Bank on Rights


Bank on Rights

Early Warning System for Development Finance that Affects Human Rights

The purpose of the Early Warning System (EWS) is to alert communities to projects funded by Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) that may affect their rights.  Armed with information about the project and the standards that apply to them, communities can demand that the MDB respect their rights. If the bank doesn’t, they can submit a complaint to its grievance mechanism or connect with organizations who can support their advocacy.

The Banks fund a lot of projects that could have human rights impacts.  Imagine: a new road cutting through indigenous territory or a coal plant belching pollution and warming the climate.  Those could lead to human rights impacts (indigenous peoples rights and right to health, respectively).  By the time a community knows about a project or feels its impacts, it’s often too late—the Bank has already approved the project, the contracts are signed and the bulldozers are rolling.

All of the Banks whose projects appear on our map have environmental and social policies that apply to the projects they finance.  There are two problems with this:

  1. The policies do not adequately protect human rights.  None of the Banks, for example, require that a human rights impact assessment be conducted on the project proposed for financing.
  2. The policies are not applied or enforced consistently.  The Bank might not recognize the project’s impacts on indigenous peoples, for example. Or, it might approve a project without analyzing all required documents and plans to ensure that no harm will occur.

We want communities to know about the projects when there’s still time to act and prevent violations of their rights.  Ultimately, we want the Banks to commit to respecting human rights in all their operations. But we can only do that with your help.

Here’s what we’ll do: We will sift through all of the Banks’ projects to flag the ones that we think will likely have human rights impacts and require your attention.  We will NOT post all projects proposed for financing by the Banks. We will do additional research on some projects, and as the network grows we will be able to provide even more information.  We will also provide a forum to discuss projects and Bank policies.

Here’s what you can do: You can sign up to receive our alerts.  You can commit to sharing that information with others and with the affected communities. Your NGO can commit to being a contact point to assist communities to make their voices heard or file a complaint, if they choose.  You can tell us what the project looks like from the ground.  Share your photos, videos and stories!

See, Bank on Rights, About.

(Emphasis added)