Is water ‘really’ for all?: Orchestrated water crisis created by ADB and similar institutions

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As water has become scarce every day, financial institutions, such as the Asian Development Bank (ADB), have been pushing governments to embrace the private sector in managing their water resources. The ADB, as one of the leading multilateral development banks in Asia, has been financing diverse water sector projects from drinking water and irrigation to the construction of large storage and cleaning of rivers.


Approved in 2001, ADB’s Water Policy has been criticized by civil society for promoting water as a commodity instead of acknowledging it as a basic human right. The Bank’s “Water Financing Program” program has been closely monitored for its strong bias towards private sector participation in managing the elixir of life, converting water from being one of the commons to an economic good.


This year, the ADB has presented its draft water operational framework for 2011-2020. With its own notion of water resources being submitted to severe stress, ADB offers several modalities in managing water, providing a much larger role for the private sector. Coupled with structural reforms as part of the conditionalities that will go as mandatory with its financial assistance, a great threat is looming over the relevance of local communities, farmers’ organizations, local water associations, and other people’s organizations in managing water resources. And with its pro-business agenda and corporate approach, the different cultural values Asians have for water may soon be neglected. In such a scenario, would water still be for all?

Read Water Operational Framework 2011–2020 



Central Asia and the Caucasus

  1. Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Project (Armenia)

  2. Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Project (Azerbaijan)

  3. Water Supply Project (South Kazakhstan) (Kazakhstan)

  4. Taza Suu Project (Kyrgyzstan)

  5. Integrated Development of Basic Urban Services in Provincial Towns Project (Mongolia)

  6. Agriculture Sector Development Program (Mongolia)

  7. Irrigation Rehabilitation Project (Tajikistan)

Mekong Region

  1. Tonle Sap Initiative Project (Regional)

  2. Samut Prakan Wastewater Management Project (SPWMP) (Thailand)

South Asia

  1. Khulna-Jessore Drainage Rehabilitation Project (Bangladesh)

  2. Sundarbans Biodiversity Conservation Project (SBCP) (Bangladesh)

  3. Chasma Rights Bank Irrigation (Pakistan)

  4. Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development and Coastal Environment Management Project (India)

  5. Melamchi Water Supply Project (Nepal)

  6. West Seti Hydropower Project (Nepal)

Southeast Asia

  1. Maynilad Water (Philippines)

  2. Laiban Dam (Philippines)

  3. Integrated Citarum Water Resources Management Program (Indonesia)

Samut Prakarn Waste Water Management Project (SPWMP) | Thailand

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ADB’s stake in the project is one-third (US$230 million) of the total cost (US$687 million). The plant is co-financed by the Thai Government (59% of total cost) and the Japan Overseas Economic Cooperation Fund (now the Japan Bank for International Cooperation). Prior to this major loan, ADB has already extended grants to study alternatives in mitigating the deteriorating environment in the province of Samut Prakarn focusing on water quality. The result of such a study was the recommendation of a central wastewater treatment plant that will be built on each side of the Chao Phraya River.


The Samut Prakarn Wastewater Management project is designed to serve as the hub of all wastes generated by industries, commercial and residential groups in the Samut Prakarn province. Aside from the central treatment plant on the east and west side of the province, the project entails the installation of collection and discharge pipelines that would serve as the conduit to the industries and the treatment plants. The treated waste would then be released to the Gulf of Thailand. Controversy erupted when construction began in a different site, away from the original sites identified in the studies. The residents of Klong Dan had no idea that their area would now be housing just one wastewater treatment plant until construction was in full swing. Project information was difficult to obtain, as both the ADB and the Thai Government’s Pollution Control Department (PCD) was tight-lipped on the issue. The concerned villagers had to go through various institutions just to understand the basics of the plant and its direct impact on their livelihood. Central to what the villagers came to know was the fact that the project in Klong Dan has neither environmental nor social assessment studies. Klong Dan was not part of the many option areas that were identified by the initial studies.


The wastewater plant is a big issue for the Klong Dan villagers as they largely depend on the fertility of the Gulf of Thailand and its tributaries. The Gulf is home to many shrimp, mussel, and fish farms. From information obtained outside the financing institutions, the plant doesn’t have the capacity to treat wastewater that is heavy on phosphorous, nitrogen, bacteria, and heavy metals. The immediate impact would just be to contribute to the pollution of the gulf. Moreover, water where the project is situated exhibits a circular motion hence, these toxins will not be fully flushed out of the gulf. Releasing the treated water into the gulf would also reduce the salinity of the water that would drastically affect the mussel and fish farms. Apart from these effects, the adverse impacts of the project on the villagers’ health are also noted. On the other hand, the villagers were never consulted in the decision-making process.

UK Alternate ED Resigns from ADB Inspection Committee

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by Nurina Widagdo

It is yet another show of disapproval to ADB Management’s attitude in the Samut Prakarn case, the United Kingdom’s Alternate Executive Director to the Bank filed his resignation from the Bank Inspection Committee (BIC) last April 19, 2002.

The reason given for his resignation is because he felt that he should no longer associate himself with the Bank’s current inspection process via Board Inspection Committee membership, following the Bank Management’s decision to reject totally the findings of the first-ever independent Panel of Experts commissioned by the Inspection Committee. There have been several other actions on the part of the Bank Management which have reinforced his decision to resign, and he viewed that the Bank has failed to respect the essential integrity and independence of its inspection process.


Mr. Black’s service in the Inspection Committee is in his personal capacity but the authorities (Austria, Germany, Turkey, UK) he represents have been kept fully informed. Mr. Black has been an advocate for a more accountable inspection mechanism and processes of inspection cases. His resignation, coupled with the departure of Mr. John Lockhart (Australian ED) last April, has really weakened the Board Inspection Committee. The current Chair of the Committee, Mr. Zaheer Ahmed from Pakistan, is not known for providing strong leadership for strengthening the Inspection process. Pakistan voted against the Samut Prakarn case in the recent Board meeting on the Samut Prakarn Inspection case


**The author is the Manager for Asia Projects of the Washington D.C-based Bank Information Center. She can be contacted at nwidagdo@bicusa.org Independent Inspection Finally Authorized.


Last July, ADB’s Board of Directors has finally authorized the independent inspection of outside experts on the controversial Samut Prakarn Wastewater Management Project. The inspection enters ADB’s history as the very to be conducted under the Bank’s Inspection Function policy. This action came from the growing pressure from both the affected local communities and international organizations on the alleged failure of the Bank to comply with its own policies. The results of the investigation of the validity of the complaints, ranging from environmental to corruption issues, will be reported to the Inspection Committee of ADB’s Board, which in turn, will be passed on the Bank’s management to solicit recommendations that will guide the Board’s final decision.


The Samut Prakarn Wastewater Management Project is one of the Government of Thailand’s responses to the intensifying pollution problems in the Bangkok Metropolitan Region. Samut Prakarn, one of the 5 provinces comprising the region, is estimated to have 1.2 million residents and 4,000 factories that contribute to wastewater flows. Aside from the government, the project is financed by the ADB and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and was initially estimated to cost at around US$750 million. Of this amount, the Bank is responsible for providing US$230 million or 30% of the cost.


The US$230 million loans are the sum of two separate loans: the US$150 million approved on December 7, 1995, and the US$80 million supplementary loan designed for the completion of the project which was approved on December 3, 1998. Both loans are from the Bank’s ordinary capital resources (OCR). The former has a 25-year term including the five-year grace period and is to be paid semiannually. The latter is repayable over 22 years, inclusive of the five-year grace period.

The project entails the construction of wastewater collection systems, a central wastewater treatment plant, wastewater, and effluent monitoring systems as well as the financing of a program for cleaner production and capacity building of government agencies responsible for managing wastewater.


For more information on the project, log on to Bank Information Center (BIC) [www.bicusa.org] or contact Nurina Widagdo at [nwidagdo@bicusa.org], Asia Program, BIC

Board of Directors: Interim Final Report Not For Public Circulationitle...

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Months after the inspection was authorized, the requests made by Klong Dan villagers have all winded down to a state of discouragement. In December, with the impending release of the final report before the end of 2001, the Inspection Committee has declined to make the Interim Final Report public and would only be kept within the confines of the committee.


Despite the Bank’s approval for an Independent Inspection for the project, funds for the Samut Prakarn Wastewater Management Project continued to be disbursed from ADB’s coffers. As of end-November, 80% of the project has already been constructed. Apart from this, the Government of Thailand has stopped the panel’s site inspection for undisclosed reasons. Eventually, it has agreed on the site visit but with the condition that the Bank will be responsible for whatever damages that a possible occurrence of violence may bring about. In response, the Inspection Panel decided to finalize the interim report without a site visit. The aborted visit was considered a blow to the villagers who were keen on the consultations that would follow the site inspection.


With these developments, the villagers and organizations feel that the Bank is speeding up the process to its own advantage. It is in this light that the following immediate concerns are raised to the Forum: – Obtain a copy of the Interim Report of the Inspection Committee

  • Follow-up Inspection Panel meeting scheduled for the early part of 2002

  • Intensify international campaign through information dissemination

  • Target Manila-based media to expose ADB’s involvement re: project irregularities


On the other hand, the following must be lobbied in support of the cause of the villagers: – the project is not cost-effective – the Thai government is sending the wrong signal by encouraging industries that support adversarial technology just so economic growth can be achieved. It must stop supporting projects such as the Samut Prakarn Water Treatment Plant by studying which industries would prove beneficial to the country and the environment.


Chronology of Inspection Events

On 29 November 2000, three Klong Dan villagers filed a formal request to the Bank’s President for the inspection of the project. Four months after the President’s receipt of the letter, the same people filed the request to the Inspection Committee, which was then forwarded to the Bank’s Management for their own response.


On July 10, the Board authorized the independent inspection. After months of deliberation on the composition of the panel, the TORs, work plan, and budget, the formal independent inspection was finalized.


Anxiety and hope all fell down, however, when the Government of Thailand suddenly issued a letter stopping the impending inspection without reason whatsoever. Eventually, the Government once again consented but with the condition that the Bank should take full responsibility for all damages that may occur should violence erupt. In response, the Inspection Committee announced to the public that it may not do a site visit & consultation with the villagers anymore as the government condition is an unacceptable term. Eventually, the committee opted to finalize their report without seeing the site. Worse, the Interim Final Report was decided to stay within the confines of the Committee.


Irregularities in the Samut Prakarn Project

Design and Location. The water treatment plant is currently a single infrastructure situated far from where it was originally conceptualized. The single plant, instead of two, is perceived to be more cost-effective for the government. The transfer, however, cost the government more. Together with the inflated land rates at which it was procured, the project cost has now ballooned to 23.7 billion baht, up from its initial budget of 13.6billion baht.


Questionable Viability of the Project. The treatment plant discourages the use of the factories in Samut Prakarn from using their own wastewater treatment plants. Instead, they are ordered to make the project viable by connecting with the project’s pipes. However, the factories find this scheme more expensive. The same sentiments are heard from the residential areas that have to pay more in taxes for wastewater treatment when these are already covered by the current tax level.


Environmental and Social Concerns. Documents obtained from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation show the plant’s inability to fully treat wastewater with metals remaining in their original state after treatment. Together with the accumulation of sludge, the impending pollution of the bodies of land and water, the budget speaks of no fund that would address the problem. At-risk are the resources that live in the bodies of land and water as well as the health of the communities living near the site area.


Absence of Environmental and Social Impact Analyses on the Existing Project Site. Since the onset of the project’s construction, Environmental and Social Impact Analyses have yet to be seen by the public. As such, the project’s magnitude on its future affectees is estimated by the villagers and concerned groups but not the ADB.


Shrouded and Corrupt Actions. The price of the land where the project is situated was purchased at more than twice its official rate (1.03 million baht per rai vs. 480,000 baht per rai). Critics claim that this was done in order to bail out companies with real estate investments that have gone awry. The parcels of land comprising the site were originally intended to be developed as resorts. As to why the project still pushed through despite the obvious problems in the current site, the close relations between two primary institutions involved in the project (ADB staff and officials of the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Environment) explain the act.

Integrated Citarum Water Resource Management (ICWRM) Project | Indonesia

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Citarum is one of the longest rivers in Java, measuring over 11,000 sq. km and about 270 km long. There are more than 9 million people living in the Citarum River basin. There are 11 protected areas in the basin.


More than 85% of the river water goes to irrigation. The rest is used for domestic and industrial purposes.

Due to the high population density and operation of industries along the river basin, Citarum has been severely polluted. To date, there are over 200 industries operating along Citarum that have been dumping 270 tons of industrial waste per day into the river. Sedimentation has also become a problem that has been causing flooding in the downstream area. The river retains capacity has also been decreasing from time to time.


Labeled as the dirtiest river by the ADB, the Bank approved a $500-million loan to the government of Indonesia to rehabilitate the dying Citarum River. Under the multi-tranche financing facility (MFF), the 15-year program will be implemented in four tranches.

However, civil society organizations have challenged the ADB-funded ICWRMP due to a lack of disclosure of information to local communities that will be directly affected by the project. Likewise, the local implementing agency has evicted people living along the West Tarum Canal even before the finalization of the resettlement plans for the project.

In December 2009, a complaint was filed in the office of the special project facilitator of the ADB for the eviction of a number of households. Though the complaint was deemed ineligible, local groups have continued to monitor the project.

Partner NGOs:


Other related documents

  1. Affected people clueless about ADB project

  2. Ulma Haryonto Jakarta Globe, July 2010

  3. A coalition of watchdogs and civil society organizations have accused ADB of violating its own Public Communication Policy.

  4. Complaint on the Citarum Project registered under the OSPF December 2009

  5. Local households filed a complaint due to forced displacements and non-provision of compensation primary source of income for local families were demolished.

  6. Water project displaces hundreds of Indonesians December 2009

  7. Hundreds of Indonesians living along the Kalimalang Canal were displaced. 

  8. CITARUM (ARUM) criticized the ADB and the Indonesian government for the forced displacement of households along the Kalimalang Canal.

  9. Hundreds of People living in Kalimalang is expropriated because of Asian Development Bank’s Program in Citarum (ICWRMIP) [Press release] Arum, November 2009

  10. People Alliance on Citarum- ALIANSI RAKYAT Kruha, July 2008

  11. Citarum dan Pinjaman ADB (Citarum and ADB loan) By Ratna Yunita,

Sundurban Biodiversity Conservation Project | Bangladesh

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The Sundarbans Biodiversity Conservation Project (SBCP) is a US$ 77.5 million project financed by a loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), grants from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Government of The Netherlands and contributions from Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF), GoB, NGOs and Beneficiaries.


In respect of the Sundarban Bio-diversity Conservation Project (SBCP), we have managed to keep in touch since before its inception. We participated in a baseline survey under the Association for Development Agencies in Bangladesh (ADAB the apex body of NGOs) on the request of ADB and submitted our recommendations to the ADB. We participated in the workshops organized for publishing the Inception Report of the SBCP.

It is on the basis of the SBCP’s failure to address the problems of the Sundarbans, the largest single tract of mangrove ecosystem that exists in the world today, that we formed the SBCP Watch Group along with two other NGOs with the cooperation of Action Aid Bangladesh.


  1. Ashraf-ul-Alam Tutu Coordinator, CDP, and SBCP Watch Group. cdp@khulna.bangla.net

  2. Sardar Arif Uddin, Associate Programme Coordinator, ActionAid Bangladesh, Plot 1/13, Block B, Humayun Road Mohammadpur, Daka-1207 Tel: (880-2) 8111763, 8118378Fax: (880-2) 9137753 arif@fo.actionaid-bd.org

Related ADB Documents

  1. Summary of action recommendations, CRBIP III Stakeholder Dialogue on Social Impacts, Consensus-Building Institute (consultant) (March 2002)​



NGOs Form SBCP Watch Group

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From the very planning stage of the project, the Environment-Conscious NGOs, Environmental Activists, Journalists and other concerned Civic leaders became interested in it. They expressed their opinions as to how the project could be able to conserve the bio-diversity of the SRF and reduce poverty in the region inhabited by people dependent on the Sundarbans. But the ADB and SBCP went ahead with the project without paying any heed to the opinions and advice of the above-mentioned groups and individuals. This led to critical statements by various forums and criticisms of various aspects and activities of the project began to appear in the newspapers.

Accordingly, CDP, in association with Uttaran of Tala, Satkhira, JJS of Khulna, and LOKOJ of Dhana formed a group titled SBCP Watch Group with the cooperation of Action Aid Bangladesh to conduct aa critical review of the project in November 2002.

On January 22 and 23, Review and Planning meetings of the SBCP Watch Group were held in presence of Mr. Sardar Arif Uddin, Associate Program Coordinator, Southwest Region, of AAB at the Conference Room of CDP. Resolutions were adopted to enhance the membership of the SBCP, collect and prepare various SBCP related documents, to prepare a Position Paper of the SBCP Watch Group and to prepare to face the Asian Development Bank at its AGM to be held in May next at Istambul in Turkey, were adopted at the meeting. Mr. Sardar Arif Uddin also presented the plan for the Second Phase of the activities of the SBCP Watch Group and Budget for the same.

On the way back from the Asian Social Forum Seminars in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh India, Ashraf-ul-Alam Tutu, Coordinator of CDP, and Mr. Shashanka Saadi of Action Aid Bangladesh, held a meeting with a group of Activists of the Calcutta University at Kolkata on January 8, 2003. The group led by Dr. Ratan Khasnabis has plans to hold an International Seminar on the Sundarbans sometime in late March or early April this year and has invited a delegation from Bangladesh.

On January 9, they also met with a group of West Bengal NGOs at Barasat in 24 Parganas, and shared experiences with them.

CDP also compiled Newspaper Clippings on the activities of the SBCP Watch and published a Book entitled: “Sundarban Bio-diversity Conservation Project: Peoples’ Opinions” (in Bangla).


CDP is implementing a Project to raise awareness for the need to conserve the Bio-diversity not only in the Sundarbans, but in the entire Southwest Coastal Region. This project is being implemented with a Grant from The Tides Foundation through the Global Greengrants Fund of the USA.

CDP is also implementing a project to enhance the capacity of local grassroots NGOs and CBOs to serve the disadvantaged people of the Southwest Coastal Region with a grant from Stichting Overal of The Netherlands.


CDP initiated this project to form a Peoples’ River Commission comprising NGOs, CBOs, Civil Society Initiatives and Activists in Bangladesh, India, and Nepal in order to influence the governments concerned to form a Joint River Commission of the three countries for optimum utilization of the waters of the Ganges and its tributaries.

On the way back from the Asian Social Forum Seminars in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh India, Ashraf-ul-Alam Tutu, Coordinator of CDP and Mr. Shashanka Saadi of Action Aid Bangladesh, held a meeting with a Network of several NGOs active in West Bengal and held discussions with them in respect of the PRC. They assured their support, as their area too, had suffered vast devastation by the flood of 2000, which had affected the Southwestern border districts of Bangladesh.

All of you are aware of the ADB funded project implementing in Bangladesh named SBCP (Sundarban Bio-diversity Conservation Project). Last year, 35 AGM of ADB we, on behalf of the SBCP watch group participated in the meeting but did not raise our voice to review the project design. But now we are more organized and already we have done some activities to prove the project was not well designed, which will carry a negative impact on Sundarban dwellers as well as destroy the livelihood of poor people. Already we launched campaign with the following activities:

  1. Prepare a position paper on SBCP (done)

  2. Produce primary observation on SBCP by SBCP watch group (done)

  3. Produce a fact sheet (done)

  4. Study on SBCP with some critical objectives relate to SBCP (ongoing)

  5. Signature campaign

  6. Consultation with SBCP impact zone dwellers and documented (ongoing) -Poster campaing on Impact of SBCP

  7. Media campaign on the prediction of SBCP

  8. Develop a prediction group on ADB’s pipeline project in the coastal belt in Bangladesh, etc


As I discussed with you at Shanghai, ADB’s 35th annual meeting that, in Bangladesh, we are trying to develop a watch group on SBCP (Sundarban Biodiversity Conservation Project) funded by ADB. Already we formed this and also go through the total project, I shared with you earlier on our position, principles, and arguments on the SBCP project.

In the meantime, the watch group tries to consult with SBCP impact zome dwellers regarding this issue. I will time to time inform the forum member on ADB, Here I attached an article on SBCP published on national dailies that already know ADB headquarters personnel.

The watch group trying to prepare himself to claim their argument to ADB (first- ADB resident mission in Bangladesh) and if fail to receive any kind of response from ADB side to redesign the project, then the group obviously present their argument on next ADB AGM will be held at Istanbul.


The conference on World Environment Day 2002 at Khulna has been concluded successfully declaring “The Dacope Long March” to be held in September with the firm promise from all tier of sensible people to save the Sunderbans.

As the whole world, this year the day has been celebrated at Khulna with more importance and attention by different non-government civil organizations. The successful six days long (1-6 of June 2002) program was shaped with environmental awareness rally, press conference and sensitization seminars at Khulna Zia Hall jointly organized by Coastal Committee for Environmental Conservation (CCEC) and Jagrata Juba Shangha (JJS). The key seminar was on “Oil-Gas Exploration in Block 5 &7: Path to a Prospect or Disaster?” The paper was presented by M A R Aaman, Manager-Governance, JJS and the session was chaired by A. T. M. Zakir Hossain, Executive Director, JJS.


The paper focuses on the anti-environmental activities by the MNCs (Multi-national Companies) in Sundarbans Reserved Forest (SRF) in the name of oil-gas exploration. SRF is the largest mangrove system in the world comprising an area of 6017 sq. km. with notable as well as diversified plants and animals. After the declaration as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO (1997) the importance of its protection emphasized the responsibility to all sensible persons on earth. Surprisingly Bangladesh Government has included SRF in the oil exploration map of Bangladesh, which is against our national environment and forest laws and actions. Two Dutch & US company – Shell and Unicol were awarded to investigate in block 5 & 7 which comprises SRF during the second round bidding and a Production Sharing Contact (PSC) has already been signed with Shell-Cairn to investigate in block-5. Shell has informed to go for an investigation at Dacope, which is very close to SRF. It is a great threat to the eco-system of SRF. Besides the dark history of IOCs (International Oil Companies) in Haripur, Samutang, and Magurchhara for the same case are still in our mind. Along with this, the design process of the Sundarbans Biodiversity Conservation Project (SBCP) did not consider the perception and condition of people living in the impact zone. This top-down project will surely result in wastage of huge money and the burden of foreign loans to the people. Peoples from this area must stop this cruel alteration in SRF.

The chief guest of that program was Eng. Md. Shahidullah, Convener, Jatyo Sarthe Tel-Gas-Bidyut-Bandar Rakkha Committee. Other notable contributors were Arup Rahi, Director, Lokoj; Ashraful Alam Tutu, Co-ordinator, CDP; Adv. Firoz Ahmed, Co-ordinator, BELA & Convener, CCEC; Prof. Dr. Ghulam Murtaza, URP Discipline, Khulna University; Nurul Islam, (Retired) Conservator of Forest, Department of Forest, Bangladesh; Gaurango Nandi, Staff Reporter, Daily Janokantho and Rahul Raha Staff Reporter, Daily Observer.

Following the significance of environmental threats in the greater Khulna region, five other seminars were launched on safe water & sanitation, climate change, environmental law, development in Ganges delta & environmental conservation. At the end session, the request has been conveyed to all in the society to save Sundarbans by participating actively in the “Dacop Long March” in September 2002.

You know that we already started some work on SBCP (Sundarban Biodiversity Conservation Project ) at Bangladesh funded by ADB. We produced a primary observation report on that project through consultation with project impact zone area people’s, civil society, go through the ADB”s project document, etc. I just attached the primary report for your comments and also your suggestion on how we go ahead based on your campaign experience.


On January 22 and 23, Review and Planning meetings of the SBCP Watch Group were held in presence of Mr. Sardar Arif Uddin, Associate Program Coordinator, Southwest Region, of AAB at the Conference Room of CDP. Resolutions were adopted to enhance the membership of the SBCP, collect and prepare various SBCP related documents, to prepare a Position Paper of the SBCP Watch Group and to prepare to face the Asian Development Bank at its AGM to be held in May next at Istambul in Turkey, were adopted at the meeting. Mr. Sardar Arif Uddin also presented the plan for the Second Phase of the activities of the SBCP Watch Group and Budget for the same.

CDP also compiled Newspaper Clippings on the activities of the SBCP Watch and published a book, entitled: “Sundarban Bio-diversity Conservation Project: Peoples’ Opinions in Bangladesh.”

CDP is implementing a Project to raise awareness for the need to conserve the Bio-diversity not only in the Sundarbans but in the entire Southwest Coastal Region. This project is being implemented with a Grant from The Tides Foundation through the Global Greengrants Fund of USA.


On the occasion of ADB president’s visit to Bangladesh, a protest human chain program was held at Shahabag More (in front of National Museum)on 31st October 2002. The protest program was organized by LOKOJ (okoj@aitlbd.net), Bangla Praxis, and Binirman Andolon. 


You know that we already started some work on SBCP (Sundarban Biodiversity Conservation Project ) at Bangladesh funded by ADB. We produced a primary observation report on that project through consultation with project impact zone area people, civil society, go through the ADB”s project document, etc. I just attached the primary report for your comments and also your suggestion on how we go ahead based on your campaign experience.

After coming back from Shanghai, China I feel to design a strong campaign and to involve more and more people to raise our voice strongly. I feel you are all can provide your suggestion for me.

Last year, 35 AGM of ADB we, on behalf of the SBCP watch group participated in the meeting but did not raise our voice to review the project design. 



After successfully advocating with the ADB by participating in the meeting of the Board of Governors of ADB at Geneva, Switzerland from April 28 to May 3, 1998, the CDP began to undertake various studies and advocacy programs related to environment and environment-related socio-economic and humanitarian issues, such as advocacy for an environment-friendly shrimp policy (against the environment-damaging extensive shrimp culture now in practice).

The Upokulio Unnayan Shahojogy, known in English as Coastal Development Partnership or CDP, was established on January 1, 1997, to conduct Advocacy for the incorporation of Peoples’ Alternative Proposal of Tidal River Management (TRM) Concept in the Bangladesh Water Development Board’s (BWDB).

ADB funded USD 62 million Khulna Jessore Drainage Rehabilitation Project (KJDRP). The purpose of the project was to eliminate the water-logging in the polders created by the Coastal Embankment Project which was implemented during the 1960s.

We have also initiated social movements to realize the rights of the land-less to be settled on state-owned agricultural lands in cooperation with the Association for Land Reform and Development (ALRD).

We are also working in cooperation with the Programme Development Office of the Integrated Coastal Zone Management (PDO-ICZM), which is a government initiative to integrate the activities of various ministries.

The PADMA Network of 30 NGOs in the Ganges Dependent Area (GDA) of Bangladesh seeks to ensure peoples’ participation in all major river/water management and other development projects in the region.

Another Network, Citizens’ Committee for Conservation of Coastal Environment (CCCCE) is active to raise awareness of the citizens to conserve the region’s general environment. We successfully advocated for banning the manufacture, sale, and use of polythene shopping bags, which pollutes the environment. The CCCCE also observes Earthday and World Environment Day with rallies, seminars, environmental fairs, and cultural programs.

Chasma Right Bank Irrigation Project

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The Chashma Right Bank Irrigation Project (CRBIP) Phase III is part of an extensive irrigation system in the largely desert area of Siraiki speaking Pakistan, near the Punjab-Balochistan border. While the ADB claims the project brings water to the desert, many citizens’ groups fear that the project has replaced indigenous irrigation technology, caused massive displacement, and disturbed natural water cycles for great expense and little gain.


The project involves the construction of a 274-km canal along the Indus River, 72 distribution canals, 68 cross structures, and 91 bridges. Stages I and II of the CRBIP are already completed. Initiated in 1992, CRBIP III was due for completion in end-December 2002, though construction is ongoing in part due to recommendations by the ADB’s Inspection Panel. It will irrigate 606,000 acres of land in both D.I. Khan and D.G. Khan districts in central Pakistan.


The project objectives are to:

  1. provide a dependable perennial irrigation supply,

  2. ensure efficient distribution of water,

  3. provide necessary drainage and flood relief,

  4. improve access within the area, and

  5. strengthen agriculture support services.


Financing for CRBIP III was approved by ADB in December 1991 for US$185 million; this is roughly 64% of the total project cost. The Government of Germany (KfW) provided another US$40 million — or 22% of the total–in loans; the remaining 14% was shouldered by the Pakistani Government. In addition, ADB approved in July 1999 supplementary financing of US$33.5 million to meet CRBIP III cost overruns.

The project cost was originally estimated at Rs 1,570 million. Today, the project cost has ballooned eleven-fold, to Rs 17,000 million. By April 1999, and with only 15% of the project completed, there were already extensive project delays and cost overruns.


Instead of requesting a new loan for CRBIP III, the Government of Pakistan proposed to utilize funds from another ADB project — National Drainage Sector Project — to meet Chasma’s cost overruns. In July 1999, ADB approved a transfer of US$33.5 million from the drainage project to CRBIP III. As a consequence, cost overrun estimates for CRBIP III were reduced, resulting in a surplus of US$5.1 million that was redirected back to the National Drainage Project.


The implementing agency is the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA).



The concerns raised by Chashma affectees and NGOs include:

  1. Project design-related social and environmental problems

  2. Project-induced flooding and resettlement

  3. Land acquisition and compensation

  4. Project management, irregularities, and corruption

  5. Environmental concerns

  6. Terminating the traditional irrigation systems

  7. Information sharing, participation, and consultation with the affectees

  8. Marred mobility


These problems and impacts affect people’s basic rights including the right to livelihood and the right to information. Many of these rights are guarded by national laws. Similarly, the legal and historical rights of local communities over floodwater are also affected by this project. These historical and legal rights were formally negotiated between local communities and the British Government at the start of the twentieth century. These rights are still part of national irrigation laws.


Since February 2001, community affectees and their NGO representatives have repeatedly raised these concerns not only with relevant government officials in Pakistan but also with the ADB, including at the 2001 and 2002 Annual Meetings in Honolulu and Shanghai, respectively.



NGOs report faulty project design (December 2002) Mushtaq Gadi of SUNGI Development Foundation and CRBIP Affectee Javid Iqbal visited CRBIP site 10-14 December 2002 and reported mistakes in project design and preparation that have significant and destructive impacts on communities: “Lack of comprehensive and participatory social, cultural and environmental impact assessment in the case of Chashma Right Bank Irrigation Project (CRBIP) plays key role in suppressing and displacing the requisite knowledge of adverse impacts of the project. However, this situation politically benefits the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and provides them the opportunity to avoid taking the responsibility for the havoc, which they have created in the name of development. Some mistakes committed in the project design preparation and implementation are stupidly unjustified though they have significant destructive consequences for the security of life, livelihoods, and ecology in the area.”


Affectees file full inspection claim (November 2002) Affected persons of the Chashma Right Bank Irrigation Project (CRBIP) Stage III, filed an inspection claim to the ADB’s Board Inspection Committee (BIC) on November 19, 2002. Following are the major concerns of the project affectees:

  1. Lack of comprehensive and participatory socio-economic, cultural and environmental project assessment;

  2. Flooding and resettlement;

  3. Changes in project design, supplementary financing, and full project reappraisal;

  4. Forced and illegal land acquisition and compensation;

  5. Lifestyle disruptions, in-migration and disintegration of community networks and support systems; and

  6. Adverse environmental impacts.


Complainants claim that the ADB did not comply with its own policies and procedures viz:

  • Incorporation of Social Dimensions in Bank’s Operations;

  • Guidelines for Social Analysis for Development Projects;

  • Environmental Considerations in Bank’s Operation;

  • Policy on Involuntary Resettlement; Policy on Indigenous Peoples;

  • Operational Procedures on Supplementary Financing of Cost overruns of Bank-Financed Projects (OM 32 BP/OP and OM 13/OP);

  • Policy on Benefit Monitoring and Evaluation.



Mr. Zafar Iqbal Lund (Hirak Development Center, D.G. Khan; Mr. Ahsan Wagha, Damaan Development Organization, D.G. Khan; Mr. Khadim Hussain, Action Aid-Pakistan, Islamabad; Mr. M. Nauman, Creed Alliance, Karachi; Mr. Shafi Qaisrani, Chashma Affectees Committee, D. G.Khan; and Mr. Mushtaq Gadi, SUNGI, Islamabad.



Chasma affectees staged a protest rally against the highhandedness of local district administration and Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) and violation by ADB of its own policies and procedures in Dera Ghazi Khan on October 4, 2002. The affectees warned that a mass movement will be launched against them if they failed to ensure immediate redress of their grievances. They demanded the following: allotment of land against the land acquired from them by WAPDA; land valuation according to market rates; resettlement and rehabilitation of the affectees; accountability of the ADB and WAPDA staff; and elimination of corruption and commission mafia in the project. More than 500 project affectees, peasant councilors, and the representatives of political parties and NGOs joined the rally organized by Chashma Mutasereen Committee (CMC) and Chashma Right Bank Canal (CRBC) Area Organization.

ADB postpones dialogue to March 2002 (September 2001) Due to the September 11 attacks in the US, ADB reset its CRBIP mission and multi-stakeholder dialogue –originally scheduled for September 2001 — to March 2002. Affectees had been unhappy with this latest development as many of the problems brought about by the project have yet to be resolved, even as the project nears completion.

ADB releases draft consultants’ report (September 2001) ADB consultants from Consensus-Building Institute released a discussion paper prepared for the multi-stakeholder dialogue on CRBIP III slated for September. Chasma affectees and civil society groups were unhappy with the report, however, citing that many of their concerns have not been addressed. These include negative environmental impacts, overestimation of economic returns, flaws in project design, and decision-making processes.


ADB consultants to assess CRBIP social impacts (July 2001) ADB contracted the services of the US-based Consensus-Building Institute (CBI) in July 2001 to undertake an “independent and neutral process” of social assessment for CRBIP III and initiate a multi-stakeholder dialogue. The Social Assessment Team consists of Dr. Adil Najam (senior consultant, CBI) and Syed Ayub Qutub (President, Pakistan Institute of Environment-Development Action Research). An initial fact-finding mission will be undertaken in August and a draft report prepared for discussion at a multi-stakeholder workshop in September. Consultants will visit Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, and the project area in DI Khan. Aside from project affectees, the consultants’ team will meet with government officials and other stakeholders, including ADB staff and SUNGI/DAMAAN. Chasma affectees earlier demanded that WAPDA arranges a CRBIP workshop with various stakeholders to develop and mutually agreed on a work plan for regular engagement between the affectees and WAPDA and a code of conduct for the latter.


Some twenty-two (22) NGO participants at the FORUM-organized Regional Strategy Meeting of Asian NGOs on ADB Advocacy in April 2001 in Subic, Philippines endorsed an “Initial Charter of Demands” presented by Wasim Wagha, a representative of the local NGODAMAAN. The participants also signed a letter in support of the Chasma affectees, which Wagha also presented at subsequent meetings with various ADB officials at the Bank’s Headquarters in Manila.


Affectees dissatisfied with ADB-WAPDA meeting (February 2001) In a February 2001 meeting organized by WAPDA on the occasion of the site visit of ADB’s Akira Seki, Director of the Agriculture and Social Sector Development (West), Chasma affectees realized that WAPDA and ADB officials were unwilling to listen to their concerns. From a report prepared by SUNGI’s Khadim Hussain: “… it seems that both WAPDA and ADB like to deal with the issue by dilly-dallying and wasting time, they want to quickly finish the project and leave the mess they have made for the local administration to deal with… (ADB) tries to shift the blame to the implementing agency (WAPDA). It always shows readiness to bring more funds (loans) to remove the complaints of the communities. On the other hand, WAPDA wants to deal with people in the typical bureaucratic way; that is, first to ignore them (PD told DAMAAN that he didn’t read the survey report), then to split the people by threats, co-optation, bribery in the form of favors, etc.”


NGO survey reveals adverse social, environmental impacts (November 2000) DAMAAN (a local NGO) and Sungi Development Foundation conducted a survey of CRBIP III in November 2000. The survey identified several adverse social, environmental, and economic impacts of the project. Social impacts include the mobility of people, land ownership patterns, land prices, labor movements, an influx of outsiders, social organization, movement of capital, cropping pattern. (see full survey report)


Related Documents

  • Summary of action recommendations, CRBIP III Stakeholder Dialogue on Social Impacts, Consensus-Building Institute (consultant) (March 2002)​

  • Discussion paper, CRBIP III Workshop on Social Impacts, Consensus-Building Institute (consultant) (February 2002)

  • Discussion paper, CRBIP III Workshop on Social Impacts, Consensus-Building Institute (consultant)(September 2001)

  • Chasma Inspection Claim Update # 3, Mushtaq Gadi, Sungi Development Foundation, 20 December 2002

  • Chasma Inspection Claim Update # 2, Mushtaq Gadi, Sungi Development Foundation, 18 December 2002Damaan & Sungi Development Foundation, December 2000
    Pakistan: Lessons from Korangi ‘inspection’ case, CREED, Pakistan, April 2000
    For further reading and contact information, see the Chashma-Struggles Website.

  • Chasma Inspection Claim Update # 1, Mushtaq Gadi, Sungi Development Foundation, 2 December 2002

  • Chasma inspection claims 19 November 2002

  • Letter of May 28, 2002, to ADB President for filing Complaint regarding theChasma Right Bank Irrigation Project (CRBIP) in Pakistan under the Inspection Procedure of the Bank, Ahsan Wagha, Zafar Lund, Mushtaq Gadi, Muhammad Nauman, May 2002, April 2002DAMAANChasma Bank Canal: Messing with indigenous irrigation systems, Wasim Wagha,

  • The Bank’s Un-civil Engagements: Experiences of Chashma Affectees, Mushtaq Gadi, Sungi Development Foundation, April 2002

  • Chasma: Can ADB hear the cries of affectees?, Farhana Wagha, ActionAid Pakistan, April 2002

  • Update: CRBIP campaign status, March 2002 DAMAAN

  • Update, September 2001DAMAAN

  • CRBIP-Affectees Initial Charter of Demands, April 2001, Eileen G. Rillera, NGO Forum on ADB, April 2001 i

  • Pakistan: Irrigation project sparks social, environmental issues.

  • CRBIP – A survey report,

Developing a people’s perception based video document on the ADB supported IWRM project in Baitarani River Basin, Odisha for South-South Advocacy Initiative of NGO Forum on ADB

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Ranjan Kishor Panda, Convenor of Water Initiatives Odisha (WIO), the leading network on the water in Odisha and one of the prominent voices of water in India, took up the initiative to monitor the IWRM Project supported by ADB in Baitarani River Basin in Odisha, India. The NGO Forum on ADB supported a part of this initiative through small financial support in organizing public consultations and preparing a report on the state of affairs. The issues that the report highlighted and the activities that were undertaken by WIO have made a good impact in the state and besides the government going slow on the formation of the River Basin Organisation, there have been a lot of activities among civil society groups raising voices of concern about this project. Time has come to consolidate those voices and document them in an audiovisual format to be used as an advocacy tool not only at the state level but also at the national and Asia level targeting ADB’s intervention in IWRM. This proposal will basically be a follow up to the previous work but will build a new scope of advocacy through an audiovisual advocacy.

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Case study of project “Strengthening Water Management and Irrigation System Rehabilitation” in Bac Ninh province, Vietnam

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For thousands of years the Vietnamese people have gathered in the rich river deltas to cultivate rice and farm. In this way, agriculture has been the main economic driver of Vietnam. Even now, although industry and services have appeared and are often given priority in development, the importance of agriculture remains; it provides food for 90 million domestic consumers and contributes about 20% of the total GDP (2012) (Minh Ngoc 2013). By the end of 2012, the agricultural sector received the largest amount of loans from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to Vietnam, accounting for 31% of the total (Vietnam Overview 2013). This research centers on one of the ADB approved projects in the agricultural sector of the Red River delta of Vietnam, the project, “Strengthening Water Management and Irrigation System Rehabilitation” (here abbreviated as ADB5). Water usage in this area is faced with many challenges. For example, water must be shared among four different sectors: agriculture, industry, services, and households. Also, water irrigation system degradation has made the system less efficient and has caused the unnecessary waste of irrigation water. As a result of these problems, the ADB-funded project was established with the following three components:

  • Component 1 - Construction of a major portion of the first phase of the Pho Hien campus of the Water Resource University (WRU), comprising a wellbalanced, functional mix of educational facilities sufficient by 2016 for 13,400 students and including dormitories for 30% of the student body.

  • Component 2 - Construction and Rehabilitation of Bac Hung Hai (BHH) Irrigation and Drainage Infrastructure, including construction of eight new pumping stations and the rehabilitation of two existing pumping stations for irrigation, drainage and dual purposes in the BHH system, a system which runs through the 3 provinces of Bac Ninh, Hai Duong and Hung Yen.

  • Component 3 - Strengthening the capacity of BHH service providers: strengthen the capacity of water management organizations on a pilot basis in the Gia Binh area of Bac Ninh province, and improve management information throughout the BHH system, with the establishment of a first phase supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system. The rationale for the last two components arises from the increasing demand for water in agriculture to ensure food security, a problem intensified by the conversion of some paddy 3 lands to aquaculture areas. Also, the BHH irrigation system is one of the oldest systems in the Red River Delta and is experiencing degradation. Given the importance of the system in terms of the economy, social welfare and food security, this rehabilitation is much needed.


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Developing a People’s Perception based Video Document on the ADB supported IWRM Project in Citarum River Basin

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Citarum, a river 270 km long, is one of the important rivers in Java. Millions of people, especially those who live in Jakarta, are dependent on this river for their needs in agriculture and industry, and for their supply of clean water. Without the Citarum River, Jakarta would be a dead city since 80% of its water supply comes from the mentioned river. Ironically, it may no longer be sufficient to call Citarum as the river which can guarantee millions of lives. Many are now reporting Citarum as the longest ‘trash bin’ in the world. Various programs and projects keep coming in that aim to make Citarum adequate enough to be used as a river. Integrated Citarum Water Resources Management Investment Program (ICWRMIP) is one of 6 other rivers that is funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) with a total amount of USD 500 million. People’s Coalition for the Rights to Water (KRuHA), the national coalition advocacy on the water in Indonesia and one of the prominent voices campaign of water in Indonesia, took up the initiative to monitor the IWRM Projects. The issues that the report highlighted and the activities that were undertaken by KRuHA have made a good impact on a country level and have slow down the formation of the River Basin Organization. IWRM implementation has been so critical thus there are many civil society groups voiced their concerns. The time has come to consolidate those voices and publish them in an audio-visual format to be used as an advocacy tool not only at the state level but also at the national and regional level in targeting ADB’s intervention on IWRM.

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