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World Bank Statement on Jammu & Kashmir Participatory Watershed Management Project

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New Delhi, December 21, 2009: Some media articles have recently focused on a routine disclaimer in the proposed Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) Participatory Watershed Management project for which the Government of India has sought World Bank assistance.

The World Bank continues to work closely with the government on development projects in J&K by supporting government programs that aim to help people move out of poverty. Over $256 million has already been committed for six projects so far, in addition to several nation-wide health projects on HIV/AIDS, TB, child health etc. which extend to the state.

The proposed J&K Participatory Watershed Management project aims to reverse the land degradation process (through catchment treatments) and enhance rain-fed agricultural production systems with active community participation. The project has already identified and prioritized selected degraded patches in three regions: Jammu, Kashmir and Leh-Ladakh areas. The project preparation process has been completed, including environmental and social safeguards, and fiduciary clearances.

The World Bank is an apolitical international development organization. It cannot take a position on border disputes. It is therefore required to add a disclaimer clause for all projects that seek to uplift the lives of poor people in areas disputed by sovereign states. The disclaimer clause states: 'By supporting the project, the World Bank does not intend to make any judgment on the legal or other status of the territories concerned or to prejudice the final determination of the parties' claims.'

The activation of this clause is routine. It has been done in the past for projects that operate in the disputed areas of India and Pakistan (separately). These include the Vocational Training Project, the National Sericulture Project, the Watershed Hills Development Project and the Northern Region Transmission Project (the list below gives the years when the clause was activated and the exact words of the disclaimer). A recent power project in Pakistan (in the region referred to as Pakistan Occupied Kashmir/Azad Kashmir) also carries a similar disclaimer.

Vocational Training Project [LN3045-IN, CR2008-IN] 1989

"10. Part of the proposed project will be carried out in the State of Jammu and Kashmir, which includes areas over which India and Pakistan have been in dispute since 1947. In making the proposed loan/credit to India, the Bank does not intend to prejudice the final determination of the claims of the parties involved." (MOP, 4.3.89).

National Sericulture Project [LN3065-IN, CR2022-IN] 1989

"5. Part of the proposed project will be carried out in the State of Jammu and Kashmir, which includes areas over which India and Pakistan have been in dispute since 1947. In making the proposed loan and credit to India, IBRD/IDA does not intend to prejudice the final determination of the claims of the parties involved." (MOP, 4.29.89)

Watershed Hills Development [LN3175-IN, CR2100-IN] 1990

"7. Part of the proposed project would be carried out in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, which includes areas over which India and Pakistan have been in dispute since 1947. In making the proposed Loan/Credit to India, the Bank does not intend to prejudice the final determination of the claims of the parties involved." (MOP, 2.7.90). Identical disclaimer included in the Staff Appraisal Report (2.7.90).

Northern Region Transmission Project [3237-IN] 1990

"11. [...]A part of the proposed project is located in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, which is the subject of a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan. However, in making the proposed loan to India, the Bank does not intend to prejudice the final determination of the claims of the parties involved." (MOP, 6.4.90) "3.08 A part of the proposed project is located in the State of Jammu and Kashmir, which is the subject of a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan. However, in making the proposed loan to India, the Bank does not intend to prejudice the final determination of the claims of the parties involved." (SAR, 6.4.90)

Media Contact:
In New Delhi: Sudip Mozumder (91-11) 24617241
smozumder@worldbank.org