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Statement to ADB President Takehiko Nakao

Dear Mr. President Nakao,

We wish you well and congratulate you on the occasion of the 51st ADB AGM here in ADB Headquarters and for making time to engage with civil society and the NGO Forum on ADB network.

While the space to ask questions to Big Development continues to shrink across the region for civil society, the ADB gives us time, panel space, ED meetings, consultations and dialogue with the President is truly recognized by NGO Forum on ADB. As much as we would focus on the Bank, our inquiry for the truth on infrastructure financing is no longer subject to the actions of the ADB or the myriad of MDBs operating in Asia. Specifically:

  1. While various challenges remain, the ADB holds a high line on safeguards in comparison to its peers even the newly heralded AIIB. Can you commit to maintain the ADB Safeguard Policy Statement (SPS) 2009 and not dilute to a race to the bottom?

  2. The trend is now moving from billions to trillions in mega infrastructure and this is leading to infrastructure being touted as an asset class. In Myingyan Natural Gas Power Project, Pakistan’s National Motorway M4 Project and in the proposed Georgia’s Nenskra Hydropower Project – we are observing that ADB is de – risking projects’ bankability through co – financing. While private sector is being de - risked towards investment, the true risk is being born by the natural environment, the local people living by the project sites and even future generations. Is this what ADB wants to see the world become?

  3. World Bank infrastructure project data reports reveal that private financing of infrastructure has been diminishing over the past decade drastically. While bundled infrastructure project portfolios are being touted as development needs private sector is still hesitating to consider them an asset class. Why is the ADB Strategy 2030 draft forcing this issue and how will this Strategy lead to address local needs.

  4. In addition, as ADB is reviewing its Strategy 2030, we wish to raise the following questions to you today Mr. President – the Planet has limits, we will cross the Paris Agreement of 2 degrees in current projections by 2030, if all developing countries do not stop fossil fuel use immediately. Why is ADB not decarbonized yet and making strong commitment to just transition to renewables? ADB should havedecarbonize 5 years ago Mr. President. To continue to find justifications for gas, coal and fossil fuels through turn of phrase in policy documents is completely unacceptable. The Strategy 2030 has a private section and 7 operational priority areas but no dedicated section on the energy sector of ADB. Where are the big ticket energy projects Mr. President?

  5. In the Pacific, local people are fighting for rights to self - determination including West Papua. Our CSO colleague from PIANGO mentioned yesterday in Strategy 2030 Consultation that in 80 countries in Asia where ADB is lending – they are in some form of conflict e.g. Sri Lanka, Myanmar, India, Pakistan etc. ADB says its development loans are politically neutral. Mr. President in a state of conflict development finance is never politically neutral - within authoritarian regimes ADB loans are not politically neutral; in junta rule ADB loans are not politically neutral. Mr. President how will ADB ensure the poorest people in the middle of an oppressive regime or at the face of conflict derive development outcomes, have access to transparency, dignity, human rights and accountability from ADB – financed “development projects”.


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