Climate change is rapidly intensifying and turning into a global catastrophe if its impacts are not to be averted urgently. The impetus to limit the planet to 2 to 1.5 degrees and the climate crisis are intricately linked as well to the grave issues of food insecurity, scarcity of safe drinking water, and loss of biodiversity. In 2015, the United Nations encapsulate some of these into the Sustainable Development Goals with a collective goal of eradicating poverty, fighting inequalities, protecting the planet, and ensuring prosperity for all. However, the crisis we currently face is further exacerbated in an economic system that turns a blind eye on international financial institutions, banks, and corporations that disregard human rights, risk peoples’ lives and livelihoods, and deplete the Earth’s resources for the sake of profit. While capitalism and its free-market ideology continue to capture the minds of governments and the elite, the disastrous track record of decades-long of neoliberal policies is simply too appalling. In the midst of this chaos, it is the poorest of the poor and marginalized sectors of the community who ended up bearing the brunt of these social and economic injustices deprived of living a life with dignity.
Of the 1.2 billion people across the globe that we're able to lift themselves out of poverty since 1990, 1.1 billion were living in considerably “progress” has been made in reducing the percentage of those living in extreme poverty, increasing income inequality continues to be a challenge. Since 1966, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) peddles on the illusion that it is an institution committed to making the region free from poverty. According to the Bank, it had mobilized over more than USD 250 billion worth of investments in infrastructure, research, and knowledge sharing in its half a century of operations in Asia and the Pacific. The ADB shamelessly continues to shell out illegitimate debts to its member countries even if it had disastrous project and policy outcomes. Asia and the Pacific alone. While
The Bank’s role in penetrating into the national fibers of its member countries is equally if not more worrisome. This is evident in the members’ Country Strategy and Programmes (CSP), technical assistance on policy reforms such as privatization of public utilities, alienation of customary lands, and pushing the narrative of creating an enabling environment for the private sector to thrive in. ADB is also contributing to providing false solutions in its known – infrastructure projects on health, education, and agriculture and ramping up more private sector development and regional integration projects across its lending portfolio. The recent review of ADB’s Public Communications Policy (PCP) also fell short of the necessary transparent measures expected of it. It is in these contexts that the Asian Development Bank had failed miserably in its overall mandate of poverty alleviation and even contributed to proliferating inequality and the climate crisis in Asia. so-called clean energy investments,
The NGO Forum on ADB for twenty–five years has been at the forefront as an independent Asian – led civil society network that actively monitors ADB policies and projects with damning impacts on the ground. The Forum recognizes the perilous situation Asia is facing in the midst of the rising inequality, illegitimate debts, environmental degradation, displacement, human rights violations, and increasing vulnerability of the poor. The Forum had also strengthened the capacities of its members through research and policy advocacy on safeguards. It had fought with the struggles of its members calling for justice in elevating the grievances of project-affected communities to the Bank. Since its inception in 1992, the NGO Forum on ADB had actively advocated for the rights of local communities affected by the ADB’s policies and large–scale infrastructure projects. It has been a vanguard in monitoring the ADB and held it accountable, transparent and open to public scrutiny.