Mekong Eye

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Multilateral Development Banks and Safeguards

Independent evaluations at multilateral development banks (MDBs) have called for a reform of the system of safeguards that they use to deflect potential damages to communities and the environment associated with the investments they finance. Without such mitigation, roads can harm habitats, dams displace communities and slum rebuilding hurt livelihoods.

By David de Ferranti

Washington DC, September 16, 2015

Huffington Post

Independent evaluations at multilateral development banks (MDBs) have called for a reform of the system of safeguards that they use to deflect potential damages to communities and the environment associated with the investments they finance. Without such mitigation, roads can harm habitats, dams displace communities and slum rebuilding hurt livelihoods. The purpose of reform, the reviews stressed, should be to improve environmental and social outcomes of safeguards, while reducing inefficiencies in their implementation.

After many months of deliberation, the World Bank recently put out a reform proposal, which will influence other financiers. Balancing financing with environmental and social attention must be a top concern for established lenders such as the World Bank and Asian Development Bank as well as the two new lenders: the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the New Development Bank of BRICS countries. Even as the borrower is responsible for implementing safeguards, the financier must be accountable for robust checks on the projects financed.

 

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