Development finance and Covid-19

Covid-19 and development finance


International Financial Institutions (IFIs) have designated billions of dollars to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, there is a concerning lack of transparency on how these funds were spent and what impacts the pandemic response has had. 

The report "Missing Receipts" analyzes the IFI-supported COVID-19 response and identifies concrete recommendations for existing interventions, as well as critical questions for the ongoing pandemic response, the recovery and any future global crisis financing. You can check out the report here.

"Missing receipts" draws on findings of several case studies and briefing papers produced by Coalition's members and partners, which are compiled and hosted on this interactive web portal.

Download the report here


Development finance for Covid-19 crisis should uphold human rights

Development finance institutions should ensure that the funding and support they provide for the Covid-19 response, and during the economic recovery period, upholds human rights and leads to economic justice for those who are most vulnerable.

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Impacts of COVID-19 Pandemic on Frontline Communities

How are COVID-19 measures and lockdowns impacting frontline communities opposing internationally financed development projects?

Read more in this blog for the Heinrich Böll Foundation - Southeast Asia.

Where is development bank money going for the COVID-19 response?

The Early Warning System COVID-19 IFIs Tracker is a database managed by our Coalition member International Accountability Project and updated weekly, which tracks projects disclosed by 15 development banks.

Find out more here

The Pandemic’s Hidden Casualty: Human Rights

Across Southeast and South Asia, indigenous peoples and local communities – who were already severely impacted by development projects such as dams, agribusiness, or mining activities – are now facing additional challenges due to the COVID-19 emergency.

Read more in our article for The Diplomat.

Infographic ENG - Covid19 statement

Covid-19, press freedom and the role of development banks


Development banks have played a crucial role in funding and shaping the responses to the pandemic, providing more than 150 billions of dollars. However, they have failed in taking concrete actions to ensure that - in the context of the COVID-19 response they were supporting - people could freely and safely express their opinions and raise their concerns. When cases of retaliations occurred, they stayed silent.

The report Unhealthy silence: Development banks’ inaction on retaliation during COVID-19 , published on July 27, 2021 by the Coalition for Human Rights in Development, ARTICLE 19 and IFEX, presents eight emblematic case studies of reprisals and statistical analysis of 335 cases of people attacked for speaking up around COVID-19 responses. The report also shows how development banks have failed to uphold their own commitments and presents a set of recommendations to address reprisals.

Download the report here


Around the world, journalists, bloggers, medical workers, human rights defenders and all those who are raising concerns for the inadequate response to the Covid-19 pandemic are under attack. In an attempt to silence their dissenting voices, they are being accused of spreading false information, smeared, threatened, arrested, and physically attacked.

Development banks have earmarked over US$100 billion for Covid-19-related projects around the world. These banks have committed to respect and implement their social and environmental safeguards and to engage with all stakeholders, including journalists and civil society. However, they are failing to take actions to protect those who are criticising the emergency response, denouncing corruption scandals, and raising questions around transparency and accountability.

Read more in this briefing and Download our infographic “Eight steps development banks should take to protect journalists” here.

Press Freedom teaser pic
No space for dissent

In this op-ed, we analyze how development banks are failing to take actions to protect press freedom and we suggest some actions they should take to protect journalists, increasingly under attack during COVID-19.

Read here the Devex op-ed.


In this briefing, you can find an overview of the press freedom situation and the banks Covid-19 response in Cambodia, Egypt, Mexico, Mongolia, Pakistan, Turkey and Zimbabwe.

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Finance in Common Summit

On November 9-12, for the first time ever, all public development banks in the world gathered at the Finance in Common Summit, to discuss how to address global challenges such as the climate crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unfortunately, though, human rights and community-led development were not on the agenda. Those most impacted by the investments of development banks - local communities, Indigenous Peoples and human rights defenders - did not have the opportunity to raise their concerns at the Summit, despite growing evidence of human rights abuses linked to development banks investments.

Thanks to a global campaign and advoacy efforts - led by hundreds of civil society groups from around the world and several United Nations special procedures - the final declaration of the summit contains a reference to community-led development and human rights. But there are no concrete actionable commitments, and much more needs to be done. If governments and their public banks are serious about transformation, and leaving behind old patterns of crises, human rights in common have to come before finance in common.

Read more in this op-ed written by Siddharth Akali, director at the Coalition for Human Rights in Development, for Inter-Press Service: Global Summit of Development Banks Fails to Learn from Destructive Past

3. Kenya
Podcast: the Human Rights Cost of development finance

In this podcast, co-produced by the Coalition for Human Rights in Development and Front Line Defenders - human rights defenders in Kenya, Guatemala and India speak about the human rights impact of projects imposed in the name of development.

Tune in and listen to the podcast here


Around the world, activists who oppose development projects are being threatened, attacked and killed. The ancestral lands of Indigenous Peoples are being pillaged. Rural communities are being forcibly evicted.  Yet, development banks keep turning a eye blind to these abuses.

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It is time public development banks put their money where our future lies

Ahead of Finance in Common, more than 320 civil society organisations signed a joint letter urging the public development banks gathered at the summit to transform their financing models and become part of the solution towards building a just, equitable, inclusive and sustainable world.

Read here an op-ed by Iara Pietricovsky de Oliveira (FORUS), Eléonore Morel (FIDH) and Tasneem Essop (CAN).

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Global development summit needs human rights focus

Around 250 organizations around the world are calling for the principles of a human rights-based and community-led development to be prioritized in the agenda and in the outcomes of the Finance in Common Summit.

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Ecoclub’s members together with other environmental activists supporting Ecoclub’s case near the court building (August, 2020)
The dirty side of development finance

Ahead of the Finance in Common summit, human rights defenders and representatives of communities impacted by development projects share their stories, and speak out against human rights violations, abuse and injustices linked to activities imposed in the names of sustainable development.

Read more in this Open Democracy article

Community voices

In this series of blogs, we speak with human rights defenders, civil society activists and representatives of local communities on how development projects are affecting their life, their livelihoods, and their territory.

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