World Rainforest Movement

Letter to Mr. Wolfensohn on World Bank draft Development Policy Lending (O.P. 8.60)

Sent by World Rainforest Movement, Forest Peoples Programme and Environmental Defense, on behalf of 47 International NGOs.

Mr. James D. Wolfensohn
President
The World Bank
1818 H Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20433
Via Fax: 202 522 3031 & Mail

Dear Mr. Wolfensohn,

We thank you for the opportunity to provide comments on the Bank’s draft policy for adjustment lending, now named Development Policy Lending (O.P. 8.60).

The undersigned NGOs have a long-standing interest in forest policy and many of us participated actively in the Bank’s consultations on its new “Forests Policy” (O.P. 4.36). This consultation process led to a broad consensus that the new Forests Policy should cover the impacts on forests of adjustment and programmatic lending. However this unanimous recommendation was swept aside with the promise by Bank management that the problem of forests and the impacts of adjustment lending would be addressed in a future revision of the Bank’s OP 8.60. During the Board discussion of the revised “Forests Policy”, several Executive Directors referred to the need to include references to the impact of structural adjustment in the new “Forests Policy”. In response, Bank management assured the Board:

‘Management plans to address the treatment of possible forestry impacts of programs supported by Bank adjustment operations as part of the treatment of overall environmental impacts of such programs in the ongoing update of Operational Directive OD 8.60 into a new OP/BP 8.60…. Management expects that the new policy will include specific provisions setting out a transparent mechanism for systematically addressing the environmental aspects, including in particular possible forestry impacts’

(Source: World Bank document # R2002-0195/2 Revised Forest Strategy for the World Bank Group: Management Responses to Executive Directors’ Comments and Suggestions. Dated 31 October 2002: page 4 (emphasis added).

The present draft of OP 8.60 (December 2003) does not reflect this commitment made to the Bank’s Board. The draft OP does not contain specific provisions that address the impact of structural and programmatic lending on forests.

While our focus here has been on the Bank’s promise with regards to forests, we are equally concerned about the lack of inclusion in the draft OP 8.06 of a requirement to hold public consultations on the development of these loans in borrowing countries. It is difficult to reconcile the lack of such a requirement with the Bank’s emphasis on transparency and country ownership in its discourse and publications.

Furthermore, we think that paragraphs 10 and 11 of the draft OP are not befitting an institution whose stated mission is poverty alleviation and sustainable development. These paragraphs require Bank staff to determine and to describe the effects of specific country policies supported by the Bank on the poor, especially on the most vulnerable groups, and on the environment and natural resources. Yet, the draft OP does not require that Bank staff ensure that effective measures are in place that will avoid or mitigate negative social and environmental impacts of Bank lending.

The new OP 8.60 will affect approximately one third of all Bank lending. In the absence of a firm requirement to ensure that these loans do not lead to negative social and environmental impacts, the Bank’s focus on achieving the Millennium Development Goals and its commitment to sustainable development have to be seriously questioned.

Mr. Wolfensohn, in your foreword to the 2003 Development Report you state that “Environmental and social assets matter greatly for well-being and productivity, but they are often neglected.” Yet it is this neglect that is most in evidence in the draft OP 8.60. We urge that the draft policy be substantially revised.

Sincerely,

Korinna Horta
Environmental Defense
USA
Ricardo Carrere
World Rainforest Movement
Uruguay
Marcus Colchester
Forest Peoples Programme
U.K.

On Behalf of:

Ivonne Ramos
Acción Ecológica
Ecuador

Rick Rowden
ActionAid USA
USA

Amici della Terra
Italy

Roberto Smeraldi
Amigos da Terra/Amazônia Brasileira
Brazil

Amigos da Terra
Brazil

Saulius Piksrys
Atgaja Community
Lithuania

Henneke Brink
Both ENDS
Netherlands

Tatiana Roa
Censat Agua Viva
Colombia

Petko Kovatchev
Centre for Environmental Information and Education
Bulgaria

COECOCeiba-AT
Costa Rica

Colectivo MadreSelva
Guatemala

Joan Carling
Cordillera Peoples Alliance
Philippines

Souparna Lahiri
Delhi Forum
India

Saskia Ozinga
FERN
U.K.

Glen Barry
Forests.org, Inc.
USA

Javier Baltodano
Friends of the Earth International
Netherlands

Jon Sohn
Friends of the Earth-US
USA

Néstor Ocampo
FUNDACOSMOS
Colombia

KOUEDA KOUNG JEAN
Global Village Cameroon
Cameroon

Jon Buckrell
Global Witness
U.K.

Global Witness Phnom Penh
Cambodia

Herney Patiño
Grupos Ecologicos de Risaralda
Colombia

Mlup Baitong
Hak Sokleap
Cambodia

Mary Turgi, CSC
Holy Cross International Justice Office
USA

Dr Rowland Benjamin D.O.
Information for Action
Australia

Roberto Bissio
Instituto del Tercer Mundo / ITeM
Uruguay

Peter Bosshard
International Rivers Network
USA

Yuki Tanabe
Japan Center for a Sustainable Environment and Society (JACSES)
Japan

Milieudefensie
Netherlands

Juan Almendares
Movimiento Madre Tierra
Honduras

Titi Soentoro
NADI
Indonesia

Doug Norlen
Pacific Environment
USA

Pro Natura
Switzerland

Jan Cappelle
Proyecto Gato
Belgium

Randy Hayes
Rainforest Action Network
USA

Christine Halvorson
Rainforest Foundation US
USA

John Seed
Rainforest Information Centre
Australia

Reinhard Behrend
Rettet den Regenwald e. V.
Germany

Miriam A. Young
RFK Memorial Center for Human Rights
USA

Jens Wieting
Robin Wood
Germany

Elías Díaz Peña
Sobrevivencia
Paraguay

Titi Soentoro
Solidaritas Perempuan (Women’s Solidarity for Human Rights)
Indonesia

Atieno Ndomo
The Bretton Woods Project
U.K.

Steve Hellinger
The Development GAP
USA

Knud Vöcking Urgewald e.V.
Germany

WALHI
Indonesia

Ann Kathrin Schneider
World Economy, Ecology and Development (W.E.E.D.)
Germany

Please direct response to:

Ricardo Carrere
World Rainforest Movement
International Secretariat
Maldonado 1858
11200 Montevideo – Uruguay
Tel. 598 2 413 2989; Fax: 598 2 410 0985
rcarrere@wrm.org.uy

Marcus Colchester
1c Fosseway Business Centre
Stratford Road. Moreton-in-Marsh, GL56 9NQ UK
Tel. + 44 (0)1608 652893; Fax + 44 (0)1608 652878
marcus@forestpeoples.org

Korinna Horta
Environmental Defense
1875 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20009
Tel. 202 387 3500; Fax 202 234 6049
khorta@environmentaldefense.org

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