WASHINGTON (US) / LISBON (PORTUGAL) – A new report released today at the final meeting of a World Bank review on extractive industries (December 11-13, Lisbon) reveals the devastating and irreversible social and environmental impacts of public financing for the fossil fuels and mining sectors.

The report, ‘Hands Off : Why International Financial Institutions Should Stop Drilling, Piping and Mining’ is released at a groundbreaking meeting in Lisbon where communities, indigenous people and representatives of Non-Governmental Organisations discuss the impacts of extractive industries with the World Bank. This meeting is the final episode of the two year Extractive Industries Review (EIR) of the World Bank.

The new report describes global and local resistance to large-scale mining projects funded by international financial institutions through 11 case studies, and was published by Friends of the Earth International, the world’s largest grassroots environmental network. Case studies include notorious pipelines like the Chad-Cameroon and Baku-Ceyhan oil pipelines, and projects that are currently under consideration at financial institutions including a major copper mine in Laos.

The World Bank’s independent Extractive Industries Review [1] recommends that the Bank stop financing all coal and oil projects in developing countries. In addition, it calls for human rights protection and the right to prior and informed consent for communities. Many of the EIR recommendations point to an important shift away from traditional support to the extractive industries and are likely to meet with strong resistance from the Bank’s shareholder countries.

“It is very significant that the harmful and dangerous effects of investments in oil, mining and gas are acknowledged by the World Bank, whose investments are supposed to alleviate poverty,” said in Lisbon Janneke Bruil of Friends of the Earth International. “The World Bank should adopt these recommendations without delay and also take firm steps to end financing of large scale mining”, she added.

“Even the World Bank Extractive Industries Review acknowledges that the benefits of oil, mining and gas projects are often questionable,” said Nur Hidayati of Friends of the Earth Indonesia (WALHI) in Jakarta. “There is much evidence that the extractive industries violate indigenous peoples’ rights and are associated with loss of livelihoods and climate change.” she added.

This week, in Lisbon, Portugal, civil society and other interest groups will discuss ways to ensure that the Bank implements the EIR’s recommendations. The report will be formally presented to World Bank President James Wolfensohn in late December. The Board of the World Bank will decide whether to adopt the EIR recommendations at the end of March.


In Washington: Carol Welch, Friends of the Earth US
+1-202-7837400 or +1-202-222-0719 (mobile)

In Lisbon: (Portugal) Janneke Bruil, Friends of the Earth International
+31-6-52118998 (mobile)

In Indonesia: Nur Hidayati of Friends of the Earth Indonesia (WALHI) in Jakarta
+62-21-79193363 or +62-812-9972642 (mobile)


[1] the Extractive Industries report is available at www.eireview.org