Friends of the Earth International
MAY 20, 2005
2:26 PM
CONTACT: Friends of the Earth International 
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Groups Demand World Bank Reshape its PovertyAlleviation Approach

AMSTERDAM -- May 20 -- In light of the upcoming World Bank Annual Conference on Development Economics (ABCDE), to be held in Amsterdam on May 23-24th, Friends of the Earth International and A SEED Europe question the World Bank's track record in alleviating poverty through the promotion of economic growth.

"Through the years, the ABCDE conference has been used to advocate the World Bank's development policies, which are predominantly based on the promotion of economic growth as the main engine for poverty alleviation," said Filka Sekulova of A SEED Europe. "Yet in practice, the World Bank's development agenda has failed time and time again. Even when World Bank prescriptions to borrowing countries bring about a certain improvement in overall economic performance, poverty continues to increase."

The groups also charge that the changes that the Bank undertook after the large wave of criticism it received up to September 2000 were mainly cosmetic. "Policy conditions attached to loans simply do not work," said Longgena Ginting, co-coordinator of Friends of the Earth International's campaign on International Financial Institutions. "Institutions that use public money should be pursuing investments that genuinely lead to improvements in people's lives and their environments. A shift away from fossil fuel and mining investments and towards socially and environmentally sustainable energy solutions would be an important start."

Even the World Bank is aware of its own failures in the realm of poverty alleviation. One ABCDE conference background document states that "Overall, progress has been slower than envisaged, uneven across policy areas and countries, and far short of what is needed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals", a set of targets set by world leaders for reducing poverty and hunger by 2015.


Filka Sekulova, A SEED Europe, Phone: +31-20-668-2236 or e-mail:

Longgena Ginting, Friends of the Earth International, mobile: +31618846365 or email:

Rodrigo Fernandez, Milieudefensie/Friends of the Earth Netherlands,