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Trees Before Poverty at Durban

November 21, 2011

New Report Reveals World Bank Forestry Scheme Ignored Deforestation Emissions Data

Donor Aid Money Being Misused

Washington DC – A new report by World Growth released today in the lead up to the Durban climate talks reveals how the World Bank ignored a report it commissioned that indicated forestry from tropical developing countries could account for as low as 6 percent of all global emissions; yet, the Bank continues using donor aid money amounting to US$4 billion from countries like the United States, Australia and others to pursue a forest and climate policy strategy based on the overstated figure that forestry accounts for 17 percent of global emissions. We call upon World Bank President Robert Zoellick to undertake an urgent blue-ribbon panel review of the Bank’s forestry and climate strategy, and halt all activities while the review is underway.

World Growth Chairman Ambassador Alan Oxley released the following statement:

“The Bank’s strategy to reduce emissions by limiting forestry in developing countries is not working. This strategy is based on overstated data that corroborates with the Bank’s fashionable new agenda to reduce global emissions rather than its original stated mission to reduce poverty.

“The World Bank strategy to spend US$4 billion on claims that forestry in tropical developing countries generates 17 percent of global emissions is based on unproven information. The Bank has therefore wasted taxpayers’ money on a blatantly manipulated environmentalist agenda – this represents a disgraceful outcome for a formerly effective development agency that has now undermined its goal to alleviate poverty.

“This strategy – to co-opt select data in order to push an anti-forestry agenda – is part of a larger campaign by the World Bank. This week in Guatemala at the International Tropical Timber Organization’s (ITTO), the World Bank pushed for its preferred scheme to reduce emissions and restrict forest development – the Reducing Emissions through Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) scheme – a program that only serves to provide aid money to poor countries to restrict their own development.

“At the time of great uncertainty about the direction of the global economy, the World Bank should not be advocating climate change strategies that would retard, not support, expansion of economic growth in developing countries. Negotiators at the upcoming Durban Climate Summit should be cautioned against advancing skewed forestry emissions data to push for a global climate change agenda that’s increasingly not welcome in the developing world.”

Click here to read the report, Trees Before Poverty; The World Bank’s Approach to Forestry and Climate Change.

To speak with World Growth's experts or find out more about its work, please email or call +1-866-467-7200.

World Growth is an international non-governmental organization established to expand the research, information, advocacy, and other resources to improve the economic conditions and living standards in developing and transitional countries. At World Growth, we embrace the age of globalization and the power of free trade to eradicate poverty and create jobs and opportunities. World Growth supports the production of palm oil and the use of forestry as a means to promote economic growth, reduce poverty and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. World Growth believes a robust cultivation of palm oil and forestry provides an effective means of environmental stewardship that can serve as the catalyst for increasing social and economic development. For more information on World Growth, visit


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