As AIIB starts operations, civil society finds gaps in bank's access to information policy & proposed energy strategy

"The Centre for Law and Democracy (CLD) and the Bank Information Center (BIC) have jointly prepared Comments on the Public Information Interim Policy of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)...The analysis shows that the AIIB is lagging behind other international financial institutions (IFIs) when it comes to information disclosure...

Some of the key problems...are:

  • The scope of proactive publication commitments lags far behind better practice IFIs.
  • The regime of exceptions is vastly overbroad, including many open-ended exceptions, lacking harm tests in many cases and failing to provide for any public interest override.
  • The failure of the AIIB to adopt guidelines on implementation means that the Interim Policy lacks almost any procedural rules governing the processing of requests.
  • Unlike many IFIs, there is no provision for an appeal to an independent oversight body.
  • As a matter of practice, the AIIB has on at least some occasions failed to process requests for information.

While we welcome the AIIB’s decision to adopt a public information policy at such an early stage in its development, in many areas the Interim Policy fails to meet the minimum information disclosure standards established by international law and the practice of other international financial institutions (IFIs). As a result, there is a clear need for fundamental revision of the rules regarding the disclosure of information at the AIIB...This need is particularly urgent since the AIIB has now begun to finance projects..."

"In fall 2016, civil society organisations...had the opportunity to comment on the AIIB’s Energy Sector Strategy...Civil society submissions emphasized the importance of supporting Asian countries to transform their energy sectors in line with the Paris Climate Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)...[and] highlighted the importance of adopting a binding operational policy on energy..."

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Article
8 June 2017

AIIB must do more to meet its environmental & social commitments

Author: Elizabeth Summers, Bank Information Center

Shortly after commencing operations in January 2016, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) adopted environmental and social standards that committed to investing in sustainable infrastructure projects, including a pledge to support the human rights of marginalised groups, as well as the advancement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The AIIB has now approved a total of thirteen infrastructure projects, and thirteen additional projects are under consideration for financing this year. A review of these initial investments, however, raises questions on the AIIB’s commitment and ability to adhere to its commitments in practice.

Partnering with the World Bank’s flawed approaches?

The AIIB relies on co-financiers to ensure compliance with environmental and social standards, and over 50% of projects are co-financed with the World Bank Group. Reliance on the World Bank Group, however, is not sufficient to ensure that the AIIB’s projects respect human rights and advance the SDGs, especially for projects that involve resettlement. In Pakistan, for example, the AIIB and World Bank are co-financing the Tarbela 5 Hydropower Extension Project, which aims to boost the output of the existing Tarbela hydropower dam. However, serious social issues from the previous Tarbela dam and associated projects, including inadequate compensation for the tens of thousands of people who were displaced by the construction of the dam in the 1970s, remain unresolved. Although the AIIB and the World Bank have committed to address these “social legacy issues,” affected communities are still waiting for justice, and the AIIB risks being involved in the World Bank’s broken promises.

Last week, the World Bank Inspection Panel received a complaint about the Amaravati Sustainable Capital City Development Project, a project proposed for World Bank and AIIB co-financing. The project will support the construction of a new capital city, called Amaravati, for the state of Andhra Pradesh in India, which will span 217 square kilometers and host a population of 4.5 million by 2050. Because the proposed area in which the new mega-city will be constructed consists of primarily agricultural land, the state government created a Land Pooling Scheme under which resident farmers pool their agricultural land and transfer their land titles to the State to develop the land. In return, farmers receive an annuity for ten years, and a smaller plot of land to be transferred back after the land is developed. World Bank documents describe the Land Pooling Scheme as an “innovative” scheme that “seeks to avoid any major displacement,” but the scheme has been the subject of significant opposition and controversy, including concerns that there are insufficient protections in place to prevent impoverishment of displaced farmers and agricultural labourers.

Marginalised groups overlooked by AIIB’s stand-alone projects

The AIIB is also financing several stand-alone projects in Bangladesh, Oman, and India. For these projects, it is applying its own social standards, as opposed to the standards of co-financiers. But the AIIB’s due diligence efforts around these projects appear to give primacy to potential environmental risks over potential social ones instead of treating both as equally important, despite commitments to “promote equity of opportunity and nondiscrimination” and to “embrace action to remove barriers against vulnerable groups.” References to potential project impacts on marginalised groups, including women, are limited and do not take into account problems that other IFIs have encountered, such as the risk of harm that results from sending infrastructure project workers into rural areas. For example, the AIIB has not addressed the potential risk of use of forced labour in the Oman port development project, despite reports of abuses against migrant workers in the Gulf construction industry. Moreover, none of the stand-alone projects identifies potential impacts on persons with disabilities or ways to ensure that persons with disabilities benefit from the projects, such as through access to employment opportunities.

Unclear monitoring of social impacts and lack of a grievance mechanism

The role of the AIIB in monitoring the social impacts of its projects is also unclear; no project monitoring information has been posted on the AIIB’s website so far. Furthermore, no grievance mechanism has been put in place to hear and resolve concerns from project-affected communities. Nearly a year ago, the AIIB hired a Director to lead its Compliance, Effectiveness, and Integrity Unit (CEIU). Although the AIIB announced a consultation process on a proposed grievance mechanism in April, it is still directing all parties with concerns about environmental and social impacts of projects to the grievance mechanisms of its co-financiers. The AIIB cannot rely on its co-financiers to ensure compliance with its own environmental and social standards. It must ensure that persons adversely affected by its projects have access to an AIIB mechanism, even for co-financed projects.

Now that the AIIB is fully operational, it must improve its efforts to meet the social commitments made in its inaugural year. An important first step is to release guidance for staff on implementation of its environmental and social standards, as well as to hire technical experts in specific social issues (e.g., disability rights) to improve project preparation and implementation. 

Article
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Author: Elizabeth Summers,银行信息中心

[此中文翻译由企业责任资源中心提供]

在2016年1月开始运营后不久,亚投行就通过了环境和社会标准,承诺投资可持续基础设施项目,包括支持边缘群体的人权以及支持联合国可持续发展目标(Sustainable Development Goals)。亚投行目前总共批准了13项基础设施项目,今年还有13个项目尚在考察之中。然而,探究这些初期投资,许多人提出了对亚投行承诺的关切,以及其是否有能力践行承诺等问题。

沿用世行有缺陷的工作方式?

亚投行依靠联合投资方来确保环境和社会标准得到遵守,超过一半的项目由该行和世界银行集团(World Bank Group)共同投资。然而,依靠世界银行集团无法保证亚投行资助的项目会尊重人权和推进落实联合国可持续发展目标,当项目涉及拆迁安置时更是如此。例如在巴基斯坦,亚投行和世界银行共同投资了旨在提升塔贝拉水电站原有发电量的塔贝拉水电工程五期扩建项目(Tarbela 5 Hydropower Extension Project)。然而,塔贝拉水电工程前期项目及其附属项目引发了严重的社会问题,包括仍未解决的对1970年代因修建塔贝拉大坝而被迫迁移的上万民众赔偿不足的问题。虽然,亚投行和世界银行已经承诺解决这些“社会遗留问题”,但受影响的社区还在等待公正的到来;亚投行面临卷入世界银行背弃承诺的风险。

上周,世界银行监察组(Inspection Panel)收到了一封关于由世行和亚投行共同出资的阿默拉沃蒂可持续首府城市发展项目(Amaravati Sustainable Capital City Development Project)的投诉信。该项目将支持印度安得拉邦(Andhra Pradesh)新首府阿默拉沃蒂的建设。到2050年,新首府将占地217平方公里,拥有人口450万。由于拟建的巨型城市将主要征用农业用地,安得拉邦政府建立了土地入股计划(Land Pooling Scheme)。根据该计划,农民以土地入股,将使用权转让给安得拉邦用于开发;作为回报,农民获得10年的土地年金;土地开发后,小于入股面积的一块土地也将返还给农民。世界银行的文件称土地入股计划富有“创意”,“寻求避免大规模的拆迁”,但该计划也遇到了强烈的反对,并引发了巨大的争议,有人担心保护措施不到位将无法防止流离失所的农民和农业工人陷入贫困。

边缘群体被亚投行独立项目忽视

亚投行在孟加拉国、阿曼和印度也独立为一些项目提供融资。对于这些项目,亚投行采用了自己的而非联合投资方的社会标准。亚投行虽然承诺“推动机会平等和非歧视”及“采取行动消除针对弱势群体的障碍”,但该行对这些项目的尽职调查似乎更侧重潜在的环境风险而非社会风险。涉及项目对妇女等边缘群体潜在影响的内容十分有限,也没有考虑其他国际金融机构已经遇到的问题,如派遣基础设施项目工作人员进入农村地区的危害风险。例如,尽管海湾地区建筑行业虐待移民劳工问题已经有了大量的曝光,亚投行仍然没有解决阿曼港口建设项目使用强迫劳动的潜在风险。没有一个独立项目识别了对残障者的潜在影响和确保他们从项目中获益的方法,如获得就业机会。

 社会影响监测不明确和缺乏申诉机制

亚投行在监测其项目社会影响方面的角色不明确;银行网站上目前没有刊载任何关于项目监测的信息。此外,亚投行也没有建立申诉机制以受理和解决受项目影响社群关注的问题。亚投行约在一年前聘请了一名主管,领导合规、高效及廉正部(Compliance, Effectiveness, and Integrity Unit)的工作。亚投行虽然在4月宣布了有关拟建的申诉机制的磋商程序,但该行正引导所有关注项目环境和社会影响的个人去使用其联合投资方的申诉机制。亚投行不能依靠联合投资方来确保其运营遵守该行自己的环境和社会标准。即使是联合投资的项目,它也必须保障受到项目负面影响的人群能够使用亚投行的机制。

 现在亚投行已经完全投入运营,它需要改进工作,履行它在第一年作出的重要的社会承诺。亚投行需要做的第一步是向其职员提供有关执行环境和社会标准的指导,并在特定社会事务方面(如残障权利)聘请技术专家,以加强项目的筹备与执行。

+ 繁體中文 - Hide

Author: Elizabeth Summers,銀行信息中心

[此中文翻译由企业责任资源中心提供]

在2016年1月开始运营后不久,亚投行就通过了环境和社会标准,承诺投资可持续基础设施项目,包括支持边缘群体的人权以及支持联合国可持续发展目标(Sustainable Development Goals)。亚投行目前总共批准了13项基础设施项目,今年还有13个项目尚在考察之中。然而,探究这些初期投资,许多人提出了对亚投行承诺的关切,以及其是否有能力践行承诺等问题。

沿用世行有缺陷的工作方式?

亚投行依靠联合投资方来确保环境和社会标准得到遵守,超过一半的项目由该行和世界银行集团(World Bank Group)共同投资。然而,依靠世界银行集团无法保证亚投行资助的项目会尊重人权和推进落实联合国可持续发展目标,当项目涉及拆迁安置时更是如此。例如在巴基斯坦,亚投行和世界银行共同投资了旨在提升塔贝拉水电站原有发电量的塔贝拉水电工程五期扩建项目(Tarbela 5 Hydropower Extension Project)。然而,塔贝拉水电工程前期项目及其附属项目引发了严重的社会问题,包括仍未解决的对1970年代因修建塔贝拉大坝而被迫迁移的上万民众赔偿不足的问题。虽然,亚投行和世界银行已经承诺解决这些“社会遗留问题”,但受影响的社区还在等待公正的到来;亚投行面临卷入世界银行背弃承诺的风险。

上周,世界银行监察组(Inspection Panel)收到了一封关于由世行和亚投行共同出资的阿默拉沃蒂可持续首府城市发展项目(Amaravati Sustainable Capital City Development Project)的投诉信。该项目将支持印度安得拉邦(Andhra Pradesh)新首府阿默拉沃蒂的建设。到2050年,新首府将占地217平方公里,拥有人口450万。由于拟建的巨型城市将主要征用农业用地,安得拉邦政府建立了土地入股计划(Land Pooling Scheme)。根据该计划,农民以土地入股,将使用权转让给安得拉邦用于开发;作为回报,农民获得10年的土地年金;土地开发后,小于入股面积的一块土地也将返还给农民。世界银行的文件称土地入股计划富有“创意”,“寻求避免大规模的拆迁”,但该计划也遇到了强烈的反对,并引发了巨大的争议,有人担心保护措施不到位将无法防止流离失所的农民和农业工人陷入贫困。

边缘群体被亚投行独立项目忽视

亚投行在孟加拉国、阿曼和印度也独立为一些项目提供融资。对于这些项目,亚投行采用了自己的而非联合投资方的社会标准。亚投行虽然承诺“推动机会平等和非歧视”及“采取行动消除针对弱势群体的障碍”,但该行对这些项目的尽职调查似乎更侧重潜在的环境风险而非社会风险。涉及项目对妇女等边缘群体潜在影响的内容十分有限,也没有考虑其他国际金融机构已经遇到的问题,如派遣基础设施项目工作人员进入农村地区的危害风险。例如,尽管海湾地区建筑行业虐待移民劳工问题已经有了大量的曝光,亚投行仍然没有解决阿曼港口建设项目使用强迫劳动的潜在风险。没有一个独立项目识别了对残障者的潜在影响和确保他们从项目中获益的方法,如获得就业机会。

 社会影响监测不明确和缺乏申诉机制

亚投行在监测其项目社会影响方面的角色不明确;银行网站上目前没有刊载任何关于项目监测的信息。此外,亚投行也没有建立申诉机制以受理和解决受项目影响社群关注的问题。亚投行约在一年前聘请了一名主管,领导合规、高效及廉正部(Compliance, Effectiveness, and Integrity Unit)的工作。亚投行虽然在4月宣布了有关拟建的申诉机制的磋商程序,但该行正引导所有关注项目环境和社会影响的个人去使用其联合投资方的申诉机制。亚投行不能依靠联合投资方来确保其运营遵守该行自己的环境和社会标准。即使是联合投资的项目,它也必须保障受到项目负面影响的人群能够使用亚投行的机制。

 现在亚投行已经完全投入运营,它需要改进工作,履行它在第一年作出的重要的社会承诺。亚投行需要做的第一步是向其职员提供有关执行环境和社会标准的指导,并在特定社会事务方面(如残障权利)聘请技术专家,以加强项目的筹备与执行。

Article
5 March 2017

AIIB plans to “conditionally” support coal power

Author: Liu Qin & Tang Damin, China Dialogue

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), …has closed its second public consultation on its future energy strategy. …Particular attention has focused on whether the bank will prioritise investments in low-carbon renewable technologies or in fossil fuel energy sources...[with] long term environmental consequences…[T]he rather ambiguous phrase “modern energy” that appears in both drafts to describe the type of energy...will be used to achieve the strategy’s goals. Civil society observers have pointed out that “modern energy” does not necessarily mean clean and renewable energy…Instead, investments have focused on bringing energy and electricity to rural areas, upgrading fossil fuel electricity generation, and the “responsible” construction of hydropower capacity…[O]f the four energy projects approved by the bank so far, the majority are unrelated to renewable energy, which fails to reflect the bank’s cited concern over climate change…[T]he second draft of the energy sector strategy says that efficient and clean oil and coal-fired power plants will be considered where they replace older equipment or in regions that are unable to use alternative forms of energy…Similarly, in the first round of consultations there was controversy over whether or not the bank should invest in hydropower…[which] could have an irreversible impact on the environment…

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Article
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Author: 刘琴、唐大旻,中外对话

简称亚投行...《能源行业战略》的公开意见征求...告一段落。能源战略是…亚投行制定的首个行业投资战略规划…该战略将指引机构“前期数年”的能源行业融资活动。…草稿显示出,亚投行的能源行业投资重点在于保障能源匮乏地区的能源接入和能源安全。对于以何种形式的能源满足这一目标,两版草稿都使用了“现代能源形式”的说法。一些民间观察者认为,这一提法…并不一定指代清洁的可再生能源技术。…尽管在指导方针中多次提及对气候变化的关切和对《巴黎协定》的支持,亚投行并没有把能源类投资项目的重点放在风能、太阳能上,而是采取了相对保守的路线,突出能源管线和输电网络“下乡”,化石能源发电技术的提升,以及“负责任”的水电设施建设和升级。…亚投行明确表示将有条件地支持高效清洁的煤电和油气发电项目,前提是该项目将以新技术替代落后设备,或者该地区欠缺发展其他能源形式的条件。…对于亚投行是否该投资水电,各方争议也较大。…反对方认为水电建设会影响生物多样性以及原住民生活等问题。…

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Article
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Author: 劉琴、唐大旻,中外對話

簡稱亞投行...《能源行業戰略》的公開意見徵求...告一段落。能源戰略是…亞投行製定的首個行業投資戰略規劃…該戰略將指引機構“前期數年”的能源行業融資活動。 …草稿顯示出,亞投行的能源行業投資重點在於保障能源匱乏地區的能源接入和能源安全。對於以何種形式的能源滿足這一目標,兩版草稿都使用了“現代能源形式”的說法。一些民間觀察者認為,這一提法…並不一定指代清潔的可再生能源技術。 …儘管在指導方針中多次提及對氣候變化的關切和對《巴黎協定》的支持,亞投行並沒有把能源類投資項目的重點放在風能、太陽能上,而是採取了相對保守的路線,突出能源管線和輸電網絡“下鄉”,化石能源發電技術的提升,以及“負責任”的水電設施建設和升級。 …亞投行明確表示將有條件地支持高效清潔的煤電和油氣發電項目,前提是該項目將以新技術替代落後設備,或者該地區欠缺發展其他能源形式的條件。 …對於亞投行是否該投資水電,各方爭議也較大。 …反對方認為水電建設會影響生物多樣性以及原住民生活等問題。 …

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Article
14 February 2017

Civil Society Calls on AIIB to Develop an Accountability Mechanism

Author: Bank Information Center

"Civil Society Calls on AIIB to Develop an Accountability Mechanism", 6 Feb 2017

The AIIB approved $1.7 billion in financing for nine projects in 2016, but still does not have a mechanism to address concerns from people who are affected by those projects.

In early February 2017, sixteen civil society organizations called on the AIIB’s Director-General for Compliance, Effectiveness, and Integrity to conduct a public consultation process on a future accountability mechanism. In the letter, civil society recommended a set of measures to ensure a robust public consultation process focused on feedback from the communities and local organizations that will ultimately be the users of the mechanism. Click here to read the full text of the letter.

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Article
1 February 2017

Civil society submissions on AIIB Energy Sector Strategy

Author: Bank Information Center

"In fall 2016, civil society organisations...had the opportunity to comment on the AIIB’s Energy Sector Strategy...Civil society submissions emphasized the importance of supporting Asian countries to transform their energy sectors in line with the Paris Climate Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)...[and] highlighted the importance of adopting a binding operational policy on energy..."

Click here to see the AIIB Energy Strategy: Sustainable Energy for Asia Issues Note for discussion.
Click here to the AIIB Summary of Comments Received on Energy Issues Note...

Read the full post here

Article
5 December 2016

Comments on the Public Information Interim Policy of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

Author: Centre for Law and Democracy (CLD) & Bank Information Center (BIC)

...Despite  some  strengths, in many areas the Interim Policy fails to meet the minimum information disclosure standards established by international law and the practice of other international financial institutions (IFIs). As a result, there is a clear need for fundamental revision of the rules regarding the disclosure of information at the AIIB, whether this is done  by  amending  the  Interim  Policy  or  by  adopting  a  new  comprehensive  policy.  This need  is particularly  urgent  since  the  AIIB  has  now  begun  to  finance  projects...Key  areas  for  improvement  of  the  rules  include the  development  of  detailed  procedures relating  to  the  processing  of  requests,  which is  something other  IFIs  have put  in  place. The  system  of  appeals  also needs  development, most  importantly  because  it  currently fails to provide for an independent appeal, such as are found in a growing number of IFI information disclosure policies. But the most significant need for reform is the regime of exceptions,  which  determines  the  line  between  what  information  is  public  and  what  is not...Finally,  the  AIIB  must also significantly  strengthen its  steps  to  implement  the  Policy  in  practice,  in  particular  by ensuring that requests are processed in accordance with the rules...

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