For meaningful Environmental and Social Safeguards, the AfDB needs CSOs and local communities’ inputs
The ongoing review of Integrated Safeguards System (ISS) of the African Development Bank (AfDB) is a key opportunity for the bank to effectively engage with civil society and local communities that are at the center of the bank’s funded activities around African countries.
In this context, a letter was sent today to the AfDB Group by Arab Watch Coalition alongside various other Civil Society Groups, keen to advance the interests of all right-holders in the implementation of development projects. In this letter, civil society drew significant recommendations on the nature and process of this review, giving examples of some of the best practices that other International Financial Institutions (IFIs) are making use of in order to enhance the quality of their engagement with CSOs and communities and in return, improve their investments.
“Disclose on the AfDB’s website, information about the review scope and timelines as well as a consultation and communication plan detailing steps and a calendar for consultations, concrete dates and desired outcomes.”
Not only information disclosure that is at issue, also the language brakes is systemically excluding the majority of civil society groups and communities who might have vital inputs in the Environmental & Social Safeguards of the bank. In this communication, CSOs are shouting for an inclusive and effective process that the AfDB needs to adopt in all of its operations in African continent, recognized for its cultural and linguistic diversity.
Therefore, the external stakeholder consultation process in the Integrated Safeguards System (ISS) review in accordance with the principles of openness, access to information, transparency, accountability, visibility, and accessibility, is a tangible basis for improving the performance and outcomes of the AfDB’s projects without exposing people to risk, and while ensuring their rights.