Banks for Nothing

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

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Under
Fire, World Bank Launches Indigenous Peoples Fund

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