17 Aug 2008

World Tank

A tank is slow to turn, has huge impacts on what it hits, but can do great damage if it misses the target. Yubanet reports on the World Bank's dysfunctional means of monitoring and implementing projects:
While the international community welcomes World Bank's new focus on climate change, the IEG evaluation makes clear that while the institution has been talking about environmental sustainability, it has paid insufficient attention to the broader environmental effects of its own activities. Disturbingly, the IEG review points to the risk that the Bank's private and public sector financing branches may often work at cross-purposes, stating that the problem is especially relevant in climate-sensitive sectors such as energy, transport and agribusiness investments in tropical forest regions. For example, the International Finance Corporation, the World Bank's private sector arm, may promote the expansion of industrial livestock, soy bean and palm oil plantations, all of which are drivers of tropical deforestation, while the public sector arm of the Bank simultaneously warns about the problems of forest loss and has created a fund to support avoided deforestation.
Bottom Line: The World Bank often requires that countries take its advice if they are going to take Bank money. As many of you will understand, such a threat bribe implies that Bank advice is not only useless, but harmful. I suggest that the Bank work on selling its advice. If it's valuable, countries will pay for it.

1 comment:

  1. A snippet on some of the World Bank's growing pain in terms of sustainability (from The Economist):


    They've also been very active in the carbon market:


    I suppose it's a very steep learning curve. Like everyone else, the World Bank considered that development meant GDP growth at any cost, and has only recently begun to re-evaluate its ways and operational decisions. There's bound to be a lot of confusion going on right now. But I still reckon they have the potential to be a force for sustainability.


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