News Column

United States : World Bank to Begin Discussions on Proposal to Strengthen Social and Environmental Safeguards

July 31, 2014



The World Bank Board s Committee on Development Effectiveness today provided clearance for the Bank to consult publicly on a first draft of a proposal to modernize the policies that safeguard people and the environment in the investment projects the World Bank finances.

The proposed Environmental and Social Framework builds on the decades-old safeguard policies and aims to consolidate them into a more modern, unified framework that is more efficient and effective to apply and implement.

The Bank s environmental and social policies are key to ensure the projects we fund benefit and protect people and the environment, said Kyle Peters, Vice President for Operations Policy and Country Services. The policies we have in place now have served us well, but the issues our clients face have changed over the last 20 years.

The proposal aims to maintain and build on existing protections, including the enhanced protection of disadvantaged and vulnerable people, Indigenous Peoples, communities and the environment, including provisions for pest management, dam and road safety, natural habitats, and cultural heritage. It also highlights the importance of non-discrimination.

We are proposing to extend the existing protections for Indigenous Peoples and introduce Free, Prior and Informed Consent of Indigenous Peoples, said Mark King, Chief Environmental and Social Standards Officer. In exceptional circumstances when there are risks of exacerbating ethnic tension or civil strife or where the identification of Indigenous Peoples is inconsistent with the constitution of the country, in consultation with people affected by a particular project, we are proposing an alternative approach to the protection of Indigenous Peoples. But we should be clear that any alternative approach will only be adopted with approval from our Board, which represents all of our member countries.

The proposed framework would also strengthen the conservation of biodiversity, taking the existing safeguard policy on natural habitats and forests and introducing more stringent requirements, as well as more clarity on how risks and adverse impacts on natural habitats must be mitigated, King added.

The first draft of the framework was developed following a five-month long consultation effort that involved more than 2000 people in over 40 countries and included a review of other multilateral development banks environment and social standards.

The current draft includes a vision statement on environmental and social sustainability, a policy outlining the World Bank responsibilities and ten environmental and social standards that are required for the partner country.


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Source: TendersInfo (India)


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