On July 23rd the World Bank board of directors will discuss the Bank’s safeguards review: In the coming months, the World Bank revises its social and environmental safeguards and according to Both ENDS programme officer Pieter Jansen this offers opportunities to encourage the Bank to strengthen them . This would improve the level of protection of people and the natural resources they depend on in World Bank projects. But if the Bank decides to make the safeguards more flexible instead, its investments could have more negative consequences for local populations and their habitat. Civil society organisations have repeatedly expressed their concerns, and since it’s almost the 23rd, Pieter makes a last attempt to make the World Bank aware of its responsibility: on behalf of Both ENDS he sent a letter with recommendations to Frank Heemskerk, the Dutch executive director at the World Bank. Pieter explains.
There are still over one billion people who have no access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. The increasing scarcity of water around the world makes the problem all the more urgent. However, the growing international recognition of the right to water and sanitation is the first step in the right direction. This right gives poor and vulnerable groups the ability to stand up to political neglect. It empowers them to approach national and international courts of justice to demand clean drinking water.