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Egypt and Morocco are the two largest recipients of World Bank lending in the Middle East and North Africa region and as such it was appropriate and important that the Bank held consultations in those two countries as part of a series of global consultations around the Bank’s draft of its proposed Environmental and Social Framework (ESF or “Safeguards”). As a follow up to those consultations, civil society organizations (CSOs) from both countries submitted in writing their comments and critiques on the draft ESF.
The Bank has received harsh criticism of the draft for the vague language which allows for many loopholes; for placing a lot of implementation responsibility on the governments who are borrowing money without clear information on how the Bank will hold them to account; and for failing to align the Safeguards with higher international standards and best practices.
While this round of consultations has come to a close, CSOs are anxiously waiting to see just how much of their input will be taken on board when the Bank releases the second draft of the ESF, currently scheduled for late May 2015. A committee of the Bank’s Board of Directors is planning to meet towards the end of June to discuss that second draft and then a final phase of consultations is slated for the fall of 2015. These dates are not set in stone, however, and some predict that – with June typically being a hectic month for the Bank as the last month of its fiscal year – the timeline will be pushed forward.
Regardless of when the Bank opens its doors for input on the next draft, it is clear that there is a broad swath of civil society from across the globe paying attention and looking forward to continuing to engage in this critical process.
Read the statement by Egyptian civil society organizations here
Read the statement by Moroccan civil society organizations here (French)