ADB’s long-term strategy slammed for anti-poor bias: Rights activists want collective stand against ADB’s role

20 June 2008, Friday

Dhaka, Friday, 20 June 2008,

Staff Correspondent

Development activists and rights campaigners strongly criticised the Long Term Strategic Framework for 2008-2020 of Asian Development Bank for its anti-poor stand showing blanket bias toward private sector-led development, says a press release.
   They were speaking at a discussion sponsored by Voice, a research organisation, at the SUPRO conference room in Dhaka Thursday.
   The private sector domination in the development process would concentrate on their own profit leaving behind the agenda of poverty reduction, which would ultimately worsen the poverty situation, they warned.
   The bank believes that the growth-based development facilitates poverty reduction, which has failed to deliver in most countries including Bangladesh, they pointed out. Market-led economic growth, pursued by lending agencies, aggravated poverty situation rather than reducing it in many countries of Asia and the Pacific, they added.
   The ADB’s Long Term Strategic Framework suggests expanding bank’s activities and increasing resources as of 50 per cent by 2020 with the private sector which is now only 12 per cent at present.
   The rights activists urged the people to take a collective stand against ADB’s role in the country.
   They said though poverty remains the overarching objective of the bank and its long-term strategy also recognises it as a major challenge, bank’s activities already raised huge criticism for their anti-poor stand and disregards to its own policies and commitment.
   Private sector’s involvement in environmental projects has already proved in vain and caused dangerous consequences on environment and communities, they cited.
   ‘We can not simply sell everything to corporations, but ADB, through its long-term strategy, is urging corporations to establish their economic and political hegemony over people’s life,’ said Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, executive director of Voice.
   Interactions executive director Sirajuddahar, SUPRO chief executive Prodip Kumar Roy, trade union leader Subal Sarkar, farmers’ leader Zayeed Iqbal, Unnayan Unneshan researcher Faisal Kabir, Mahbub Hossain from CDO, APIT coordinator Raihan Sharif, director of In Search of Light Sajjad Ansari and director of Pave, Bogra KGM Faruk spoke on the occasion.


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