movements, civil society groups launch protest action against ADB
“dirty energy policy”
May 4, 2018
MANDALUYONG CITY –
Members of Asian grassroots movements and civil society groups
staged a lightning rally at the gates of the Asian Development Bank
(ADB) Headquarters on the 2nd day of the Bank’s Annual Governors
Meeting, bearing signs that call for the international financial
institution to “Stop Funding Dirty Energy.”
According to Asian
People’s Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD) Coordinator Lidy
Nacpil, the protest action served to drive home the urgency of Asian
people’s call for ADB to halt all forms of support to dirty fossil
fuel energy projects, especially coal plants.
“Each year, our call
against the Bank’s support for dirty energy intensifies in urgency.
For every inaction towards the problem of fossil fuels, which has
been established to be the main driver of climate change, Asian
lives and livelihood grow all the more vulnerable as they are
situated at the frontline of climate change’s adverse impacts,” said
“However, ADB’s response
to our urgent, repeating calls has remained to be that of
non-committal lip service,” she added, citing the Asian groups’
“unfruitful” recent engagement with ADB on its Energy Policy.
APMDD Deputy Coordinator
Mae Buenaventura stated that the groups’ call for a review of ADB’s
old and continuously fossil-fuel-supportive 2009 Energy Policy has
been met by a lukewarm response from ADB President Takehiko Nakao,
signifying a lack of seriousness on the part of the major financial
institution to address pressing concerns of civil society groups and
people’s movements regarding the proliferation of dirty energy in
the region and in their communities.
“ADB has merely claimed to
have instituted restrictions in its 2009 Energy Policy, but these
are grossly inadequate in the face of the intensifying climate
crisis,” said Buenaventura.
“This non-committal and
business-as-usual response to the Asian people’s call for an end to
ADB’s support for fossil fuels runs counter to the Bank’s projection
of itself as an institution that listens to civil society groups and
an institution that champions clean energy,” she added.
According to Buenaventura,
the ADB has sought civil society’s input into its 2030 Strategy, but
instills none of the changes urged by the groups. Although the Bank
recognizes the significance of a number of global development
platforms, such as the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris
Agreement on Climate Change, she claimed that the agenda and
operations in ADB’s Strategy for 2030 and its Energy Policy show no
alignment with them.
“Strategy 2030 makes no
new commitments that address civil society concerns,” said
Environics Trust India Sreedhar Ramamurthi.
“Worse, for all of ADB’s
championing of clean energy, its Strategy 2030 leaves the brunt of
work in the pursuit of a clean energy direction to individual
countries, while the Bank continues to make funding for fossil fuel
available,” Ramamurthi continued.
According to him, ADB’s
outdated and unreviewed 2009 Energy Policy also leaves the Bank
great room for continuing support for destructive fossil fuel
industry activities and false climate solutions.
“Activities that promote
continued coal utilization – such as coal bed methane extraction and
use, coal gasification, and coal scrubbers – along with the push for
the myth of clean coal energy through the practice of Carbon Capture
and Storage (CCS) are all proliferating with green light from a
supposed pro-clean energy ADB,” said Ramamurthi.
Philippine Movement for
Climate Justice National Coordinator Ian Rivera called out the
Bank’s record of financing coal projects that reached $10.735
billion from 2009-2017. Rivera brought attention to projects such as
the Mundra Ultra Mega Power Project in India, Korea Electric Power
Corporation’s 200-MW coal-fired power plant in Cebu province, the
Masinloc Power Partners Ltd.’s 600-MW coal-fired thermal power plant
in Zambales province and the 552-MW coal-fired power plant in
Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte.
“Clearly, the Bank’s
failure to adjust its energy policies and strategies is a result of
its continued, strong financial interest in coal-based power
projects,” said Rivera.
“Amidst the fact that
these projects emit millions of tons of CO2 each year and that there
are global and community efforts to reject fossil fuels which ADB
recognizes, the Bank’s financial interest in coal remains unbudged,”
According to Rivera, ADB’s
continued inaction on pressing global climate demands has incited
further determination and commitment from climate and energy justice
activists to press for the transformation of energy systems in Asia.
“We challenge ADB, an
institution which claims to be for Asian people’s development, to
stop being an obstacle to this process of energy transformation and
to align itself with the agenda of the Asian people – individuals
and communities on the ground that have been impacted most by ADB’s
policies and strategies,” he said.
“Development, the end of
poverty, and the addressing of climate change can be achieved not
through ADB’s business-as-usual approach, but through proactive
strides towards clean, renewable and democratic systems,” he
As a continuation of Asian
civil society groups’ effort to compel ADB’s rethinking of its
energy policies and strategies, groups have also reportedly handed
over a letter – signed by nearly 150 Asian organizations and
networks, which has been endorsed and supported by organizations
from other parts of the globe – to the ADB President and Board of