Skip to comments.World Bank 'to approve' $4bn central Asian pipeline
Posted on 10/29/2003 7:44:34 PM PST by a_Turk
The World Bank plans to recommend support for a $4bn (£2.4bn) pipeline through central Asia, according to a leaked internal report.
Campaign groups reacted with fury to news that the bank's commercial arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), believes that its 173 country members should agree a $300m loan.
BTC, a consortium led by the British oil giant BP, is building a 1,090-mile pipeline from the Caspian through Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey to the Mediterranean. But the project, which aims to allow the West to tap into vast oil reserves without going through the Middle East, has encountered objections from pressure groups. They claim that it will cause environmental havoc, polluting the Caspian and threatening the habitats of endangered species along the route. They also accuse Turkey of using emergency powers normally reserved for national disasters to expropriate people's land without agreeing compensation.
In a report to be handed to the board of the IFC today, James Wolfensohn, the president of the World Bank, recommends approval. The report obtained by Friends of the Earth acknowledges the "significant" environmental risks including an oil spill and an earthquake. But it goes on: "These risks have been subject to a great deal of diligence by IFC and its independent consultants and have been minimised by implementing the requisite mitigating design and including a... monitoring plan."
Anders Lustgarten, of the Baku-Ceyhan campaign, which is protesting against the pipeline, said: "We are shocked by the report, which leaves out almost all the most serious allegations regarding the project. How can the board make an informed decision if it is not properly appraised of the risks?" Kerim Yildiz, of the Kurdish Human Rights project, said: "The report fails to address the major human rights concerns. Many of the affected villagers say that they will be forced to leave their lands because of inadequate compensation."
A spokeswoman for the IFC said: "Some of the international NGOs are ideologically driven and fundamentally opposed to any extractive industry project. Local NGOs have been unanimously supportive of the pipeline in principle."
Kerim Yildiz? A prominent PKK member based in London who opposes any infrastructure improvement in eastern Turkey from pipelines to dams to irrigation projects..