Banks for Nothing

| June 25, 2003

The World Bank has funded numerous anti-environmental projects that have destroyed the homes and livelihood of indigenous people from the Philippines to Papua New Guinea. How have they responded to worldwide criticism? Not by altering their environmental policy or rehabilitating the land they pillaged. Instead they?ve created a program called ?Grants Facility for Indigenous Peoples,? reports Thalif Deen for Inter Press News Agency.

According to Ian Johnson, vice president in charge of the World Bank?s Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development Network, this $700,000 fund has been established ?to help the World Bank build partnerships with indigenous peoples? development efforts.? The bank has earmarked $150,000 of the grant for the U.N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, an international forum advocating for the rights of indigenous people. The rest of the funds will be allotted for ?seed money averaging about $30,000??not including the grant recipient?s ?expected? cash or in-kind contribution of ?a minimum of 20 percent of the project?s cost??for projects of ?a culturally appropriate and gender inclusive manner.?

When asked about recent criticism of the mining, pipeline, and hydro projects that have displaced millions of indigenous people around the world, Johnson acknowledged that the fund ?isn?t a huge amount of money,? but stressed that it is ?symbolic of our relationship with indigenous peoples.? Sadly, it seems he?s right.
?Erin Ferdinand

Go there>>Under Fire, World Bank Launches Indigenous Peoples Fund

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