.ECO No. 2, 28 September 1994: ENGLISH
Facultad de Medicina,
Universidad Aut�noma of Madrid,
c/ Arzobispo Morcillo 2-4.
Room: Seminario V.
Tel/Fax: (+34-1) 397 53 40
* Narmada- Don't Stop The Campaign!
* Go to Jail � Go to the Bank
* UK Groups Staged Anti-Anniversary Protests
* New FoE Book: "Bankrolling Successes"
* One of the Voices
* Forum Documentation Available
NARMADA- DON'T STOP THE CAMPAIGN!
Children staying in their school while the flood is rising, being rescued in the last moment by villagers in their canoes; heavy police presence in the villages and 35 submerged tribal villages - these are the sad pictures in India's Narmada Valley today.
"Resistance against one of the biggest World Bank dam scandals is still growing and urgently needs support by the international NGO-community", said Medhar Patkar, the well-known representative of the Narmada Campaign in an interview with ECO at the Alternative Forum.
After years of national and international campaigning against this dam the Bank withdrew from the project in 1992. However, the Bank did not learn anything from this scandal. As Lewis Preston, President of the Bank explained recently, there is nothing to be ashamed of in this project. To the opposite the Bank continues to operate based on economical and financial values rather than the social and environmental impacts of its projects. As a consequence, the chain of scandals goes on.
The recent spread of lung pest in Surat, a huge city in the Narmada region is for Medhar Patkar proff of water mismanagment financed by the Bank. To live near a dam in India means to be always threatened by floods and a subsequent increase of diseases like malaria and lung pest.
"The Bank is legally responsible for the project and it should at least admit their responsibility" said Medhar. At the same time she urged the NGOs not to limit their camapaigns to fighting isolated projects.
She added, "If the Bank is further allowed to finance such projects and to withdraw whenever it wants without consequences, nothing will change. As it seems, the Indian government is still in dialogue with the Bank and other donors."
"They can get in again at any moment through sectoral loans. In this situation action is needed to support us. The campaign against Narmada has been accepted not only because it is a struggle against one dam, but because it symbolises the struggle against the anti-people, centralised, non-sustainable and unjust aim of development. The success story of driving the Bank out should not end here."
GO TO JAIL � GO TO THE BANK
Getting jailed for disrupting World Bank meetings does not necessarily bar you from attending future sessions. Prior to Madrid, I received the following Bank fax responding to my request for visitor credentials:
As in prior years, given your arrests at previous Annual Meetings, we are prepared to issue a "Visitors" badge, on the condition that you provide us with your written assurance that you will not attempt to disrupt the Meetings in any way.
At a previous Bank meeting in Bangkok, I agreed to sign such a statement if the Bank would provide Rainforest Action Network with written assurance that they will not attempt any more loans that destroy forests. This year I tried a different tactic to get into the meetings.
Depending on the "rumoured" ineptitude of this giant bureaucracy, I simply walked into the Bank and told them my name was on the list. Viola! The Bank staff produced a sacred plastic credential. The idiots simply can't keep track of their own decisions or policies.
Is the Bank really that confused and inept? You can Bank on it! Will current and future meetings be disrupted? Bank on it!
Randall Hayes, Director,
Rainforest Action Network
UK GROUPS STAGED ANTI-ANNIVERSARY PROTESTS
Campaigners marked the fiftieth anniversary of the World Bank and IMF by building a dam in front of the ODA, the British government's department responsible for aid, and then occupying the World Bank's London office.
ODA staff were given a taste of World Bank medicine when their doors were chained shut and a sandbag dam erected behind banners saying "Dam the Bank" and "Unhappy Birthday Worldbank/IMF". Eviction notices written in Thai were posted up saying international experts wanted to build a dam and their studies were available in Thailand. Many of the two million people being displaced by Bank projects are not consulted, given notices in foreign languages and told information is available in a far-off city.
The ODA official in charge of World Bank aid came out to hear what protesters had to say about World Bank/IMF failures, including the Pad Mun dam in Thailand, the Carajas project i Brazil, the Sardar Sarovar dam in India as well as general issues such as structural adjustment, company contracts from aid and the huge depts owed to the bank and IMF.
Later 20 people occupied the World Bank's London office on the fifteenth floor of New Zealand House. They had an "anti-birthday" party with streamers and hooters and held a board meeting which resolved that the bank should be closed. All 20 were arrested for trespass on diplomatic property, but later on released without charge.
NEW FOE BOOK: "BANKROLLING SUCCESSES"
Numerous studies of World Bank projects and IMF structural adjustment programmes have over recent years documented a disastrous record for both institutions. Publications by Friends of the Earth (FoE) International have contributed considerably to this list. A new book published by FoE titled, "Bankrolling successes: A Portfolio of Sustainable Development Projects," highlights successful projects as an existing alternative to projects by Bretton Woods Institutions.
A draft version of the book, which is due to be published in late 1994, will be presented in a workshop at the Forum today. Author James Barnes will lead an open discussion about the criteria of sustainability for projects in developing countries. But "the same ideas are appropriate in any country," he adds. As an example, the workshop will be opened by Bertram Zagema, who will explain the campaign for a sustainable Netherlands.
Barnes will point out that countries in the South and in the East face quite different problems in trying to achieve sustainable development. Major obstacles in both regions are not only the lending policy of the World Bank, but especially the development framework imposed by the IMF. The Arun III dam in Nepal is a case particularly examined by Barnes.
ONE OF THE VOICES
An initiative designed to help the business sector in Tanzania to address environmental concerns in their policies and practices is represented at the Forum.
The initiative known as "Agenda for Environment and Responsible Development" also aims to encourage ecologically sustainable production and consumption patterns in Tanzania.
Agenda which has germinated from the business community seeks to promote in the same community a culture of responsibility towards development, one that keeps environmental considerations in mind.
Agenda has recently launched a campaign directed towards financial institutions based in Tanzania to stop funding projects which are not ecologically sustainable. The campaign will not stop until all financial institutions in Tanzania accept to put environmental inpact assessment (EIA) as a condition sine qua non to grant funds for business enterprises.
In this campaign the World Bank mission in Tanzania is our major target. A first meeting on how to lobby best or induce the World Bank to only fund projects which are environmentally friendly, has already taken place.
Agenda staff Theo Tunga is representing this unique initiative at the Alternative Forum and looking forward to share opinions experiences with other participants on how to green the World Bank, if this is possible at all.
Agenda for Environment and Responsible Development
FORUM DOCUMENTATION AVAILABLE
Papers from the plenary sessions, workshops and other documents compiled by the Organising Committee are waiting for you in photocopy and 3.5 HD disk formats. Where are they? At the entrance of the Medical school, from 9 to 11 am and 3 to 5 pm on the "Documentation Table". The cost is only 5 ptas per page and 500-1200 for each disk. You receive your copy in English, French or Spanish next day. On the table are daily updated lists and examples of available documents to choose from, including "The Global Economy vs The Local Economy" by Edward Goldsmith (10 pages) for the workshop on Wednesday 28th and "The Creation of A New Economy" (4 pages) by Ed Mayo (New Economics Foundation). DON'T DELAY! All documents of the Forum plus some documents published by the World Bank/IMF will be available on disk after the forum. Just fill out the form distributed by the Documentation Centre.