Notes

Ease of Doing Business Rankings, Social and Environmental Safeguard Policies

Some background reading to understand why people are  calling for the world bank to stop ranking counties on “ease of doing business”and stop weakening its safeguard policies:
World Bank:  Ease of Doing Business  & World Bank’s Doing Business Infographic
World Bank:  Safeguard Policies  & Proposal to review & update Safeguard Policies (2014)
Letter opposing this draft from 99 NGOs / civil society networks from Asia, Africa, Latin America, North America and Europe titled:  World Bank’s Draft Safeguards Fail to Protect Land Rights and Prevent Impoverishment: Major Revisions Required (July 2014)

Bank Information Centre PRESS RELEASE: World Bank Breaks its Promise Not to Weaken Protections for the Poor and Planet

Critique written by Bretton Woods Project: Dangers of dilution: World Bank’s new weak environmental and social framework

Our Land, Our Business: How World Bank Rankings Impoverish SmallHolder Farmers and other reports by the Oakland Institute. 

Oakland Institute Press Release: Farmers, Indigenous Peoples, and NGOs Take to Streets in Ten Cities Demanding an End to World Bank’s Morally Bankrupt Development


Some excerpts from above documents:

The World Bank has fallen far short of its goal of setting a new global standard when it comes to protecting the poor and the planet. Instead, it is setting off a race to the bottom.

About two years ago the World Bank launched a review and update process of its environmental and social safeguards policies. These policies are the result of decades of struggle by civil society organisations (CSOs) and grassroots movements around the globe to establish clear rules to ensure that Bank and government investments, made in the name of development, avoid environmental and social disasters. CSOs welcomed the opportunity to strengthen and expand the safeguards framework, to ensure that finance for development respects and fulfills human rights.

The Bank released the first draft of the new environmental and social framework at the end of July and even though it contains some improvements, overall it represents a step backwards that could lower the standards for the entire international development community.

From the Letter signed by 99 organizations from around the world:

‘Opt-out’ clause on safeguards for Indigenous Peoples

Most shockingly, the draft Framework provides an opt-out option for governments who do not wish to provide essential land and natural resource rights protections to Indigenous Peoples within their States.4 This regressive clause, if adopted, would represent a wink and nod by the World Bank to governments that they should not feel compelled to respect international human rights law, and can violate the fundamental right to land, territories and resources and to self-determination of indigenous peoples.

About “ease of doing business rankings,” according to the Bank Itself:
Ease of doing business index (1=most business-friendly regulations)
Ease of doing business ranks economies from 1 to 189, with first place being the best. A high ranking (a low numerical rank) means that the regulatory environment is conducive to business operation. The index averages the country’s percentile rankings on 10 topics covered in the World Bank’s Doing Business. The ranking on each topic is the simple average of the percentile rankings on its component indicators.
The Bank says that countries that rank higher on this index are more likely to implement “reforms.”
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