Asian civil society organizations convene workshop in Thailand on accountability for development harms
Representatives from 35 civil society organizations and community groups based in 11 countries in South and Southeast Asia participated in a workshop on how individuals and communities harmed by development projects can seek recourse. Several ESCR-Net members, including International Accountability Project, Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact, Accountability Counsel, and Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) attended the meeting.
Civil society and community groups underscored the need for development institutions, like the World Bank Group and the Asian Development Bank, to create a space for meaningful public consultation by project-affected communities and to address and mitigate the growing threat to environmental and human rights defenders. Civil society groups also underscored the shifting development landscape in Asia. At the same time, concerns have been raised about transparency and the obfuscation of accountability for harmful development projects.
Importantly, the workshop allowed participants to critically reflect on past and potential engagements, while addressing difficult questions - did filing complaints materially improve the lives and living conditions of communities? What barriers exist for communities in Asia to access remedy? What resources are available to communities or individuals facing threats of retaliation?
A key goal of this workshop was to build awareness of the development financing in the region and to increase communications between the independent accountability mechanisms and civil society and community groups in the region.
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