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12 Nov 2021

Shi Yi, Wawa Wang, China Dialogue

Reports call into question AIIB's transparency and accountability mechanism

"AIIB’s environmental and social safeguards under scrutiny ahead of annual meeting", 26 October 2021

The Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) will hold its sixth annual meeting virtually on October 26–28, a few days before UN climate talks kick off in Glasgow. [...]

Recent investigations and studies, however, have called into question the impact of the AIIB’s investments and whether they are in line with its core values. Many civil society groups worry the bank’s ESF, along with other policies, lacked substantive commitments and clear criteria when first adopted in 2016, and that the new one has not fixed those issues. [...]

A joint study by the Heinrich Böll Foundation and Just Finance International examined how AIIB’s new green-lighted ESF measures would reduce transparency and accountability. [...]

Another report published by Recourse and Urgewald reviewed the AIIB’s accountability mechanism before its annual meeting. Despite 142 projects approved and over US$28 billion invested in its six years of operation, the bank has yet to receive a single complaint. 

The study believes that one of the main reasons is more than half of the projects, 72 out of 142, are not eligible for its accountability mechanism. Under the AIIB’s rules, projects co-financed with other multilateral development banks are excluded from the accountability mechanism for redress. “On the exclusion, the AIIB is the only one that does that among all multilateral development banks,” said Kate Geary, one of the authors of the report. [...]