at long last, the World Bank ( wb ) has admitted to serious lapses in its methods for screening projects which could have possible ecological side-effects. However, it tried to defend itself by stating that without wb the environment could be even worse off. Said Andrew Steer, director of the wb 's environment department, "The bad news is that we are still learning a lot and there are some things we don't do very well." At the annual wb meeting, Steer remarked that the Bank was instrumental in driving a "radical change for the better in the way the environment is factored into investment in general".
A major lapse, according to an internal memorandum, was that environmental impact assessments ( eia ) were carried out in countries which asked for the wb loan too late and thereby did not influence the projects. Steer says that wb would now try to get the eia process started much before any country even begins to design a project.
Friends of the Earth, an international ecogroup, said that "the Bank was better at environmental rhetoric than implementing safeguards for environmental protection".
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