Last December, I hinted that the World Bank was moving to adopt stronger new standards on Indigenous rights. After nearly three years of deliberation, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private lending arm of the World Bank, announced its revised Sustainability Framework last month. As the largest source of international financing for companies in the developing world, the IFC also tends to set the global standard on responsible banking (for better or worse).
The policy marks a step forward that’s long overdue. For projects proposed on Indigenous lands, IFC now recognizes the principle of “Free, Prior, and Informed Consent” (FPIC). That “consent” language improves upon the “consultation” requirement that has guided the IFC since 2006. The revision follows language ratified in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People in 2007 and endorsed by Canada and the United States last year.
Now what? Two big questions stand out. First, how will this change the IFC’s role in financing the energy and agribusiness mega-projects that have historically been among the most disruptive threats to Indigenous land rights? Second, how will the private banks, which increasingly are moving into these sectors, respond?
From blog: Ran by Brant Olson on 2011-06-08 19:45:00