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Press Releases written by Voice
May 20, Dhaka [The participants of the consultation allegedly said that the Bank didn’t provide any information on the project they undertook in the country and categorically it impedes the access to information at all levels including project agreement, implementation and monitoring levels. The consultation was held at the Dhaka Reporters Unity today jointly organized by VOICE, a research and advocacy organization and Bank Information Centre. The consultation was presided over by Justice (Retd) Mohammad Golam Rabbani.
Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, executive director of Voice read out the key note paper while he citing the example from the World Bank's Inspection Panel Annual Report, said that Bank suffers with the problem of access to information within several World Bank-financed projects. There are allegations of lack of transparency, and even violations of its own disclosure policy according to recently published Inspection Panel Report, he told. Ahmed Swapan also said that alleged violation of the Bank’s disclosure policy was raised in 22 of the 52 cases, which equates to 42 percent of all cases brought to the panel since its 1993 inception.
Deep concerns about high risk offshore private equity portfolio
4 May 2009, Bali - The largest Asian NGO network monitoring the ADB today slammed the bank's response to the financial crisis, calling it "a dangerous plan to unleash massive infrastructure funding while reducing environmental and social oversight."
According to Red Constantino of the NGO Forum on the ADB, "the bank is proposing a blinkered, business-as-usual program that will not prevent developing countries from sliding back into poverty but instead is likely to cause environmental destruction and social dislocation."
The NGO Forum on the ADB also released a scathing report detailing the ADB's high-risk low-return foray into private equity funds and pointed to the potential large-scale misuse of the 200 percent capital increase the ADB recently secured.
"The ADB's handling of its private equity funds is scandalous and presents a material risk not only to the ADB but to project affected communities and the environment," said Stephanie Fried of Environmental Defense Fund.
28 April, Bali – The NGO Forum on ADB officially opened its Forum annual meeting (FAM) today at the Palm Beach Hotel & Resort in Bali, Indonesia.
Over 70 participants representing different organizations from Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, the United States, Australia, and the Netherlands attended the first day.
The first session dealt with big picture issues. Pieter Jansen of BothENDS talked about the ongoing financial crisis from the European perspective. He compared the situation before the financial crisis and after the crash. He further said that the removal of controls over the financial sector has made the financial institutions masters of economy instead as its servants.
Stephanie Fried of the Environmental Defense Fund delved on private equity funds (PEF) which promotes secrecy in the middle of the global financial crisis. Though there is an international push for the re-regulation of financial architecture and an increase in transparency measures due to the global financial crisis, she said the ADB has proposed the further deregulation of risky investments and weakening of its Safeguards Policy. She said that PEFs are a key component of the ADB’s private sector development strategy.
Speakers at a discussion yesterday said that international capitalist mode of productions, speculative capital, unjust and ndemocratic role of International Financial Institutions (IFIs) and multinational corporations are the major causes of recent financial crisis. The discussion titled `IFIs are the Major Barriers to Development Effectiveness: Linking Financial Crisis to Food, Debt and Climate Change' has been held at the Cirdap auditorium, Dhaka on 16 October. The discussion was moderated by Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, executive director of VOICE while eminent economist and also a teacher of Dhaka University Prof. Abu Ahmed, eminent leader of Workers Party of Bangladesh Haider Akber Khan Rono, economist, leading economist Dr. Piash Karim, renowned leader general secretary of Biplabi Workers Party Saiful Haq spoke as panel discussants.
Bangladesh is passing through multi-faceted challenges in the recent past propagated by its economic depression due to deregulation of the state machinery dictated from International Financial Institutions. Commoner's life and livelihood is highly suppressed from inflation, unemployment and unprecedented risks. Triple attack of food, fuel and financial crisis on the global economy is also affecting peoples' daily life as the country is a net food importing LDC and its remittance mostly comes from by exporting garments and frozen foods along with low skilled manpower. Bangladesh needs increased investment in food, griculture, employment generation along with spending in basic services. But the govt. can not invest more as they have
to pay back more than USD 1500 million for debt servicing per annum to World Bank, IMF, Asian Development Bank and to other bi-lateral donors, which is more than 15% of it's national budget. Besides new loan programs in the name of Multi Donor Trust Fund proposed to be managed by World Bank will trap its citizens to new debt burden. Massive awareness needs to be created to
challenge this undemocratic venture of the Bank.
[12 October, Dhaka] Speakers at a press conference said that the international financial institutions (IFIs) have a disastrous consequences over people's life and livelihood over the years due to policy prescriptions and bad projects of IFIs. The press conference was held at the Dhaka Reporter's Unity in the city today to observe the Bangladesh Week of Action against poverty, hunger and unjust development paradigm. The Bangladesh Social Forum organized the press conference on the eve of World Bank-IMF annual general meeting scheduled from coming 15-17 October in Washington DC.
Participants from various civil society organizations agreed to monitor closely the
policies, projects and programs of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Bangladesh in the face of changing nature of the ADB. Speakers critically evaluated recently drafted the national action plan on climate change. The national action plan was drafted without any public participation especially the vulnerable communities.
The day long consultation on Environment and Climate Change: Role of the ADB in Bangladesh held at the Mohammadpur auditorium attended by nearly 40 representatives from NGOs, civil society organizations, academicians, journalists and human rights activists across the country. Speakers demanded that international financial institutions (IFIs) and northern multinational companies should shed the climate hypocrisy if they want to consider impacts of climate change on people.
The event was organized by Voice, a research and advocacy organization based in Dhaka and Manila based NGO Forum on ADB- an international civil society networks.
[Voice, Mymensingh, 18 September 2008]
A dialogue on water sector transparency and accountability has been held in Mymensingh Pourashava auditorium organized by Voice, a Dhaka based research and advocacy organization. Mayor of Mymensingh pourashava, Advocate Mahmud Al-Noor Tarek presided over the occasion while Additional District Commissioner of Mymensingh Mohammad Mohsin attended as a special guest. Representatives from local government and engineering department, NGOs, CSOs, professional bodies, business communities, journalists, members and councilors of municipality attended the function. The dialogue was moderated by Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, executive director of Voice.
VOICE/ Aid Accountability Group/ Right to Food Movement
Statement on Climate Change
[Dhaka, Bangladesh, September 2008]
London Conference on Climate Change is taking place on September 10 2008 for strategic decision to overcome climate change crisis. A Multi-donor Trust Fund is to be initiated as discussed in an earlier conference by UK government’s Department for International Development held in Dhaka in March 2008. Bangladesh government will present a paper titled Climate Change Strategy and Action for Bangladesh in London Conference. This statement expresses some critical concerns toward London Conference and calls stakeholders at all levels including development actors, socialmovement groups, indigenous communities, fisher folks, farmers, women, human rights activists, professional bodies, trade unions, NGOs, CSOs, communities,vulnerable and marginalized groups, citizens and political actors for endorsement.
The disastrous consequence of climate change has already threatened the planet and global communities. However, the strong resistance is presence among the northern as well as southern communities to change the existing system of over consumption
[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.