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NGO wants World Bank to withdraw environment policy

Bangalore-based non-government organisation Environment Support Group (ESG) has urged World Bank to withdraw its environment and social safeguards policy as it is aimed at promoting only the corporate interests.

On July 30 this year, the World Bank had put out a draft environmental and social framework, subtitling it as “Setting standards for sustainable development”. This document has been widely reviewed, including recently in a meeting held at Bangkok involving representatives of various civil society organisations, people’s movements, independent research organisations, environmental and social justice action groups, trade unions among others.

“The conclusion was unanimous. Demand the World Bank to withdraw its safeguard policy as it is nothing short of a strategy to recklessly promote corporate profit and an attack on human rights and the environment”, ESG said.

The World Bank is currently holding its Annual Meetings in Washington D.C. Peoples movements and environmental and social action groups from across the world have also gathered there to expose the World Bank’s disastrous record in securing human rights and environmental justice and financing undemocratic and unjust “development”, the ESG said in its release.

Over the past couple of years, officials of the World Bank have been jetting around the world holding “consultations” as part of a process of evolving a new environmental and social framework to guide the Bank’s investments globally. When World Bank held such “consultations” in India, it was ritualistic at best, and deliberately ignored consulting communities and sectors that had been impacted by the Bank’s investments in the past, the ESG said in a statement.

Also, the Bank was careful to select only certain kinds of sectors, and amongst them certain type of representatives, who would shy away from honestly critiquing the Bank’s past due to their “politically correct” perspective. The consultations were also held without translating the Bank’s proposal to reform in any local or regional or national language, and in effect denied millions the opportunity to participate, thus making the entire process a ritual fulfilling a procedure, ESG said.

In New Delhi and Bangalore, these consultations were engaged with representatives from various sectors and civil society organisations, and the World Bank was asked to go back with its destructive investment strategy. Similar responses greeted the World Bank officials in other parts of the world as well, ESG recalled.

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