Press Release

Bangalore 14.06.2006


Walkout by organisations from Asian Development Bank (ADB) "consultations"

ADB consultations a farce! ADB Quit Asia-Pacific!

Today (14.06.2006), representatives of various organisations staged a walk-out at the "consultation" workshop held by the ADB at Grand Ashoka Hotel in Bangalore. These included People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Association for Promoting Social Action (APSA), Alternate Law Forum ALF), Environment Support Group, EQUATIONS, Urban Research Centre and Visual Search. A similar walk-out was carried out by citizens groups at the ADB workshop in Mangalore on 12th June. These workshops are to train NGOs and ADB project implementing bodies on the ADB's new "Public Communications Policy (PCP) and Accountability Mechanisms". Both these policies have been rejected by communities and organisations in Karnataka and across the Asia - Pacific region.

For today's consultation, ADB failed to invite communities and elected representatives from ADB project towns across the State. The participants were officials of the KUIDFC, few chosen NGOs and consultants working with ADB. In all, there were 15 people present of whom half staged a walk-out. The protesting groups contested ADB's claims on being a transparent, accountable and democratic institution and read a Statement of Protest critiquing ADB's PCP and demanding that the ADB Quit Asia-Pacific?. They circulated material detailing the abject failure of ADB projects in Karnataka condemning the facile nature of such consultations when 90% of ADB's projects in Karnataka are almost complete! This should have been carried out before the projects were initiated. In Karnataka, people have been suffering the ADB's misguided projects in 39 towns including Tumkur, Ramnagaram, Sirsi, Puttur, Mangalore and Mysore. In June 2004, groups had boycotted a similar consultation organised by the ADB and rejected the draft PCP For its failure to guarantee timely disclosure of all relevant project information to communities and local elected representatives.

Today's workshop has yet again proved that ADB's attempts at public participation are a farce. It will not result in any substantive change to the undemocratic policies of an institution that is beyond reform. Groups and communities in Karnataka will continue to protest the ADB and all other such institutions and Banks that undermine democratic processes in the country.

Issac Selva (PUCL)
Gururaja Budhya (URC)
Ravi R. (APSA)
Clifton D (ALF)
Kevin N. (ActionAid)

For more information contact: Vidya 9845424510, Gururaja 9448849353