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You are here: Home / Media / Archive / 2000 / wb10april

wb10april

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE APRIL 10, 2000

 

200 GROUPS CALL ON WORLD BANK TO PHASE OUT DESTRUCTIVE OIL, MINING AND GAS PROJECTS

 

(Washington, D.C., April 10) – Amid growing criticism of the World Bank for misguided and harmful lending practices, more than 200 organizations representing environmental, human rights, religious, and economic justice organizations from 55 countries today called on the Bank to stop financing oil, gas, and mining projects.

At a press conference in Washington, DC, and in simultaneous releases in the United Kingdon, Canada, Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Brazil, Nigeria and the Czech Republic, representatives of these diverse organizations announced a campaign to get the World Bank to phase out its funding of these extractive industries. The campaign was unveiled on the first day of the World Bank’s kick off its annual "Energy Week" conference in the Washington area.

"The World Bank’s oil, gas, and mining projects have left a trail of environmental devastation, increased poverty, and severe social disruption in their wake in poor countries,"said Andrea Durbin of FoE United States. "The record shows these projects do little or nothing to foster poverty alleviation, and instead mainly benefit multinational corporations."

In a platform to be presented to World Bank officials, the groups, including Friends of the Earth International, OilWatch Africa, Greenpeace International, Oxfam Canada, United Methodist Church, and environmental groups from Africa, Asia and Latin America, highlighted the ten most harmful impacts of oil, gas, and mining projects. The platform notes that

  • The poor are the most likely to be forced off their land by oil, gas, and mining projects. They are the most likely to live in contaminated surroundings as a result of oil spills, gas flaring and improper waste disposal, and the least empowered to demand fair compensation;


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  • Extractive projects have devastated dozens of indigenous groups around the world, resulting in loss of their numbers, livelihoods, and cultural identity;
  • Extraction of valuable natural resources often exacerbates human rights violations in countries with corrupt and repressive regimes, as governments and the corporations collude to repress citizen opposition and demand for compensation;
  • Desperate for hard currency to service debts, poor nations exploit resources such as petroleum reserves and minerals at unsustainable rates, a costly development path that fuels indebtedness and dependence on foreign aid;
    • The multinational corporations that receive World Bank financing for extractive projects often have profits that dwarf the annual budgets of poor nations. These wealthy corporations do not need World Bank support, which diverts much need aid from programs that truly benefit the poor.


    Instead, the World Bank should be investing in clean technologies and programs aimed at poverty alleviation. The platform detailed 10 better examples of good development the World Bank could finance, from renewable energy and conservation programs, to technical and job training, micro-enterprises, and urban quality-of-life projects. In addition, the platform urges immediate debt cancellation for highly indebted poor countries.

     

    CONTACT:

    Andrea Durbin, FoE United States

    Mobile Tel: 1 202 744 8048

    Ann Doherty, Friends of the Earth International Secretariat, Amsterdam

    Tel: 31 20 622 1369; E-mail: info@foei.org

     

    NOTE: CASE STUDIES OF WORLD BANK-FINANCED OIL, GAS, AND MINING PROJECTS AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST.

 

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