NGO Forum on ADB Joint Submission, AIIB ESF Review Phase 2
November 10, 2020
NGO Forum on ADB at the onset of this submission would like to state that this Phase2 input is in response to the Draft ESF released Sept 7, 2020. It needs to be noted that this current draft has significant changes in language on various aspects reducing client requirements, especially in categorization, and information disclosure. As a result, the draft ESF is a drastically weaker document in terms of ensuring community and environmental safeguards. This joint submission from NGO Forum on ADB calls out this draft to be an instrument to erode binding requirements by borrowers of AIIB from environmental and social responsibility surrounding projects. Before delving into the details it needs to be mentioned that the AIIB has not provided an assessment of its existing ESF delivery in the public domain. It should be noted that the AIIBs CEIU has not come up with a public report that has evaluated the effectiveness of the ESF 2016. We have further observed stand-alone projects such as Bhola IPP with severe environmental and social impacts for over 2 years without meaningful mitigation to harm, similarly gross discrepancies on information disclosure and lack of meaningful consultation persist with the Beijing Gas Project (stand-alone) along with co-financed projects such as Myingyan Gas Power Plant in Myanmar. Therefore what prompts the AIIB management to remove binding requirements from clients and borrowers with this new draft ESF must be questioned by all stakeholders engaging AIIB.
The Forum network thinks that this draft ESF, in general, fails to prioritize project-affected communities, whose rights should be at the center of project design, operation, and implementation. The network calls out the material weaknesses in provisions of this draft ESF and urges for significant rewrites to the sections identified in this submission. The Forum will highlight some of the problematic sections in the critique below to help guide AIIB towards a more responsible and binding ESF that holds clients accountable to the environment and communities.
Read the full submission here.