Skip to main content

BRICS bank "ignores" transparency on environmental issues, refuses to involve civil society for policy framework

WB President Jim Yong Kim and NDB President KV Kamath
after signing MoU in September 2016
By Our Representative
Amidst the high-profile BRICS summit entering the second day in Goa, two senior experts, Juana Kweitel, Programs Director of Conectas Human Rights in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Srinivas Krishnaswamy, CEO of Vasudha Foundation in New Delhi, have said that even a year after BRICS launched its New Development Bank (NDB) has failed to be a “tooled” as a “real engine for sustainable development.”
BRICS is acronym for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
“The NDB is now up and running – having approved in its first year USD 911 million worth of infrastructure and energy projects within the BRICS countries”, the experts have said in a commentary, adding, “This first tranche of projects includes various energy investments, with an encouraging nod to renewables, including rooftop solar, and wind.”
“Another factor distinguishing the NDB is that it has started to lend to countries in domestic currencies, rather than pegging all loans to the dollar, a practice which has tended to saddle countries with more debt”, they point out.
Following this, the experts say, the NDB “has its sights set on scaling up – adding additional member countries, allowing financing outside of the five BRICS countries, and expanding operations to include lending to the private sector.”
However, the experts warn, “The BRICS Bank works to position itself as a major player for sustainable development, several big obstacles stand in its way.”
“First and foremost”, they point out, “The NDB has not yet defined what it sees as sustainable development or set forth sustainability criteria for its investments. While the Bank has an exclusion list, which identifies certain investments as ineligible for NDB financing, that list does not include, for instance, unsustainable fuel sources like coal.”
“If the NDB is going to be something new, it will need to break away from the export-oriented, extractivist development model that has proven itself a failure. And that break will take a clear roadmap”, the experts add.
“Second”, the experts say, “While the Bank has given a nod to environmental sustainability, it has doggedly ignored the basic tenets of social sustainability – transparency and participation. The Bank did not involve civil society in the formation of its social and environmental policy framework, despite repeated calls for consultation.”
“While the Bank released an Interim Policy on Information Disclosure, it hasn’t put in place the necessary measures or mechanisms to ensure that communities who might be impacted by NDB investments have the information they need, the opportunity to influence project decisions, and access to remedy if they are harmed”, the experts underline.
“Finally”, the experts underline, “It is questionable whether the NDB’s new policy framework is robust enough to ensure sustainability or to prevent harms. In its social and environmental framework, the NDB opted for more aspirational principles rather than concrete requirements for environmental and social performance.”

In fact, they say, “the framework allows the NDB to preference the use of countries’ domestic systems, without clear criteria or processes by which such standards will be assessed. While Bank officials have stated that they will work to ensure enforcement of local laws and regulations, this loophole is a major concern since many countries are systematically dismantling their national environmental and social protections, as is the case with Brazil.”

Comments

TRENDING

ISKCON UK 'clarifies' after virus infects devotees, 5 die due to big temple meet

By Rajiv Shah
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), United Kingdom (UK), has admitted that at least 21 of its devotees were infected because of the spread of the coronavirus amongst the UK devotee community following the March 12 funeral and March 15 memorial of the Bhaktivedanta Manor temple president, in which about 1,000 people participated. Regretting that five of the devotees have passed away, the top Hindu religious in Britain body does not deny more may have been infected.

As corona virus 'travels' to rural areas, NGO begins training tribals, marginalised women

By Souparno Chatterjee*
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared corona virus a pandemic. Originating from Wuhan in China, it has traversed the entire globe, almost, and claimed more than 16,000 lives already. That’s largely the urban population. In India, despite all the preparedness and war-like promptness to safeguard against the pandemic, several lives have been lost , and hundreds of individuals have tested positive.

Rani Laxmi Bai, Tatya Tope 'martyred' by East India Company, Scindia's forefathers

By Our Representative
In an email alert to Counterview, well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam has said that was “shameful for any political party in democratic India to keep children of Sindhias in their flock” given their role during the First War of Indian Independence (1857). In a direct commentary on Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia moving over to BJP, Prof Islam has quote from a British gazetteer to prove his point.

COVID-19: Dalit rights bodies regret, no relief plan yet for SCs, STs, marginalized

By Our Representative
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the National Dalit Watch-National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, endorsed* by several other Dalit rights organizations, have insisted, the Government of India should particular care of the scheduled castes and tribes, trans folks, persons with disabilities and the women and children from these communities, while fighting against COVID-19 pandemic.

Mallika Sarabhai releases speech she was 'not allowed' to give at NID Convocation on Feb 7

Counterview Desk
The National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad, a Ministry of Commerce and Industry body, landed itself in controversy following its decision to put off its 40th convocation ceremony, where noted danseuse Mallika Sarabhai was invited as chief guest. The ceremony was scheduled to be held on February 7.

Idea of fair, tall, customized baby "rooted" in Nazi Germany, RSS' Golwalkar wanted crossbreeding with Brahmins

By Our Representative
Facts have come to light suggesting that the RSS’ experiment to have “fair”, “tall” and “customized” baby has an interesting Gujarat connection: It was first reportedly floated by its topmost ideologue Guru Golwalkar way back in 1960 while giving a lecture in Gujarat University.

Coronavirus scare ‘pushing’ people from Northeast India into more hardship

By Rishiraj Sinha, Biswanath Sinha*
“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Nelson Mandela
***

Gujarat govt plan to 'banish' Gandhian activist anti-democratic, unconstitutional

By Rohit Prajapati*
The current Central and Gujarat governments, and their bureaucracy, have been and are still unable to answer and address the concerns raised, with facts, figures, and constitutional provisions, regarding the terror of tourism in the name of the Statue of Unity and tourism projects surrounding it.

Gujarat construction workers walk home as Rs 2,900 crore welfare fund lies unused

By Our Representative
Situated behind the Gujarat University, some of the families of the migrant construction workers from Dahod and Panchmahals districts of Gujarat, and a few from Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, who had stayed put in make-shift shanties in Ahmedabad’s sprawling GMDC Ground, have begun a long journey, by foot, back to their home villages in the eastern tribal belt of Gujarat.