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4 Jul 2016

Jackson Shaa (Narasha Community Development Group, Kenya) & Annabel Perreras (International Accountability Project), in Bretton Woods Project

Kenya: World Bank urged to apply Indigenous Peoples Policy consistently to protect communities impacted by development projects

"Lessons from Kenya: Why the World Bank must apply the Indigenous Peoples Policy consistently"

In 2010, the World Bank approved a $330 million loan for the Kenya Electricity Expansion Program, to increase the capacity of electricity supply and access to electricity in Kenya…The resettlement process associated with the programme’s geothermal power generating component, implemented by the Kenya Electricity Generating Company Ltd. (KenGen), has been beset by problems. In 2014 members and representatives of a Maasai community filed a complaint with the World Bank’s accountability mechanism, the Inspection Panel (IPN)…

In its July 2015 investigation report, the IPN found that despite the fact that the Maasai communities fit the requirements necessary to trigger the World Bank’s Indigenous Peoples Policy, the Bank did not apply the policy because the Maasai are pastoralists. When indigenous peoples are present in or have collective attachment to a World Bank project area, the policy must be applied and certain protections put in place, including the development of an Indigenous Peoples Plan, recognition of traditional land tenure and provisions for benefit sharing. The policy provides that projects must not proceed without first securing “broad community support” from the indigenous peoples…

The implications of this case are not only relevant to Kenya. As the World Bank is finalising its new Environmental and Social Framework (ESF, see Observer Summer 2016), replacing the current safeguards, it needs to ensure that it has the strongest indigenous peoples and resettlement safeguards possible, that uphold the rights of indigenous communities like the Maasai.