29 October 2023

To the Editor: Development concerns

Re “In times of polycrises, multilateral development banks must do more and act faster” (Oct. 23): Asian Development Bank president Masatsugu Asakawa makes the case for the bank to “do more and act faster.” We note that he doesn’t make the case for doing better.

Communities near ADB project sites can bear the most risk when a project isn’t designed or implemented well. Accountability Counsel has found that recent damages include severe harms to land and livelihood, the destruction of the environment and cultural heritage and even violence against local communities.

Mr. Asakawa’s call to action leaves out promises to learn from past mistakes, remediate harm or commit to community-led design and implementation to mitigate damage. That’s particularly concerning to us, since we consider the ADB’s accountability mechanism to be woefully outdated.

Doing more and acting faster, without doing better, would lead the ADB’s billions of dollars to cause more harm to the environment and human rights, and undermine our chances of overcoming the polycrises identified.

Read the letter to the editor on The Globe and Mail here.