Organizations criticize World Bank’s guidance notes

The World Bank released, late last year, a draft of the Guidance Notes for its new Environmental and Social Framework. Unlike what was assured in earlier talks with civil society, a series of guarantees have been left out of the draft. As a result, organizations from around the world have made an appeal for the document to be subjected to a revision.

They argue that the draft makes no reference to human rights obligations or treaty bodies. Moreover, they say the Guidance Notes are not written in clear language and they also introduce new ambiguities.

The Bank’s website states that the notes will serve as a “resource to help explain requirements” and “provide helpful examples”. The organizations, however, say it is difficult to see how the draft can contribute to strengthening borrower systems or clearly identify what it is that the Bank requires from its clients.

According to the organizations, the Guidance Notes do not contain issues raised by civil society, even though the World Bank had agreed to include them. “We believe the draft Guidance Notes should be substantially revised to ensure that the Bank’s social and environmental protection framework will not be substantially diluted,” they said.
The appeal was sent to the World Bank Vice President of Operations Policy and Country Services, Manuela Ferro, and was signed by Conectas and a number of other organizations.


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