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Boulevard to broken dreams, Part 1: the Polonoroeste road project in the Brazilian Amazon, and the World Bank's environmental and indigenous peoples' norms

O projeto de estrada Polonoroeste na Amazônia brasileira, e as normas ambientais e dos povos indígenas do Banco Mundial

ROBERT H. WADE About the author


Before the mid 1980s the World Bank conceived "nature" as something to be "conquered" and "environment" as a source of resources for "development". By the late 1980s the Bank incorporated norms of environmental sustainability and indigenous peoples' protection into its mandate, and other development-oriented IOs followed. This two-part paper describes how a fight over the Polonoroeste road project in the Brazilian Amazon - inside the Bank, between the Bank and NGOs supported by the US Congress, and between the Bank and the government of Brazil -helped to generate the far-reaching change of policy norms. The first part describes how the project was designed as an innovation in sustainable development in rainforests; and how it provoked a firestorm inside the Bank as it moved towards project approval.

Policy norms, rainforests; indigenous peoples; World Bank; environmental NGOs; government of Brazil, US Congress

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