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The World Bank’s mission is to alleviate poverty and encourage economic growth by providing low-cost loans for worthy development projects. But the Bank has come under fire recently from some developing country critics for placing environmental policy concerns ahead of poverty reduction goals. For example, according to one critic writing recently in the New York Times, “the bank’s loans for plantation agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa and other developing regions – some $132 million of which have gone to palm oil cultivation – have been humanitarian and economic triumphs. Yet now, under misguided pressure from environmental groups, the Bank is turning its back on the program.” Furthermore, questions have been raised over the World Bank’s recent tendency to give greater weight to input from environmentalist NGOs than from private businesses or even sovereign nations.
Join us for a larger policy discussion about the World Bank’s mission and its environmental objectives. Panelists will discuss how effective World Bank aid policies have been in alleviating poverty when they are linked to environmental or other social policies. What should the Bank’s role be in the 21st century? And how should the Congress of the United States, the Bank’s biggest funder, shape the Bank’s priorities?
More About the Speakers
Science Correspondent, Reason Magazine
Editor-in-Chief, American.com, and Author of From Poverty to Prosperity Intangible Assets, Hidden Liabilities and the Lasting Triumph over Scarcity
Director, Africa Fighting Malaria, and Co-Author of The Excellent Powder: DDT’s Political and Scientific History
James M. Roberts
Research Fellow For Economic Freedom and Growth