Bangladesh Apr 20 2013A network of several Civil Society Organizations has called for democratization of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) at a press conference in the city on the eve of its 46th annual conference which started in the Indian capital Delhi yesterday.

They presented a nine-point demands and urged the Bangladesh delegation to pursue their action based on these conditions. Hasan Mehedi of Humanity Watch, Syed Aminul Hoque of EquityBD, Rahela Rabbani of Karmajibi Nari, Shamim Arfin of AOSED, Javed Khalid Pasha Joy of Initiative for Right View (IRV), Mahfuzur Rahman Mukul of BELA and Kazi Hafizur Rahman of Swabalambi spoke on the occasion. Mustaga Kamal Akanda of EquityBD moderated it.

The nine-point demands are: one vote for one member in the 67 members organization instead of vote based on investment size, ensuring people's participation in approving Bank funded projects, open access to information to ADB funded projects, stopping indiscriminate denationalization, stop commercialization of natural resource, bring pressure on raising prices of utility services, protest commercialization of climate issues; and stop imposing PPP to big projects at all levels and cancellation of the immunity given to ADB in 1973.

They said seven big countries control 51 percent shares of ADB and they impose decisions on other countries specially on small countries like Bangladesh to make them their victims.

This is not democracy and rather bear out unethical attitude. Zaved Khalid Pasha said, Bangladesh is implementing 263 projects financed by ADB and most of them have caused or are causing long term damages to the livelihood of the local communities.

Even according to the ADB's own evaluation, the Sundarbans Bio-diversity Conservation Project (SBCP) and Khulna-Jessore Drainage Rehabilitation Project (KJDRP) are the examples of their failed projects although they cost hundreds of millions of Taka in local currency.

Syed Aminul Hoque of EquityBD said, ADB's pressure to increase prices of gas, electricity and fuel is bringing miseries to the poor and the farmers in particular. Its prescription for blanket privatization of the state-owned industries, privatizing the electricity and power sector, squeezing the public service sectors and promoting the shrimp culture are destroying the ecosystem.

Published in The New Nation.