NGO Comments ​on Safeguard Policies & Project Implementation


The ADB, AIIB, World Bank, and other international financial institutions (IFIs) are increasingly promoting the use of “country systems” or “borrower systems” as a replacement for their own environmental and social safeguard policies.[1] Below are links to recent civil society assessments of the proposed use of borrower systems.


The use of “Country Systems Safeguards” (CSS) to regulate MDB finance may potentially prove beneficial if, and only if:

  • there is proof that a recipient government currently prioritizes the environmental and social well-being of communities affected by IFI-financed projects, and [2]
  • There is clear evidence of the full implementation of the rule of law, including a functioning and independent judiciary; [3]
  • Strong mandatory national and local environmental and social safeguards, certainly no weaker than those required by the ADB (including requirements for meaningful consultation free of coercion, and disclosure requirements for draft assessments 120 days prior to decision-making for projects with significant impacts); and
  • A clear track record of evidence of implementation of national and local safeguards over the long term.


It has long been underscored by civil society observers that the use of “borrower systems” for IFI-supported projects should not occur in countries with military governments, or those with a track record of human rights violations or high levels of corruption -- all of which make the implementation and monitoring of safeguards difficult, if not impossible. [4]

[1] A “country system” or “borrower system” may be defined as  “a country's legal and institutional framework, consisting of its national, subnational, or sectoral implementing institutions and applicable laws, regulations, rules, and procedures.”   World Bank, OP 4.00 - Piloting the Use of Borrower Systems to Address Environmental and Social Safeguard Issues in Bank-Supported Projects, footnote 3.
[2] NGO Forum on ADB, letter to Executive Directors of the ADB, Concerns with the SPS W-paper, Manila, February 20, 2009
[3]
According to Transparency International, in 2016, Indonesia ranked 37 of 100, where 100 means “clean” and where 37 means “endemic corruption in a country's public sector”,[3]  a clear sign of the lack of “rule of law.”
[4] NGO Forum on ADB, letter to Executive Directors of the ADB, Concerns with the SPS W-paper, Manila, February 20, 2009


Civil Society Concerns & Rejection by 110 organizations in 31 countries of the ADB's Dangerously Flawed Assessment of Indonesia’s Energy Sector (PLN), Lack of Meaningful Consultations, and Proposed use of Country Systems for Indonesia’s Energy Sector, Indonesian Legal Resource Center (ILRC), Wahana Lingkungan Hidup Indonesia (WALHI), WALHI West Java, WALHI Makassar, Lembaga Studi dan Advokasi Masyarakat (ELSAM), DebtWATCH Indonesia,Yayasan PUSAKA, TuK Indonesia, Ulu Foundation, 14 January 2018


Comparative Assessment of Environmental and social Safeguards in Indonesia's Country System and Multilateral Development Banks: 
AN ASSESSMENT ON THE EVALUATION OF THE INDONESIAN COUNTRY SYSTEM BY ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK CONSULTANTS, Indonesian Legal Resource Center (ILRC), Wahana Lingkungan Hidup Indonesia (WALHI), WALHI West Java, WALHI Makassar, Lembaga Studi dan Advokasi Masyarakat (ELSAM), DebtWATCH Indonesia,Yayasan PUSAKA, TuK Indonesia, The Ecological Justice, Ulu Foundation, April 2017