69 International Organizations Seek Transparency in World Bank’s Environmental and Social Policy Review

Joint letter asks the World Bank to go public with the final draft of its safeguard policies

May 26, 2016

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, 69 civil society organizations from 26 different countries asked World Bank management to maintain transparency throughout the ongoing review of its environmental and social policies.

The World Bank’s environmental and social safeguard policies have been under review for the past four years. International stakeholders have provided extensive input in previous phases of the highly-contentious review process, yet the World Bank has neither made clear when the final policy draft will be made public, nor whether or not civil society will have an opportunity to see it before its final deliberation.

In a letter to World Bank management, the organizations asked that the final draft of the World Bank Safeguards package be publicly disclosed prior to consideration by the Board. This would be consistent with the World Bank’s own Access to Information Policy.

The public release of the policy draft “would give the public and civil society groups the opportunity to assess the policy and engage with their governments regarding any major changes or omissions in the new draft before shareholders make a final decision.”

These civil society organizations maintain that the final draft of the safeguards is a pivotal document that will determine the level of protection afforded to people and the environment in World Bank projects. Many of the issues being debated in this review are central to today’s global development agenda, including land rights, protection for forests and natural habitats, climate change, and non-discrimination and inclusion.

The letter emphasizes that “the new safeguard policy will have enormous implications for human rights and environmental integrity in Bank-sponsored development. The ultimate decision on this policy will see the best result if it is taken in a fully transparent and informed manner.”



Julia Radomski, Information Services Coordinator, Bank Information Center: jradomski@bankinformationcenter.org, 202-624-0636

Carla Garcia Zendejas, Director, People, Land & Resources Program, CIEL: cgarcia@ciel.org, 202-742-5854