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Revision of World Bank environmental and social safeguards

On the 30th of July 2014 the World Bank issued a consultation draft of the new proposed standards for environmental and social safeguards for World Bank projects. The safeguard standards proposed in the new Environmental and Social Policy (ESP) and Environmental and Social Standards (ESS) are the result of a two year consultation process in which numerous submissions were provided to Bank staff from organisations throughout the world. This includes also recommendations from the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), from the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNSRIP). 

Weakening of the protection of indigenous peoples' rights

Despite of this, IWGIA is of the view that the proposed new environmental and social safeguards represent a serious weakening of the protection of the rights of indigenous peoples, and that the standards for indigenous peoples’ rights contained in the Environmental and Social Standards for Indigenous Peoples (ESS7) remain below internationally accepted practice and international human rights law. IWGIA is in particular very concerned about the proposal in the draft that governments can “opt out” of applying the Environmental and Social Standards on Indigenous Peoples. 

As part of the ongoing consultation process, IWGIA has forwarded a letter of concern to the World Bank, and we urge the World Bank to engage in an open, transparent and well planned consultation process with indigenous peoples and to genuinely incorporate their views in the final draft.