• 12 November 2016

    Indian tea workers’ conditions remain very poor

    By Justin Rowlatt, BBC News
    Tea workers are trapped in a cycle of dependence that began way back when the first tea estates were planted in India in the 1830s. Very little has changed since then, says Anirudha Nagar, of Accountability Counsel, an organisation supporting the APPL workers. “With housing tied to their job, they are practically held hostage by their employer,” he says. “With abysmally low wages, they face a daily struggle to survive and have no means for advancement. And with poor access to education, their children are left with no option but to become workers themselves.” So what can be done? Here is what campaigners such as Anirudha Nagar want to see happen…
  • 9 November 2016

    ‘Assam tea company denying benefits to workers’

    By Naresh Mitra, Times of India
    GUWAHATI: A tea plantation company has been found to be reneging on its commitment to provide housing and other services to workers on its tea estates, according to a report by the compliance advisor ombudsman (CAO) for the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
  • 9 November 2016

    World Bank probe into Tata tea project finds it failed to protect Indian workers

    By Nita Bhalla, Reuters
    A World Bank investigation into a tea plantation project in India that it jointly finances with tea giant Tata Global Beverages has found that it has failed to tackle alleged abuses of impoverished workers, the group said on Wednesday. The International Finance Corporation (IFC) – a member of the World Bank Group – said its accountability office began a probe into the project, run by Amalgamated Plantations Private Limited (APPL), after reports tea pickers were being exploited.
  • 8 November 2016

    Accountability: The Golden Opportunity in Impact Investing

    By Natalie Bridgeman Fields, Accountability Counsel, in the Stanford Social Innovation Review
    During coffee breaks at the past two annual Social Capital Markets (SOCAP) conferences, I’ve asked dozens of impact investors: Do you evaluate and mitigate the risk of social or environmental harm that your investments might cause?
  • 8 November 2016

    IFC didn’t follow due process while investing in APPL: World Bank

    By Vishwanath Nair, Livemint
    The World Bank has found serious shortcomings in the way Amalgamated Plantations Pvt. Ltd (APPL), India’s second largest tea producer, treated workers at its Assam plantations, said a study released on Monday. After a two-year-long investigation, the World Bank found that its arm, International Finance Corporation (IFC), had not followed due process while investing $7.8 million in APPL’s Assam tea plantations and that workers had not been given promised benefits by the tea producer.
  • 7 November 2016

    World Bank, Tata group come under scanner

    By the Assam Tribune
    In a major blow to the tea industry, particularly the Amalgamated Plantations Private Limited (APPL) and World Bank group, the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO), which holds the World Bank Group accountable to its own policies, has found that low wages and poor working conditions on APPL plantations do not protect and promote the health of workers, and thus do not provide a way out of poverty.
  • 4 October 2016

    World Bank investment on Assam’s tea plantations: hearing the voices of workers?

    By Anirudha Nagar, Accountability Counsel, & Francesca Feruglio, Nazdeek, in openDemocracy
    The Assam tea industry produces half of India’s tea and employs nearly 800,000 workers. Just a few companies dominate the landscape, with Tata Global Beverages, McLeod Russel and Unilever especially powerful. Tata own[s] almost half of Amalgamated Plantations Private Limited (APPL), a further 17% of which is owned by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) – the World Bank’s private sector arm – which invested $7.87 million in the company in 2009.
  • 11 August 2016

    World Bank unit’s wage scandal at Tata tea estates a lesson in due diligence

    By Yuji Kuronuma, Nikkei Asian Review
    A World Bank Group lender’s credibility has been threatened over questions involving its investment in the tea plantation unit run by Indian conglomerate Tata group, following complaints that the company pays workers just half the minimum wage. The World Bank Group’s International Finance Corp. is an investor. However, several of the company’s plantations have come under criticism from local nongovernmental organizations as workers toil long hours for less than minimum wage.
  • 10 August 2016

    Nepal: respect the rights of communities affected by World Bank project

    By ESCR-Net
    On August 10, ESCR-Net sent a letter to the Government of Nepal to express concern regarding the reported and threatened human rights violations in connection with the World Bank-funded Khimti-Dhalkebar 220 kV Transmission Line Project (Project), in the Sindhuli District, which is operating on the lands of indigenous peoples.
  • 10 June 2016

    Rejecting the World Bank’s false choice between rights & development

    By Natalie Bridgeman Fields & Siddharth Akali, Accountability Counsel, for the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
    In April, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim gave a talk in New York where he addressed development-induced environmental and human rights abuses. While referring to such abuses, President Kim reasoned “[y]ou cannot do the kind of work we are trying to do and not have some of these incidents happen.” Although he framed rights violations as regrettable, President Kim’s implication — that human rights violations and loss of life are sometimes an inevitable part of achieving development — is false.
  • 5 May 2016

    In Nepal, Fighting for The Rights of Indigenous Peoples

    By the Coalition for Human Rights in Development
    My name is Abhijeet*. I am a community member in Sindhuli, Nepal and I am actively resisting against human and environmental rights violations in the construction of the Khimti-Dhalkebar Transmission Line (KDTL Project). The KDTL Project is a high-voltage transmission line that will cross the area of Sindhuli. It is being funded by the World Bank and implemented by the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA).
  • 20 April 2016

    Dysfunction in Development Aid Runs Deep

    By Kindra Mohr, Accountability Counsel, in HuffPost
    In a recent exposé, journalists from Reveal at The Center for Investigative Reporting exposed an accountability gap that has allowed the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to pour over $130 million of development assistance into projects run by Planet Aid. USDA continues to invest in Planet Aid even after being presented with evidence that their projects are tied to a corrupt and abusive cult.
  • 5 April 2016

    Powerless: a call for World Bank community engagement in Nepal

    By Komala Ramachandra, Accountability Counsel, & Shankar Limbu, LAHURNIP, in the Bretton Woods Observer
    In mid-February the government of Nepal declared an energy crisis and began importing electricity from India in the hope of ending the daily power cuts of twelve hours or more in the capital of Kathmandu. In an accompanying policy, the “Electricity development decade”, the government announced ambitious plans to bring over 900 MW of new hydropower online in the next two years and ultimately export excess production to India.
  • 24 February 2016

    Beyond Buzzwords: Development Banks’ Fail to Remedy Harm Caused by Their Own Projects

    By Nezir Sinani & Julia Radomski, Bank Information Center, in HuffPost
    Are development finance institutions held accountable when their projects cause harm to communities and ecosystems? While “accountability” has become an oft-used and broadly-defined buzzword in development, much work remains to be done to ensure that institutions are indeed held to account in their everyday operations. According to a recent report by eleven international NGOs, including the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO), Accountability Counsel, Center for International Environmental Law, and Inclusive Development International, the evidence suggests that development finance institutions are failing to provide remedy to those harmed by their projects.
  • 10 November 2015

    Is the World Bank’s Inspection Panel working the way it should?

    By Jeff Tyson, Devex
    When violations of bank policy are not formally investigated by the Inspection Panel, people who have been harmed by bank projects have nothing to point to for “external validation” of wrongdoing, Accountability Counsel Executive Director Natalie Bridgeman Fields told Devex. Further, formal investigations serve a critical role in promoting learning at the World Bank and within the board by establishing a “systemic level of accountability,” Fields said. So why would the Inspection Panel recommend against a formal investigation?
  • 28 September 2015

    World Bank support for Haitian mining: far from a gold standard

    By Caitlin Daniel, Accountability Counsel, & Peterson Derolus, Justice in Mining Collective, in the Bretton Woods Observer
    If you ask the average Haitian, they probably do not know of their government’s plan to develop the country’s gold deposits through a formal mining sector. For over two years the government has been advancing a strategy to bring foreign mining companies into Haiti, yet hardly any information has been made public about a decision that will likely have sweeping implications for people throughout the country.
  • 22 September 2015

    Environmental organizations raise stink over MHP’s poultry farm

    By Kyiv Post
    There’s an ill wind blowing in Vinnytsa Oblast, and if one of Ukraine’s biggest agriculture companies keeps growing, things could get worse for the people living nearby, environmental, corporate and bank watchdog organizations from the European Union and Ukraine say. MyronivskyHliboproduct (MHP), which runs the biggest poultry farm in Europe near the village of Ladyzhyn southeast of Vinnytsa, was the subject of two reports released this September after a fact-finding mission of six environmental watchdogs visited the area in May.
  • 30 July 2015

    Ukraine agribusiness firms in ‘quiet land grab’ with development finance

    By Claire Provost & Matt Kennard, The Guardian
    Hundreds of millions of dollars in development finance from the World Bank’s investment arm have helped to fund the controversial expansion of a billionaire’s agribusiness empire in Ukraine, amid growing concern that land and farming in the country are increasingly falling into the hands of a few wealthy individuals. Controlled by…
  • 17 July 2015

    World Bank overlooked families in Nepal project, panel finds

    By Sasha Chavkin & Ben Hallman, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
    The World Bank failed to make sure that families displaced by a high-voltage power transmission line in Nepal were properly counted and compensated, an internal panel at the bank found this week. The revelation marks the latest instance in which the development giant was faulted by its own watchdog for not following its own rules on forced, or “involuntary,” resettlement.
  • 24 June 2015

    World Bank critics lack of protection, Human Rights Watch charges

    By Humanosphere
    …“These recent failures at the Bank present a legitimacy crisis. To restore its credibility, the Bank needs to rethink its approach to accountability and the reforms needed to achieve it,” wrote Natalie Bridgeman Fields, founder and executive director of Accountability Counsel, and Kindra Mohr, accountability counsel’s policy director, in the Council on Foreign Relations blog in May…