Development Banks Should Encourage Human Rights, Participatory Approach To Development

Foreign Policy: It’s Time for Development Banks to Start Listening
Maina Kiai, U.N. special rapporteur on freedom of assembly and association

“…The World Bank and other development finance institutions’ own research points to the importance of public participation for development projects to be effective. Yet too often these institutions fail to ensure basic access to information and participation by the very communities impacted by these projects. … When funds are provided to governments or private companies to implement development projects, banks should always ensure that human rights are respected, particularly the rights central to civic space: the freedoms of assembly, association, and expression. When governments or private developers try to restrict participation in development projects or attack human rights activists, development banks must react strongly. … In some cases, it may be necessary to cut off funding until improvements are made. … Sustainable development requires development banks to actively work to promote an enabling environment for community participation in their activities. Without this, the Sustainable Development Goals will remain mere aspirations” (7/19).