project to obtain international financing? Ted’s report finds it does not. The reasons why provide a good overview of the risks involved in a mining-induced displacement.

Last Updated (Monday, 28 April 2014)


Inter-American Development Bank Job Posting

The Inter-American Development Bank is seeking a Social Safeguards Lead Specialist (English and Spanish bilingual) for employment. Details on applying can be found on the American Anthropological Association website. Last Updated (Wednesday, 9 April 2014)


Comments Invitation on UNDP’s draft Social and Environmental Standards

UNDP is pleased to invite your comments on their draft Social and Environmental Standards by *May 2, 2014 (French and Spanish versions will be posted soon on the website). The objectives of the standards are to: (i) strengthen the social and environmental outcomes of UNDP’s programmes and projects; (ii) avoid adverse impacts to people and the environment; (iii) minimize, mitigate, and manage adverse impacts where avoidance is not possible; and (iv) strengthen capacities for managing social and environmental risks. For more on submissions.

*the deadline for comments has been extended to May 2, 2014.

Last Updated (Monday, 28 April 2014)


Call for Papers on Urban Renewal and Resettlement Workshop 2014

Prof. Dolores Koenig, American University, Washington, DC, dkoenig@american.edu is convening a workshop on Planning for Renewal and Resettlement: Contested Visions at the Annual Conference of the Commission on Urban Anthropology [CUA-IUAES] on Dreamed/planned cities and experienced cities.  Conference to be held at the University Jean Monnet, St Etienne, France, 8-10 July 2014.  Her workshop seeks contributions that look at the particular clashes that occur when governments and private organizations propose development and change that involve the destruction of existing neighborhoods and the relocation of their residents. To what extent do politicians and urban planners justify these plans by visions of urban growth or quality of urban life? How do the potentially relocated respond? Under what conditions do they create alternative visions? When do they negotiate or collaborate with planners? What sorts of activism do they undertake?  For more information on submissions.   Last Updated (Monday, 31 March 2014)


Forced Displacement, Reparation, and a US ban on financing international hydro-development…  policy ramifications of new US law

 “The Secretary of the Treasury shall instruct the United
States executive director of each international financial institution
to seek to ensure that each such institution responds to the findings
and recommendations of its accountability mechanisms by providing
just compensation or other appropriate redress to individuals and
communities that suffer violations of human rights, including forced
displacement, resulting from any loan, grant, strategy or policy
of such institution.”    United States Consolidated Appropriations Act 2014.

Barbara Rose Johnston, Center for Political Ecology  bjohnston@igc.org

In January 2014, the United States Congress passed compromise legislation on the annual budget. Buried within its’ 1500+ pages is specific and far-reaching language that clarifies US obligations and related policy with regards to public funds invested in foreign contexts, including US investment in international financial institutions (see Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014). Specifically, international financial institutions (IFIs) must ensure that a negotiated reparation agreement between the Government of Guatemala and communities affected by Chixoy Dam construction, forced displacements, and related violence is fully implemented; take demonstrative measures to ensure similar compliance to reparation agreements between residents of Boeung Kak lake in Cambodia and the Cambodian government; and, oppose financing for any activities that involve forced evictions or other violations of human rights in Ethiopia. This law also requires US representatives at IFIs to vote against “any financing to support or promote the expansion of industrial scale logging or any other industrial scale extractive activity into areas that were primary/intact tropical forest as of December 30, 2013” and any loan, grant, strategy or policy of such institution to support the construction of any large hydroelectric dam (as defined in “Dams and Development: A New Framework for Decision-Making (World Commission on Dams, 2000).” IFIs are also required to undertake independent outside evaluations of all of its lending to ensure that each institution “responds to the findings and recommendations of its accountability mechanisms by providing just compensation or other appropriate redress to individuals and communities that suffer violations of human rights.” This language was originally introduced as part of the Foreign Appropriations bill adopted by the Senate in the spring 0f 2013, following a series of meetings with representatives of affected communities, IFI staff, civil society advocates, and input from independent experts such as myself. Documentary evidence submitted in support of Senate deliberations demonstrated IFI failures to attend to the recommendations of internal and external compliance mechanisms and, thus, an unmet IFI obligation with regards to continuing human rights abuse.

The case of the forced displacement at Guatemala’s Chixoy Dam played an important role in garnering public attention ….

FOR MORE INFORMATION Last Updated (Monday, 31 March 2014)


Resettlement News Issue #29

Hari Mohan has released our latest issue for January 2014, containing the following headlines:

  • U.S. Pushes for Outside Oversight of World Bank, Opposes Push Forward ‘Big Hydro’
  • A Victory Over 30 Years in Coming Reparations for the Victims of Chixoy Dam in Guatemala
  • Under Pressure from Human Rights Groups ADB Admits Fault in Rail Project, Pledges Compensation
  • Doing Dams Differently Can Mean Development for All
  • International Consultation on Climate Change and Population Resettlement in San Remo, Italy, 12-14 March 2014
  • Raising the Profile of Displacement/Resettlement NZASIA Conference, Auckland, November 2013
  • Social Impact Assessment of Resource Projects Canberra
  • Foreclosing the Future: The World Bank and the Politics of Environmental Destruction

Last Updated (Wednesday, 26 February 2014)


INDR names Jessie Connell as new Hot Issues editor on Environment and Climate Change-Related Displacement

How might decades of research about development-forced displacement and resettlement (DFDR) help inform responses to environment and climate change-related displacement?  See Editor Connell’s introduction to the new hot issue and join in this critical dialogue.

Last Updated (Wednesday, 26 February 2014)


India Enacts New Legislation to Protect Those Internally Displaced by Development Projects

INDR’s own Michael Cernea reviews in an OPED article on the Brookings Institution website on the new Act just adopted by India’s Parliament, entitled The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Resettlement and Rehabilitation Act”(LARR) 2013.  The new law repeals and replaces India’s 119 year-old, colonial Land Acquisition Act (LAA) of 1894, empowering farming families with the right of prior consent to land acquisition for some sub-categories of development projects, too narrowly defined, and increasing compensation rates for land up to four times the market value of land in rural area, and of up to two times the market value of land in urban areas. Importantly, the new Land Act legislates the mandatory incorporation of a resettlement and rehabilitation plan in each main project causing displacement. Additional comments on critical issues of policy and human rights are forthcoming in a second part of this two parts article.

Last Updated (29, Oct 2013)


Ad Hoc Committee on Mining and Sustainable Development

Critique of the Model Mining Development Agreement Project

How are, or should, the rights and lives of local people be considered when governments and mining companies negotiate secret agreements, granting companies access to the subsoil beneath them?

Such agreements are usually secret – non-disclosed to those “in the way” but they may threaten the existence of groups with ill-defined property rights. Tribal and indigenous peoples are especially vulnerable since Government may have an adversarial role with them before the mining deal is negotiated.

In 2009, the Mining Law Committee of the International Bar Association collected and analyzed over 50 existing mine development agreements to prepare a Model Mining Development Agreement (MMDA) as a tool, or set of tools, that can be used by mining companies and host governments for mining projects. As a compilation of existing agreements, the resulting protocol did not pay attention to critical social and local economic issues that are increasingly being considered by the sector, particularly when they seek financial guarantees form international lenders.

DSC00654_3

The expansion of a coal mine ends the life of a Kosovo village. Photo by Ted Downing 2013.

INDR President Ted Downing appointed a talented committee, an Ad Hoc Committee on Mining and Sustainable Development, to critically review the draft protocol. On 11 April 2013, the INDR Committee presented their preliminary findings to Luke Danielson, a member of the Mining Law Committee and their revised version will be published shortly on this page.

Learn more about mining and forced displacement:

Avoiding New Poverty: Mining-induced displacement and resettlement. Theodore Downing 2002. London: International Institute for Environment and Development.

Mining and Indigenous Peoples: Stakeholder Strategies and Tactics. Indigenous Peoples and Mining. Theodore Downing, Carmen Garcia-Downing, Jerry Moles and Ian McIntosh. 2003 IN Finding Common Ground:Indigenous Peoples and their Association with the Mining Sector. World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the International Institute for Environment and Development (UK). P. 11-46.

 Last Updated (Monday, 8 April 2013)