Most major natural resource exploitation projects require some sort of financing. International financial institutions (IFIs) often have great leverage over how these projects are carried out.
The World Bank and many other IFIs have adopted safeguard policies designed to prevent environmental and social harm, as well as accountability mechanisms where affected communities can raise complaints. While these efforts have gone a long way towards protecting human rights, they do not provide sufficient protection for human rights defenders.
Increasingly, those IFIs that do have strong environmental and social protections – such as the World Bank – are investing less in the most controversial projects. Instead, the most corrupt and destructive companies are looking to IFIs controlled by China, Brazil, India, and other countries in the Global South, which provide financing without any regard for the protection of human rights defenders.