Since 1966, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) peddles on the illusion that it is an institution that is committed in making the region free from poverty. According to the bank, it has mobilized more than $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 continues to shell out illegitimate debts to its member countries even if it had disastrous project and policy outcomes.
Moreover, the bank has been enjoying immunity from countries, including the Philippines where it had put its investments.
This year as ADB celebrates its 50 years of operation highlighting its vision to alleviate poverty in Asia, affected communities, people’s organizations, and civil society organizations is holding an international gathering dubbed as “Asian People’s Call in Challenging ADB’s Immunity.” The event aims to expose the bank’s role in penetrating into the national fibers of its member countries that is worrisome. This is evident in the members’ Country Strategy and Programs (CSP), technical assistance on policy reforms such as privatization of public utilities, alienation of customary lands and the push for the narrative to create an enabling environment where private sectors could thrive.
ADB continues to contribute to providing false solutions to its so called clean energy investments, mega-infrastructure projects on health, education, and agriculture, and ramp up more private sector development and regional integration projects across its lending portfolio. The recent review of ADB’s Public Communications Policy (PCP) has also fallen short of the necessary transparent measures expected of it. It is in these contexts that ADB had failed miserably in its overall mandate of alleviating poverty, contributing even more in the proliferation of inequality and climate crisis in Asia.
Affected communities from the Naga Coal Plant from the Philippines, Railway Rehabilitation Project in Cambodia, Tata Mundra Mega Power Structure in India, Kali Gandaki “A” in Nepal and the historic Marcopper Mining Disaster from the Philippines gather in one roof to ask the most important question of all, after half a century, ‘is ADB’s immunity worth it?”