December 9, 2006 – World Bank Acting Contrary to Bank Guidelines Concerning Red Dead Study

World Bank Acting Contrary to Bank Guidelines Concerning Red Dead Study

December 9, 2006

Donor states attending World Bank meeting today at the Dead Sea alerted to possible legal action pending.

EcoPeace Middle East has alerted donor states attending the Dead Sea summit organized by the World Bank today that the terms of reference of the World Bank study are in possible breach of bank guidelines.

The project called the Red Sea Dead Sea Conduit is claimed by the Bank to ‘Save the Dead Sea’ by pumping in marine water from the Gulf of Aqaba. The project concept is highly controversial because of the risk it poses to three unique ecosystems, the Gulf of Aqaba, the Araba Valley and the Dead Sea itself. The World Bank is refusing to even consider alternatives to the Red Dead project such as partially rehabilitating the natural flow of the River Jordan, though the bank is mandated to study alternatives in its own guidelines.

“The issue goes to the heart of World Bank credibility”, said Mr. Munqeth Mehyar, Jordanian Director of EcoPeace Middle East. “We are not asking that the World Bank do us a favor by studying the River Jordan option. They are mandated to do so by their own guidelines.”

World Bank Operational Guideline OP 4.01 Annex B (f) and OP 10.04 require that the Bank analyze alternatives to any proposed project and OP 4.07(2)(d) requires the Bank consider restoring and preserving aquatic ecosystems.

“It’s our own governments that are responsible for the dire state of the Dead Sea in the first place by taking away all the waters of the River Jordan that since time immemorial replenished the sea. Studying the ‘Saving the Dead Sea” by partially restoring the historical flow of the River Jordan seems to be what World Bank policies would dictate if they were to only follow their own guidelines.” said Gidon Bromberg, Israeli Director of EcoPeace Middle East.

A delegation of Jordanian, Israeli and Palestinian mayors met earlier this year with World Bank Vice President Christian Poortman advocating the need to study also the Jordan River alternative but received a negative response.

“It’s unfortunate that the World Bank continues to ignore the concerns of the local communities around the Dead Sea”, said Israeli Dead Sea Mayor Dov Litvinoff. “We must study all relevant options to save the Dead Sea, especially the natural solution – that is reviving the almost dry River Jordan”.

For more information please contact:

Gidon Bromberg in Tel-Aviv on +972-524532597
Munqeth Mehyar in Amman on +962-777548477
Mayor Dov Litvinoff at the Dead Sea on +972-505155155

Also visit the EcoPeace website on www.ecopeaceme.org and BITTERLEMONS for an article on the issue.

World Bank guidelines