The longest-serving Democratic leader in the United States House of Representatives and the first woman ever to serve as Speaker of the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, announced on November 17, 2022, that she would step down from her Democratic leadership role in January 2023. The Bank Information Center recognizes Speaker Pelosi as a champion for sustainability, inclusion, and accountability in development finance. Throughout her tenure in Congress, Speaker Pelosi has been a staunch advocate for the rights of project-affected communities, marginalized groups, and Indigenous Peoples. We look forward to continuing to work with Speaker Pelosi on these issues during the 118th Congress through her role representing the 12th District of California.
Shortly after she was elected to Congress, Speaker Pelosi spearheaded the historic “Pelosi Amendment,” passed in 1989. This provision requires the U.S. Executive Directors at the Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) to abstain or vote against any project with significant environmental impacts if an appropriate environmental assessment has not been conducted and made available to the public 120 days before a board vote. To this day, this is the most significant legislative action directing U.S. policy at the MDBs over the last 35 years. As one of the largest shareholders at the MDBs, this change in U.S. policy pushed the institutions to be more transparent and set a new industry standard across development finance. Further, increased stakeholder engagement on MDB projects bolstered efforts to raise the environmental and social standards of the institutions, a goal that continues today.
“More than any other person, Speaker Pelosi has changed the MDBs to include environment and social impact in their lending. Millions worldwide owe her for championing green, sustainable development and social justice," said Chad Dobson, Founder of the Bank Information Center and former Executive Director.
Since the historic passage of the Pelosi Amendment, Speaker Pelosi has continued to be a leader among her colleagues in utilizing the essential oversight role of Congress over the U.S. position at the MDBs, recognizing the influence the U.S. wields in pushing the institutions to improve their projects and policies. For instance, in 2012, Democratic Leader Pelosi sent a letter to Timothy Geithner, Secretary of the Treasury, on the need for the U.S. to push the World Bank to protect the rights of Indigenous Peoples and the sustainable use of natural resources during its review of its social and environmental safeguard policies. And just earlier this month, at COP27 on November 10, 2022, Speaker Pelosi again spoke out on the need to respect the rights of Indigenous communities and how the MDBs should be “leveraged to a much greater amount” to address the climate crisis and deliver inclusive and sustainable development.
We commend Speaker Pelosi for her leadership in pushing for sustainability, inclusion, and accountability in development finance, and we look forward to continuing to work with her during the 118th Congress.