Children have the right to participate in decisions that impact their lives. They have unique perspectives and opinions about development projects and policies that adults may be unable to convey on their behalf. However, the World Bank has not included children in any of its safeguard policy review consultations. In order for children’s voices to be heard on this important policy review, BIC has led a process to consult with children in all regions where the World Bank is active (see the interactive map below for details on individual consultations).
We hope that as a result of these consultations and other advocacy efforts, the World Bank will:
Take into account the views of children in the creation of its revised safeguard policies;
Include strong protections for the rights of children, that incorporate children’s own articulations of their needs; and
Adopt a meaningful and effective approach to child participation in its projects and programs.
BIC’s Children Consultations
Use the interactive map above to see reports, photos and more from each of BIC’s consultations. When you click on a country, the information will appear below:
In the second round of consultations, children were asked to delve a little deeper into the safeguards as they reviewed the first draft of the Bank’s proposed new Environmental and Social Framework.
Round 2 consultations
On April 21 and 22, the Bank Information Center, in cooperation with the Humara Bachpan Campaign, held a consultation on the World Bank safeguards in Bhubaneswar, India. The participants included 22 children and 5 youth, aged 18 to 25 years, and were members of the Humara Bachpan Child Clubs. Children and youth participated in a workshop in which they learned about the World Bank, and discussed how World Bank safeguards can prevent and mitigate harm associated with development projects, including by developing their own proposals for World Bank projects and plans for mitigating any potential risks. Children were also given the opportunity to provide recommendations on how to improve the safeguards, which included requirements for reducing pollution, improvements to involuntary resettlement policies and specific ideas making impact assessments more effective.
On September 14th and 15th, the Bank Information Center, in cooperation with the Indian NGO Disha, held a consultation on the World Bank safeguards with approximately 25 children and adolescents in Sundargarh, Odisha, India. The participants came from a number of villages in Sundargarh district and a majority of the children were from indigenous communities. The children and adolescents looked a t a number of problem projects initiated by the World Bank and expressed concerns primarily about increased rates of inter-communal and inter-familial violence that comes along with industrialization as well as the environmental impact of Bank projects. They recommended that the Bank invest less in fossil fuels and focus more on renewable energy and that the Bank take measures to prevent deforestation, a significant problem facing many of their communities.
On September 14th and 15th, the Bank Information Center, in cooperation with the NGO Coalition for the Rights of the Child, held a consultation on the World Bank safeguards with 17 children and adolescents in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The consultation involved children from around Cambodia, drawn from three child rights networks in the country along with four children whose families have been evicted from the Borei Keila and Boeung Kak Lake areas. The participants learned about World Bank structure and World Bank safeguards and also heard a presentation on the Cambodian Land Management and Administration project. The Cambodian children and adolescents made a great deal of recommendations for the World Bank on improving their involuntary resettlement policy, in particular to better protect both children and women. The participants also emphasized the need for the World Bank to assess how projects will impact children before carrying out those projects and to consult with children regularly as part of such assessments
On February 6 2015, the Bank Information Center, in cooperation with the INFANT, held a consultation on the World Bank safeguards with 28 children and adolescents in Lima, Peru. The consultation involved children from many different regions of Peru. Many of the children participated in Round 1 of consultations in 2013, so the focus of the consultation was a more in depth review of the World Bank’s recent draft safeguard policies. Several representatives from the World Bank attended the consultation, including members of the team responsible for drafting the updated safeguards. The Peruvian children and adolescents made many recommendations for the World Bank on improving the draft policies, including detailed suggestions for ESS1 on impact assessments and ESS10 on stakeholder engagement. The participants strongly advocated for child participation in the design and implementation of Bank projects, and to include provisions for protecting child rights.
Lima, Peru—On August 16th, BIC held a consultation with Infant, an organization that supports and facilitates the efforts of children to promote and defend their human rights. The participants represented children and adolescent organizations from many different regions in the country, including Ucayali, Loreto, Tumbes. Piura, Huancavelica, Junín, Ayacucho, Ica, Apurímac, San Martin y Lima. The children and adolescents ranged in age from 9 to 17. After an educational session on the World Bank, the children made recommendations for the Bank that largely focused on what they saw as a lack of child participation in the design and implementation of World Bank safeguard policies.
Ventanilla, Peru—On August 17th, BIC held a consultation with Kusi Warma, an organization that promotes the participation of children in the Ventanilla Municipality. The participants represented CODINNA, an organization officially recognized by the Municipality to promote child participation in the area. The children and adolescents were all under the age of 18. After analyzing World Bank projects that had led to harmful impacts on people and the environment, the children and adolescents designed their own development projects that focused on issues particular to their community, such as unemployment.
On September 3rd and 4th, the Bank Information Center, in cooperation with Democracy Center, held a consultation on the World Bank safeguards with approximately 25 children and adolescents in Sana’a Yemen. After an educational session on the World Bank’s structure and its current safeguard policies, the children created their own World Bank projects that they thought would help solve problems that existed in their communities related to child labor, education quality, lack of housing for the poor, and malnutrition. They also made recommendations for ways in which the World Bank could better protect the rights and interests of children which included an increased focus on investments in education, special protections for children with disabilities, and the need for the World Bank to better monitor the implementation of projects and to make more regular reports to affected communities.
Ebrahim AlHarazi, communications officer at the World Bank’s Yemen office, joined the consultation in the afternoon of 4 September.
On March 4, the Bank Information Center, in partnership with the Straight Talk Foundation, held a consultation in Kampala, Uganda. The consultation included 30 children from five different schools who participated in a workshop to discuss how the World Bank operates, including specific projects in Uganda. The children were then asked to discuss their views and opinions on the World Bank safeguard policies, currently under review. Many of the children’s recommendations for the safeguards were related to the resettlement policy, as well as how the World Bank can better ensure that children have access to schools and health clinics, and how child labor should be reduced through World Bank policy.
In many African societies and the world at large, children are left out of important decisions which at times may have positive or negative impacts or both impacts on their lives. This was the case with the involuntary resettlement that took place in Jinja to pave way for the construction of the dam. Children were not involved in drawing up the policy, neither were they consulted to find out how such a resettlement or project could impact on their livelihoods. The children’s consultation on World Bank safeguards held in Naminya on September 14th, 2013 was the very first time these resettled children have been involved in such a discussion, or given the opportunity to share their grievances. It involved approximately 25 children between the ages of 4 and 17 who made recommendations to the Bank including the need to include protections for human rights and children’s rights in the safeguards and the need to improve the resettlement policy to better serve resettled children and their communities.
On October 5, the Bank Information Center, in partnership with the Philippine Coalition on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, held a consultation on the World Bank safeguards with approximately 20 children and youth from metro Manila in Manila, Philippines. Many of the participants were children and youth with disabilities. The children and youth learned about what the World Bank is and how it works and also learned about the World Bank safeguards that are currently under review. The participants were especially interested in issues relating to education and accessibility for persons with disabilities. They recommended that the World Bank build schools, including schools for children with disabilities, closer to where children and youth are actually living rather than concentrated in the center of cities. They also highlighted the need for these schools to be accessible for persons with disabilities. The participants stressed that the World Bank needed to help promote an inclusive society where persons with disabilities were valued for their abilities and one way to do this would be for the World Bank to invest in awareness raising activities to change attitudes about persons with disabilities.
On March 14 and 15, the Bank Information Center, in cooperation with Enda Jeunesse Action, held a consultation on the World Bank safeguards in Dakar, Senegal with 28 participants. The consultation began with a workshop where children learned about what the World Bank does, how it works, and what the World Bank safeguards are. The children were also provided information on the first draft of the updated safeguard policies, and asked to provide their views and opinions on the policies, including the importance of avoiding harm against children and the need to incorporate adequate budget into World Bank projects to ensure the prevention of such harm.
On March 7 and 8, the Bank Information Center, in cooperation with Yayasan Kesejahteraan Anak Indonesia (The Indonesian Child Welfare Foundation), held a consultation on the World Bank safeguards in Jakarta Indonesia. Seventeen children and adolescents participated in the consultation, including one child with an intellectual disability. The consultation began with a workshop session to discuss the structure of the World Bank, and the World Bank safeguards generally. The children were also given the chance to review the first draft of the World Bank’s updated safeguard policies, and to provide their views and opinions on the updated policies. The recommendations of the participants varied, although many focused on how the World Bank could better address the needs and interests of children in places like Indonesia, where geography and income disparity have led to many differences in children across the country.
On April 2, the Bank Information Center, in cooperation with the Children Human Rights Center of Albania (CRCA), held a consultation on the World Bank safeguards with 23 children and adolescents in Tirana, Albania. The consultation involved children from around Tirana, including children from nearby Roma communities, and rural areas. The participants learned about World Bank structure and World Bank safeguards. A representative from the World Bank’s country office in Albania attended the consultation. The Albanian children and adolescents made a great deal of recommendations for the World Bank on improving the draft policies, including the need to address discrimination and suggestions for how to consult with children. The participants also emphasized the need for the World Bank to assess how projects will impact children before carrying out those projects and to consult with children throughout the project cycle as part of such assessments.