Recently, the World Bank announced to change its social and environmental regulations, the so-called 'safeguards'. These safeguards do not only apply to investments of the World Bank, but are often adopted by other banks and credit institutions all over the world. "If the World Bank changes the regulations, there will be significant global consequences!", Pieter Jansen warns. Last Tuesday he was in Brussels on behalf of Both ENDS for a consultation of the World Bank with European civil society organisations to give his view on the proposed changes.
Before the end of this year, the World Bank will vote on whether to introduce a new lending instrument called "Programme for Results" (abbreviated as P4R), which aims to better meet the needs of developing countries while increasing the World Bank's reach by bringing funds from public and private donors together in sectoral programmes. NGOs from around the world have expressed concern about P4R, as has the business community and various governments. These parties are concerned that a large number of standards, which may have significant adverse effects on humans and the environment, will be released. A number of organisations have therefore voiced their concerns about P4R in a letter to the World Bank.
A highly critical report on the Bujagali Dam was recently released by the World Bank Inspection Panel - the independent investigation body of the World Bank. The controversial Bujagali Dam, a US$860 million hydropower dam under construction in Uganda, is co-financed by the World Bank and the African Development Bank. Unfortunately the report of the Inspection Panel has done little to change the commitment of the World Bank in funding the dam. Nor will it implement any fundamental changes in response to the indicated problems.