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Joint CSO letter on Safeguards Disclosure

Hartwig Schafer
Vice President Operations Policy and Country Services
World Bank
1818 H Street, NW Washington, DC 20433 USA
CC: Committee on Development Effectiveness
Merza Hasan, Dean of the World Bank Board
Yvonne Tsikata, Vice President and Corporate Secretary

Dear Mr. Schafer,

In the interest of transparency and the World Bank's commitment to stakeholder engagement in development finance, we kindly request that the final draft of the World Bank Safeguards package be made public prior to its consideration at the Board for approval. As we understand it, the package would be made up of the Environmental and Social Framework (constituted by the Vision, the Policy and the Environmental and Social Standards), as well as the Procedures, Directives and an implementation plan and budget.

The World Bank would be remiss in making this final process closed when it has repeatedly committed to open engagement during the review. Thus, our request is that the final draft be published on the safeguards consultation website at the same time that it goes to the Board for review, consistent with the Bank’s Access to Information Policy (Section III; Paragraph 4). This 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.

We understand concerns of not wanting to undergo another round of consultations prior to submitting the final draft to the Board. But we hope you agree that this final process must be open and transparent in order to legitimize the many years of civil society engagement and consultation leading up to this moment.

We recognize the effort, time and expense that the Bank has put into civil society engagement thus far. We hope that the consultation process has helped improve upon the safeguards policy set forth in early drafts and it would be a shame to let this important process falter short of the finish line. Now, more than ever, stakeholders should remain informed of crucial decisions being made regarding the World Bank’s Social and Environmental Framework. As we are all aware, 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.

Sincerely,       Download letter

1. 11.11.11 Coalition of the Flemish North-South movement, Belgium

2. Accountability Counsel, International
3. Actions pour les Droits, l’Environnement et la Vie (ADEV), Democratic Republic of Congo
4. African Law Foundation (AfriLaw), Nigeria
5. African Resources Watch (AFREWATCH), Democratic Republic of Congo
6. Al-Haq, Palestine
7. Alyansa Tigil Mina (Alliance Against Mining), Philippines
8. Amazon Watch, USA
9. American Jewish World Service, USA
10. ARTICLE 19, United Kingdom
11. Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), International
12. Asociación Ambiente y Sociedad, Colombia
13. Asociación Interamericana para la Defensa del Ambiente (AIDA), Regional
14. Bank Information Center, International