Good morning, President Nakao. Firstly, we wish you a happy 50th anniversary on behalf of from NGO Forum on ADB. Thank you for inviting us to this auspicious occasion and giving us the opportunity to have this dialogue with you and raise some important issues from the communities across the region.
As a strong civil society network from the South engaging with the Bank since 1989, the NGO Forum on ADB and our community partners have been monitoring ADB programs and projects for over twenty years. As ADB celebrates it’s 50 years of successes we hope that it will also recognize some of its failed projects over the past decades. The Marcopper Mining Project, Philippines from the 80s, KJDRP Bangladesh from the 90’s and the Nam Theum 2 project mid 2000s are all Forum monitored projects which have had severe impacts on people and the environment and continue to bring suffering on the ground.
In recent times ADB has increased its lending in the region, mostly in the energy sector. This also meant a decrease in support for important sectors like agriculture and education. There is also a worrisome trend of investing in and mobilizing finances for the private sector, as evidenced by the 15% increase in Private Sector financing from last year. New financial institutions like the New Development Bank (NDB) and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), and the competition for moving finances in the region will also result to the dilution of due diligence and a race to the bottom in terms of the safeguards and governance mechanisms within these banks.
In the event of ADB’s 50th anniversary, and under the ambit of your leadership, President Nakao, we expect the Bank to uphold the values of dignity, justice and honor by ensuring that the Bank stays true to its mandate of poverty alleviation across Asia.
We expect the ADB to support countries by mobilizing solely public funds in relevant social sectors like health, water and sanitation, and education. These sectors must be supported through the provision of more grants to ensure that the most marginalized and vulnerable have free access to public service. Moreover, we strongly urge the Bank to finance member countries to fund their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) targets and the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement.
More specifically, we call on you Pres. Nakao with the following questions for this years dialogue with AGM Dialogue with CSO:
Can you ensure that the SPS 2010 will not be diluted?
How does ADB intend to remedy the harm and injustice done by projects prior to the approval of ADB Safeguards and Accountability Mechanism?
How does ADB intend to decarbonize Asia recognizing the limited carbon budget available in the region? Consequently, how does ADB intend to support governments to achieve NDC’s and fulfill the Paris agreement of 1.5 degrees Celsius?
Will ADB withdraw lending of autocratic regimes which oppress human rights and rights of indigenous people and marginalized groups?
Despite the ADB Safeguards and the Accountability Mechanism we have experienced ADBs immunity to be an obstacle to achieve meaningful remedy for affected communities. Do you think after 50 years it is time to reconsider ADBs immunity clause in order to ensure justice, transparency and accountability of all ADB Operations in Asia?
Dear President Nakao on the 50th Anniversary of ADB we have with us Mr. Ratan Bahandari Affected Community Representative from West Seti Tanahu Project Nepal, and Ms Adeline Angeles Affected Community Representative Marinduque MarCopper Mining Project, Philippines. They have travelled thousands of miles to be here to share a few words with you… along with NGO Forum on ADBs various members who all come bearing gifts for you on this momentous occasion.
***Delivered during the ADB Presidents Dialogue with CSO, May 4, 2017, Thursday, Pacifico Yokohama, Japan.