As evidence of a mounting campaign to reform the World Bank’s support of the oil and mining industries, over 300 organizations from 72 countries called on Bank President James Wolfensohn to accept and adopt the recommendations of a review that he commissioned.
The Extractive Industries Review (EIR) was initiated by Wolfensohn, who pledged to evaluate how much (or whether) extractive industries contribute to poverty alleviation.
The Final Report validates many of the concerns that communities and civil society organizations have been raising with the Bank Group for more than two decades. Human rights groups, environmental organizations, development agencies, community and indigenous peoples representatives, have welcomed the Report.
In 2000, ICT successfully challenged the legitimacy of a World Bank poverty alleviation project that would have helped China move 61,775 non-Tibetan farmers onto the Tibetan Plateau.
The EIR concluded that if the World Bank Group intends to pursue its mandate of poverty alleviation, then it should not support extractive industries unless the broad set of good governance enabling conditions outlined in the Report are in place first.
Furthermore, the EIR found that support for coal and oil, as well as projects in critical natural habitats and areas of conflict, does not represent the best use of public World Bank money to promote sustainable development, and thus that the World Bank Group should phase out its financing for these types of projects and reallocate its funds towards renewable energy.