MAC: Mines and Communities

Rebuttal by the World Bank

Published by MAC on 2002-10-27

Rebuttal by the World Bank

October 27, 2002

The Jakarta Post article arose from discussions at a GEF-sponsored Country Dialogue workshop which was attended by participants, many government officials, from across Indonesia. It is important to understand the context because the GEF, like other donors, has both a desire and a responsibility to provide conservation grants where they have a high likelihood of success. The Global Environment Facility (GEF) is a global funding mechanism with limited resources and is, therefore, highly competitive. Increasingly decisions regarding GEF investment are being made on country performance. Naturally participants attending the workshop were keen to understand how they could access future GEF resources for projects within Indonesia.

One of our challenges was to make participants aware that while Indonesia certainly qualifies for GEF assistance on biodiversity grounds (as the No.1 megadiversity country) there are other major constraints which reduce country credibility and impact on project performance: illegal logging in national parks; civil conflict in some areas; and conflicting and contradictory policies and activities regarding landuse in protected areas and high biodiversity forests, including building of new roads into national parks and overlap with mining exploration and exploitation permits. In the past all of these factors have influenced performance of GEF projects in Indonesia.

I did not specifically target mining nor suggest that legislative approval for the six open-pit mining operations mentioned in the article would lead to withholding of donor funds. This is not World Bank policy. In that sense both the title and the content of the article are misleading. I, and other speakers, did, however, highlight the credibility issues, especially in regard to conflicting policies over resource management, which Indonesia faces if it is to compete successfully for a greater share of GEF biodiversity resources. The World Bank has sent a response to the Jakarta Post.

Kathy MacKinnon
Senior Biodiversity Specialist
Environment Department
World Bank

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