WASHINGTON, DC (US) – Hundreds of people from across the globe will gather in Washington this week for the 60th anniversary meeting of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (Apr 22-25). Friends of the Earth are among them.

Human rights groups, environmental charities and indigenous peoples protest against the misuse of public money by both international financial institutions through their investment in projects that cause climate change, damage the environment and lead to human rights abuses, while failing to tackle poverty.

“The meetings are an opportunity for the World Bank to sign up to the recommendations of its own Extractive Industries Review’, said Janneke Bruil of Friends of the Earth International.

“These include respecting human rights, ending support for all oil industries within five years, and giving affected people the right to consent. It is crucial that the world Bank adopt these recommendations.”

Non-governmantal organisations, Nobel Peace prize winners, politicians and religious leaders – including Members of the European Parliament and FoEI Patron Desmond Tutu – have already called on the World Bank to put its new recommendations in place.

Friends of the Earth International Finance Institutions Campaigner, Hannah Ellis said:

“The World Bank gives millions of dollars of taxpayers money to multinational companies like Shell for projects which lead to climate-change, damage the environment and lead to human rights abuses.   Today’s meeting is a chance for the World Bank to really make a positive difference to people’s lives and their environment by putting in place its own recommendations from its Extractive Industries Review.”

Representatives from Friends of the Earth in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, El Salvador, Paraguay, France, Nigeria, the Netherlands, Canada, Ghana and the US are taking part in this week’s events in Washington DC .

The World Bank and the IMF hold significant power over the economies of developing countries and are controlled by wealthy countries. They have been severely criticised for using public money to invest in environmentally damaging projects including the Baku-Ceyhan gas pipeline crossing Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey and financing multinational corporations like Shell and BP.

The European Parliament passed a resolution (April 2004) endorsing the Review and Desmond Tutu has written to Wolfensohn asking for full implementation of the Review.

Several banks, including Barclays and HSBC, have made commitments to ‘sustainable development’ by signing the Equator Principles Declaration to adhere to World Bank Policy in their lending activities.  See http://www.equator-principles.com.  However, a recent letter leaked to press from the Banks to Wolfensohn implies a hidden agenda.


Ricardo Navarro (FoEI Chair) + 31 6 51005630 (mobile)
Janneke Bruil + 31 6 51005630 (mobile)
Jon Sohn +1 202 412 2467 (mobile)
Hannah Ellis +44 7810 558 246 (mobile)