Press Release - Friday, February 6, 2004

High Level World Bank Review calls for the phase out of World Bank involvement in oil exploitation and coal mining


Bank Management to ignore recommendations says leaked report


(Ottawa) February 6th, 2004 -- Conforming to industry’s desires, the World Bank management is pushing to have its Board of Directors reject the recommendations of an independent review of its performance regarding oil, coal, and mining, according to a leaked report. The World Bank’s Management Response to the Extractive Industries Review (EIR) was leaked earlier this week.


“Bank Management’s Response to the EIR is an extended defense of business as usual,” said David Brooks with Friends of the Earth Canada. “They evade their responsibility to deal effectively with many basic, well-known problems associated with violations of human rights, good governance, environmental sustainability. Why do a review, if you’re just going to ignore its conclusions?”


The EIR was initiated at the World Bank Annual Meetings in Prague in 2000 by Bank President James Wolfensohn, who pledged to evaluate how much or if at all extractive industries contribute to poverty alleviation. The Bank appointed Dr. Emil Salim, the former Indonesian Environment Minister, to direct the review. In January 2004, Dr. Salim presented President Wolfensohn with the Extractive Industries Review Final Report: Striking a Better Balance.


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 and support 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.


Bank management is currently attempting to fast track rejection of the EIR by bringing it to the Board by the end of February. Canada will need to take a position on the EIR at the World Bank Board discussion. The Canadian government to date has made no comments on the Extractive Industries Review. Canadian industry interests and its overseas development objectives are opposing on this issue.



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For more information contact: David Brooks, Friends of the Earth Canada at

Ginger Gibson, Co-Development Canada at

Pam Foster, Halifax Initiative Coalition at 613-266-8100.