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World Bank accused of double standards over IFC Amazon projects

Critics says IFC's standards lack rigour of World Bank’s 2018 Environmental and Social Framework; Bank accepts it has made many mistakes, caused environmental and social damage in the Amazon.

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The World Bank made a stumbling defence of its track record of causing environmental and social damage when financing projects in the Amazon.

Speaking at a seminar at the IMF/World Bank meetings in Washington on October 18, Valerie Hickey, practice manager for the environment and natural resources in LAC at the World Bank, said: “Development is hard and we have made mistakes, but we have learned. [Though] sometimes we forgot what we have learned.”

Deforestation caused by illegal fires has spiked under the administration of Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro. 

Livi Gerbase, policy adviser at the Brazil-based NGO Inesc, said that deforestation had jumped by 91.7% between January and August this year when compared to 2018 – the highest rate in over a decade. 

She pointed to studies that prove that much of this deforestation is directly caused by large-scale infrastructure projects, many of which have been financed by the World Bank. 

“Roads and ports create pathways to deforestation and the expansion of the agricultural frontier – which in turns leads to demand for further infrastructure,” says Gerbase.