CSOs Call for Space in the 4th AIIB Annual Meeting

Updated: Aug 5, 2019


Via electronic mail


President Jin Liqun

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

B9 Financial Street

Xicheng District

Beijing 10033

People’s Republic of China


22 March 2019


Copied to:

Sir Danny Alexander, Vice – President and Corporate Secretary

Mr. Joachim Von Amsberg, Vice - President

Dr. D.J. Pandian, Vice President

Members of the Board of Directors of the AIIB


Re: CSOs Call for Space in the 4th AIIB Annual Meeting


Dear President Jin,


We write to you as representatives of civil society organizations to request for effective and open CSO participation in the upcoming AIIB Annual Meeting, which will be held in Luxembourg in 12 – 13 July 2019. In your Opening Address in last year’s Annual Meeting in Mumbai, India, you mentioned that the, “quality of projects is the first priority of the Bank and that one of the things that AIIB ensures is that projects are also accepted by the local people.”


Consistent with this recognition from the Bank, we urge you to consider allowing “open public spaces” for civil society to engage in dialogue with AIIB on it’s path of investment and development during this year’s Annual Meeting through the following steps: i) Open discussion through CSO – led panel sessions on key topics of mutual interest; ii) freedom to organize and set side - meetings with Project Team Leaders (PTLs) and other key officials from the AIIB Operations and Management; and iii) Maintain the formal session on the civil society dialogue with Management, with more time for deeper question and answer sessions on key topics.


We believe that by affording greater transparency and open space for discourse, the Bank can further ensure its commitment of focusing on better quality of projects being implemented on the ground. Moreover, while we appreciate efforts to increase opportunities for civil society to engage with the AIIB, we strongly believe that these dialogues should also be held in the context of the Annual Meetings.


On request for CSO - led panel sessions

The NGO Forum on ADB (“Forum”) is proposing to convene at least 2 civil society – led panels within the official program of the Annual Meeting. The following topics were selected based on their relevance to civil society and with the concerns of the project affected persons at heart, as well as AIIB’s current policy reform processes.


1. Coherence of Environmental and Social Framework (ESF) Delivery with respect to AIIB’s Policy on Public Information (PPI) and Project Affected Peoples’ Mechanism (PPM) through the lens of selected AIIB projects. This session is also timely and relevant in the critical discussion on AIIB’s review of the overall ESF. In AIIB’s three years of operation, one of the pervasive challenges faced by CSOs and potentially affected persons is the lack of information disclosed by AIIB and/or its Clients. The lack of or slow responsiveness to project queries and the low quality of project documents being released also pose significant risks in ensuring that likely adverse harm will be avoided, if not mitigated. In some of the projects[1] being monitored by CSOs, the state of project redress mechanism have been revealed to be faulty and not responsive to the concerns of project affected persons.


2. Transition to Just Renewable Energy. There is growing interest in energy related infrastructure finance, especially regarding the Belt and Road Initiative. In this context a deep dive is necessary in unpacking AIIB’s Energy Sector lending, review projects approved to date and discuss how AIIB can become Paris compliant.

The two sessions outlined above are expected to have representation from the AIIB based on their relevance and authority over the thematic issues. Forum will help moderate the sessions and facilitate civil society groups to raise their concerns on these issues to relevant AIIB Senior Management respondents. The aim of these sessions is to gain clarity on the issues and to have constructive dialogue towards robust policy and operational outcomes.


Kindly note as of 18 March 2019, the Forum also wrote an official correspondence to Vice – President Danny Alexander articulating our request for a CSO panel session on AIIB’s ESF implementation and its prospective review. We have also conveyed to Vice – President Alexander that UK Executive Director Emil Levendoḡlu
also expressed his interest to participate in the said panel session. As of today, we are still waiting for a formal response from AIIB regarding this request.


On Meeting with PTLs during the Annual Meeting

Forum and other groups monitoring AIIB - funded projects generally engage with the top-tier Management on project specific issues, both before, during and after the Annual Meetings. While we recognize the strategic value of this, direct engagement with the PTLs is also important given their direct involvement in project implementation. We recognize that not all PTLs will be present at the Annual Meeting.


Nonetheless we are of the opinion that the Annual Meeting presents a vital opportunity to have face – face dialogues with the PTLs present. AIIB could help facilitate these dialogues, by notifying in advance who will be present and assist with confirmation of meetings.


We look forward to your leadership and kind consideration of our requests.


Thank you.


Sincerely,

Rayyan Hassan

Executive Director

NGO Forum on ADB


Signatories:

Accountability Counsel (USA)

Bank Information Center (BIC) Europe

Bangladesh Working Group on External Debt

Both ENDS (Netherlands)

Center of Bird Lovers NGO (Armenia)

Central Asia and Caucasus NGO Forum on ADB (Armenia)

Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development (Philippines)

Center for Environmental Justice (Sri Lanka)

Centre for Human Rights and Development (Mongolia)

Chingmeirong Maning Leikai Singlup (India)

Environmental Public Alliance (Armenia)

Environics Trust Innovations in Community Development (India)

Equitable Cambodia

Inclusive Development International

Indian Social Action Forum

Indigenous Perspective (India)

Initiative for Right View (Bangladesh)

Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center – Kasama sa Kalikasan (Philippines)

Manipur Cycle Club (India)

Nash Vek Public Foundation (Kyrgyzstan)

NGO Forum Cambodia

OXFAM Hong Kong

Public Association for Assistance to Free Economy (Azerbaijan)

Rivers without Boundaries (Mongolia)

Sri Lanka Nature Group

WomanHealth Philippines



[1] Bank Information Europe (BIC), et. al. Financing Development in Myanmar: The Case of Shwe Taung Cement. Amsterdam, Netherlands. November, 2018.

Bangladesh Working Group on External Debt (BWGED) and Coastal Livelihood and Environmental Action Network (CLEAN). Bhola IPP and its Impact on Local Communities: Voices from the Ground. A Civil Society Study Report. Khulna, Bangladesh. September, 2018.

BIC Europe, et. al. Briefing Note: AIIB and the Myingyan Gas Power Plant in Myanmar. Amsterdam, Netherlands. June, 2018.

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