The new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank must develop strong safeguards
Currently, on the initiative of China, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is being set up. As the ‘Chinese alternative to the World Bank’, AIIB will focus on financing large-scale infrastructure projects in Asia. The bank promises to be ‘lean, clean and green’, or in other words: non-bureaucratic, non-corrupt and environmentally friendly. Nevertheless, civil society organisations fear there will be disastrous consequences for local populations and the environment, considering China’s poor track record in these areas. In a letter to AIIB and in a press release, our partner 'NGO Forum on ADB' calls on the bank to develop strong safeguards.
The AIIB was founded last year on the initiative of China and has 57 founding members, including the Netherlands. During the upcoming months, the exact setup of the bank will be negotiated, such as the voting structure and provision of capital. To ensure there will not be negative effects on people and the environment, the NGO Forum on ADB urges AIIB to integrate strong safeguards into its core principles. Safeguards are criteria for projects or policies that have to be met to make them sustainable and socially responsible. By focusing solely on people and the environment, AIIB can serve as an example for other multilateral development banks.
‘Lean, clean and green’
In the letter, the Forum emphasises that AIIB has to comply with national and regional legislation and, in particular, with the traditional rights of local population groups. It is essential that AIIB respects the traditions and knowledge of indigenous groups and cultural minorities. It is also crucial that AIIB-financed projects will not harm local ecosystems and biodiversity. In the letter, the Forum urges AIIB to fulfill its promise of becoming ‘lean, clean and green’. The NGO Forum on ADB is keen on actively contributing to developing AIIB’s safeguards. As a network of NGOs, the Forum has long-standing experience in safeguards and extensive knowledge of the negative effects of large-scale infrastructure projects in the region.
What is Both ENDS' role?
Both ENDS will appeal to the Dutch government on its responsibilities as a member of the AIIB. The Dutch government should be committed to aiming for the application of the highest international standards. Both ENDS also supports the NGO Forum on ADB in setting up a new forum of Asian civil society organisations that aims to make AIIB’s policy sustainable and socially responsible.
The NGO Forum on ADB is a coalition of Asian civil society organisations that critically follows the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Previously, the Forum closely examined ADB’s safeguard policy and collaborated with Both ENDS to make the bank’s policy sustainable and socially responsible.
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Letter / 1 March 2020
Both ENDS letter to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank on the Environmental and Social Framework review.The AIIB adopted its Environmental Social Framework shortly after it opened for business in 2016. In fact, the AIIB didn't consult widely for the draft policy at the time. A full review in fact still has to be conducted.Safeguards policies are of crucial importance for project affected people to hold banks to account. However, Environmental and Social Frameworks (ESF) nowadays replace safeguards at banks. The ESF model leads to a reduction of a Bank's direct and mandatory role in overview, including due diligence, monitoring, and evaluation, of Bank funded activities and investments, along with a shift towards a greater reliance on client self-assessment and self-reporting.
Publication / 11 May 2017
Letter / 8 November 2016
A letter written by Both ENDS, co-signed by 350.org, Australia, Urgewald, Germany, Green Alternative, Georgia, and others, with comments to the AIIB's Energy Strategy Issues note. This strategy prioritizes large scale energy infrastructure, which fails to meet the energy needs of local communities.
The AIIB has the opportunity to champion financing green energy systems for future generations by leapfrogging the large energy infrastructure that rely on fossil fuels, plantations for biomass or dams.
Letter / 25 October 2022
Official Statement of Indonesian Coalition for Monitoring Infrastructure Development related to AIIB Statement of Anti Retaliation
The Mandalika International Street Circuit is a street circuit in the resort of Mandalika in Central Lombok in West Nusa Tenggara Province. The project, mainly intended to attract tourists, is largely financed by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
Blog / 12 July 2019
and Stijn Deklerck of Amnesty International Nederland
On 12 and 13 July, the Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB) will be holding its annual meeting in Luxembourg. This is the fourth annual meeting of the AIIB which was set up on the initiative of China. As a shareholder, the Netherlands will be attending the meeting.
Letter / 5 August 2021
A joint CSO submission to the European Investment Bank, Standard 11 on intermediate finance in the Public consultation on the EIB Group's
16 civil society organisations including Both ENDS have written a letter of concern to the European Investment Bank about a newly proposed standard for the Bank its intermediate finance investing. Both ENDS contribution to the contents of the joint letter consists out of proposals for improvement of screening, scoping, due diligence, appraisal, monitoring and supervision of high-risk clients and sub-projects. through financial intermediaries and clear and mandatory social, environmental and human rights requirements for FI investing matters.
Publication / 10 December 2018
Letter / 20 March 2018
Both ENDS submitted a public comment on the proposed access to information policy of the Asian Development Bank. In the regime of exceptions and limitations to the disclosure policy, we are concerned about the lack of a clear requirement for the Bank to adequately justify exceptions. We would prefer the regime of exceptions and limitations to be based on the principle that access to information may be refused only when the Bank can adequately demonstrate harm that may be caused by disclosure.
Letter / 24 September 2014
Both ENDS co-wrote a Joint CSO Submission on the Draft Revised Version of the EIB Transparency Policy to the EIB. The transparency policy does not adequately reflect key international standards and principles regarding transparency, as set out in the Global Transparency Initiative's Transparency Charter for International Financial Institutions.
The policy should meet the nine key principles as set out in the Global Transparency Initiative's Transparency Charter for International Financial Institutions, namely: 1) the right of access,; 2) automatic disclosure,; 3) access to decision-making; 4) the right to request information; 5) limited exceptions; 6) appeals; 7) whistleblower protection; 8) the promotion of freedom of information; and 9) regular review.
News / 18 November 2019
Good news for the climate: last week, the European Investment Bank (EIB) decided to stop investing in fossil fuels by 2021. This is part of its new energy strategy.
Development banks should comply with strict environmental and human rights rules to ensure that their projects benefit and do not harm the poorest groups. Both ENDS monitors the banks to make sure they do.
News / 4 March 2022
Hundreds of organisations from dozens of countries have expressed solidarity with the Ukrainian people in a collective call on world governments to end fossil fuel production once and for all. The current crisis sees Putin weaponising oil and gas money to threaten livelihoods and fuel terror with escalating violence, underscoring the fossil fuel system's role in driving conflict.
Letter / 23 August 2021
6 civil society organizations, including Both ENDS have submitted a gender comment on the newly proposed EIB Environmental and Social Framework. The EIB Environmental and Social Standards has to be updated to ensure that due attention to gender specific impacts, risks and related mitigation strategies is integrated in the policy and each standard, as well the assessment needs to specifically address the needs and problems of all genders. A lot of improvements can be made in the integration of gender aspects in policy and standards, in order to prevent violation of the rights of women and girls during project implementation, and tools (widely used by other organisations) and or commitments for their development should be included (inclusive consultations, Gender assessments and analyses, gender impact assessment, Legal Assessment Tool (LAT) for gender-equitable land tenure, gender responsive tools for prevention of violence.
Letter / 23 August 2021
Reflecting the duality of gender and climate in the EIB’s Environmental and Social Sustainability Framework’s Standard 5 on Climate Change
This briefing of Eurodad, co-authored by Pieter Jansen, Both ENDS aims to outline recommendations on how the European Investment Bank should address the interconnected issue of gender inequity and the climate crisis in the newly proposed environmental and social policy.Severe climate change has consequences for human rights, including the right to life. As such, under the European convention on human rights the EIB has a duty to stop carbon-emissions related investments. The EIB and project promoters must monitor a project's greenhouse gas emissions and the climate risks of the project on the natural environment, and the women possibly affected by the project. The newly proposed policy should ensure that project promoters, who apply for EIB funding, submit a gender and social inclusion plan, and full participation and engagement of women, local communities and stakeholders in the Climate Risk Vulnerability Assessment methodology.
Letter / 5 August 2021
25 civil society organisations, including Both ENDS have submitted a comment on the overarching policy of the newly proposed Environmental and Social Framework of the EIB Group. The EIB has to undertake environmental, climate, social and human rights assessment and appraisal of proposed projects to inform the decision of financing and must not rely on a clients' self-assessment and reporting (solely). The Policy needs to state clearly what the due diligence, monitoring and reporting responisibilities for the EIB are, in particular regarding human rights and contractual clauses with clients should enshrine the standards in all EIB operations, enabling for suspension of contracts if the standards are not implemented.
News / 2 July 2019
In the Nam Ou river in Northern Laos, seven dams are built by a Chinese company. All over the world one can see the same picture when it comes to hydropower projects: it has devastating impacts on the people living in or around the area where they are being built, primarily because they are being displaced. It seems that displacement of communities is still accepted as the unavoidable collateral damage of infrastructure projects. This reveals a highly unacceptable attitude towards poor communities in whose name development is proceeding. In Laos, our Laotian partner visited communities along the river to talk with people about their life after displacement:
Publication / 29 May 2019
Letter / 1 October 2014
Both ENDS letter to the World Bank on the Environmental and Social Safeguards policies review. The World Bank safeguards review is part of a reorganization that aims at making lending cost-effective with less rules in place, which likely entails an increase in the number of problem projects. The reorganization aims at making lending
more cost-effective, forms in place. Safeguards policies are of crucial importance for project affected people to hold banks to account. However, Environmental and Social Frameworks (ESF) nowadays replace safeguards at banks. The ESF model leads to a reduction of a Bank's direct and mandatory role in overview, including due diligence, monitoring, and evaluation, of Bank funded activities and investments, along with a shift towards a greater reliance on client self-assessment and self-reporting. Our main ask is a return to binding, rules-based safeguards policies at banks.
Publication / 23 September 2015
Letter / 15 May 2022
Both ENDS Comments and recommendations on the Bank Group’s Environmental and Social Policy of the AfDB Integrated Safeguards System
This letter by Both ENDS to the African Development Bank is a comment written in reaction to a draft version published by the Bank of its Environmental and Social Policy as part of a formal public consultation held by the Bank. This comment was sent to the bank along a joint submission letter with other CSOs, and specifically responds to the overarching Policy.
The bank's flexible requirements for clients and national standards for risky projects dilute safeguards. Project approval should be predicated on specific and binding targets for compliance and reflect input from communities involved.