OPINION: New World Bank safeguards are pushing more money out the door at the expense of the poor

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

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.

Source: Devex (link opens in a new window)

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