An advertisement in today's Politico newspaper accuses the World Bank of turning its back on the poor by withdrawing support for palm oil, a key agricultural crop that feeds over a billion people in Africa, Latin America and South East Asia.
The ad, created by the NGO World Growth, greeted officials gathering in Washington, DC for the annual fall meeting of the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund (IMF). The text highlights five key inexcusable outcomes of the World Bank palm oil plan:
- Denies the poor jobs and higher living standards
- Restricts expansion of food production
- Fosters illegal deforestation
- Gives special interest control of the World Bank
- Leads poor small farmers into green welfare
In conjunction with the World Growth ad, the NGO's Chairman Alan Oxley released the following statement:
'The palm oil industry provides direct support for around 10 million people worldwide and the crop is a vital food staple for over 1 billion people. Jeopardizing the supply and expansion of palm oil is counter-productive to the Bank's mission of poverty alleviation. Enacting this plan and suspending funding for palm oil will reverse the Bank's decades of successful poverty reduction efforts.
'The World Bank and its President Robert Zoellick have succumbed to the political pressure of radical environmental groups like Greenpeace, WWF and Friends of the Earth. Economic growth and development should remain the focus of the World Bank. The Bank's newfound position on palm oil as an environment regulator is outside the institution's purview.'
To view the World Growth Politico ad, click here.