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SUBMISSION: WORLD BANK POLICY REVIEW ON PALM OIL MUST FOCUS ON POVERTY ALLEVIATION, NOT RICH COUNTRY CONSUMERS

By Tim Wilson

“The World Bank's framework for engagement in the palm oil sector must focus on sustainable economic development and poverty alleviation, not imposing developed world consumer's attitudes on some of the world's poorest producers”, said Tim Wilson, Director of the Sustainable Development project at the Institute of Public Affairs, today.

Mr Wilson's comments follow the recent submission to the World Bank Group's consultations on its framework for engagement in the palm oil sector.

“The World Bank's draft framework compromises poverty alleviation to keep consumers happy in rich countries”, Mr Wilson said.

“In the two key palm oil production countries of Malaysia and Indonesia 40 and 45 per cent of producers respectively, and the hundred of thousands of people who rely on the industry for their livelihood, could be undermined by World Bank financing to appease green groups”.

“In developed countries government agencies and green campaigners against palm oil have been exposed misleading the public on palm oil facts and the impact their agenda will have on the world's poor”.

“Claims on the rate of deforestation, the loss of orang-utan population loss and the lack of innovation in the industry has been exposed as either exaggerations, misrepresentations on blatant lies”.

“It's morally dubious to compromise poverty alleviation to keep green groups happy, especially when poverty, not palm oil, is responsible for deforestation in developing countries. By comparison palm oil has a higher yield than alternative crops”.

“The World Bank should stick to financing to cut poverty and that means supporting poverty alleviating industries, like palm oil, without imposing burdensome regulation”, Mr Wilson said.

Sustainable Development's submission to the World Bank review is available at www.sustainabledev.org.