WASHINGTON, DC (USA) – In the run up to the World Bank’s annual meetings, Mr James Wolfensohn, President of the World Bank, made a historical statement in support of the implementation of free prior and informed consent (FPIC). FPIC was one of the main recommendations of the Extractive Industries Review [1] that was requested for decades by thousands of indigenous peoples and civil society.

However, during meetings with civil society, Rashad Kaldany, Head of the Bank’s Oil, Mining & Gas Unit, refused to make any such commitment. After six months of questioning on the outcomes of the EIR, Mr Kaldany was not able to confirm what necessary reforms of human rights, transparency, renewables, protected areas, or consent processes would be proposed by the Bank Management in June [2].

Jaroslava Colajacomo of Campagna per la riforma della Banca Mondiale said:

“The management response must be a concrete one.  How to implement the Extractive Industries Review’s key findings is the management’s duty in order to allow the board members to express an informed position on the recommendations. Management is diluting the recommendations into vague and secretive processes that threaten a political decision resulting in no serious commitment.”

Hannah Ellis, International Financial Institutions Campaigner at Friends of the Earth, commented:

“When will the World Bank accept rhetoric must be replaced by genuine commitments?  The Bank claims it is not powerful enough to implement the changes required to ensure its mission of alleviating poverty. After 60 years the World Bank is still unable to define what poverty means, let alone propose a solution. The Bank for too long has been investing taxpayers’ money in the pockets of multinational corporations at the expense of the poor and the environment.”

Jaroslava Colajacomo (in Washington D.C.) 00 1 202 297270
Hannah Ellis (in Washington D.C.) 00 1 202 4922154

[1] The EIR, a two year independent assessment of World Bank fossil fuel related lending’s potential to contribute to poverty alleviation.  For more information see www.eireview.org
[2] World Bank board of executive directors will decide on the EIR recommendations in June or July.