ESCR-Net members join over 280 organizations worldwide in denouncing financing of industrial agriculture by Public Development Banks

Publish Date: 
Thursday, November 11, 2021

On October 19-20,  2021, over 500 Public Development Banks (PDBs)  convened in Rome, Italy, for the second edition of the Finance in Common Summit.  This year's summit was jointly hosted by Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP), the Italian National Promotional Institution and Financial Institution for Development Cooperation, in partnership with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The focus was on the role PDBs can play in transforming agriculture and agribusiness to enhance food security, preserve biodiversity and address climate change. 

As expected, civil society organizations were disappointed as the PDBs disregarded human rights and the participation of the groups affected by their investments, including peasant farmers, fisherfolks, Indigenous Peoples and other local communities involved in subsistence farming. ESCR-Net members and allies raised alarm over Public Development Banks’ role in financing corporate-led and profit-driven industrial agriculture against communities’ demands for food sovereignty, protection of ecosystems and human rights.  

ESCR-Net members co-drafted and endorsed - with the leadership of the Economic Policy Working Group (EPWG) on behalf of the Network - a joint letter ultimately signed by over 280 organizations across the world. The joint letter called on the PDBs to immediately stop making investments in agriculture and agribusiness that benefit private interests and agribusiness corporations at the expense of farmers, herders, fishers, food workers and Indigenous Peoples, undermining their food sovereignty, ecosystems and human rights.

With our agitation and calls for changes in the operation of PDBs, the Banks recognized and acknowledged  the role of CSOs in making finance and investments work for human rights in their final Communique. Their  proposal to make participation of CSOs and communities in mainstream events of the summit formal via a CSO Working Group is welcome. While this is a small step forward, alot still needs to be done to ensure PDBs as public institutions meet their obligations to respect, protect and fulfill human rights. Please follow the link below to read the letter and our demands.

Download the full joint letter.