The New Development Bank – Civil BRICS Working Group Dialogue

African Monitor, in collaboration with Oxfam South Africa, held a two-day dialogue between the New Development Bank (NDB) and other Civil Society Organisations from 8-9 March 2018 in Johannesburg.

Oxfam and AM form part of the Civil Society Organizing committee for the BRICS summit in South Africa.  These two organizations also Co-chair the New Development Bank South Africa. The aim of the dialogue was to provide inputs on BRICS NDB through a Civil BRICS working group.

The NDB’s five areas of operation are Clean energy; Transport infrastructure; Irrigation, Water resource management and Sanitation; Sustainable urban development and Economic cooperation and integration of member countries.

The meeting comes as South Africa will host the 10th BRICS Summit in July 2018.

The NDB CSO workshop identified the following key issues that CSO would like to engage with the NDB emanating from the General strategy 2017-2021:

  • Driving the implementation of SDGs – The bank will seek to become an important  player in helping BRICS; and emerging and developing countries  achieve the Agenda 2030 for sustainable  development and as well as  Addis Ababa action  agenda  on  finance for development and Paris agreement  on climate change .
  • Promotion of inclusive and broad based Economic growth that reduces poverty and inequality through investment on sustainable infrastructure.  It is to be noted the operational strategy defines Sustainable infrastructure as infrastructure that incorporates Economic, Environmental and Social criteria are applied in design, building and operation.  It further notes infrastructure as enabler for economic development and job creation.  If properly implemented it can promote inclusive growth that reduces inequality.
  • Special fund – Special funds set up by Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) allow capital contributors to support projects and activities that address a variety of development needs.
  • Environmental and social framework- it will consider the social and environmental aspects of the projects as reflected in the Environmental Institutional Framework (ESF).
  • The NDB’s commitment  to using  county systems – country legislation, regulations and oversight procedures including environmental, social, fiduciary and procurement systems.
  • The use of Public – Private Partnerships (PPP)  as an important  instrument  for  the bank  to leverage  resources  of  private sector  and increase  its participation in major infrastructure
  • Transparency, integrity and accountability – commitment for promoting transparency and accountability.
  • Gender mainstreaming in NDB operation as well as staffing.
  • Partnerships – NDB’s commitment to build a relationship of mutual trust and cooperation with Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).

African Monitor Director, Namhla Mniki-Mangaliso together with Marianne Bueneventura-Goldman from OXFAM South Africa, took the discussions further as they were invited by Channel Africa Radio to talk about the concerns raised by Civil Society. A representative from the NDB, Tumisang Moleke – who is the acting Director-General – also joined in the conversation. As they were discussing, Ms Mniki-Mangaliso mentioned that civil society appreciates the work and progress that the NDB has made thus far, and also noted the loopholes that the NDB need to address. The radio discussions can be listened here.

Civil BRICS working group concluded that going forward and beyond the upcoming summit, the following action plans should be implemented:

  • Develop a system of monitoring NDB funded projects
  • Enhance CSO understanding NDB funding processes
  • Ongoing CSOs engagement on the environmental and social framework
  • Develop criteria for infrastructure that supports inclusive  growth
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