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

Call to support IIM-Bangalore professor, censured for seeking action against Uniliver

Counterview Desk
Sections of the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) across India have strongly reacted to the decision to censure Dr Deepak Malghan, a faulty at IIM-Bangalore. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, who is faculty at IIM-Tiruchirapalli, has sought wider solidarity with Dr Malghan, saying, "The administration has censured Deepak for merely suggesting a meaningful action against Hindustan Unilever for their abysmal environmental record" by “disinviting” it for campus placement.

Actionable programme for 2019 polls amidst lynch mobs, caste violence, hate mongering

Counterview Desk
Reclaiming the Republic, a civil rights network, has released a document prepared under the chairmanship of Justice AP Shah (retired) -- and backed, among others, by Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan, bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander, economist Prabhat Patnaik, Right to transparency activist Anjali Bhardwaj and social scientist Yogendra Yadav  (click HERE for full list) -- with the "aim" of putting forth policy and legislative reforms needed to “protect” and “strengthen” the Constitutional safeguards for India’s democratic polity.

Noam Chomsky, top scholars ask NRIs to take stand on human rights violations in India

Counterview Desk
Renowned world scholars, including Noam Chomsky, James Petras, Angela Davis, Fredric Jameson, Bruno Latour, Ilan Pappe, Judith Butler, among others, have issued a statement castigating the Narendra Modi government for allegedly creating an environment of fear through arrests, intimidation and violence.

India under Modi "promoted" crony business, protected financial fraudsters, fueled bigotry

By Sandeep* and Rahul Pandey**
Narendra Modi's ascension to power was accompanied with jubilation and expectation. His supporters were expecting an end to era of corruption and initiation of good governance which was described as Achche Din. His party's adherence to idea of nationalism was believed to make India a vibrant country and guide India to be a world leader. He gave the slogan of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas' conveying that his government was for all.
Corruption The government system is infested with corruption. A minimum of 10% is siphoned off from government schemes and projects, some of which goes back to political party in power and remaining is pocketed by various administrative, executive and political functionaries. This corruption continues and has increased. Now an additional Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) person working as Official on Special Duty or some equivalent position in every government department also has a share in this booty.
The Narendra M…

Inviting Rajapaksa to India "insult" to 1,40,000 Tamils killed by Sri Lankan army

Counterview Desk
In the context of Sri Lankan opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa being invited in India, about 75 human rights activists*, claiming to be concerned about rights violations during the civil war in Sri Lanka, especially in 2009, have joined together to express their dissent through a statement.

A Godse legacy? BJP rulers have "refrained" from calling Gandhi Father of the Nation

By Dr Hari Desai*
What an agony! On one hand, the entire India is celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but on the other side, so-called Hindu Mahasabha members have been found mock-enacting the killing of the Mahatma and celebrating the murder by distributing sweets!

No aadhaar, no ration? Hard blow by Gujarat govt on poor and marginalized

By Pankti Jog*
Only those who have aadhaar registration and linked it with ration card will get ration from a Public Distribution System (PDS) shop. This decision of the Gujarat government has hit very badly thousands of poor and marginalized communities of Gujarat, especially during the drought year.

Post-advisory, Govt of India appears reluctant to ban e-cigarettes, "harmful" to kids

By Rajiv Shah
Is the Government of India dilly-dallying over the issue of banning e-cigarettes, which have been declared by anti-tobacco activists across the world as providing “an entryway to nicotine addiction”, especially among the kids? It would seem so, if the latest developments are any guide.

Not just Indian women engineers, men too face sexual harassment at workplace: US study

By Rajiv Shah
A recent research, carried out jointly by two US-based non-profit organizations, Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and Center for WorkLife Law (WLL), based at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, has found that 45% of women engineers as against 28% of men engineers complained that it was perceived as “inappropriate when women argued at work, even when it was work-related.”

Poser to Modi: Why is Gujarat not fulfilling Constitutional obligations to minorities?

Counterview Desk
In an open letter, Mujahid Nafees, convener, Minority Coordination Committee (MCC), a Gujarat-based civil rights organization, has accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi on infringing upon MCC activists’ constitutional right to protest. Nafees says, they had no other demands except that the Gujarat government should move towards fulfilling the constitutional obligations towards minorities and international treaties to which India is a signatory.