Summary of Issues Discussed
General Information about the Asian Development Bank and the role of donor countries in Europe
Issues related with the Asian Development Fund Replenishment as an opportunity for European NGOs to campaign for conditionalities on ADB (and how to influence European Governments) - Review Meetings are: October (Copenhagen), December (Tokyo), March (Lisbon)
Three main goals to advocate as conditions for ADF9:
a)governance mechanisms (including information disclosure),
b)accountability and more balanced decision-making process in the Bank
c)role of civil society organisations in the Bank’s policy making.
The reviews of the Information Disclosure Policy, the Anti-corruption Policy, and the Poverty Reduction Policy are also tied in with ADF9. In regard to poverty reduction, this may be a good opportunities to push donors to insist on a full review, rather than the current amendment of the PRS.
Getting involved in the ADF9 again raises the question, whether it contributes to legitimizing the Bank’s process.
Discussion on goal of NGO Forum network: it would seem that the role of the NGO Forum should be to deligitimize the Bank with ultimate goal of closing it down; this does not mean that as a medium strategy the Forum should not be influencing projects and policies for the better. The Forum is more on the engagement side, rather on the abolishment side. However, Forum network has good relations with abolishment groups. Engagement and resistance activities need not be mutually exclusive.
If the European group takes up the ADF campaign, how do we ensure that the ‘northern’ groups working for the goals of the ‘southern’ groups. There is a danger that Northern groups use Southern constituencies as justification for Northern-led activities and campaigns.
Some representatives from French organisations expressed interest in working on ADB issues: (Mekong Region - Vietnam, Camboadia, Lao, China, Poverty Reduction).
It is going to be difficult to get Asian groups/loose networks in France involved in campaigns, because they stay mostly in the underground, because they are sill afraid of the influence of their governments, and it will not be possible to mobilize Asian groups as such officially (?)
We had a small number of participants which is due to the bad coordination of ESF events. Our workshop was at the same time as one of the larger IFI seminars/workshops (the one organized by the Bretton Woods Project), and the only other event on Asia, the Asian-European People’s Forum plenary. So we propably lost quite a few potential participants to this. Secondly, the low attendance mirrors the lack of interest in Asian issues in Europe.
However, the workshop was useful in terms of considering possible campaigns for the European networks, e.g. in regard to ADF 9, European Representative Office, etc. Some France-based participants showed interest to form an informal network so campaigns in France addressing the French government can also be done. There is a need to balance the interest iof different individuals who expressed desire to be mobilised. Asian immigrants in Europe would prefer to focus on their country of origin as a platform for their initiatives, whereas the Europeans (French and Germans) will have more interest to engage on a policy/strategy perspective. A basic challenge is to inform European taxpayers that their governments are using their money to finance harmful projects of the Asian Development Bank.