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