Skip to main content

AIIB's water strategy contradicts itself, 'allows' privatisation of essential commodity

Counterview Desk
China-initiated Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) recently came up with a draft Water Sector Strategy in order to play what it calls "unique and catalytic role" in improving the efficiency of the water sector through the application of innovative technologies. However, an analysis by Gaurav Dwivedi for the civil rights organization, Centre for Financial Analysis (CFA), says that AIIB contradicts itself when it says that water is a basic necessity and can also be treated as an economic good.

Text:

The strategy contextualises and elaborates about the issues and problems facing water sector in developing countries appears to have been brought out to a considerable extent. Though a lot of information and analysis that AIIB has depended upon comes from secondary sources like ADB and the World Bank, its own understanding and perspective seems to be missing in the background and largely echoes the views shared by the other multilateral development banks (MDBs) earlier.
It talks about water being a basic necessity of life that confers value and can also be treated as an economic good. This dichotomy often leads to conflict and a large majority of people facing water shortages as well as lack of access to water supply and sanitation.
It observes that 98% of investments in water sector in Asia have come from public sector in 2015. It says that using the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) as a base for assessing investment needs, an average of USD 120-330 billion per annum to 2030 is required, representing 2.5 – 7.5% of regional GDP. Water supply and sanitation represent the greatest investment need with USD 93-153 billion / pa followed by flood protection (USD 93-153 billion/pa) and irrigation (USD 30-64 billion / pa).
With the public and private investments in water infrastructures have been in the order of USD 30-50 billion per year, an annual financing gap of approximately USD 55-290 billion exists.
AIIB’s mandate strongly aligns with the needs and opportunities in the water sector. The Bank has undertaken a sector analysis, working with key experts, practitioners and stakeholders, to develop a strategy to guide AIIB’s investment in the water sector.
To meet the diversity of needs, the Bank’s investments will be client driven. Additionally, the Bank believes it has a unique and catalytic role in improving the efficiency of the water sector through the application of innovative technologies.
It has divided the sector into three broad investment categories – water services, resource management and resilience. The investments by the bank would be based on the principles of – promoting sustainable infrastructure, integrated resources management, mobilising private capital and efficiencies and adopting innovative technologies.
AIIB looks to evolve its investment approach over a period of time, in the short term from – standalone financing and co-financing to developing strategic partnerships with key development and knowledge players and further allowing it to gradually play a more active role in supporting the policy dialogue and investment process. It looks to grow into similar kind of roles and develop similar approaches to what the other MDBs are already undertaking.
For AIIB private capital mobilisation is a cross-cutting principle of the strategy and an important source to bridge the financing gap. Even though it recognises that private sector has had limited impact so far in the water sector, AIIB will be at the forefront of both increasing the general availability of private funds to the sector and increasing the direct participation and investment of the private sector at the asset level.
It will seek to – increase investment attractiveness, address the objectives of large institutional investors and promote the adoption of new technologies through equity investment into technology funds.
The bank looks to keep considering and invested in PPPs despite the poor experiences with PPPs over the past couple of decades in water and sanitation sector. Not only in developing countries but also in the developed countries PPPs in water and sanitation have faced problems and have not been able to deliver on the claimed promises made.
AIIB water sector strategy would have linkages and interactions with its energy strategy, sustainable cities strategy and transport strategy.
The Bank’s corporate results framework and environmental and social framework provide a robust structure to ensure the environmental and social soundness and outcomes of Bank operations. In particular the bank would consider – social, environmental and climate change impacts of its water sector projects.
AIIB will build strategic relationships with knowledge partners allowing it to move upstream and facilitate early project identification by engaging in policy and institutional reform dialogue.
AIIB will leverage this research, advocacy and these professional organisations working on diverse aspects of the water sector. Finally, building partnerships with the private sector, commercial banks, and institutional investors will help it better to help the industry to overcome barriers to its increased involvement in the water sector.

Comments

TRENDING

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Labelling a Jesuit a Marxist? It's like saying if you use a plane, you become American

Jesuits: Cedric Prakash, Stan Swamy By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ* A thirteen- fourteen-year-old has many dreams! That's an impressionable age; at the cusp of finishing school. It is also a time when one tastes a different kind of freedom: to go for camps with boys of your own age (not with ones family). Such camps and outings were always enjoyed to the hilt. The ones, however, which still remain etched in my memory are the mission camps to the Jesuit missions in Maharashtra and Gujarat.

Did Modi promote Dholavira, a UNESCO site now, as Gujarat CM? Facts don't tally

By Rajiv Shah  As would generally happen, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tweet – that not only was he “absolutely delighted” with the news of UNESCO tag to Dholavira, but he “ first visited ” the site during his “student days and was mesmerised by the place” – is being doubted by his detractors. None of the two tweets, strangely, even recalls once that it’s a Harappan site in Gujarat.

Giant conglomerates 'favoured': Whither tribal rights for jal-jungle-jameen?

Prafull Samantara By Mohammad Irshad Ansari*  The struggle for “Jal, Jungle and Jameen” has been a long-drawn battle for the tribal communities of India. This tussle was once again in the limelight with the proposed diamond mining in the Buxwaha forest of Chhatarpur (Madhya Pradesh). The only difference in this movement was the massive social media support it gained, which actually seems to tilt the scale for the tribal people in a long time.

If not Modi, then who? Why? I (an ordinary citizen) am there! Main hoon naa!

By Mansee Bal Bhargava*  The number of women ministers is doubled in early July from the first term after cabinet reshuffle by the present government led by Narendra Modi. While there were 06 women ministers in the previous term, this term there are 11. The previous two governments led by Dr Manmohan Singh had 10 women ministers in each tenure. Are these number of women ministers something to rejoice in the near 75 years of independence? Yes maybe, if we think that things are slowly improving in the patriarchal system. This change is less likely to achieve gender balance in the parliament otherwise we require more than 11 as per the 33% reservation . This change is also less likely because the men politicians’ inability to handle the country’s mess is becoming more and more evident and especially during the corona crisis. Seems, the addition of more women ministers may be a result of the recent assembly elections where women played a decisive role in the election results. For example

Tussle between Modi-led BJP govt, Young India 'key to political battle': NAPM

Counterview Desk  In its month-long campaign, civil rights network National Alliance for People’s Movements (NAPM) carried out what it called Young People's Political Persecution and Resistance in “solidarity with all comrades facing political persecution and remembering human rights defender Stan Swamy…”

Gujarat govt gender insensitive? Cyclone package for fisherfolk 'ignores' poor women

By Our Representative A memorandum submitted to the Gujarat government by various fisherfolk associations of the Saurashtra region of Gujarat under the leadership of Ahmedabad NGO Centre for Social Justice's senior activist Arvind Khuman, who is based in Amreli, has suggested that the relief package offered to the fishermen affected by the Tauktae cyclone is not only inadequate, it is also gender insensitive.

Debt bondage, forced labour, sexual abuse in Gujarat's Bt cottonseed farms: Dutch study

By Rajiv Shah  A just-released study, sponsored by a Netherlands-based non-profit, Arisa , “Seeds of Oppression Wage sharecropping in Bt cottonseed production in Gujarat, India”, has said that a new form of bondage, or forced labour, exists in North India’s Bt cottonseed farms, in which bhagiyas, or wage sharecroppers, are employed against advances and are then often required to work for years together “without regular payment of wages.”

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Covid: We failed to stop religious, political events, admits Modi-dharmacharya meet

Counterview Desk An email alert sent by one the 11 participants, Prof Salim Engineer, on behalf of the Dharmik Jan Morcha regarding their "religious leaders' online meet" with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, even as offering "support to meet challenges of Corona pandemic", blames religious congregations, though without naming the Maha Kumbh and other religious events, which apparently were instrumental in the spread of the second wave.