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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What exactly is this Review?
The “Extractive Industries Review” is a process that looks into what the best role of the World Bank Group would be in the sectors of Oil, Gas and Mining. In an international consultation process all stakeholders get together to discuss their views and concerns about World Bank Group involvement in these sectors. At the end of the Consultation, the findings of the Consultation will be recorded in a Consultation Report, which will be presented to the World Bank President.
The World Bank Group will answer this report within three months in the form of management recommendations, prepared by the management of the Oil, Gas and Chemicals and the Mining Departments to the World Bank Group’s senior management, about changes in, or new products, programs, policies, or processes for the World Bank Group.
In parallel, the World Bank Group’s internal evaluation units are reviewing past and present projects of the World Bank Group. The results of these evaluations will inform the review.

2. How did it all start?
Many of the most frequently discussed and controversial issues about development projects and policies today are present in the oil, gas and mining sectors. These include, among others, questions of environmental and social sustainability, revenue sharing, or the protection of human rights, and, importantly, the effects of development projects on local communities. The different actors in these sectors are now reviewing their respective roles and responsibilities. When a platform of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) expressed their concern about World Bank Group projects in the Oil, Gas and Mining sectors at the World Bank Group Annual Meetings in October 2000 in Prague, World Bank Group President James D. Wolfensohn took up the debate on the role of the World Bank Group in these sectors. He replied “I would be happy to sit down with you to (…) take a look at the actualities of the extractive industries, the pros, the cons, the pluses, the minuses, and see if together we can come up with something that will either lead to an exclusion or to an inclusion on certain terms of what we are doing.”

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3. Who is the Eminent Person? How was he chosen?
The Eminent Person is Dr. Emil Salim of Indonesia. He served as State Minister for Population and Environment in Indonesia for almost 15 years. Internationally, he has had a distinguished role in a number of environment related bodies and initiatives, including the United Nations High Level Advisory Board on Sustainable Development and the World Health Organization Commission on Health and Environment, of which he is a member. He is currently the chairperson for the Preparatory Committee of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) and was co-chair of the World Commission on Forests and Sustainable Development. He has doctorates in economics from the University of Indonesia and the University of California at Berkeley in the United States.
He was appointed by the World Bank Group President after informal consultations and discussions with a number of groups in civil society, industry and government. His terms of reference are available on this website.

4. How independent is this consultation really?
The consultation is headed by an Eminent Person, Dr. Emil Salim, who is independent from the World Bank Group. He is responsible for designing the work plan of the Consultation, and making sure that it achieves the objectives of transparency, inclusiveness, and independence. He will be assisted by a small secretariat that is staffed with World Bank employees, which report directly to him. The Secretariat staff have not formerly worked with the Oil, Gas and Mining Departments. The Secretariat was initially situated in Washington DC, and is working out of Jakarta starting in February 2002, with a small office remaining in Washington DC. The location and staffing of the Secretariat are aimed to help the Eminent Person ensure that the recommendations of the EIR Report are relevant for the World Bank Group and are proposed for implementation.

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5. Does the World Bank Group have a genuine will to change? What is really on the table?
If the review shows, that there are activities that are not supported by the various stakeholder groups in the extractive industries, and thus the management of the World Bank Group does not believe these can contribute to sustainable development and poverty reduction, the management of the World Bank Group has repeatedly said – in public – that it is prepared to exit activities that do not.

6. Is the participation of indigenous populations and communities assured?
The review attaches great importance to the impact of World Bank Group projects and policies on affected communities, and considers one of its main objectives to elicit their views. These important stakeholders will be invited to regional meetings, and funds will be made available to assure their participation. Furthermore, preparatory workshops on WBG projects, policies and procedures will be held before the regional workshops, in the interest of informed discussions. Also, project and community visits are planned so that the Eminent Person and the review’s team can get a first hand impression of the situation on the ground. If you know of a community that you would like to suggest for the Eminent Person to visit, please contact the Extractive Industries Review Secretariat.

7. Will there be a moratorium on new financing of projects in oil, gas and mining for the time of the review?
A number of NGOs have called on the World Bank Group to have a moratorium on new financing in the extractive industries. In a letter to Friends of the Earth International (dated November 22, 2000), the World Bank Group President J. Wolfensohn answered that such a moratorium would not be warranted given that “all projects the we [the World Bank Group] finance have to meet the WBG environmental and social guidelines, including an extensive consultative process for sensitive projects”.

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8. How is the review funded?
The Norwegian government has committed trust fund money for this exercise, and it will be funding the review in a large part, providing funds of US$1.4M. The World Bank Group originally committed US$1.6M to the EIR and this amount was increased by US$800,000, to a total of US$2.4, in June 2002. Finally, the German government provided US$ 100.000 in trust for the financing of the facilitators, Denkmodell. The total EIR budget now stands at $3.9M.

9. How long will the consultation last?
The review is set to will be completed by September 2003, 45 days after receipt of the final report of the independent evaluations of the World Bank Group experience in extractive industries being carried out jointly by the World Bank Group’s operational evaluation units (OED and OEG). The Extractive Industries Review Report will be completed by its presentation to the World Bank Group’s President. Following this presentation, the Eminent Person will be provided an opportunity to comment on the Management Recommendations.

10. Will the consultation take inputs from academics and experts into account?
The EIR tries to reach out as far as possible, inputs from experts and scholars are very welcome, if their research is relevant to this review’s focus on the role of the World Bank Group in the extractive industries.

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