sign-on: Wld Bank to stop mega(disaster) projects, invest in sustainability


Jan Slakov

From: "Janet M Eaton" <•••@••.•••>
Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2000 14:40:57 +0000
Subject: Call for World Bank to stop Oil, Gas and Mining Financing !! 

Given the dependency of the military on fossil fuels and certain 
minerals,  and the  growing use of private armies to secure  oil, gas 
and mining projects in poor nations  and the well established links 
between economic globalization and militarism  this may  be of  
interest  !! 

" Friends of the Earth-US, in consultation with other
 groups, has prepared an NGO platform statement that
 calls on the World Bank to shift out of financing
 oil, gas and mining projects and to announce an
 immediate ban on financing these projects in
 pristine, frontier areas. "

This NGO platform  contains 
1] Ten Reasons the World Bank Group Should
 Stop Financing Oil, Gas, and Mining Projects in Poor Nations
2] Ten Better Examples of Good Development

This Platform is a call for your endorsement - 
which you can send to 

All the best,  



 Carol Welch
 International Policy Analyst
 Friends of the Earth
 202-783-7400 x. 237



 Dear Colleagues

 Next month, April 16-17, officials at the World Bank
 and IMF meet in Washington, DC for their spring
 meetings. Many organizations and grassroots groups
 are organizing large protests and demonstrations to
 take place during that meeting.

 Friends of the Earth-US, in consultation with other
 groups, has prepared an NGO platform statement that
 calls on the World Bank to shift out of financing
 oil, gas and mining projects and to announce an
 immediate ban on financing these projects in
 pristine, frontier areas.  Over the years, it is
 evident that investments in the extractive industries
 cause significant and irreparable harm to the
 environment, the poor, indigenous communities, and
 contribute to the crises of global climate change. 
 All too o> We have developed this platform to call a
 halt to this kind of financing.  The statement also
 calls on public funds to be used for public good,
 while recognizing that it may not be appropriate for
 the World Bank to be involved in financing these
 projects either.  What is important is that civil
 society sets the development priorities for their
 country, not by bankers in Washington, DC.

 We ask for your organizational endorsement and for
 your assistance in circulating this statement to
 other organizations.

 To endorse, please send your name, organization and
 country to Sara Zdeb (•••@••.•••, or fax

 The deadline for replying is April 3, 2000.

 The statement is attached as both a word and text
 file.  Thanks for your support.

 Cancel the debt! Have your voice counted at the
 Jubilee 2000/USA Mass Mobilization for Poor Country
 Debt Cancellation! Mark the Date!  April 9, 2000,
 plus April 10 Lobby Day Washington, DC Register to
 attend at

 Carol Welch
 International Policy Analyst
 Friends of the Earth
 202-783-7400 x. 237



APRIL 2000

In this era of globalization, there is a growing
awareness that environmental protection and economic
development must go hand in hand.  Nowhere is the
incompatibility of environmental destruction and
poverty alleviation more evident than in the World Bank
Group's investments in the extractive industries: oil,
gas and mining.  As the world's largest development
institution, and one of the major vehicles for economic
globalization, the World Bank now stands at a
crossroads: perpetuate poverty and pollution through
extractive industries, or alleviate poverty through
environmentally and socially sustainable development.

The undersigned organizations and individuals call on
the publicly financed World Bank Group to phase out of
financing destructive oil, gas and mining projects. 
The Bank's support for these extractive industries
underscores its record of environmental and social
destruction.  Oil, gas and mining projects enable
wealthy multinational corporations to extract resources
and profits from poor countries, leaving poverty in
their wake.  They fuel global climate change, pollute
the environment and lead to deforestation.  Even worse,
extractive industries have further entrenched corrupt
and dictatorial governments, and exacerbated human
rights abuses. 

Oil, gas, and mining embody an unsustainable model of
economic development that has failed the world's poor
in the 20th century.  There is no reason for the World
Bank Group to finance these sectors in the 21st.  The
World Bank Group devotes a significant share of its
portfolio to extractive sectors (in 1999, IFC and MIGA
lent 16% and the World Bank lent 3.8% of its portfolio
for oil, gas and mining projects).  An environmentally
and socially sustainable approach would include
investing in new industries, clean technologies,
environmental protection, job creation and education.
The World Bank Group should establish an immediate ban
on new exploration in pristine, frontier ecosystems (a
ban more than 200 organizations from 52 countries
called for at the Kyoto climate change meeting).
Finally, we call on the World Bank Group to develop a
plan for a complete phase out of financing oil, gas and
mining projects. The transition away from these sectors
should be developed in a participatory manner, be based
on renewable energy-based systems and ensure the
livelihoods of local communities. 

Ten Reasons the World Bank Group Should
 Stop Financing Oil, Gas, and Mining Projects in Poor Nations

1. The Poor Often Pay the Highest Price
The environmental destruction and social upheaval that
accompany oil, gas, and mining projects often harm the
poor the most.  The poor are the most likely to be
forced off of their land and made homeless by these
projects.  They are the most likely to live in polluted
surroundings and the least empowered to demand fair
compensation or a share in the revenue from oil, gas
and mining development. The poor are the most dependent
upon local natural resources for their food and
livelihoods, and the most likely to suffer when aid is
diverted from social sectors to finance extractive

2. Indigenous Communities are Jeopardized 
Oil, gas and mining operations have devastated dozens
of indigenous groups around the world, resulting in
loss of their numbers, territory, livelihoods and
cultural identity. From the Amazon Basin to Asia, these
indigenous peoples' ways of life are built on age-old
traditions and deep ties to and interdependence with
the ecosystems where they live.  As a result of these
extractive industries, indigenous communities often
lose their right to self-determination, their right to
their land and livelihood.  

3. Leads to Forest Destruction and Biodiversity Loss
>>From Siberia's temperate forests, to the mangroves of
Central Africa, to the rainforests of the Amazon basin,
oil, gas and mining projects threaten precious forests
and cause irreversible damage to ecosystems and
biodiversity loss.  Oil and gas exploration, mining and
new roads (which are often an indirect result of oil,
gas and mining exploration) currently threaten more
than half of both South America's and Russia's frontier
forests, according to the World Resources Institute.
Coal mining in eastern India threatens to destroy the
last remaining habitat for the endangered tiger. Much
of this exploration and mining is taking place in
pristine, frontier forest areas.

4. Toxic Contamination of Communities 
Oil, gas, and mining operations are significant sources
of ecological degradation even in wealthier nations
with stronger environmental protections.  In poorer
countries with weaker environmental standards and less
oversight capacity, the likelihood of oil spills, toxic
emissions, and contamination is greatly increased, and
governments and communities are less equipped to limit
the damage. Between 1982 and 1992 Shell's subsidiary in
Nigeria spilled about 1.6 million gallons of oil in the
Niger Delta, most from leaking pipelines.  Spills, gas
flaring, improper disposal of waste, and mining
accidents result in toxic releases that can be
dangerous and even deadly to humans, and can poison
groundwater, farmland, livestock and marine resources,
the very resources on which the poor depend.  

5. Negatively Impacts Women
Women often bear a disproportionate amount of the costs
of extractive projects in their communities.  Women are
often not included in the Bank's consultation process
for projects, even though they are responsible for the
welfare of their family.  Often men are hired to work
in the extractive industries, leaving women behind with
an increased workload.  Their customary
responsibilities are made even more difficult as the
natural resources upon which they and their families
depend, including clean drinking water and fuelwood for
cooking, are polluted or degraded by these extractive

6. Extractive Industries Often Tied to Human Rights
Abuses From forced relocation, to the brutal, and
sometimes deadly, suppression of those who dare to
demand fair compensation or clean-up, the drive for
profit from fossil fuels and minerals has all too often
led to human rights violations by governments and
corporations.  Witness the struggle in Nigeria by the
Ogoni people to demand the clean-up of the pollution on
their land by the oil industry, or the demand of the
Amungme in Irian Jaya, Indonesia, calling for fair
treatment and compensation from the largest gold and
copper mine in the world.  The rights of individuals
and communities are often sacrificed in the search for
profit by these industries.  

7.  Ties with dictators and corrupt governments
Many of the countries with oil, gas and mining projects
suffer from corruption and authoritarian regimes. 
Whether it is Russia, Colombia, Indonesia or Nigeria,
repressive countries often form alliances with
multinational corporations involved in extractive
industries.  For the last two years, Transparency
International, a non-profit corruption watchdog, has
identified Chad as the most corrupt nation in the
world.  In spite of this situation, the World Bank
still claims oil development will benefit the poor in
these countries, and is ready to finance a
multi-million dollar oil development scheme. 

8.  Supports Corporate Welfare
The multinational corporations involved in extractive
industries often have profits that dwarf the size of
many of the Bank's borrowing countries.  In the
Chad-Cameroon Pipeline Project, which the Bank is
poised to finance, the lead company - Exxon - has
annual profits that are four times the budget of
Cameroon and 40 times the budget of Chad. Although
earmarked for sustainable development and poverty
relief, nine out of ten World Bank fossil fuel projects
benefit transnational corporations based in wealthy
countries. These multinationals are wealthy and do not
need to tap into preciously limited foreign aid. 
Furthermore, when the Bank subsidizes these corporate
giants, it diverts much needed aid from programs that
truly benefit the poor.

9. Extractive Industries Fuel Global Climate Change
Fossil fuels are the major cause of global climate
change and must be phased out. Climate change is
already wreaking havoc on the poorest in developing
countries, and threatens to only worsen their
situation. The World Bank Group should be leading the
way to assist countries in a transition towards a more
renewable energy economy and maximizing energy
efficiencies, not tapping into the last remaining
resources for the dirtiest, most climate-destabilizing
fuels.  Today the World Bank spends 25 times more on
fossil fuel projects than on renewables. Rather than
taking substantive action on climate change, and
drastically reducing their fossil fuel lending, the
World Bank is now launching a carbon trading scheme,
which threatens to provide even more subsidies to the
already heavily subsidized fossil fuel industry.  

10  Increases Debt and Dependency of Poor Countries
Oil, gas and mining development commit countries to a
path of indebtedness and dependency on external aid. 
Desperate for hard currency to service debts, poor
countries exploit their natural resources at
unsustainable rates, such as petroleum reserves or
minerals, to export for foreign exchange.  This costly
development path fuels growing indebtedness, and the
World Bank's policy-based lending encourages an
unsustainable export-led growth strategy. 

Ten Better Examples of Good Development

There is no shortage of alternatives to oil, gas and
mining. Opportunities will vary between countries, but
this is not an obstacle ensuring that foreign
assistance directly responds to the needs of the poor
and offer sustainable solutions to pressing
environmental problems. The starting point is for the
World Bank Group to work with governments to establish
a participatory process and consult with citizens and
stakeholders in the borrowing countries to identify
national development priorities for investment and
financial support. It may not be appropriate for the
World Bank Group to invest in each of these areas.  But
the bottom line is that where the World Bank Group is
providing financial assistance to developing countries,
it must limit its support to projects and policy
lending that directly alleviates poverty and promotes
environmentally and socially sustainable development.
Some better development examples than what the World
Bank is currently doing with the majority of its
lending, include: 

1. Support education and technical training.
Investing in human capital is the most important
investment of all. A quality education empowers a
person to defend their rights and to creatively employ
their own resources. Basic education is a fundamental
right and the foundation upon which an informed and
dynamic citizenry is based, yet it is denied to
hundreds of millions of children around the world.
Primary education is key, especially for girls. 

2.  Promote healthy societies.
Easily preventable diseases continue to kill millions
of people each year. In many countries of Sub-Saharan
Africa, roughly one in four children will die before
the age of five and diarrhea is a leading cause of
death among toddlers. Responding to this scandal and
waste of human and economic potential is a moral
imperative that the world must face. 

3.  Support micro and small enterprise.
Supporting small and medium enterprises, as well as
micro-enterprise initiatives, has obvious social
advantages over the mega-projects that characterize
World Bank Group lending.  Smaller enterprises result
in more employment per dollar invested, are more likely
to reinvest earnings in the local economy and can be
more easily targeted to benefit women and marginalized
communities. From producing carbon filters out of
coconut husks, to exporting organic foods to other
markets, opportunities for promoting small and medium
sized initiatives are endless.

4.  Build strong agricultural sectors that respond to
peoples' needs. Agriculture is the lifeblood of many of
the world's poorest countries. World Bank projects and
policy lending have often been associated with
accumulation of land in the hands of the few and the
promotion of export driven agriculture that can
ultimately undermine food security. What is needed is a
more positive role in development in the agriculture
sector that deals with land redistribution and land
rights, sustainable agricultural practices and more
appropriate technology development.  

5.  Deliver energy to the rural poor.
Roughly two billion people in rural areas lack access
to electricity and other forms of energy. While the
World Bank has a strategy to address these needs, it
has never properly implemented it. Instead, financing
is oriented toward industrial development and urban
areas, thereby further impoverishing the rural poor. 
Drawing on advances in renewable energy, and existing
production, the Bank Group could bring energy to
millions of people in rural areas. In most cases,
cost-benefit analysis shows that renewable forms of
energy are the most viable way to reach remote, rural

6.  Improve the quality of life in urban areas.
Gridlock, pollution, crime and a declining quality of
life are the products of overcrowded cities flourishing
in the developing world. The World Bank Group could
help counter-act this trend by directing more of its
resources towards land-use planning, improved
efficiency in building practices and pollution control.
Better-organized transit corridors, especially public
transit such as low cost ultralight rail vehicles,
would reduce pollution-related illnesses. The World
Bank Group could work to support innovative building
practices and work with city planners to improve the
design of urban areas.  The Bank could also invest in
more urban area pollution programs, the cause of so
many health related problems.   

7.  Develop productive alternatives to deforestation.
Even by its own analysis, World Bank Group projects are
often associated with accelerating rates of
deforestation. More emphasis should be placed on
developing alternatives to deforestation and promoting
the sustainable use of certain forest resources.
Innovative alternatives exist, such as emerging
substitutes for wood products and non-wood paper
production, or supporting eco-tourism and the
sustainable harvesting of forest products such as
rubber.  Governments should be enabled to expand
protected areas for conservation and sustainable use
because forests are critical for the global environment
and for generations to come.

8.  Encourage the efficient use of water.
Water scarcity is a growing global concern, as well as
an increasingly obvious potential source of conflict. 
Despite the shortages and its fundamental importance to
life on earth, huge volumes of water are unnecessarily
wasted each day. Bombay loses up to one-third of its
water, and losses are as high as 50 percent in Manila.
Similarly, irrigation systems that account for more
than half of the water drawn for human use, can also be
sources of great waste. The World Bank Group could
improve quality of life by directing more of its
resources to reducing leakage, improving water
conservation and developing mechanisms to more
efficiently employ existing irrigation systems. 

9.  Promote energy efficiency and renewable energy
development. Rather than promoting the exploration and
production of fossil fuels, the World Bank Group should
be concentrating its energy on capturing the hundreds
of millions of dollars in revenues that are annually
lost through energy inefficiency. Investments in
preventing heat loss and in co-generation processes
that simultaneously produce both hot water and
electricity, could save World Bank Group clients
billions of dollars in the coming decades. Combined
with energy efficient lighting and building techniques,
this would reduce energy imports and possibly free up
energy for export. Similarly, by supporting emerging
markets in solar, wind and fuel cell technology, the
Bank will be promoting energy that will not exacerbate
pollution problems or global climate change. 

10.  Immediate Debt Cancellation and Recognition of
Ecological Debt. The dire problem of debt must be
addressed.  The World Bank Group should move forward
this year on granting immediate debt cancellation to
the highly indebted poor countries and develop a
program for debt relief for middle income countries.
These programs should include innovative approaches to
protect and conserve more pristine, frontier ecosystems
around the world. It should also be recognized that
there is an ecological debt that must be reckoned with
since Northern consumers have benefitted from cheap
natural resources, including oil, gas and minerals,
from the South. These resources have been extracted at
a high cost to the environment and communities. 

Endorsed By: