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Groups sound alert over the World Bank's financing of oil palm plantations

World Rainforest Movement | 15 May 2010

Dear friends,

In response to the growing criticism relating to the unsustainability of oil palm plantations, the World Bank decided to suspend its funding for the palm oil sector and to request an audit of its International Finance Corporation (IFC) from the Ombudsman.

Before resuming funding for palm oil projects, the World Bank has set up a round of stakeholder consultations. On 17th and 18th May 2010, a consultation meeting will take place in Costa Rica which will discuss the World Bank’s strategy in relation to palm oil production.

However, across the world, peasant and indigenous organizations, social movements and civil society organizations agree that oil palm plantations can never be sustainable.

What is needed is an immediate end to the expansion of oil palm monocultures. Therefore, please support a letter which calls on the World Bank to stop funding oil palm plantations.

To sign on please send an email as soon as possible to the following address: [email protected]

Please help us by forwarding this letter to organizations which might be interested in signing the letter.

A first version of the letter will be sent by Monday 17th, coinciding with the meeting in Costa Rica, while we will continue collecting signatures at least for one more week.

Many thanks,

World Rainforest Movement Team

LETTER TO BE SENT TO THE WORLD BANK:

World Bank: No more funding for oil palm plantations!

Dear Sir/Madam,

With reference to the World Bank meeting to be held in San José, Costa Rica on 17th to 18th May 2010, within the framework of a consultation process for the bank’s strategy on palm oil financing, the undersigned would like to express our concern about the possible future involvement of the World Bank in financing oil palm plantations.

Palm oil expansion for food and industrial use, cosmetics and agrofuels, has serious environmental and social impacts on local peoples, including large-scale tropical rainforest destruction, pollution of soil and water, human rights violations including the forced and often violent displacement of communities and the grabbing of land by transnational companies.

Exhaustive evidence of this has been documented in Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Laos, Uganda, Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador, Peru and other countries.

The World Bank Group has responded to the strong criticisms made by civil society organizations in relation to IFC funding to palm oil company Wilmar Trading/Wilmar International. The Bank took the decision to suspend all new financial investment in the palm oil sector and requested the Ombudsman to carry out an audit of IFC.

Now, however, the result is being discussed in the current stakeholder consultation with the aim of elaborating a strategy in order to continue World Bank involvement in the palm oil sector.

The evidence provided by the documented environmental and social harm caused by industrial oil palm plantations, makes it necessary to insist that those plantations are part of a model of large-scale extractivist production aimed at export, which is inherently unsustainable, in the true sense of the term, and which cannot possibly be improved.

Furthermore, this pattern of production and commercialization, while causing injustice and devastation, also requires high levels of energy input for its production and transport. At a time when the dominant development model has pushed us towards the climate change disaster, the principal actors have to accept their responsibility for this tragic course. The World Bank must not finance projects which are unacceptable for social, environmental and climate reasons, such as palm oil.

The time for change has come. Peasant and indigenous organizations, social movements and other civil society organizations all agree that oil palm plantations are not and can never be sustainable.

What is therefore needed is to stop the expansion of oil palm monocultures.

The World Bank must not finance oil palm plantations!

Yours faithfully,

SIGNED:

Asociación de Solidaridad con Colombia “Asoc Katio”, Spain

Asociación para el Desarrollo Agroecológico Regional, Nicaragua

ATTAC, Spain

Biofuelwatch, UK

Comité Cerezo, Mexico

Comité Oscar Romero de Vigo, Spain

Comité Oscar Romero de Madrid, Spain

Comunidades Cristianas Populares del Estado Español, Spain

Corporación Ecológica "ECOQUILPUÉ", Chile

FEDICAMP, Nicaragua

Grupo de Trabajo Suiza Colombia /Arbeitsgruppe Schweiz Kolumbien ASK, Switzerland

Movimiento Mundial Por los Bosques Tropicales /World Rainfores Movement, Internacional

Rettet den Regenwald, Germany

Salva la Selva, Spain

Rel-UITA Secretaría Regional Latinoamericana, Uruguay

Union Paysanne Québec, Canada

For further information see:

- http://www.wrm.org.uy/plantaciones/Carta_RSPO.html

- http://www.wrm.org.uy/temas/Agrocombustibles/Declaracion_Internacional_RSPO.html

- The “greening” of the dark palm oil business - A WRM Briefing, March 2010

http://wrm.org.uy/publications/briefings/RSPO.pdf
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  • 15 May 2010

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