asia | imf | archives of global protests |

Tibet Reports

World Bank 'broke rules' in Tibet land plan

From the Bank Information Center
To appear in the Financial Times

World Bank 'broke rules' in Tibet land plan
By Sathnam Sanghera in Washington
Published: June 23 2000 18:53GMT

The World Bank repeatedly violated its own rules when assessing the viability of a highly controversial project to resettle 57,750 Chinese farmers on what were traditionally Tibetan lands, according to a scathing independent report.

The report, compiled by three development specialists from the Netherlands, Senegal and Canada at the request of the bank's board of executive directors, concludes that the bank was in violation of seven out of a total of 10 bank regulations when it examined, and decided to back, the controversial project in China's Qinghai province.

Chinese officials say the project will help ease poverty in an area that is a traditional homeland for Tibetan and Mongol herders, but Tibetan exile groups have said it is tantamount to "cultural genocide".

James Wolfensohn, the World Bank's president, has accepted some of the criticisms and proposed significant changes to the project including the commissioning of a higher-level environmental analysis, the upgrading of social assessments and the provision of better maps and documentation.

The bank has persistently expressed support for the project despite opposition from two of its main lenders, the US and Germany. It approved a $40m (=A326.4m) loan for the project last year, but the financing was delayed until the bank's inspection panel investigated objections to the project from the International Campaign for Tibet, one of the largest pro-Tibetan groups.

The bank's board is set to make a decision on July 6.

The panel, which was only authorised to consider whether the project had been developed in line with bank rules, found repeated instances where operational policies and procedures were not followed. It found that population groups which would have to be resettled were not properly consulted, that alternative investment and project alternatives were not considered and compared, and that the project was not properly classified.

It also concluded that the bank's environmental assessments and the standard of maps, charts and references were inadequate and that the bank did not properly comply with its own rules when assessing the impact the project would have on indigenous communities in the area. Furthermore, it found that information was not disclosed in accordance with bank rules.

"In the panel's view, the actual scale of the area to be impacted by the Qinghai project, the ethnic composition of the project's impacted populations, and the boundaries of the project area were far too narrowly defined by the management. The assessments fail to address many of the most significant social and environmental impacts of minority nationalities," it says.

"This report shows a number of instances where the panel feels that operational policies and procedures were not followed, casting doubt as to whether the project, as it stands, is the best alternative to contribute to poverty reduction and sustainable economic growth."

Kay Treakle
Bank Information Center
733 15th Street NW, suite 1126
Washington, D.C. 20005
tel: 202-624-0623
fax: 202-737-1155


World Bank/Tibet: A call to action!!! Tibetans and Supporters to Resettle outside the World Bank!!!
Date: Mon, 03 Jul 2000 15:04:35 -0400


Hey everybody. As you may know, the World Bank is trying to go ahead with their Tibet resettlement project, even though it violates seven of their own key policies and will have a disastrous effect on the local Tibetan and Mongolian nomads.

In response (as another push in an often intense 15 month campaign which a coalition of us have been engaged in), we've decided to resettle ourselves outside the Bank until the Vote happens. If you can make it down, if you know anyone in DC who can make it down, or if you can take a few minutes to call, fax, and e-mail the bank and tell them this project cannot go through, please do it!!!!

We need your help!!!

James Wolfensohn, Bank President   phone +1  202.458.2907  fax 202.522.3031
External Affairs  phone +1  202.458.2281  fax 202.522.3405

Or go online and send a letter at or

**ALSO, contact your government officials, especially in your departments of Treasury/Finance and STate. The final decision on this project is being made on the highest levels in the represented countries.

thank you!

MEDIA ADVISORY           July 3, 2000

CONTACT: Jigme Lhadon 917.833.7283 (mobile on site)



WASHINGTON, DC — Turning up the heat on an already controversial project, hundreds of Tibetans and their supporters are expected to gather in front of the World Bank for a round the clock vigil and encampment beginning this afternoon at 5pm. The World Bank has refused to cancel a highly criticized project that would move 58,000 Chinese farmers into Tibetan and Mongolian herding lands. Executive Directors of the World Bank are scheduled to discuss the project on Thursday July 6th.

The U.S. Executive Director of the World Bank, Jan Piercy, has committed to vote against the project, but other countries, including the U.K., France, and Japan are still undecided. Despite an internal Inspection Panel report that found serious violations of Bank policy, management has refused to recommend cancellation of the project.

The Dalai Lama, who has been in the United States for the last two weeks, has called the Bank project "cultural genocide".

WHAT: Colorful, traditional Tibetan encampment. Hundreds of Tibetans and their supporters are expected over the next several days.

WHEN: Beginning Monday July 3rd at 5pm, through Thursday July 6th.

WHERE: Across the street from World Bank Headquarters - 1818 H St.

Bangladesh | Burma | India | Pakistan | South Korea
"States of Unrest" | imf |