Thursday, November 14, 2013

Why World Bank and ADB Loan for PHAILIN reconstruction?

Water Initiatives Odisha(WIO) Update on Cyclone Phailin and Aftermath – 14th Nov 2013

Why World Bank and ADB Loan for PHAILIN reconstruction?
WIO asks government of Odisha

-          Assistance is welcome but we don’t need loans for disaster rehabilitation.
-          World Bank and ADB assistance too come with several conditions.  The people of the state must be informed about these conditions.
-          Involve local people in planning ecologically suitable resilience.

We have just received the news that the World Bank and ADB will provide soft loan and assistance to Odisha government to help in reconstruction activities in some of the ravaged districts of the devastating cyclone PHAILIN that has affected more than 12 million people.    It is reported that both the banks will give $313 million (World Bank - $208 and ADB - $105).  As per government spokespersons, part of this will be soft loan.  Water Initiatives Odisha asks the government as to why we need such loans? 

While we welcome any idea of assistance for reconstruction and rehabilitation in the Phailin and flood affected areas that has affected more than 12 million people, we don’t understand why the government needs loans for this?”

World Bank and ADB loans have always come with conditions.  These need to be first discussed with the people of the state.  This is the same with their assistance.  “We have seen how these institutions have tried to influence our ‘governance systems’ and have promoted more privatization and polluting industries than doing any good.” “In fact, many of their finance aggravate impacts of climate change and disasters.  We need to analyse all aspects of such finances before receiving them”, warns WIO.

The government needs to discuss this with the people of the state and make the documents public.  “We demand that the detailed project reports for all the activities, along with the conditions set by these institutions, be made public and appropriate suggestions sought before the final decision is taken.”

The World Bank and ADB have been trying to push through their loans in non-transparent ways and we have to see that the poor people of the state do not fall victim to any stringent conditions.

As gathered from news reports, while the World Bank is proposing to provide loans for plantation of mangrove forests under the ‘Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project (ICZM)’, the ADB is proposing to provide loan to strengthen river and saline embankments.  Both of these activities need critical scrutiny by involvement of local people and experts.

 “The ICZM has so far not been able to make much headway in promoting mangrove preservation. Therefore, relying upon it should not be encouraged.  Similarly, many a times embankments have actually caused more devastation during floods and hence need to be thoroughly planned with integration of local knowledge and technology.  The government should consider these along with other ecological issues while planning coastal zone management”, urged WIO. 

For further information, contact:   Ranjan Panda, Convenor, WIO         

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