Call for Action
50 actions of resistance in
50 places in India on the
50th year of ADB
50 years of inequitable development: Better off without ADB
Asian Development Bank (ADB) is celebrating its 50th year at their annual meetings, with the theme “Building Together the Prosperity of Asia” to be held 4-7 May in Yokohama, Japan. Amidst ADB’s celebration of its work in the region and its claim of contribution to “expand opportunities and build prosperity across Asia and the Pacific, contributing significantly to the region’s historic global rise” it is important to challenge their narrative of development and highlight the colossal damage their investments have caused.
Since its inception in 1966 ADB has grown to be the third largest source of development finance in the Asia-Pacific region, next to the World Bank Group and the Japanese Government. Documents published in 2017 reveals that from a lending portfolio of just over $3 billion during the first decade, ADB has expanded its lending to $123 billion during the last decade. It has also claimed to have mobilised $250 billion for infrastructure, research and knowledge sharing in promoting its goal of eradicating absolute poverty by the mid-2020s, inclusive economic growth and environmentally sustainable growth.
ADB is publicising three major gains: that the total GDP of Asia-Pacific countries is one third of the global GDP, a new born today in Asia will live 25 years more than those born in the 1960s and a record $8.3 billion private sector lending in 2016. In doing so, it has left out that the region’s CO2 emissions have reached half of the global emissions.
Further Mid-term Review (MTR) of ADB’s strategy for 2015 and 2020 have acknowledged that Asia and the Pacific faces widening inequalities in income and access to economic and social opportunities. Increased investment in infrastructure has failed to provide inclusive growth and social protection to the vulnerable sections of the populations including the workers and women.
As people working in various regions and sectors where ADB has invested we are aware of the trail of destruction across the region – livelihood loss and displacement of coastal, fishing and farming communities, environmental scars on the mining affected people, communities surrounding coal fired plants and large hydro projects, pushed out urban poor, the hawkers from their legitimate shelter and livelihood spaces in the name of urban development and further marginalised the workers by failing to adhere to its commitment of implementing core labour standards (CLS) in its project contract works. The only beneficiaries are the project contractors – the national and transnational companies and the hired consultants.
We believe that Asian Development Bank’s neo-liberal capitalist model of growth and development policy has failed. Further, as ADB celebrates its 50 years, let us take this opportunity to critically look at and evaluate ADB’s policies, programmes and investment, the failure of the neo liberal economic development model and join the celebration of people and communities of the Asia Pacific in its resistance and challenges posed to that failed policy and paradigm.
The emergence of two new multilateral banks – the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and New Development Bank (BRICS bank / NDB) in the recent past, and co-financing with ADB and World Bank Group for destructive infrastructure projects becoming a significant part of the their investment plan is a recipe in the making for large investments in the infrastructure sector causing displacement and environmental destruction, opaque safeguards policies and weakened commitments transparency and accountability mechanisms.
In 2006, during the 39th annual meetings in Hyderabad, 100s of people’s movements, trade unions and NGOs came together to organize a counter summit at Hyderabad during the same time — this forum consisting of various groups from India and other countries in Asia came together under the banner Peoples’ Forum against ADB (PFAADB).
With an objectives to revive and reaching out to old and new IFI actors / struggles; with the emergence of AIIB and NDB, and in the context of co-financing happening between the new players and ADB, and World Bank Group, using this opportunity to expose the connections and linkages between these players; and in an atmosphere of suppression of any form of dissent and increasing attack on many fundamental rights, to use this opportunity also to assert our right to dissent and protest, it will be prudent to make use of the opportunity of 50th year to highlight the impacts on communities and environment, and the destructive development model these institutions are promoting.
The call is to hold 50 actions of resistance in 50 places in India on the 50th year of ADB.
Any day between May 1-7, coinciding ADB’s official celebrations in Japan from May 4-7, people’s movements from different parts of the country will hold 50 (or more!) actions/programs. The kind of actions/programs could vary from place to place – street protest, seminar/hall meetings, press conferences, cultural protests, photo exhibition on impacts of ADB lending etc.
While local organisations will take a lead and shape the action/program in a way which is appropriate to their struggles/locale, these programs would be held together by the Peoples’ Forum Against ADB.
Stay tuned for more information about actions.
Together we let us show we are still, better off without ADB.
People’s Forum Against ADB