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Many private sector and development projects receive loans or funding from international lending banks. Some of these banks have internal standards that guide their lending practices. Ensuring that these standards are sufficient to protect apes and their habitats, that the standards are actually adhered to by the bank’s clients, and that more lending banks to adopt high environmental standards is critically important for the survival of apes. 

The World Bank Strategy for Apes

In an unprecedented collaboration, in 2012 many great ape conservationists united to produce a World Bank Strategy for Apes, that outlined specifically what the World Bank could do to decrease its impacts on apes and potentially positively work towards their conservation. This study can be found here. Jane Goodall kindly provided a video to introduce this World Bank Strategy for Great Apes that can be viewed here.

The International Finance Corporation Performance Standard Six (IFC-PS6)

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is the private lending branch of the World Bank. When IFC updated their Performance Standard 6 that is relevant to biodiversity, Cyril Kormos and I, with support from the Arcus Foundation did a review of the new IFC PS6 that can be found here.

The IFC Performance Standard Six (2006) stated that:


In areas of critical habitat, the client will not implement any project activities unless there is no reduction in the population of any recognized critically endangered or endangered species


We were worried, because the IFC Performance Standard (2012) was rewritten in a way that we felt significantly decreased protection for great apes and other threatened species:


In areas of critical habitat, the client will not implement any project activities unless the project does not lead to a net reduction in the global and/or national/regional population of any Critically Endangered or Endangered species over a reasonable period of time.

But then in 2018, the IFC included wording specific to Great Apes in its Guidance Note for PS6 that significantly strengthens their protection.

GN71. Special consideration should be given to great apes (gorillas, orangutans, chimpanzees and bonobos) due to their anthropological significance. Where great apes may potentially occur16, the IUCN Great Apes Specialist Group must be consulted as early as possible to assist in the determination of the occurrence of great apes in the project’s area of influence. Any area where there are great apes is likely to be treated as Critical Habitat. Projects in such areas will be acceptable only in exceptional circumstances, and individuals from the IUCN Great Apes Specialist Group must be involved in the development of any mitigation strategy.

To read the new Guidance note that incoporates language specific to great apes click here.

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