World Rainforest Movement

World Bank: No more funding for oil palm plantations!


Dear Sir/Madam,

With reference to the World Bank meeting to be held in San José, Costa Rica on 17th to 18th May 2010, within the framework of a consultation process for the bank’s strategy on palm oil financing, the undersigned would like to express our concern about the possible future involvement of the World Bank in financing oil palm plantations.

Palm oil expansion for food and industrial use, cosmetics and agrofuels, has serious environmental and social impacts on local peoples, including large-scale tropical rainforest destruction, pollution of soil and water, human rights violations including the forced and often violent displacement of communities and the grabbing of land by transnational companies.

Exhaustive evidence of this has been documented in Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Laos, Uganda, Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador, Peru and other countries.

The World Bank Group has responded to the strong criticisms made by civil society organizations in relation to IFC funding to palm oil company Wilmar Trading/Wilmar International. The Bank took the decision to suspend all new financial investment in the palm oil sector and requested the Ombudsman to carry out an audit of IFC.

Now, however, the result is being discussed in the current stakeholder consultation with the aim of elaborating a strategy in order to continue World Bank involvement in the palm oil sector.

The evidence provided by the documented environmental and social harm caused by industrial oil palm plantations, makes it necessary to insist that those plantations are part of a model of large-scale extractivist production aimed at export, which is inherently unsustainable, in the true sense of the term, and which cannot possibly be improved.

Furthermore, this pattern of production and commercialization, while causing injustice and devastation, also requires high levels of energy input for its production and transport. At a time when the dominant development model has pushed us towards the climate change disaster, the principal actors have to accept their responsibility for this tragic course. The World Bank must not finance projects which are unacceptable for social, environmental and climate reasons, such as palm oil.

The time for change has come. Peasant and indigenous organizations, social movements and other civil society organizations all agree that oil palm plantations are not and can never be sustainable.

What is therefore needed is to stop the expansion of oil palm monocultures.

The World Bank must not finance oil palm plantations!

Yours faithfully,


 Asociación de Solidaridad con Colombia “Asoc Katio”, Spain

Asociación para el Desarrollo Agroecológico Regional, Nicaragua

ATTAC, Spain

Biofuelwatch, UK

Comité Cerezo, Mexico

Comité Oscar Romero de Vigo, Spain

Comité Oscar Romero de Madrid, Spain

Comunidades Cristianas Populares del Estado Español, Spain

Corporación Ecológica “ECOQUILPUÉ”, Chile

FEDICAMP, Nicaragua

Grupo de Trabajo Suiza Colombia /Arbeitsgruppe Schweiz Kolumbien ASK, Switzerland

Movimiento Mundial Por los Bosques Tropicales /World Rainfores Movement, Internacional

Rettet den Regenwald, Germany

Salva la Selva, Spain

Rel-UITA Secretaría Regional Latinoamericana, Uruguay

Union Paysanne Québec, Canada