April 9, 2018: 62 Civil Society Groups from four continents issued a public statement to express their concern about the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank’s (AIIB) ongoing Board meetings in which it is being proposed to empower Bank’s Management to approve some projects.
“The forthcoming Board decision to delegate responsibility to AIIB Management to approve its projects represents a fundamental shift in the way the AIIB is governed. Such a radical move should not happen without significant public debate and at a minimum full disclosure and discussion around the thresholds for such delegation,” the groups argued.
The statement, which was endorsed by grassroots organisations, research and advocacy organisations, and individuals, observed that this proposal raises questions on the governance at the AIIB — the world’s newest multilateral development bank — as the Board members are accountable to their governments, which are also shareholders of the Bank. Shareholder governments, in turn, are responsible to their citizens for ensuring that the Bank upholds its environmental and social standards in its lending operations. “Transferring the right of approval from the Board to Management undermines this crucial chain of accountability,” the groups emphasised.
Responding to the news that ‘thresholds’ could be set for determining which projects will still come before the AIIB’s Board, the grassroots organisations argued that such thresholds are not meaningful regarding potential harms to local communities and the environment.
The civil society groups requested that the Board defer its decision on the process of approval until further discussions have taken place among key stakeholders.