In a letter addressed to the French Development Agency, over 200 organizations around the world including Peace Brigades International are calling for the principles of a human rights-based and community-led development to be included and prioritized both in the agenda and in the outcomes of the Finance in Common Summit, a high-level gathering of all Public Development Banks (PBDs), which will take place in Paris on 9-12 November.
Gathering PDBs from around the world, it is aimed to provide a collective response to global challenges, reconciling short-term responses to the Covid-19 crisis with sustainable recovery measures, redirecting financial flows towards sustainable development objectives.
Human rights defenders are increasingly subjected to threats and attacks for the work they carry out. These attacks can take the form of harassment, physical violence, criminalization, and killing. These threats and attacks are increasingly taking place in the context of economic projects that are being undertaken in the name of 'development'. Development Finance Institutions play a huge role in bankrolling these projects, be they wind-farms, hydropower dams or infrastructure projects. We want development banks to put human rights at the centre of their work, and ensure that economic growth does not come at the expense of civil liberties.
The letter therefore called for PDBs to ‘draw lessons from the past to shape the strongest future with full participation of the communities impacted by PDB projects and supporting civil society organizations’, criticising their record of supporting ‘activities that have exacerbated poverty and inequality and human rights abuses such as reprisals against human rights defenders and forced evictions, without meaningful redress for affected communities.’
The two principal demands were as follows:
- Human Rights should be reflected in the core agenda of the summit, attendance and participation.
- The principles of a human rights-based and community-led development should be included and highlighted on the expected deliverables of the summit including research papers and collective statements.