• Christian Wernicke
  • Die Zeit
  • October 1, 1993

The World Bank is rich and powerful: last year, it pumped $ 23.7 billion north to south - five times more than the entire development budget in Bonn - a big bureaucracy that designs economic programs for two-thirds of humanity. Who controls the World Bank? The IMF and World Bank are neglected by their European co-founders. Instead, a handful of American environmental groups use their influence on the American Congress to put the bank on a leash....Is the World Bank controlled then from the outside, by ecoactivists like Bruce Rich for example? The agile lawyer is dismissive: ‘We are just harmless horseflies.’ The senior staff of The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), a US environmental organization with around 200,000 members, has ‘made a lot of trouble’ for the bank, but Rich has often discovered by chance, ‘through calls for help from farmers in India or anonymous World Bank staff ,’ proposed dams and mass relocations. ‘The honest answer is probably, Rich ventures, - nobody controls the World Bank....’ Outside the bank, outside of this lending and borrowing, stand alone people like Bruce Rich. Bruce Rich has long been working internationally, so he's now the spider at the center of a thin web of environmental and development groups that are scrutinizing World Bank policies alongside their governments in other donor countries. And that's why Bruce Rich copied his documents in June and sent a thick letter to the German province via express courier. Address: D-48336 Sassenberg in Münsterland. Heffa Schücking lives here. The 34-year-old biologist is a single mother and co-worker of Urgewald, an association committed to protecting tropical rainforests. The fax machine next to the antique desk spits out daily letters from all over the world: Bruce Rich faxes short memoranda, peasants from Thailand and Guinea ask for support .... "

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