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CSOs around the world asks for space during the 5th AIIB Annual Meeting

Updated: Aug 6, 2020




Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)

Dear President Jin Liqun;

Greetings from NGO Forum on ADB.

We are writing to you on behalf of civil society groups and project-affected peoples in the time of this global pandemic to raise some key issues of concern. Unfortunately with struggling fiscal health, and lack of public health infrastructure Asian governments are opting to use the heavy-handed method of police and military crackdowns to enforce quarantine protocols, violating human rights and basic political freedoms. As this letter is being written civil society and journalists in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Philippines, Indonesia, Mongolia among many others are being persecuted, silenced, or incarcerated for speaking the truth and reporting state obligation failures surrounding COVID19 responses [1].

AIIB Project Affected Communities

Mr. President, you will be glad to know we have reached out to AIIB project-affected communities in the Philippines, India, Bangladesh, and raised small funds to provide food, masks, and basic medicines amid this crisis[2]. It was sad to hear back from local people that the project developer had never reached out once to them with any material or financial support during this time. We are also saddened to notice that the AIIB itself during this time of crisis has completely neglected project-affected communities in their crisis response. Some AIIB staff independently contributed to our relief efforts and we applaud and recognize that people within the bank are there who want to do what is right and just. We hope you will take this into consideration as the threat continues and people are still at the mercy of this pandemic and the AIIB can do much more than just provide loans.

AIIB Annual Meeting, Civil Society Space and Management Response

We were assured by you, Mr. President at the AM in Jeju 2017 - that there will always be a management session with civil society in every annual meeting to discuss ground realities and policy ramifications. In a time of a global pandemic when communities are most vulnerable, and the wealth the divide is contributing directly to the rise in covid19 infections across the world, the AIIB has issued an annual meeting agenda with no mention of local communities and civil society engagement. After repeated inquiries to management, we finally received word on a possible civil society engagement session, but nothing has been confirmed in terms of time or date. Mr. President, please note that this was a reactive response from management and not a position taken as per your commitment to us previously.

The initial forthright communication linkages with management have slowed down in momentum drastically. Formal letters surrounding the Climate, Financial Intermediaries, Human Rights Defenders, inputs for Water, Transport, and sectoral strategies submitted from the civil society side had no meaningful responses if any. Even responses to public comments submitted during consultation on recent draft AIIB strategies have not been published along with finalized strategies that bear no trace of incorporating concerns expressed by civil society. 

We have heard from the board and management that the AIIB Corporate Strategy will address our concerns around climate and green finance, unfortunately, this document has not been open to civil society review or input and is heading straight towards a board approval in September. Simultaneously, with the ESF review underway, we are also noticing that emails to management are not being responded to, and the bank is retreating itself from the space of open dialogue with civil society.

To reiterate our key concerns in this letter we request you to take action on the following issues-

  1. Ensure that management responds to all critical inputs from civil society on key issues, strategies, projects in a time-bound manner as an institutional practice throughout the year.

  2. AIIB should ensure its safeguards operations team and project developers respond appropriately and urgently to project-affected communities on the ground suffering from COVID19.

  3. AIIB must ensure that there are space and time for dialogue with CSOs and affected communities at all AGMs, including this virtual Annual Meeting 2020. This includes dialogue with management, project, and strategy meetings, and meetings with senior management to discuss key policy revisions, in this year's case, the ESF review and corporate strategy.

  4. Ensure that the Corporate Strategy draft is released for public comment and civil society review prior to board review in September

  5. Ensure time-bound information disclosure and meaningful consultation of all projects being considered amid this pandemic prior to board approval.

  6. Ensure all COVID19 recovery loans de link from fossil fuel propagation and follow a Paris 1.5 aligned pathway.

We hope you will take appropriate action with your usual diligent leadership.

We will be looking forward to your proactive and open response in addressing our concerns at your earliest convenience.


Mr. Rayyan Hassan

Executive Director

NGO Forum on ADB


Ms. Laurel Ostfield, Director General, Communications

Mr. D. Jagatheesa Pandian, Vice President, and Chief Investment Officer

Mr. Joachim von Amsberg, Vice President, Policy and Strategy

Mr. Danny Alexander, Vice President, and Corporate Secretary

Mr. Hamid Sharif, Complaints - Resolution, Evaluation and Integrity Unit (CEIU)

Board of Governors

Endorsed by the following organizations: Asia, Regional Japan, Japan  Pilipinas, Philippines

Action Paysanne Contre La Faim, Democratic Republic of Congo

Aksi!, Indonesia

Arab Watch Coalition, Middle East and North Africa

Article 19, UK/Bangladesh

Asian Peoples' Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD), Regional

Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication, Bangladesh

Bangladesh Working Group on External Debt (BWGED), Bangladesh

Bank Information Center, USA

Bretton Woods Project

Both ENDS, Netherlands

Buliisa Initiative for Rural Development Organisation (BIRUDO), Uganda

Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED), Philippines

Center for Environment and Participatory Research –CEPR, Bangladesh

Center for Environmental Justice, Sri Lanka

Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), United States

Center of Bird Lovers, Armenia

Central Asia and Caucasus NGO Forum on ADB, Armenia

Centre for Financial Accountability, India

Centre for Human Rights and Development, Mongolia

Coastal Livelihood and Environmental Action Network (CLEAN), Bangladesh

Collective for Economic Justice, India

Community Initiatives for Development in Pakistan-CIDP NGO, Pakistan

Conseil Regional Des Ong De Developpement, Democratic Republic of Congo

Derecho, Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (DAR), Peru

Digo Bikas Institute, Nepal

Environics Trust, India

Environmental Public Alliance, Armenia

Environmental Public Society, Armenia

Equitable Cambodia, Cambodia

Freedom from Debt Coalition, Philippines

Fundacja "Rozwój TAK - Odkrywki NIE”, Poland

Gender Action, International

Global Environment Centre, Malaysia

Global Social Justice, Belgium

GrowthWatch, India

Hape Development and Welfare Association, Pakistan

Horn Afrik News Agency For Human Rights, Somalia

Human Rights Law Network (HRLN), India

International Center for Not-for-Profit Law, Tajikistan

Inclusive Development International, U.S.

Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF), India

Initiative for Rights View, Bangladesh

International Accountability Project (IAP), International

International Association of People's Lawyers, Australia

Lumiere Synergie pour le Developpement, Senegal

Magar Lawyer's forum-Nepal, Nepal

Mangrove Action Project, USA

Mekong Watch, Japan

MiningWatch Canada, Canada

Nash Vek Public Foundation, Kyrgyzstan

Network Movement for Justice and Development, Sierra Leone

NGO "Youth Group on Protection of Environment", Tajikistan

NGO Forum on Cambodia, Cambodia


Oyu Tolgoi Watch, Mongolia

Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum, Pakistan

Participatory Research Action Network- PRAN, Bangladesh

Peoples Development Institute, Philippines

Progressive Plantation Workers Union, India

Programme on Women’s Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (PWESCR) International         

Recourse, Europe

Rivers without Boundaries Coalition, Mongolia

Rivers without Boundaries Coalition, Russia

Rural Reconstruction Nepal, Nepal

Safety and Rights Society, Bangladesh

Songshoptaque, Bangladesh

SPELL-Sustainability and Participation through Education and Lifelong Learning, Philippines

Urgewald e.V., Germany

Voices for Interactive Choice & Empowerment, Bangladesh

Witness Radio – Uganda, Uganda

WomanHealth Philippines, Philippines

Youth For Environment Education And Development Foundation (YFEED Foundation), Nepal


Download the letter here.

Read AIIB response here.


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