Philip Alston’s Nov. 9 op-ed, “What the World Bank won’t utter,” misrepresented the World Bank’s position on human rights.
For decades, the World Bank has expressed that human rights and development are intertwined. Human rights principles essential for sustainable development are consistently applied in our work to end poverty and boost shared prosperity. They are included in our proposed draft Environmental and Social Framework to enhance the bank’s safeguard policies and incorporate nondiscrimination, meaningful consultation, effective public participation, property rights and other principles.
The vision statement for sustainable development in the draft states that our operations “are supportive of human rights.” For two decades, bank policy on indigenous peoples has referred to their dignity and human rights. Our draft goes as far or further than any other multilateral development bank in protecting the vulnerable and the marginalized.
The better approach to the debate between human rights and development is to see them as mutually reinforcing. We will continue our research and constructive dialogue that avoids finger-pointing, and we will apply sound policies to achieve beneficial environmental, social and economic outcomes for all concerned.
Anne-Marie Leroy and Kyle Peters, Washington
Leroy is senior vice president and general counsel of the World Bank Group. Peters is vice president of operations policy and country services for the World Bank Group.