World Bank Meets African Caucus in Advance of Fresh Round of Talks on Safeguards Amidst Record Lending for the Continent

September 10, 2015

WASHINGTON, September 10, 2015–World Bank officials met with the African Caucus in Luanda, Angola, August 27 and 28, to present an update on the work to revise policies for protecting the poor and the environment in Bank- financed projects.  World Bank (IBRD/IDA) lending for Africa reached a record USD11.6 billion in new investments last year.

The review and update of the World Bank’s safeguard policies just entered a third round of consultations. The reform touches on complex development matters, including Human Rights, climate change, labor and working conditions, land acquisition and involuntary resettlement, cultural heritage and financial intermediaries, among other issues.

Consultations on a first draft, from July 2014 through April 2015, revealed a wide range of views among shareholder governments and civil society groups. Members of the World Bank’s Board Committee on Development Effectiveness (CODE), who recently discussed a revised draft, were in agreement on the overall architecture of the Environmental and Social Framework (ESF) and many key aspects. However, because many issues remain open, committee members asked management to help find solutions where views are divided.

The African Caucus, which includes finance ministers and central bank governors, raised the importance of promoting the use of borrower legal, policy and implementation frameworks, and of recognizing the potentially divisive nature in some countries in Africa of the terminology related to “Indigenous Peoples.”  The African Caucus called on the World Bank to take these matters into account and to address the issue of “implementability of the proposed policies,” by conducting “road tests” to better understand how they would work in practice.

The third round of consultations will span 30 countries, including 10 in Africa. The Bank will discuss the proposed framework in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Africa, Madagascar, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and Kenya. The discussions, which will bring in more local perspectives, will focus on “implementability,” including the capacity of borrower governments as well as any additional support countries may need to identify, avoid, and mitigate harm to people and the environment.

Feedback received will inform the draft Framework and discussions of the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors, which represents 188 member countries, and has final authority over Bank policy. Individuals and groups can share their views using the dedicated consultation web page.

A summary of the African Caucus meeting is available here.

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