Civil society concerns regarding World Bank reengagement in Cambodia

Ulrich Zachau
Country Director, Cambodia
World Bank
Cc: President Jim Yong Kim
Executive Directors
August 7, 2015
Re: Civil society concerns regarding World Bank reengagement in Cambodia
Dear Mr. Zachau,
In August 2011, the World Bank made a public commitment to suspend all new lending to Cambodia until a resolution was found for families who had been forcibly evicted from the Boeung Kak area, or who remained without tenure security in their homes around the lake.
We applauded this demonstration of accountability to intended beneficiaries of the Land Management and Administration Project (LMAP), who faced serious harm, including impoverishment, instead of enjoying either the project’s benefits or the safeguards accorded by the Bank’s operational policies. We continue to believe that the World Bank took the right stand in 2011, not only in defense of the Boeung Kak families, but for all Cambodians who seek equitable and accountable development of their country.
Last month, your office announced a process of consultations to inform the design of an Interim Strategy Note (ISN) for the Bank’s programming in Cambodia for a two to three year period. The adoption of the ISN will mark a formal lifting of the lending suspension that has been in place for four years.
We, the undersigned organizations, seek assurances from you that the ISN will include a strategy for dealing with outstanding grievances of the Boeung Kak families, as per the Bank’s public commitment. While some grievances have been addressed through the issuance of titles to remaining families – which we believe is a result of the Bank’s principled action – throughout these years thousands of families have continued to face tenure insecurity or battled the daily hardships caused by their displacement.
In particular, we expect that the ISN will include a strategy for:

  • Establishing a program that will provide livelihood and other development support for the evicted Boeung Kak families, which remains their entitlement and the Cambodian government’s obligation under the World Bank Policy on Involuntary Resettlement.
  • Monitoring the provision of legal security of tenure to the remaining families in the Boeung Kak Lake area who have been unjustifiably excluded from the land registration process.

We would welcome the opportunity to discuss the appropriate strategy for these outstanding issues. We hope to receive a positive reply from you and look forward to further discussion.
The Advocacy and Policy Institute (API)
Building Community Voices (BCV)
Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR)
Cambodia Indigenous Youth Association (CIYA)
Coalition of Cambodian Farmer Community (CCFC)
Community Legal Education Centre (CLEC)
Cooperation Committee for Cambodia (CCC)
Community Peace-building Network (CPN)
Equitable Cambodia (EC)
Highlanders Association (HA)
Housing Rights Task Force (HRTF)
Indigenous Community Support Organization (ICSO)
The NGO Forum on Cambodia
Peace Bridges Organization
Star Kampuchea
Supported by:
Accountability Counsel, USA
Both ENDS, The Netherlands
Bretton Woods Project, UK
Center for International and Environmental Law (CIEL), USA
Coastal Livelihood and Environmental Action Network (CLEAN), Bangladesh
Le Conseil Régional des Organisations Non Gouvernementales de Développement
(CRONGD), Democratic Republic of Congo
Diakonia (Cambodia Office), Sweden
EarthRights International, USA
Focus on the Global South, Thailand
Forest Peoples Program (FPP), UK
Foundation for the Development of Sustainable Policies (FUNDEPS), Argentina
Forum Syd (Cambodia Office), Sweden
The Gate for Art and Development, Morocco
Global Witness, UK
Gobi Soil, Mongolia
Green Watershed, China
Inclusive Development International (IDI), USA
International Accountability Project (IAP), USA
Jamaa Resource Initiatives, Kenya
Licadho Canada (LC)
Lumière Synergie pour le Développement, Senegal
NGO Forum on ADB
OT Watch, Mongolia
Transformation for Justice (TuK INDONESIA), Indonesia
Uganda Land Alliance, Uganda
Ulu Foundation, USA
Urgewald, Germany
Letter in pdf:
Letter to WB re Cambodia Reengagement

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