Towards an effective monitoring of ADB’s safeguard policies
Posted Date: Thursday, June 06, 2013 | Source: Investment Forum
As it was affirmed in the seminar highlighting Vietnamese Civil Society’s input into ADB policies held by the Vietnam River Network (VRN) in Hanoi on May 28 2013, a clear roadmap and close cooperation are essential conditions for NGOs to monitor and give suggestions to safeguard policies of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in an effective way.


Vietnam is one of the countries to receive the largest amount of financial support and loans from ADB for its development projects, which can be seen as a lever for economic growth. However, it also raises a lot of concerns in the society about its adverse impacts on the environment and society, and the long-term burden of public debt on Vietnam if loans are not closely monitored and safeguard policies are not followed strictly.


According to the seminar’s discussions, despite the strict and clearly-guided set of ADB’s safeguard policies (including policies on environment, compulsory resettlement, and native peoples), it does not translate into a proper application of these policies to minimize unexpected impacts on local communities and society.


Throughout the VRN’s monitoring of the Son La – Nho Quan – Hoa Binh 500 KV power transmission line project and the implementation of ADB’s protection policies on compulsory migration and ethnic groups in the Song Bung Hydropower Plant project, some problems have been identified. First, the information about the projects and potential impacts has not been spread to the community properly. Second, the people have not participated effectively in the projects. Also, investors haven’t properly addressed the threat on people’s health and their long-term livelihood.


Compared to the Vietnam’s corresponding policy system, the ADB’s policies are stricter and clearer. However, these prominent features of ADB’s safeguard policies will not be applied effectively in Vietnam because all projects in the country follow the national regulations and policies, said Hoang Phuong Thao, director of Action Aid in Vietnam, an international non-governmental organization dedicated to worldwide poverty reduction.


According to Dang Ngoc Quang, director of Rural Development Services Centre (RDSC), the monitoring of domestic NGOs to foreign loan projects and, in particular, ADB-sponsored projects is on a period of probation. It’s necessary to have close cooperation among these organizations so that their efforts are more worthwhile and influential.

 

By Hai Anh

Translated by Hoang Thi Kieu Anh

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