Multilateral organizations are adapting to changing international development priorities by shifting from a growth-focused approach the past few decades to one more focused on sustainability — prioritizing people and the planet at the same time.
The World Bank and regional development banks are intent on aligning their programs with sustainability principles and goals, including reforming social and environmental safeguards policies so development is inclusive.
Yet, there have been struggles along the road to sustainability and inclusiveness and many of the issues trace back to safeguards.
The World Bank is still in the process of finalizing its revised safeguards policy that started almostthree years ago. Allegations of displacement and human rights violations have surfaced inCambodia,Laos andparts of Africa, among other regions. At one time or another, all the regional development banks have attracted negative media attention over the implementation of appropriate safeguards that are supposed to protect vulnerable people and the environment.
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.
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