Over 30 civil society representatives from BRICS countries and others came together to meet with the senior management and other relevant staff of the New Development BankÂ (NDB) on the 25-26th of October, 2017 in Shanghai.
The NDB’s President K.V. Kamath and Vice-Presidents Vladimir Kazbekov, Xian Zhu, and Leslie Maasdorp interacted with the group on various aspects of the Bank such as its structure, staffing approach, communications strategy, policies, project financing, design, approval, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation, and financial instruments including green bonds.
The civil society organizations (CSO) in turn presented their concerns, suggestions, and demands on issues of transparency, accountability, access to information, gender, environmental and social management, and mechanisms to institutionalize civil society engagement.
Please find below the summary of the main asks by CSO representatives who attended the meeting:
- Further clarification on how the NDB can effectively give feedback on how the information disclosure policy is implemented.
- A framework for the next review process of the information disclosure policy due in 2018, and a consultation process to be established by the Bank with CSOs and community representatives to improve the information disclosure policy and the way the Bank provides information.
- Accessibility of project documents at all stages of the project cycle on the NDB website in English and the official national languages of the Bank’s founding member countries.
- The sharing of the NDB staff contact list on the website in order for the public to send information and/or recommendations on any matters or concerns to appropriate NDB staff.
- Publishing all information disclosure requests submitted by CSOs and/or community representatives and the Bank’s responses to the same.
- Development of a comprehensive, mandatory Gender Policy to guide all NDB’s structure, governance, and operations.
- The hiring of a Senior Gender Expert to ensure gender responsive policies become a culture within NBD operations. As advised by the NDB, this hiring of a Senior Gender Expert could be considered during the current planning of NDB staff for 2018..
- Setting up of a multi-actor Gender Advisory Committee to advise and effectively work with the bank to integrate gender concerns across the NDB.
ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL MANAGEMENT
- In the short term, create an NDB-civil society (NGOs, academics etc.) taskforce on sustainable infrastructure to elaborate on indicators to assess the sustainability of infrastructure projects
- In the medium term, develop financial and non-financial incentives based on the degree of sustainability of infrastructure projects.
- Projects always be preceded by sound environmental impact assessment and human rights due diligence to avoid exclusion and violation of rights.
- A clear timeframe for response by the NDB on civil society’s Environmental and Social Framework policy recommendation, following a submission made in early April 2017, and shared again with NDB officials prior to this meeting..
INTERACTION WITH CIVIL SOCIETY
- Acknowledging the diversity of civil society, especially the importance of engagement and consultation with local community representatives to assure sustainable development.
- Civil society must not merely be consulted, but engaged as an equal partner in all political processes to co-determine a bold, transformative and people-centered Bank.
- The NDB must commit to civil society participation through a partnership with a wider range of stakeholders, including NGOs, academics, women’s groups, trade unions, social movements, affected communities etc.
- This can be supported through a time-bound Action Plan for the institutionalization of NDB-civil society engagement.
Such an Action Plan would include broad-based consultations with CSOs in the 5 BRICS countries, and include: guiding principles, roles, proposed arrangements, time frame and budget. Note that the group leading the CSO session along with the other organizations attending the meeting can play an initial role in facilitating the process while opening up a space for other interested organizations.
Following our engagement with the NDB senior management staff, we trust that the NDB will address and commit to taking action on these issues. We look forward to consulting with the Bank further on these issues through the civil society interaction to be held during the NDB’s Third Annual Meeting slated for April 1, 2018.
We believe that as a new institution committed to inclusive, sustainable development, the NDB has the opportunity and responsibility to play a transformative role towards achieving substantive equality in promoting greater economic and social justice, including gender equality among the five BRICS’ countries and beyond. As representatives of civil society from the BRICS countries, we stand committed to work with and support the NDB in all these matters.