Aug 01, 2014

World Bank denies safeguards compromised

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By Narayan Lakshman

The World Bank hit back at a wide coalition of NGOs on Wednesday saying that it was in fact broadening environmental and community safeguards.

Fending off allegations that it was “watering down” environmental and community safeguards for its lending activities and possibly endangering the livelihoods of indigenous peoples and others worldwide, the World Bank hit back at a wide coalition of NGOs on Wednesday saying that it was in fact “broadening the coverage of these standards.”

The furore stemmed from a leaked report of a draft safeguards framework, which, Bank on Human Rights, a coalition for human rights in development finance, said “moves from one based on compliance with set processes and standards, to one of vague and open-ended guidance, threatens to render… technical improvements meaningless.”

BHR, which includes groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, highlighted the new proposals’ inclusion of an “opt-out” clause from protections for indigenous communities, of a definition of “discrimination” that was not consistent with international law and no rigorous framework for enforcing human rights.

BHR’s analysis of the before-versus-after comparison of the Bank’s wording on safeguards, shared with The Hindu by the organisation’s coordinator, Gretchen Gordon, is rigorous….

This article was first published by the Hindu on July 31st, 2014. Read the full piece here.