Frequent TN guest-blogger Natalie Bugalski brought to my attention the fact that the Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank will be meeting in about an hour to discuss the findings of the Bank’s Inspection Panel related to Cambodia.
As posted on previously by both Natalie, and myself, the issue under consideration by the Panel had been the compatibility of an ongoing project to develop the Boeung Kak Lake area in central Phnom Penh with the Bank’s operational policies in the context of the $28 million Cambodia Land Management and Administration Project (LMAP).
The Inspection Panel’s report, dated 23 November 2010, confirmed that the Bank’s policies had been breached in several significant respects but also implicitly both recognizes the difficulty and asserts the importance of continuing to engage the government of Cambodia on land issues. However, the Cambodian authorities’ response to proposals to adopt a more sensitive approach to urban property adjudication was to withdraw support for the LMAP and continue evicting the residents of Boeung Kak. As a result, advocates such as Bridges across Borders (BAB) and the Cambodian Housing Rights Task Force (HRTF) have appealed to the Board of the Bank to take decisive steps to prevent 10,000 currently pending evictions and promote fair (or at least legal) urban development in the future.
I should be able to publish an update with more details on the Board’s decision on how to act on the Panel’s report shortly. We can also look forward to more detailed analysis in the form of a guest posting by Natalie in the next days. In the meantime, more background is given in a BAB/HRTF press release, currently available in the ‘resources’ section of this blog.