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Re: Virtual Consultations Hosted by AIIB on the Energy Sector Strategy Update

Updated: Jun 29, 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

AIIB Board of Directors


Via Email


Over the course of last week’s virtual consultations hosted by the AIIB on the Energy Sector Strategy Update, we hoped to join and engage in discussions in good faith. However, while we appreciate this gesture from the Bank towards expanding the process for public input on the Strategy Update, several key concerns – despite being raised consistently in writing and during online discussions – have yet to be addressed. As a result, following a collective deliberation, we are writing once again to highlight key issues of contention. With all due respect, we firmly reiterate our shared perspective that the consultation sessions as scheduled do not provide an opportunity for meaningful and inclusive dialogue between diverse sectors of civil society across the institution’s membership and the responsible Bank representatives – necessary not least because of the major implications on the future possibilities for just transition and the livelihood prospects of populations across borrowing nations of the Bank’s membership as well as meeting global climate ambitions.


Key concerns we would like to bring to your attention include those which were highlighted in previous correspondence along with new issues that have come to the fore based on our participation in the virtual consultation sessions last week:

  • The highly constrained participation of civil society organizations due to the extremely short notice provided for the online consultations, the compressed nature of the sessions, the lack of any clear commitment to simultaneous translation into regional languages, and absence of any identified structure or agenda for the sessions;

  • The impossibility for interested local, national or regional groups to effectively gather and provide perspectives from their respective constituencies on thematic consultation issues due to the lack of adequate prior notification and time between online sessions;

  • An evident lack of willingness among Bank management to engage with civil society calls for online sessions to be scheduled over a more extended period of time in order to enable options for greater participation;

  • A perceived lack of serious engagement on the part of representatives of the AIIB joining the consultations when questions and concerns were raised by civil society members during the initial online sessions last week (with participants observing that Bank representatives typically moved from one comment to another, neither providing consistently clear or detailed responses nor clarity on how these issues could be addressed, while leaving few possibilities open to engage in follow-up clarifications);

  • The absence of any gender specialist staff joining the online sessions to respond to specific questions in relation to either (i) the gendered implications of energy sector financing and future/planned projects in the pipeline, or (ii) the critical lack of gender considerations evident in the energy sector portfolio to date, meaning several key points raised remained unaddressed and/or unresolved (with no proactive commitment to correct this gap in forthcoming sessions even when asked by participants to do so), and

  • The absence of specific focal point staff joining the initial sessions to address questions related to regional nuances in the Bank’s energy sector portfolio or to portfolios associated with energy infrastructure financing (including support for energy projects via on-lending facilities or in the urban sector).

It is in this context that we urge the AIIB to proactively address the above concerns and commit to:

  • Publishing a summary of comments received – during online interactions and in writing – alongside responses from the AIIB management;

  • Publicly disclosing information on the expected timeline of the Energy Sector Strategy Update revision and approval process, and

  • Publishing a revised draft of the Energy Sector Strategy Update open for a period of public comment prior to Board approval.

Ultimately, this situation leaves us, as members of civil society from Asia, the Americas, the Levant and Europe, with no clear understanding of how – or even whether – the substantive points we raise are actually being taken into account or incorporated into the revised text. Significantly, it also appears that the necessary outreach to civil society constituencies about the online sessions was not undertaken by the responsible AIIB personnel, witnessed by the fact that participation in each of the initial sessions was highly limited to a small number civil society groups. At this time, therefore, we cannot consider these upcoming online sessions as legitimate spaces for meaningful discussions and dialogue between civil society and the Bank (which we consider critically necessary before an updated Energy Sector Strategy is approved), and as such, we will be demonstrating this collective conviction through our absence from these consultations.


Going forward, we sincerely hope that future consultations on AIIB policies and strategies will reflect a more thoughtful, meaningful, inclusive process with full consideration of the diversity of civil society groups across sectors and regions. Looking ahead, we would also urge the AIIB to shift forthcoming public consultations from the virtual sphere to in-person discussions as soon as possible, enabling a much greater level of participation and engagement of groups informed by on-the-ground realities in communities across borrowing member countries.


We look forward to hearing from you.


Respectfully,


BRICS Feminist Watch (Global)

Gender Action (Global)

Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (Global)

International Accountability Project (Global)

International Rivers (Global)

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

Aksi! for Gender, Social and Ecological Justice (Indonesia)

Bangladesh Working Group on External Debt (Bangladesh)

Both ENDS (Netherlands)

Center for Energy, Ecology and Development (Philippines)

Centre for Financial Accountability (India)

Civic Advisory Hub (Uganda)

Coastal Livelihood and Environmental Action Network (Bangladesh)

Defenders Protection Initiative (Uganda)

Environics Trust (India)

Equitable Cambodia (Cambodia)

Freedom from Debt Coalition (Philippines)

Friends of the Earth US (USA)

Fundación Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (Argentina)

Green Alternative (Georgia)

GrowthWatch (India)

Indian Social Action Forum (India)

Initiative for Right View (Bangladesh)

Just Finance International (Netherlands and Denmark)

KRuHA - People's Coalition for the Right to Water (Indonesia)

Manushya Foundation (Laos, Thailand)

Nash Vek PF (Kyrgyzstan)

NGO “Youth Group on Protection of Environment” (Tajikistan)

Oil Workers' Rights Protection Organization Public Union (Azerbaijan)

Oyu Tolgoi Watch (Mongolia)

Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (Pakistan)

Recourse (Netherlands)

Rivers without Boundaries (Mongolia)

Sustentarse (Chile)

Urgewald e.V. (Germany)

VedvarendeEnergi (Denmark)

Arab Watch Coalition (MENA Region)

Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development (Regional)

Building and Wood Workers International - Asia Pacific (Regional)

CEE Bankwatch Network (Regional)

EarthRights International (Regional)

Latinoamérica Sustentable (Regional)

NGO Forum on ADB (Regional)

Rivers without Boundaries International Coalition (Regional)


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