Final draft of World Bank safeguard policies disappoints, fails to fully protect affected people

The final draft of the World Bank’s social and environmental protection policies fails to guarantee the rights and well-being of people affected by the Bank’s development projects, said Oxfam.

Nadia Daar, head of Oxfam International’s Washington office, said: “The final draft of the World Bank’s safeguards is sorely disappointing. We hoped that the extensive, four-year long review process would produce a set of policies that would boldly set a new bar for the international development community. Instead, we’re left with a draft that’s riddled with loopholes, fails to meet other international standards, and in some cases, is weaker than existing policies.

“There are some improvements in key areas, but unfortunately, not all of them are robust enough. For example, the safeguards include Free and Prior Informed Consent requirements when working with Indigenous Peoples, but how they define ‘consent’ leaves open the possibility for abuse.

“It’s a shame that backroom politics and government interests appear to have weighed more in the drafting of these policies than the lives of people affected by the Bank’s work. The safeguards haven’t been formally approved yet— we urge to Bank to strengthen them before they’re endorsed by the Board of Directors in early August.”

Contact information: 
Simon Hernandez-Arthur in Washington
+1 585 503 4568

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