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Re: AIIB’s Virtual Consultation Sessions on the Energy Sector Strategy Update

Updated: Jun 23, 2022

21st June 2022


To: Mr. Jin Liqun, President, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)

Mr. Ludger Schuknecht, V.P. and Corporate Secretary, AIIB

Sir Danny Alexander, V.P., Policy and Strategy, AIIB

Mr. Bob Pickard, D.G., Communications Department, AIIB

Via Email


Dear AIIB President Jin Liqun, Mr. Ludger Schuknecht, Sir Danny Alexander, and Mr. Bob Pickard:


We appreciate the announcement that the AIIB will open up virtual consultation sessions during different time zones in relation to the proposed updates to the Energy Sector Strategy. However, with all due respect, the limited set-up of regionally focused 1.5-hour sessions and subsequent 1-hour thematic sessions scheduled over the coming two weeks fails to reflect minimal standards for an inclusive, meaningful and accountable process as already called for repeatedly by civil society organizations representing local, national, regional and international constituencies.[1]


Notably, the format as outlined on the AIIB website falls far short of the standard practices for public consultation on policy matters already followed by peer MDBs (such as the Asian Development Bank). Instead, this highly compressed set of online discussions has been announced with little prior notice, without any appended guiding concept note or background documents, no proposed structure and no suggested agenda for any of the sessions. There is also no indication of who from the Bank will join in order to receive and accordingly respond to questions raised during each session. In addition, the grouping of different regions in the first set of four general consultations does not appear to have any practical rationale. This is most especially concerning in light of the heavily concentrated investments in the energy sector, and the need to allocate time for civil society groups to engage in a dialogue with AIIB management based on lived experiences and realities grounded in specific country contexts. Finally, we also understand that there will not be simultaneous translation into major regional languages, meaning that participants who do wish to raise questions other than in English will have no guarantee of when or how they can receive a response.


In order to engage in a more inclusive, meaningful and accountable process for public consultation that would encourage open discussion and dialogue, we urge the AIIB management to at a minimum:

  • Extend the timeline for the consultations, rescheduling the sessions to allow more time between each thematic discussion, and accordingly extend the period for public comment during this time;

  • Publish a clear online timeline of the Energy Sector Strategy approval process (e.g. inclusive of the public consultation period, expected timing to go to the Board for discussion, any re-drafting and final approval);

  • Extend the timing of the sessions with built in flexibility up to 2 hours;

  • Provide an outline of proposed agendas for each session;

  • Identify who will attend from the AIIB to receive comments;

  • Provide clear information on the structure of the proposed sessions and the web platform to be used;

  • Provide background documents to inform each session in advance of the sessions, including – but not limited to – summaries of the Complaints-resolution, Evaluation and Integrity Unit (CEIU) learning assessments as referenced in the proposed text of the update to the Energy Sector Strategy;

  • Commit to simultaneous translation in major applicable languages, and

  • Commit to publishing an online a summary of comments received during each session along with specific responses from the Bank’s management

Going forward, we sincerely hope the AIIB management will take further steps towards opening more inclusive, accountable and meaningful consultation periods with full consideration for civil society perspectives from across its membership at the outset of future policy revision processes. We continue to engage in good faith and look forward to a timely response. Thank you.

Respectfully,


Bangladesh Working Group on External Debt (Bangladesh)

Both ENDS (Netherlands)

Center for Energy, Ecology and Development (Philippines)

Centre for Financial Accountability (India)

Coastal Livelihood and Environmental Action Network (Bangladesh)

Equitable Cambodia (Cambodia)

Environics Trust (India)

GrowthWatch (India)

Indian Social Action Forum (India)

Initiative for Right View (Bangladesh)

Manushya Foundation (Laos, Thailand)

Nash Vek (Kyrgyz Republic)

Oil Workers' Rights Protection Organization Public Union (Azerbaijan)

Recourse (Netherlands)

urgewald e.V. (Germany)

Youth Group for the Protection of the Environment (Tajikistan)

BRICS Feminist Watch (Global)

International Accountability Project (Global)

Just Finance International (Global)

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

Rivers without Boundaries International Coalition (Global)

EarthRights International (Global)

Gender Action (Global)

Arab Watch Coalition (Regional)

Asian Peoples' Movement on Debt and Development (Regional)

CEE Bankwatch Network (Regional)

Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives — Asia Pacific (Regional)

Latinoamérica Sustentable (Regional)

NGO Forum on ADB (Regional)

 

[1] See for example, the communications to the AIIB endorsed by local, national, regional and international CSOs posted online since January 2022.


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