World Bank Draft Policy on Forests Does Not Safeguard Primary Forests

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TESTINGThe World Bank is in the final stages of review of its long awaited draft policy on forests. The proposed policy represents a severe weakening of the existing Operational Policy on Forests of 1993. Its planned provisions are unacceptable because they lack proper safeguards and pose a high risk to the forests and forest peoples who will inevitably be harmed when Bank projects go wrong.They call it a “safeguard policy”, but according to Forests.org, the World Rainforest Movement, and Environmental Defense, among others, the policy flies in the face of demands of civil society and ignores the advice given to the Bank by its own Technical Advisory Group. It fails to address the main causes of deforestation the Bank identifies as globalization, and economic liberalization, and poor governance. It relies on market forces or marketing arrangements to address deforestation. Large-scale timber export and carbon sequestration projects are the likely beneficiaries. Yet there is no evidence to date that these projects can be effective in promoting environmentally sound and socially equitable development.The proposed policy opens the doors to Bank extractive investments in all types of forests except those Bank bureaucrats deem to be “critical forests”. The only mention of participation is […]

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