Draft safeguards not 'watered down,' but 'strengthened'

A construction site for the Panama Canal expansion project, for which the World Bank has approved a credit of 300 million dollars. The financial institution will start the second round of consultations for the social and environmental safeguards for its development projects. Photo by: Gerardo Pesantez / World Bank / CC BY-NC-ND

The World Bank is set to begin a second round of global consultations with various development partners — including civil society groups — about its newly proposed, albeit highly scrutinized, environmental and social safeguards.

The first draft of the bank’s safeguard document was leaked last week to different development groups, which felt the proposed frameworks are “watered down.” Several aid groups argued the new guidelines “fail to adequately respond to or incorporate years of input from civil society and experts around the world.”

Bank officials denied this accusation, explaining that the new standards will improve the institution’s efficiency and effectiveness in implementing development projects in a sustainable manner.

“This is a broadening and strengthening of the existing policies and not watering it down,” Kyle Peters, World Bank vice president for operations policy and country services, said during a phone conference attended by Devex. “We’re aiming to get a new and strong set of environmental and social standards that will uplift sustainable development [while] being mindful of economic burdens that development can place on future generations.”

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About the author

  • Lean 2

    Lean Alfred Santos

    Lean Alfred Santos is a Devex development reporter focusing on the development community in Asia-Pacific, including major players such as the Asian Development Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Prior to joining Devex, he covered Philippine and international business and economic news, sports and politics. Lean is based in Manila.