NGO Comments ​on Safeguard Policies & Project Implementation


World Bank Safeguards: No Dilutions?

In 2011, the World Bank announced plans to review and “update” its mandatory environmental and social protections or “safeguards.” World Bank President Kim publicly committed to ensuring that the Safeguard Review would not lead to any weakening or “dilution” of protections for communities impacted by Bank projects or environmental protections. NGOs have pushed for positive changes to be made, leading to increased protections for impoverished communities and the environment.


The Bank has claimed that it would use the safeguards review to "harmonize" its Safeguards with those of other institutions. 
Instead, the new enviornmental and social standards reveal a "race to the bottom", and a failure to harmonize with the best and highest safeguards ("Upward harmonization"). Despite some positive gains, such as the right to public comment on assessments of "country systems", the Bank's  new Environmental and Social Framework reveals substantial dilutions, including those identified earlier by the Bank's own Vice Presidents, eviscerating protections for the poor. The development of implementing rules and guidance measures is occuring. The test will come during implementation of the new ESF.

The World Bank is currently in the transition period, which is expected to last several years, between the "old" mandatory Safeguards and the new and untested Environmental and Social Framework.


Press Release: Proposed World Bank standards represent dangerous set-back to key environmental and social protections: NGO response to the World Bank’s proposed Environmental and Social Framework, July 22, 2016. 


Letter and Questions for the World Bank CODE meeting on the new Draft ESF on July 20, 2016. Detailed concerns raised by NGOs.


​​Questioning the World Bank's use of country systems.pptx. Green Watershed powerpoint at the Lima World Bank Annual Meetings, October 2015.


WB Safeguards 2nd Draft, Brief Talking Points. Ulu Foundation, Urgewald, Ecological Justice Indonesia, BothENDS, October 2015


ESS Bank Dunia, ESS AIIB, IDPL dan Pelemahan Country Systems, Presentation in Bahasa Indonesia about WB, AIIB safeguards policies, infrastructure and environment. Ecological Justice, October 2015. 


Financial Times, Time to Bolster Safeguards, Not Dilute Them. Critique of World Bank and AIIB draft safeguards co-authored by Director of ADB's IED. October 2015.


EuroIFI Briefing for European EDs on WB Second Draft Safeguards, October 2015


Dangerous Rollback in World Bank Environmental and Social Protections: New Framework Undermines President Kim’s Commitment to “No Dilution”. The World Bank has released new draft safeguard policies that will vastly weaken protections for affected communities and the environment at the same time as the bank intends to finance more high-risk projects.  NGO Press Release, August 4, 2015. 


NGO letter to WB Committee on Development Effectiveness (CODE), June 22, 2015.pdf - Joint CSO letter to WB CODE members for the  CODE meeting on June 24th, 2015. A  ‘checklist’ of questions CSOs encourage to utilize in the analysis of the revised ESF in order to assess whether the second draft represents dilutions of existing safeguards, in violation of President Kim’s commitment. 


Joint NGO letter to the WB Board regarding the Phase 3 consultations, May 22nd 2015.​​​


17 February, 2015. Asia Indigenous People's Pact & Forest Peoples Programme, joint submission.

Significant Concerns  with proposed World Bank Safeguards for Indigenous Peoples 


1st October, 2014. Bank Information Center & other CSOs: Civil Society Statement on World Bank Safeguards, October 2014.

Civil society statement on World Bank safeguards.pdf


October, 2014. 2014_Both ENDS Policy Brief.pdf, Both ENDS, The Netherlands:
141020_World Bank Safeguards_Discussion Paper Both ENDS_final-2.pdf, discussion paper, Both ENDS, Netherlands,  October, 2014. 


April, 2014. The Ecological Justice, Indonesia:

70 tahun Bank Dunia: tentang Kemiskinan dan Hutan Kita 

The Forestry Safeguard Review and the "No Dilution" Commitment

Upward Harmonization of World Bank Safeguard Policy, Indonesian Context


Friends of the Earth-US, The Ecological Justice (Indonesia), `Ulu Foundation: World Bank Vice Presidents find

World Bank Safeguards Draft Proposes Elimination of Environmental and Social Protections


Gender Action Gender Review and Recommendations on the World Bank Environmental and Social Framework: Setting Standards for Sustainable Development 


Inclusive Development International (IDI) + 111 others: World Bank Draft Safeguards Fail to Protect Land Rights​       

IDI Forced Displacement, Resettlement, Land Acquisition and Restrictions on Land Use Major Dilutions Matrix

Reforming the World Bank Policy and Practice on Involuntary Resettlement: Submission to the World Bank Safeguards Review, IDI, HLRN, BIC and IAP (April 2013)

Recommendations for the Review of the Policy on Involuntary Resettlement (April 2013)

IDI & Oxfam: A Proposal for New World Bank Safeguards on Tenure of Land,Housing and Natural Resources (April 2013)


Kesatuan Pelaut Indonesia (Indonesian Seafarer’s Union), Pernyataan ttg Safeguards

Resolusi SerikatPekerja/Serikat Buruh di Indonesia terhadap Tinjauan Kebijakan Perlindungan Kelompok Bank Dunia 

English version.


North East Peoples’ Alliance (India), The Ecological Justice (Indonesia), ILSA (Colombia), Green Watershed (China), Green ID (Vietnam), Public Interest Law Center (Chad), Ulu Foundation (USA), Friends of the Earth – US, Urgewald (Germany), BothENDS (Netherlands), Central and Eastern European Bankwatch, Slett U-landsgjelda (Norway), Asian Indigenous Peoples' Pact (Thailand) The Social Justice Committee of Montreal (Canada):Comments on the World Bank Safeguard Review, Bank Forestry Portfolio and Forestry and Natural Habitat Policies, April 2014


        Weltbank & Wald: Lernt die Weltbank aus ihren eigenen offiziellen Evaluationsberichten? Können wir es uns leisten noch  mer Zeit zu verlieren?
        A Forest Safeguard: What Lessons Learned from official Evaluation Reports? How much more time can we afford to lose?