ADB's Long Term Strategic Framework Criticized for its Anti-poor Stand and Corporate Bias
[VOICE, Dhaka, 19 June 2008]
Speakers in a meeting strongly criticized the Long Term Strategic Framework (LTSF) for 2008-2020 of Asian Development Bank for its anti-poor stand showing blanket biasness toward private sector led development. The meeting was organized by a research organization ‘Voice’ in the Supro conference room on 19 June 2008. Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, executive director of Voice moderated the meeting while it was attended by civil society organizations, trade unionists, farmers’ organizations, NGOs, students, activist groups and civil society actors.
Farjana Akter, programme coordinator of Voice presented the key note speech terming the long term strategy as anti-poor. She said that the ADB is far behind its commitment to reduce poverty, rather its involvement with corporate sector makes the poverty situation worsen in the region.
The speakers said that private sector domination in the development process will concentrate on their own profit leaving the agenda of poverty reduction that ultimately undermines the aspirations of the people and communities to come out from the poverty trap. The Bank also determines that the growth based development facilitates poverty though in most of the countries including Bangladesh ADB’s formula already failed to achieve its objectives. Speakers criticized for its biasness toward market-led economic growth that aggravates poverty situation rather than reducing in many countries of Asia and the Pacific. They rejected LTSF that suggests expanding Bank’s activities and increasing support as of 50 % by 2020 with the private sector which is only 12% at present. They also urged people to take a collective stand against ADB’s role in the country.
Speakers also added that though poverty is the overarching objective of the Bank, and though LTSF recognizes it as a major challenge, Bank’s activities already raised huge criticism for its anti-poor stand and also disregarding its own policies and commitment. Already private sector involvement in environmental projects proved in vain and caused dangerous consequences on environment and communities.
“We can not simply sell everything to the corporations, but ADB is urging corporations to establish its economic and political hegemony over people’s life through its long term strategy 2020” said Ahmed Swapan Mahmud. LTSF is prepared in a non-transparent way without any meaningful participation with the civil society organizations, he added.
Private sector bias will enhance corruption and human rights violations in the country that will hamper the development process and undermine communities’ efforts to fight against poverty and injustice. Strategy 2020 will cause a huge damage and gross human rights degradation to the region benefiting the private sector to control over resources and people’s livelihood.
ADB never understands the root causes of poverty, it only deals how the corporate powers establishing their domination can control market and make own profit. Drawing the examples, the speakers said the Bank always advocates for privatization of basic services while the corporate powers take the control and millions of poor suffer on the other hand.
Speakers urged ADB to play just and democratic role understanding peoples’ needs instead of policy dictations. Among others Sirajuddahar Khan executive director of Interaction, Zakir Hossain, executive director of Nagarik Uddog, Prodip Kumar Roy, chief executive of Supro, trade union leader Subal Sarkar, farmers’ leader Zayeed Iqbal, Unnayan Unneshan’s coordinator AKM Faisal Uddin, CDP’s coordinator Mahbub Hossain, coordinator of APIT Raihan Sharif, director of In Search of Light Sajjad Ansari, ,Pave’s director KGM Faruk also spoke on the occasion.