NGO representatives stop World Bank meeting By India Express News Service - BANGALORE April 9, 2013

World Bank’s multi-stakeholder meeting to review and update its current environmental and social safeguard policies ended abruptly here on Monday. Representatives of non-government organisations (NGOs), who participated in the meeting, accused the bank of funding environmentally unsustainable projects and charged that it was complicit in massive human rights and environmental violations.

According to the World Bank officials, the meeting was to review the safeguard policies that contribute to sustainability and development effectiveness in the bank’s projects and programmes by helping to avoid or mitigate harm to people and environment.

“Their whole attempt was to mask the true intentions of its major shareholders —France, Germany, Japan, UK and the United State — which are grappling with serious economic downturns and are conveniently using the bank to force open global investment opportunities with scant regard to environment and social impact,” Clifton Rozario, a lawyer and an activist, alleged.

Though it was a closed-door meeting, the NGOs voiced their protest and shouted slogans asking the World Bank officials to go back and call off the meeting. “They are conducting a meeting with a selective group of government officials and trying to tap the market potential to exploit our natural resources and human capital. This is uncalled for,” said another.

Speaking to Express, World Bank’s senior technical advisor Dr Stephen F Lintner said people have come with preset views and it would have been good if the issues were discussed more broadly.

“We respect their views and it will be part of our recommendation (on policy matters) to the Board of Executive Directors,” he said.

Preeti Kudesia, senior public health specialist, World Bank, Nina Eejima Senior Counsel, Environment and International Law Unit at World Bank, S M Jamadar, retired IAS officer and officials from Karnataka urban infrastructure development and finance corporation, The Karnataka State Highways Improvement Project, Karnataka State Health System and Karnataka Urban Water Supply and Drainage Board were present in the meeting that was held in the city.

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