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After 18 Month Moratorium, World Bank Announces Plan To Resume Oil Palm Lending

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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-05-11 12:28 PM
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After 18 Month Moratorium, World Bank Announces Plan To Resume Oil Palm Lending
After an 18-month moratorium triggered by complaints over social conflict between local communities and palm oil companies, the World Bank has announced the adoption of a framework to restart lending to the palm oil sector. The framework was developed after months of consultations with stakeholders, including the private sector, NGOs, farmers, indigenous communities, development experts, and governments.

Throughout the consultations, said Rachel Kyte, IFC Vice President for Business Advisory Services, many voices in the private, public, and civil sectors recognized the potential of the palm oil production to contribute to reducing poverty when good environmental and social practices are followed. Stakeholders look to the World Bank Group to support a new model for financing in the sector to benefit the poor and protect the environment. This is what we have committed to do.


Because IFC standards are influential private sector banks often adopt them for their own lending standards the moratorium was hotly contested. Anti-regulation groups within the palm oil sector lobbied intensely for the World Bank to exclude social and environmental safeguards in the new framework. Meanwhile rights' groups and green activists called for stronger protections. But not everyone is pleased with the new framework. Marcus Colchester, Director of the Forest Peoples Programme, which led the original complaint to the World Bank Group that triggered the suspension, said the new policy doesn't go far enough to protect the rights and resources of forest people.

"Although it is clear that the new policy has taken on board some of the comments made by NGOs and government agencies during the consultations, some provisions remain weak," he told email. "The policy as adopted would discourage but still allow the takeover of indigenous peoples and local communities' lands without their Free, Prior and Informed Consent."

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