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World Bank fails in DRC
The Inspection Panel criticises forest-sector reforms
18 January 2008
The World Bank independent Inspection Panel has published a report in which they criticize the way the Bank has managed its support of forest sector reforms in the Democratic Republic of Congo for failing to comply with its internal policies and procedures, not consulting local Pygmy communities affected by the reform activities and highly overestimating the benefits of industrial scale logging in reducing poverty.
The report is the outcome of 2 years of research from the Inspection Panel. In December 2005 the Inspection Panel received a request from a group of NGOs working with DRC?s Pygmies. The Pygmies were claiming that ongoing forest sector reforms supported by the World Bank were taking place without consultation and would lead to violations of their rights to occupy ancestral lands and manage and use their forests according to their traditional practices.
The World Bank?s Board of Executive Directors met on January 10 to discuss the Inspection Panel Report and the Management Response and Action Plan. The Action Plan approved by the Board emphasizes staying engaged in the DRC forest sector, continuing to monitor a moratorium on future logging concessions, and strengthening forest law enforcement. The Plan aims to integrate forest-dependent communities, including Pygmies, more widely into the Bank?s activities in the DRC, and support critical activities such as capacity building, participatory zoning, customary rights, law enforcement and independent monitoring in forthcoming forest-related operations.