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Georgieva to lead World Bank, FOUR PAWS calls for stronger action on animal welfare 

31.10.2016

FOUR PAWS congratulates Kristalina Georgieva on her new role and hopes for stronger animal welfare standards for international financial institutions.

International animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS congratulates Kristalina Georgieva on her new role as Chief Executive Officer of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association, known collectively as the World Bank. FOUR PAWS hopes that Ms. Georgieva will ensure that the World Bank continues to restrict support to projects that are not in line with EU animal welfare laws or ideally, exceed them, therefore implementing higher animal welfare standards through the projects it supports. 

FOUR PAWS issued the statement following news that Georgieva, who had been Vice-President for budget and human resources within the European Commission, had decided to resign from her post in order to take up the new responsibility at the World Bank, a role she will perform as of 2nd January 2017.

"FOUR PAWS congratulates Kristalina Georgieva on her new position. The World Bank has sent a clear signal with its addition of animal welfare criteria to its project approval processes earlier in 2016 and we hope that under her guidance it will take even stronger action to ensure that animal welfare standards are maintained across all agribusiness projects that the World Bank supports."

Dr Martina Stephany, FOUR PAWS International, Director of Farm Animals and Nutrition  

The EBRD was the first international financial institution to update its environmental and social policies in May 2014, after the release of a report, jointly published by the Humane Society International, Compassion in World Farming and FOUR PAWS International, which exposed numerous cases in which money had been invested into projects and businesses in countries outside of the EU in which poor animal welfare practices, such as the extreme confinement of farm animals, were taking place.

In early 2016, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development followed suit by including animal welfare standards into its guidelines for export credit guarantees. Soon after, the World Bank also took an important step towards animal welfare and added binding minimum animal welfare criteria to its process for approving financing for new projects.

Such measures send the message that international financial institutions do not want to finance animal suffering and demonstrate the commitment that major institutions have to ensuring that any new development projects in the countries with emerging economies they grant funds to are aligned with or exceed EU animal welfare laws and standards. 

Kristalina Georgieva is taking on her new role at a time when it is essential to further develop the focus on animal welfare. FOUR PAWS hopes that the important work started by the World Bank will continue and that more attention will be given to the implementation of these new requirements, the transparency of projects that incorporate such efforts and inter-agency coordination, not just among international financial institutions, but also the European Commission and European Member States. Such a focus will ensure that the binding policies these institutions and EU member states have committed to are successfully implemented and are consistent across the board by all involved stakeholders. Ensuring transparency is vitally important for an honest evaluation and further improvements. 

FOUR PAWS hopes that the long-term experience of Ms Georgieva, including her deep knowledge of EU institutions and international financial organisations as well as her 17 years of experience at the World Bank, will contribute to strengthening animal welfare within development projects funded by international financial institutions. 

FOUR PAWS is an international animal welfare organisation with headquarters in Vienna, Austria. Founded by Heli Dungler in 1988, the organisation strives to help animals in need with sustainable campaigns and projects. The work is based on substantiated research and scientific expertise as well as intensive national and international lobbying. FOUR PAWS focuses on animals that are directly under human influence: stray dogs and stray cats, farm animals, companion animals and wild animals including bears, big cats and orang-utans kept in inappropriate conditions. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Hungary, Kosovo, Netherlands, South Africa, Switzerland, Thailand, Ukraine, United Kingdom, USA and Vietnam, FOUR PAWS aims to help animals in need directly and quickly. www.four-paws.org