Foresters rest next to a trunk in Katwe, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2008. Photograph: Lionel Healing/AFP/Getty Images
he World Bank funded 345 major forestry projects in 75 countries in the decade to July 2011. The IEG panel, which visited many of the projects and interviewed hundreds of people, criticised the bank strongly for:
• Continuing to support industrial logging.
• Not involving communities in decision-making.
• Assuming that benefits would accrue to the poor rather than the rich and powerful.
• Paying little attention to rural poverty.
The IEG report has been sent to the UK and other major contributors to bank funds, and is due to be discussed on 4 February. It is particularly embarrassing for Britain because the government has donated $600m since 2008 to the bank's forest investment programme, and the departments of energy and climate change, environment, and international development (DfID) have all claimed to be committed to fighting forest loss in developing countries. Last year, DfID said in response to a select committee inquiry into its funding of the World Bank that it "is one of the most effective uses of British aid" (pdf).