Dhaka 17 April 2008: [/B]Equity & Justice Working Group (EJWG) in association with several other organizations- VOICE, the Innovators, Advancing Public Interest Trust, Coastal Development Partnership, Bangla Praxis- organized a peoples’ dialogue on ‘ Impact of ADB finance policies and ADB backed projects in Bangladesh’ at the National Press Club Auditorium in Dhaka.
The participating organizations presented a number of ADB financed projects as case like; Khulna-Jessore Drainage Project, Sundarban Biodiversity Conservation Project, Fulbari Coal Mining Project etc. which has created local level social tension and environmental disasters and finally considered as fail projects. The presenters pointed out that although ADB publicly advocates democracy, rule of law, human rights, poverty alleviation etc. but in Bangladesh it is obvious that ABD finance policies and loan conditionalities are reproducing poverty putting the country in the vicious cycle of indebtness. Following the presentation of the impacts of ADB finance projects and ADB Country Assistance and Program (CSP) the representatives of political party leaders and CSOs representatives expressed their views on ADB financing in Bangladesh. They also asked the government of Bangladesh to find out alternative funding sources other than ADB, the World Bank and IMF.
Mr Mahmudur Rahman Manna, law maker of Bangladesh Awami League-AL, said the country needs a strong political commitment for denying the hegemony of the international financial institutions; all political parties should work together to reach a consensus of avoiding IFIs loan and formulate internal and realistic national poverty reduction strategies basing on incoming remittances and domestic resources. But irony is that our political leaders even many NGO/CSO representatives don’t feel comfort criticizing finance and loan policies of the IFIs.
In relation to ADB’s five years CSP, from 2006 to 2010, Dr. Hasan Mahmud, another AL law maker, pointed out that ADB will no more finance on forestry and biodiversity, rural livelihoods development, clean fuel development etc. which clearly indicates that ADB country CSP is not poverty focused; it’s development strategy is strongly influenced by the neo-liberal economic policies. We should raise this concern in the ADB’s high level policy meetings.
Mr. Mohiuddin Ahmed, Chairperson Jubilee South-APMDD and Advisor EJWG moderated smooth functioning of the dialogue. Among others Mr. Golam Habib Dulal, Jatiya Party law maker and ex-parliament member , Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, Md Shamsuddoha and Mustafa Kamal of EJWG’, Ahmed Swapon of VOICE, Zakir Kibria of Bangla Praxis, Zaved Khalid Joy of CDP, Sabbir Shams of APIT and Zakir Hossain of Innovators took part in the discussion.