World Rainforest Movement

Seriously flawed consultation process for IFC Safeguard Policy Update – Joint sign on letter sent to the World Bank and IFC

Seriously flawed consultation process for IFC Safeguard Policy Update. Joint sign on letter sent –by 56 Southern and 65 Northern organizations (many MIC Eastern European) as well as 3 individuals– to the World Bank and IFC

Mr. James Wolfensohn
World Bank Group
1818H Street, NW
Washington DC 20433

Mr. Peter Woicke
Executive Vice President
International Finance Corporation
2121 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington DC 20433

Dear Mr. Wolfensohn and Mr. Woicke,

Re: Seriously flawed consultation process for IFC Safeguard Policy Update

We, the undersigned members of development, human rights, environmental and indigenous peoples’ organisations, and concerned individuals, would like to inform you of our deep concerns about the IFC Safeguard and Disclosure Update Process which is already underway.

As the IFC itself acknowledges, its proposals could become a global benchmark for international investment for both public and private financiers. While we support the intention of the IFC to update its policies, we are alarmed that the first consultation drafts (dated 12 August 2004) imply a major shift from a mandatory and compliance-based approach to a mainly discretionary approach. Such a shift would dilute the responsibilities of a public institution and undermine its accountability to affected communities.

The substantial proposed revisions to the policies largely ignore the priorities and concerns expressed by rights-holders and civil society organisations in numerous previous Bank consultations on its safeguard policies. The proposals likewise disregard many key recommendations and lessons emerging from the safeguard policy review undertaken by the Compliance Advisor and Ombudsman (CAO) and the recently completed Extractive Industries Review (EIR).

We believe that the IFC revision process should result in a mandatory and rights-based approach to “safeguard” and disclosure issues and better protection of people and the environment in accordance with the World Bank Group’s mandate to alleviate poverty through sustainable development. However, the draft documents that have been released reveal a disturbing re-orientation of the policies towards accommodating the needs of private sector clients, with scant mention of the rights of the affected communities whose interests would be most impacted by these proposals.

Given the potentially significant implications of such proposed changes, the IFC must, as a minimum, ensure that its process for engagement with civil society is undertaken in accordance with World Bank best practice and the IFC’s own guidelines for good faith public consultation.

At present, the process is fundamentally flawed. The timeframe will exclude and marginalise the participation of civil society groups, especially those most affected by the proposed substantial changes. The rushed schedule also seems to be driven by an internal and arbitrary desire to conclude this process by February next year. This allows only a little over four months for a proposed worldwide debate on the IFC’s plans to replace the entire set of its existing Safeguards. We feel this is a grossly inadequate period to re-assess policies and standards which took years to formulate.

Furthermore, documents essential for assessing the full ramifications of these policy revisions, such as the implementation guides and the IFC’s revised corporate procedures, are simply not available yet. In addition, less than 30 days before the first regional consultation planned to take place in Brazil, the proposed draft documentation has still not been translated into all appropriate languages, including Portuguese.

These serious flaws and shortcomings in the proposed consultation process are not acceptable and do not reflect a good faith engagement with civil society by the IFC. If our organizations are to consider participating in the IFC consultation, we believe that it is essential that the IFC takes at least the following measures:

1. Suspend immediately the start of the consultation process on the Safeguard Policy Update until all relevant information has been made publicly available in all appropriate languages at least 30 days prior to the first regional consultation. This includes the implementation guides and revised IFC corporate procedures.

2. Postpone the consultations on the disclosure policy until at least 30 days after the full draft revised policy is made available to the public in the appropriate languages.

3. Extend substantially the period for consultation on the first draft consultation documents.

In order to ensure transparency and informed and equitable participation we also recommend that the consultation process is revised to:

a. Include a self-selection process for civil society groups and indigenous peoples in the regional consultations (if indigenous organisations or leaders in each region so choose).

b. Make information on the participants invited to each consultation publicly available prior the meetings.

c. Provide comprehensive summaries of the meetings to the public within 30 days of each consultation.

d. Include an additional open hearing for any interested party to give input and allow anyone access with observer status for the regional consultations.

e. Make the subsequent version of the IFC draft proposals available for public comment for a period of at least 90 days – following the first consultation phase.

f. Indicate in the second public draft of the proposed policies where comments were incorporated and provide rationale for accepting or rejecting certain recommendations.

Given the fact that the first regional consultation is scheduled for the end of this month, we trust that you will take immediate steps to rectify this current process which is at present fundamentally flawed. We hope to hear a response from the Bank on its action to implement measures to ensure effective public consultation no later than 24th September 2004.

Unless the above minimum preconditions for meaningful and informed consultation are in are put in place, we do not see how we can participate in this process as we fear it will be lacking any acceptable level of credibility.

Signed jointly by the following organisations and individuals:

Jorge Acosta Arias
Centro de Derechos Económicos y Sociales / Organización de Derechos Humanos

Marcus Faro
Rede Brasil, Brasil

Carlos Zorrilla
DECOIN, Ecuador

Souparna Lahiri
Delhi Forum, India

Henry Tito
CEADES, Bolivia

Juan Amendares
Movimiento Madre Tierra, Friends of the Earth Honduras

Elías Días Peía
Sobrevivencia, Friends of the Earth Paraguay

Edgar Gonzales Castro
Quechua-Aymara Association for Sustainable Livelihoods (ANDES), Peru

Nilton Desa Arroyo
Ecovida, Association for Environmental Defense of Cajamarca, Peru

Ashish Fernandes
Ecologist Asia. India

Abdulai Darimani
Third World Network – Africa

Simbiso Marasha
ZIMCODD, Zimbabwe

Carlos Abanto
Asociacion Civil labor- Friends of the Earth Peru

Isaac Rojas
COECO-Ceiba- Friends of the Earth Costa Rica

Hemantha Withanage,
Centre for Environmental Justice, Sri Lanka

Etiosa Uyigue
Society for Water and Public Health Protection (SWAPHEP), Nigeria

Victoria Corpuz
Tebtebba, The Philippines

Sandy Gauntlett
Pacific Indigenous Peoples Environment Coalition (PIPEC), Aotearoa/New Zealand

Soumitra Ghosh
National Forum of Forest Peoples and Forest Workers, India

Gautam Bandhopadhyay
Peoples Alliance for Livelihood Rights, India

Nick Hildyard
The Corner House, UK

Laura Radiconcini
Amici della Terra (FoE Italy)

Hannah Ellis
Friends of the Earth England, Wales & N.Ireland

Janneke Buril
Friends of the Earth International

Sharon Courtoux
Survie, France

Reinhard Behrend
Rettet den Regenwald, Germany

Tom Griffiths
Forest Peoples Programme, UK

Geoff Nettleton
Indigenous Peoples Links, UK

Bruce Rich
Environmental Defense, USA

David Batker

Knud Vöcking
Urgewald, Germany

Johan Frijns
BankTrack, The Netherlands

Hildebrando Vélez Galeano
CENSAT AGUA VIVA- Friends of The Earth Colombia

Inez Louwagie
Netwerk Vlaanderen vzw/Anders Omgaan met Geld, Belgium

David Waskow
Friends of the Earth – United States

Manana Kochladze
CEE Bankwatch Network

Petr Hlobil
Centre for Transport and Energy (CDE), Czech Republic

Pavel Pribyl
Hnuti Duha, Czech Republic

Petko Kovatchev
Center for Environmental Information and Education, Bulgaria

Ivailo Hlebarov
Za Zemiata , Bulgaria

Peep Mardiste
Estonian green Movement-FoE Estonia

Nino Dadalauri
Green Alternative, Georgia

Ana Golovic
Eko-Svet, Macedonia,

Alda Ozola
VAK-FoE Latvia

Linas Vainius
Atgaja community, Lithuania

Ania Roggenbuck
Polish Green Net, Poland

Andrzej Gula
Institute for Environmental Tax Reform, Poland

Peter Mihok
Center for Environmental Public Advocacy , Slovakia

Yury Urbansky
National Ecological Center of Ukraine

Donald Pols,
Friends of the Earth, Netherlands
Soren Ambrose
50 Years Is Enough: U.S. Network for Global Economic Justice, USA

Colin Nicholas
Center for Orang Asli Concerns

Sébastien Godinot
Les Amis de la Terre, France

Magnólia Azevedo Said
ESPLAR, Centro de Pesquisa e Assessoria, Brasil

Kate Walsh
AID/WATCH, Australia

Andrea Plöger
W E E D – World Economy, Ecology & Development, Germany

David Corson-Knowles
Forests Monitor, UK

Jaroslava Colajocomo
Centro per la Riforma della Banca Mondiale (CRBM), Italy

Asian Indigenous Women’s Network, The Philippines

Jeff Powell
Bretton Woods Project, UK

Filka Sekulova
The Disinvestment Campaign, The Netherlands

Naeem Iqbal
Pakistan Network for Rivers Dams and People, Pakistan.

Zakir Kibria
BanglaPraxis, Bangladesh

Jan Cappelle
Proyecto Gato, Belgium

Dana Clark
International Accountability Project, USA

Lars Hasselblad Torres
Deliberative Democracy, USA

Daphne Wysham
Sustainable Energy and Economy Network, Institute for Policy Studies, USA

Geodisio Diaz
Fuerza Unida de Seis Pueblos/Centro de Desarrollo Ambiental (FUSPU/CENDA)

Graham Saul
Friends of the Earth, Canada

Jorge León T
CEDIME, Ecuador.

Henneke Brink
Both ENDS, The Netherlands

Alfredo Quarto
Mangrove Action Project, USA

Peter Bosshard
International Rivers Network, USA

Andrey Laletin
Friends of the Siberian Forests, Russia

Alejandro Argumedo
Indigenous Peoples Biodiversity Network, Peru

Paula Palmer
Global Response, USA

Frances Carr
Down to Earth: the International Campaign for Ecological Justice in Indonesia, UK

Robert Napier

Eric Bourgeois, Ph.D.
Individual, USA

Penny Miller
Individual, UK

Maria L. Butler
Concerned Citizen, Social and Human Rights Advocate and Environmentalist

Mag. Rudolf Remler
Dreikönigsaktion der Kath. Jungschar

Fraser Reilly-King,
NGO Working Group on Export Development Canada, CANADA

Renate Domnick, Coordinator
Society for Threatened Peoples, Germany

Shoko Murakami
Friends of the Earth Japan, Japan

Christophe Boyer
Réseau Foi & Justice Afrique Europe, France

John Mihevc,
Halifax Initiative Coalition, Canada

Asociación Estoreña Para el Desarrollo Integral (AEPDI), Guatemala

Jamie Kneen
MiningWatch, Canada

Wenonah Hauter
Public Citizen, USA

Rev. Douglas B. Hunt
United Church of Christ Network For Environmental & Economic Responsibility

Doug Norlen
Pacific Environment, USA

Carlos Zorro Sánchez
CIDER, Universidad de los Andes, Colombia

Binnie O’Dwyer
Friends of the Earth Australia

Daniel Owusu-Koranteng
Wassa Association of Communities Affected by Mining (WACAM), Ghana.

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

Rodica Perciali
Romanian Folk Art Museum, USA

Sara Larrain
Sustainable Chile Program, Chile

Rodica Candea
Romanian-American League, USA

Institute for Ecology and Action Anthropology (INFOE), Germany

Katie Redford, Esq., EarthRights International, USA

Andreas Missbach, Berne Declaration, Switzerland

Alcides Faria
Ecoa – Ecology and Action., Brazil

Alvaro Gomez Concha

La Red Nacional de Accion Ecologica RENACE, Chile

John Hocevar
International Tibet Support Network

Ruth Rosenhek
Rainforest Information Centre, Australia

Teresa Perez
World Rainforest Movement, Uruguay

Jean Koueda Koung
Global Village, Cameroon

Smitu Kothari
Lokayan and Intercultural Resources, India

Paul Bourke
Australia Tibet Council, Australia

Adrian Goh
SOS Selangor, Malaysia

Eduardo C. de Guzman
Mahal, Philippines

Dr. Knarik Hovhannisyan
AQUAEC Corporation, Republic of Armenia

Khushi Kabir
Nijera Kori, Bangladesh

Pradip Prabhu
Kashtakari Sanghatna, India

Duncan McLaren
FoE Scotland

Azad Aliev,
Association of Sosial Economic Researches Azerbaijan

Rev. David Ugolor
African Network for Environment and Economic Justice(ANEEJ), Nigeria

Daniel Sergio Verzeñassi, El Foro Ecologista de Paraná, Argentina

Elvira Díaz Colodrero, Red de Organizaciones Socioambientales de Entre Ríos, Argentina

Executive Directors of the World Bank Group
Rachel Kyte, IFC

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *