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Financing Fossil Fuels Failing Our Future

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Abstract and Figures

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank’s (AIIB) investments in Bangladesh reached USD 2,391.98 million in August 2021 from USD 165 million in 2016, rising at an average rate of 32% per year. The consequence is that in effect, AIIB loans are entrapping the people of Bangladesh and our economy with an onerous debt burden in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and attempts to move forward into a post pandemic recovery period. So far, the AIIB has invested USD 605 million in the energy sector of Bangladesh, with investments increasing at an average rate of 23% each year. In spite of this level of financing, significantly the AIIB has yet to invest in any RE options (wind, solar) in the country, exposing the bank as an influential financier directly undermining global efforts to protect the climate and community resilience. Among the first flagship investments of the AIIB in Bangladesh was a private sector stand-alone USD 60 million loan approved in 2018 for the Bhola Independent Power Plant (Bhola IPP) - a greenfield gas power project. To this day, three years later, the communities in Bhola are still awaiting information as to how and when they will be compensated for their losses due to unjust land acquisition and canal grabbing by the operator company, Nutan Bidyut Bangladesh Limited (NBBL) which is a subsidiary of Indian conglomerate Shapoorji Pallonji Infrastructure Capital Company Limited (SPICCPL). Due to the lack of appropriate management and disposal of sand and debris from the construction site, the local canal, Mandartoli Shakha Khal, has been filled and blocked on several occasions, causing flooding and damage to crops. Finally, after the filing of several petitions by local people, the operator company temporarily repaired the canal by re-excavation or dredging. In absence of proper and consistent dredging, the betel leaf (paan) farmers have been suffering from water logging every year. Meanwhile, SPICCPL has entered into a deal to sell off the power plant to Mauritius and UK-based Actis Energy for USD 270 million. Before this transfer of ownership is sealed, it is incumbent upon the AIIB as a key investment partner, to compel the borrowing company to pay adequate compensation to the landowners and betel leaf (paan) farmers for the losses and damages they have been subjected to over the last three years as a direct result of the project. The company must also be held accountable for fully rehabilitating the Mandartoli Shakha Khal to its pre-project state. Another stand-alone project financed by the AIIB exposes the role of the AIIB in facilitating fossil fuel-dependent power generation in Bangladesh. In 2019, the AIIB approved a USD120 million loan for the “Power System Upgrade and Expansion Project” (PSUEP), which aims to upgrade and expand the power transmission system in Chattogram. Although the rationale sounds benign, the project in fact directly connects the coal power plants of the Chattogram-Cox’s Bazaar Zone with the national grid through constructing 27-km overhead and underground high voltage transmission lines. Indeed, the actual realities on the ground illustrate the questionable practices of the AIIB project staff in ensuring communities are informed, let alone able to raise concerns without fear of reprisals. For example, though the scant project data made publicly available claims the number of beneficiary families of the PSUEP is 287,000, consultation meetings were organized for only 93 persons (i.e. a mere 0.03 percentage of the population claimed by the bank as beneficiaries). Crucially, administrative and political persons were also included in the consultation with affected communities. As a result, the affected communities were in forced into a position of silence, unable to raise their concerns properly due to fear of potential retaliation and intimidation. According to AIIB policies, the Environmental and Social Management Plan (ESMP) and Resettlement Planning Framework (RPF) must be translated into local languages so that the affected communities can understand the proposed project and its impacts easily. Revealingly, the RPF for this project has been translated into the wrong language and some sections of the texts fail to even be coherent. This situation directly means that the AIIB has failed to uphold the ‘right to know’ of locally affected communities. At this time, it is incumbent upon the AIIB to put an end to its investments in fossil fuel projects and supporting infrastructure. Instead, the bank must take its role as a multilateral development bank with a global footprint seriously, shifting gears towards promoting RE in Bangladesh and beyond; unequivocally supporting the CVF target to achieve reliance on 100% RE by 2050 ─ in line with the Paris Agreement and most up to date scientific recommendations on climate.
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Sep 2021
FINANCING FOSSIL FUELS
Failing Our FUTURE
Brief on the AIIB Investments in Bangladesh
from 2016 to 2021
Hasan Mehedi
Sajjad Hossain Tuhin
Tanya Lee Roberts-Davis
\
.
r
uraewald
RECOUR
E
Ba
n
glade
s
h
Working Group
on
Externa
l
D
e
bt
Financing fossil fuels
Failing our future
Brief on the AIIB Investments in Bangladesh
from 2016 to 2021
Hasan Mehedi
Sajjad Hossain Tuhin
Tanya Lee Roberts-Davis
@
CD
@CLEAN, 2021
Financing fossil fuels, failing our future
Brief on the AIIB Investments in Bangladesh from 2016 to 2021
First Impression September 2018
Prepared by Hasan Mehedi, Sajjad Hossain Tuhin and Tanya Lee Roberts-Davis
Published by CLEAN (Coastal Livelihood and Environmental Action Network) with
Bangladesh Working Group on External Debt (BWGED), NGO Forum on ADB,
Recourse and Urgewald
This publication is registered under Attribution-Non Commercial-Share Alike 2.0
Generic. Anybody is free to copy, alter, remix, transform, redistribute or build upon this
publication in any medium or format for non-commercial purposes only with proper
attribution.
Disclaimer on Maps The designations employed and the presentation of the material on
maps showing political borders contained in this report do not imply the expression of
any opinion whatsoever concerning the legal status of the territory, city or area or of its
authorities.
CLEAN is not an investment consultant or advisor, and does not make any
representation regarding the advisability of investing in any particular company, fund
or vehicle. The opinions expressed in this publication are based on the documents
specified in the references.
Acknowledgement Hearty thanks to Mahbub Alam Prince, Sarmin Akthter Bristy,
Farjana Akter Mohima, Palash Chandra Dey, Mukta Rani Dey, Bishwajit Chandra Dey,
Ankura Begum and Shankar Chandra Dey and the affected villagers who participated in
the discussions to ring the bell. We are also grateful to Kate Geary and Nora Sausmikat,
Rayyan Hassan, Petra Kjell and Vidya Dinker for editing the document.
Expected Citation Mehedi, H., Tuhin, S.H. and Roberts-Davis, T.L. (2021). Financing
fossil fuels, failing our future. CLEAN (Coastal Livelihood and Environmental Action
Network), Khulna: September 2021
For further information on the issues raised in this report please contact:
CLEAN (Coastal Livelihood and Environmental Action Network), 4 Mallick Bari Road,
Boyra-Rayermahal, Khulna 9000, Bangladesh. Phone: +88 041 761 458, Email:
clean.khulna@gmail.com, Website: https://www.cleanbd.org
CONTENTS
Acronyms 4
Executive Summary 7
1. The AIIB and Bangladesh 11
2. Piling the Debt Burden? 14
3. Hiding behind the Big brothers 16
4. Addiction of Fossil Fuel 19
5. Bhola IPP: Broken Promises 25-29
5.1 Land Acquisition 26
5.2 Canal Grabbing 27
5.3 Water Logging and the Farmers 28
5.4 COVID-19 Emergency Response 29
5.5 The Uncertain Future 29
6. Power System Upgrade and Expansion Project 30-36
hiding coal under the carpet of transmission line
6.1 Link with the Coal Expansion 32
6.2 Conflict of Interest 33
6.3 Faulty Consultation Process 33
6.4 People’s Right to Know 35
6.5 Unjust Compensation 35
7. Demands 37-41
7.1 Overall Demands 37
7.2 Energy Investment 38
7.3 Bhola IPP 39
7.4 The Power System Upgrade and Expansion Project 40
8. References 43
I
ACRONYMS
ADB Asian Development Bank
AIIB Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank
BBS Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics
BIFPCL Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company Ltd.
BIWTA Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority
BOD Board of Directors
BPDB Bangladesh Power Development Board
CCPP Combined Cycle Power Plant
CCUS Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage
CEGIS Centre for Environmental and Geographic Information Services
CPGCBL Coal Power Generation Company Bangladesh Limited
CSR Corporate Social Responsibility
DFG Domestic Fossil Gas
DMC Development Member Country
DPP Department of Printing and Publications
EIA Environmental Impact Assessment
EIB European Investment Bank
ERM Environmental Resources Management Limited
ESEL Environmental and Social Exclusion List
ESF Environmental and Social Framework
ESIA Environmental and Social Impact Assessment
ESMP Environmental and Social Management Plan
ESP Environmental and Social Policy
ESS Environmental and Social Standards
FI Financial Intermediary
GAP Gender Action Plan
04 Brief on the AIIB Investments in Bangladesh from 2016 to 2021
I
Most Vulnerable Country
Megawatt
Nutan
Bidyut Bangladesh Limited
Non-bank Financial
Institute
Project-affected
Person
Power
Grid
Company of
Bangladesh
Power
System Upgrade and Expansion
Project
Renewable
Energy
Right-of-way
Resettlement Planning
Framework
Shapoorji
Pallonji
Infrastructure
Capital Company
Limited
S.S.
Power
Limited
Transmission
and
Distribution
United
States Dollar
World
Bank
Group
MVC
MW
NBBL
NBFI
PAP
PGCB
PSUEP
RE
ROW
RPF
SPICCPL
SSPL
T&D
USD
WBG
GDP
Gross
Domestic
Product
GOB
Government of
Bangladesh
GRM
Grievance
Redress
Mechanism
HSD
High
Speed Diesel
IDCOL
Infrastructure Development Company
Limited
IEE
Initial Environmental Examination
ISDB
Islamic Development
Bank
JICA
Japan
International
Cooperation
Agency
LDC
Least
Developed
Country
MDB
Multilateral Development
Bank
MDB-PWG
MDB
Paris
Alignment Working
Group
MIGA
Multilateral Investment Guarantee
Agency
05
Financing fossil fuels, failing our future
....
-
-
.....
.
-
....
Securing her future is more important than securing profit
Photo: Hasan Mehedi
2 October 2019 | Burhanuddin, Bhola
I
Financing fossil fuels, failing our future
L
Bh
o
l
a
IPP
:
https://www.aiib.org/en/projects/details/2018/approved/Bangla-
desh-Bhola-IPP.html
2
·
Nut
a
n Bid
y
ut
B
ang
l
a
d
es
h
L
imi
t
e
d
:
http://nutanbidyut.com/
The Asian Infrastructure Investment
Bank
'
s
(AIIB)
investments
in
Bangladesh reached
USO
2,391.98 million
in
August 2021 from
USO
165 million
in
2016, rising at an average rate of
32
%
per year.
The consequence
is
that
in
effect, AIIB loans are entrapping the
people of Bangladesh and our economy
with
an onerous debt
burden in the midst of
the
COVID-19 pandemic and
attempts to
move forward into
a
post pandemic recovery period (p 14).
So far,
the
AIIB has invested USD
605
million in the energy sector
of Bangladesh,
with
investments increasing
at
an average rate of
23% each year.
In
spite of this level of financing, significantly the
AIIB
has yet to invest
in
any
RE
options
(wind
,
solar)
in
the country,
exposing the bank as an influential financier directly undermining
global efforts to protect the climate and community resilience
(p
20).
Among the first flagship investments of the
AIIB
in
Bangladesh was
a
private sector stand-alone
USO
60 million loan approved
in
2018 for
the Bhola Independent Power Plant (Bhola
IPP)
1
-
a
greenfield gas
power project.
To
this
day
,
three years later,
the
communities in
Bhola are
still awaiting
information as
to
how and when they
will
be compensated for
their
losses due
to
unjust land acquisition
and canal grabbing by the operator company, Nutan
B
i
dyut
Bangladesh Limited
(NBBL)
2 which
is
a
subsidiary of Indian
conglomerate Shapoorji Pallonji Infrastructure Capital Company
Limited
(p
26).
Due to the lack of appropriate management and disposal of sand
and debris from the construction site, the local canal, Mandartoli
Shakha Khal, has been filled and blocked on several occasions,
causing flooding and damage to crops. Finally, after the filing of
EXECUTIVE
SUMMARY
Brief
on
the
AIIB Investments in Bangladesh from 2016
to
2021
I
3
·
Power
S
ys
t
em
U
pgra
d
e
an
d
E
xpansion
Proje
ct:
https://www.aiib.org/en/pro-
jects/details/2019/approved/Bangladesh-Power-System-Upgrade-and-Expansion.html
several petitions
by
local people, the operator company temporarily
repaired the canal
by
re-excavation or dredging. In absence of
proper and
consistent
dredging, the betel leaf (paan) farmers
have been
suffering
from water logging every year (p
28)
.
Meanwhile,
SPICCPL
has entered into
a
deal to sell off the power
plant to Mauritius and UK-based Actis Energy for
USD
270 million.
Before
this transfer
of ownership is sealed,
it
is incumbent upon
the
AIIB as
a
key investment partner,
to
compel the borrowing
company
to
pay adequate compensation
to
the landowners and
betel leaf (paan) farmers for the losses and damages they have
been subjected to over the last three years as
a
direct result of the
project. The company must also
be
held accountable for fully
rehabilitating the Mandartoli Shakha Khal to its pre-project state.
(p
29).
Another stand-alone project financed
by
the
AIIB
exposes the role of
the
AIIB
in
facilitating fossil fuel-dependent power generation
in
Bangladesh.
In
2019
,
the
AIIB
approved
a
USD120 million loan for
the "Power System Upgrade and Expansion Project"
(PSUEP)3,
which
aims to upgrade and expand the power transmission system
in
Chattogram. Although the rationale sounds
benign
,
the
project in
fact directly
connects
the
coal power plants of the
Chattogram-Cox's Bazaar Zone
with
the national grid through
constructing 27-km overhead and underground high voltage
transmission lines.
(p
32).
Indeed
,
the actual realities on the ground illustrate the questionable
practices of the
AIIB
project staff
in
ensuring communities are
informed
,
let alone able to raise concerns without fear of reprisals.
For
example, though the scant project data made publicly available
claims
the
number of beneficiary
families
of
the
PSUEP is
287 ,000, consultation meetings were organized for only 93
persons (i.e.
a
mere 0.03 percentage of
the
population claimed by
the
bank as beneficiaries). Crucially,
administrative
and
political
persons were also included in the
consultation
with affected
I
Financing fossil fuels, failing our future
4
·
C
VF
M
arrakec
h
C
o
mmuniqu
e:
https
:
//thecvf org/activities/program/declara-
tions/marrakech-communique/
communities.
As
a
result, the affected communities were
in
forced
into
a
position of silence, unable to raise their concerns properly due
to fear of potential retaliation and intimidation (p 33).
According to
AIIB
policies, the Environmental and Social
Management Plan (ESMP) and Resettlement Planning Framework
(RPF)
must
be
translated into local languages so that the affected
communities can understand the proposed project and its impacts
easily. Revealingly,
the
RPF for
this
project has been
translated
into the wrong language and some sections of the
texts fail to
even be coherent. This situation directly means that the
AIIB
has
failed to uphold the 'right to know' of locally affected communities
(p
35).
At this
time
,
it
is incumbent upon the AIIB
to
put an end
to its
investments in fossil fuel projects and supporting infrastructure.
Instead,
the
bank must
take its
role as
a
multilateral
development
bank
with
a
global
footprint
seriously,
shifting
gears towards
promoting
RE
in Bangladesh and beyond
;
unequivocally
supporting the
CVF
target'
to achieve reliance on 100%
RE
by
2050
-
in
line with the Paris Agreement and most up to date scientific
recommendations on climate
(p
38).
Gender Policy is must to ensure gender equality at project level
Photo: Sajjad Hossain Tuhin
I
Financing fossil fuels, failing our future
Bangladesh
is
one of the most densely populated countries
in
the
world, being home to 168.22 million people within an area of
147,570
km
2
(BBS, 2021). The country
is
also positioned amongst
the 10 most vulnerable countries (MVCs) of the world to the
widespread
,
severe impacts of extreme climate change induced
conditions
(Germanwatch
,
2021). Living
in
the largest riparian delta
in
the world
in
the tropical zone, the people of Bangladesh face an
onslaught of frequent tropical cyclones
,
flash
floods
,
erratic
rainfall
,
salinity intrusion, river erosion and drought. The costs to peoples'
livelihoods are incalculable, being reflected even
in
the losses to the
nation's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which
in
recent years has
increased year on year from 1.49 percent to 3.02 percent (Haroon,
2019).
Amidst the devastation associated with climate change and the
COVID-19 pandemic, the economy of Bangladesh
is
said to have
achieved remarkable progress since the 1990s, being supported
by
sustained growth, according to traditional economic metrics. Poverty
declined from 48.9 percent
in
2000 to 20.5 percent
in
2019
,
based
on the international poverty line of $1.90
a
day (BBS, 2020). As
a
result, Bangladesh reached lower-middle-income status
in
2015 and
is
on track to 'graduate' from the UN's Least Developed Countries
(LDC) list
in
2026
(WB,
2021). The annual per capita income of the
country reached
USD
2,227.00
in
2021 from
USO
780.00
in
2011
(DT,
2021). Notably, though, such 'progress' for the country comes at
a
high cost and fails to be centered on the lived realities of people
since Bangladesh remains highly dependent on external resources
for development projects and bolstering its position
in
the world
economy.
Bangladesh has distinguished itself as one of the founding members
of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). The country's
membership was approved on 22 March 2016 with subscription of
USD
660.5 million against
6
,
605 shares and
0.776
%
voting rights
THE
AIIB
AND BANGLADESH
Brief on the AIIB Investments in Bangladesh
from
2016 to 2021
I
Bangladesh also stands among the first four borrowing countries of
the AIIB. This first loan, approved
in
2016, amounted to
USD
165.00
million, and was intended to finance
a
Distribution System Upgrade
and Expansion Project. This project entailed the
lay
i
ng of 85km of
underground power distribution lines and to enable approximately
2.5 million service connections for rural consumers
(AIIB,
2016).
Since its first intervention,
AIIB
'
s investment has rapidly increased
Source: AIIB. Members and Prospective Members
of
the Bank as
of
7
July 2021
4.0
%
6.0
%
8.0
%
lil'ml
Voting
Power of
the
AIIB
Members
of
South
Asia
(AIIB,
2021c). The parliament of Bangladesh approved the Asian
Infrastructure Investment Bank Act on 25 July 2016
(DPP,
2016)
which gives an immunity to the bank according to its Articles 44-52
of the Articles of Agreement (All
B
,
2015
).
As
a
country-member under constituency-3 of the AIIB with
Malaysia
,
Maldives, Nepal, Philippines and
Thailand
,
Bangladesh
holds the right to one seat on the Board of Directors (BOD).
Currently, Bangladesh
is
leading the constituency as the Director
with representatives from Philippines and Thailand taking up the
position of Alternative Directors, and representatives from
Malaysia
,
Maldives and Nepal acting as Advisors
(AIIB,
2021d).
Tr
a
ns
1
8
.
6% Eoe,
20.2%
Rural
0.3%
H
ealth
8.7%
I
CT
Finance
1.6% 17.0%
5.2%
U
rb
a
n
16
.
5%.
8.7%
0.3%
E
conom
2.9%
W
a
t
e
r
Disaster Multisector
En
e
r
gy
(App
r
o
v
ed)
E
nergy
(
Pr
o
posed
)
F
inan
c
e
(
Appr
ov
ed
)
F
i
nan
c
e
(
Pr
op
ose
d
)
H
ealth
(A
ppr
ov
ed
)
H
ea
l
th
(
Pr
o
p
osed)
T
ra
n
sport
(
Appro
v
ed
))
T
ransport
(
Pr
opo
sed
)
WatSa
n
(
App
r
o
v
ed
)
WatSan
(
Pr
opo
sed)
2021
2020 2019
20
1
8
20
1
7
0
.
00
-
··---------
-!!!!!!!!~
~
20
1
6
50
0
.
00
1
,
000
.
00
2
,
00
0 00
1
,
500
00
2
,
50
0
.
00
I
16 Brief on the AIIB Investments in Bangladesh from 2016 to 2021
03
Hiding behind the ‘big brothers’
At the time of writing, the total value of the projects AIIB has financed
in Bangladesh stands at USD 5,283.8 million, of which the
Government of Bangladesh (GOB) contributed USD 1,205.97 million
(22.8%) and co-financiers 1,657.75 million (31.4%). Among the
partnering financial institutions, the Asian Development Bank (ADB)
is the largest co-financier of AIIB projects with an amount of USD
967 million (18.3%) followed by the World Bank Group (USD
570m/10.8%). The Islamic Development Bank (ISDB) and
Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL), a
Bangladeshi state-owned non-bank financial institute (NBFI), are the
lowest co-financiers with an amount of USD 60 million (1.1%) each.
Figure-3 shows the size of partnership between AIIB and other
financial institutes. Within the AIIB portfolio for Bangladesh, 37% of
Figure-4 AIIB Partnership with other Financial Institutes in Bangladesh
Source: Analysis of AIIB co-financiers by the Study Team based on the AIIB Project
Database as of 10 August 2021
ADB AIIB
AIIB
AIIB
AIIB
IDCOL
ISDB
WBG
967 510
570
60 60
570
60 60
I
projects are stand-alone and eight (63%) are co-financed with ADB,
ISDB or WBG. According to the Environmental and Social Framework
(ESF) of AIIB, “The Bank may, on a case-by-case basis, in lieu of the
ESP, ESSs and ESEL, apply the environmental and social policies
and procedures of Multilateral Development Banks (MDB), bilateral
development organizations and development finance institutions
that are co-financing the Project, provided that the Bank is satisfied
that these policies…” (AIIB, 2021b).
Concerningly, around half of total AIIB investments have been
funneled into Category A projects ─ those which are labelled as such
due to their significant negative impacts on the local environment
and/or communities, including but not limited to contamination of
surrounding land and water ecosystems, biodiversity loss,
displacement and loss of livelihoods. The AIIB has not taken the lead
of any co-financed projects, but rather uses the safeguard system of
the co-financing MDBs. Even when investment amounts are the
same from both, the AIIB surrenders the responsibility of leading on
safeguard implementation to co-financiers. This delegation of
responsibility also means that the AIIB refuses to be held
accountable for the impacts of its co-financed projects: under the
ESF, if communities suffer harms, they must approach the
co-financier’s accountability mechanism, not the AIIB’s.
Notably, in line with its institutional motto of staying lean, its 316
employees now have the daunting task of supervising a total of 134
projects (meaning in practical terms that two or more staff would be
responsible for each project) (AIIB, 2021a).
17
Financing fossil fuels, failing our future
18 Brief on the AIIB Investments in Bangladesh from 2016 to 2021
P
roposed
Approv
ed
W
a
t
San
Tran
s
p
o
rt
He
a
l
t
h
F
inanc
e
E
n
erg
y
0
250
500
7
50
450
.
00
333
.
90
600
-
472
667
.
0
605
.
0
500
.
00
- ~
550
.
0
- ~ --
470.0
100.0
1
000
1000
.
87 1000
603.
7
9
1208
.
79
125
0
802%
Power T&D
9.9%
Oil
&
Gas
9.9%
Power
P
l
ant
20 Brief on the AIIB Investments in Bangladesh from 2016 to 2021
other MDBs should only finance Renewable Energy (RE) in DMCs. Yet
on the contrary, the AIIB’s investments in fossil fuels have in fact
increased dramatically, including in the case of Bangladesh.
Up to July 2021, the AIIB had approved 134 projects amounting USD
26.25 billion. When broken down by sector, it is evident that energy
is the largest sector in which AIIB invests globally, amounting to a
total of USD 5.35 billion (20.4% of its disbursements to date); which
is only slightly less than the proportion of ADB financing similarly
dedicated to the energy sector (21.13%).
However, to date, in the bank’s portfolio for Bangladesh,
transport-related investments stand out as the highest in dollar
terms with a share of 27.9% (two projects) followed by energy
(25.3%/five projects), finance (23.0%/two projects), water &
sanitation (19.6%/three projects) and health (4.2%/one project). In
the period of 2016-2021, the AIIB’s total investments in fossil
fuel-related projects (i.e. fossil fuel power plants, oil and gas
infrastructure and power T&D) in the Asian region, increased at an
average rate of 38.92% while investments in RE increased at an
average rate of 29.93%.
Figure-6
Sub-sectors of AIIB Energy Portfolio in Bangladesh (USD Million)
Source: Analysis by the Study Team based on the AIIB Project Database
I
Financing fossil fuels, failing our future
In
Bangladesh
,
the consolidated investment of AIIB
in
the energy
sector will reach
USD
1.21 billion
in
2021, thereby superseding the
transport
sec
t
or
(USD
1.001 billion) and the finance sector
(USD
1.0
billion) this year, pending approval of proposed projects
by
the
bank
'
s board.
In
the period of 2016-2021, investment
in
the Energy
Sector increased at
a
rate of 30.9% with zero investment
in
RE.
Since 2016,
AIIB
has approved 5 projects
in
the energy sector
in
Bangladesh, amounting to
USD
605 million. More than
90
%
of this
total investment has gone into the sub-sector of energy transmission
and distribution
(T&D)
,
the majority of which was for grid connected
electricity transmission and distribution (80.2 percent or
USD
485.00 million).
Meanwhile, gas transmission lines have received 9.9 percent
(USD
60.00 million). The remaining investments
in
the energy sector have
gone towards fossil fuel based power generation (i.e. for Bhola
Independent Power Plant [Bhola
IPP]).
With no current or proposed
projects to support meeting the
RE
targets of
Bangladesh
,
the All
B
'
s
investment portfolio exposes it as among the most complicit MDBs
involved
in
p
r
opping up the dirtiest fossil fuel industries
in
Bangladesh.
22 Brief on the AIIB Investments in Bangladesh from 2016 to 2021
1
2
3
4
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
15
14
16
19
17
18
5
20
Approved Project
Proposed Project
Khulna
Barisal Chittagong
Sylhet
Mymensingh
Rajshahi
Rangpur
Dhaka
Figure-7 Map of AIIB Projects in Bangladesh
Source: Compilation of the Study team based on AIIB Project Database
I
23
Financing fossil fuels, failing our future
Table-1 List of AIIB Projects in Bangladesh (as of 10 August 2021)
* Million USD
On GoingEnergy 165.00
Distribution System Upgrade
and Expansion Project
B01.
On GoingEnergy 60.00
Natural Gas Infrastructure
and Efficiency Improvement
Project
A02.
CompletedEnergy B 60.00
Bhola Independent Power
Plant Project (Bhola IPP)
03.
On GoingEnergy B 120.00
Power System Upgrade and
Expansion Project
04.
On GoingUrban B 100.00
Municipal Water Supply and
Sanitation Project
05.
200.00
Dhaka and West Zone
Transmission Grid Expansion
Project
On GoingEnergy A06.
404.00
Sylhet to Tamabil Road
Upgrade Project
On GoingTransport A07.
Urban 170.00
Dhaka Sanitation
Improvement Project
On GoingA08.
Economy 250.00
COVID-19 Active Response
and Expenditure Support
(CARES) Program
On GoingC09.
Health 100.00
COVID-19 Emergency
Response and Pandemic
Preparedness Project
On GoingB10.
Rural 200.00
Rural Water, Sanitation and
Hygiene for Human Capital
Development Project
On GoingB11.
Finance 300.00
COVID-19 Emergency and
Crisis Response Facility
ApprovedFI12.
Transport 262.16
Mymensingh Kewatkhali
Bridge Project
ApprovedA13.
SL. Name of the Project Sector ESF AIIB
Lending
Current
Status
I
I
I
24 Brief on the AIIB Investments in Bangladesh from 2016 to 2021
SL. Name of the Project Sector ESF AIIB
Lending
Current
Status
Economy 250.00
Sustainable Economic
Recovery Program
(Sub-program-1)
Proposed
(Q3-2021)
C14.
Health 500.00
Responsive COVID-19
Vaccines for Recovery
Project
Proposed
(Q4-2021)
C15.
Energy 130.50
Southern Chattogram and
Kaliakoir Transmission
Infrastructure Development
Project
Proposed
(Q4-2021)
A16.
Transport 333.90
Hatikumrul - Bonpara -
Jhenidah Road Improvement
Project (Phase-I)
Proposed
(Q4-2021)
A17.
Finance 200.00
IDCOL (Infrastructure
Development Company
Limited) Multi-Sector
On-Lending Facility
Proposed
(Q4-2021)
FI18.
Energy 473.29
Madunaghat - Bhulta
Transmission line and
Sustainable Electricity
Access Project
Proposed
(Q4-2021)
B19.
Urban 2.00
Integrated Solid Waste
Management Improvement
Project
Preparation---20.
Total 20 Projects 4,280.85
Source: Analysis of the Study Team based on AIIB Project Database
5.1 Land Acquisition
Initially
,
the executing agency,
NBBL
,
took 13.22 acres of land from
BPDB
and Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority
(BIWTA)
on
the basis of an annual lease, while 15.60
ac
r
es
f
r
om the community
as well as 4.64 acres right-of-way
(ROW)
were granted via
a
government acquisition process (ERM, 2020). After
BWGED
and
allied organizations raised serious concerns about policy-based
violations, including grossly inadequate
compensation
,
NBBL
reviewed the land acquisition and paid out an additional
BDT
2.97
crore
(USO
3.58 million) to the landowners.
In
addition
,
the executing agency took 1.83 acres of land from local
farmers
in
the period of December 2018 to April 2019 without any
public consultation or prior notification
(AECOM,
2019). While 20
landowners claimed that NBBL took over more land than what was
initially claimed and
compensated
,
other farmers were subjected to
appropriation of their lands, primarily along the bank of Mandartoli
Shakha Kha
I
in
the northwestern part of the power plant.
The farmers submitted complaints according to the company's
Grievance Redress Mechanism (GRM)
in
2019 and 2020 but have
yet to receive any reply from NBBL. Now the people are moving
forward with
a
process of filing collective court cases against the
executing agency, arguing their legal rights to possession have been
violated.
As
per the financial closure report,
AIIB
provided
USD
60.00 million
non-sovereign loan as the lead financier (ERM, 2018) while
ISDB
and
IDCOL
provided
USD
59.67 million each as co-financier of the
USO
271-million project (IJGlobal, 2018).
A
large infrastructure
p
r
oject
in
an extremely vulnerable area like Bhola has led to several highly
negative impacts
in
the surrounding areas which local communities
and the civil society groups which support them have raised several
t
i
mes to the executing agencies and AIIB staff and Board (Mehedi et
al., 2018).
Brief
on
the
AIIB Investments in Bangladesh from 2016
to
2021
I
Financing fossil fuels, failing our future
5.5 The Uncertain Future
According to
med
i
a
reports,
SP
Group appointed Standard Chartered to
find
a
potential buyer for
100
%
acquisition of Bhola
IPP
at an estimated
price of
USD
270 million, with the intention to reduce its debt burden
(The Mint, 2020).
BWGED
communicated with both NBBL and the
AIIB
to confirm the news.
To
date
,
neither the company nor the bank have
responded. However, based on the limited public information available,
it has become evident that Mauritius-based Actis Ambergen 2 Limited
and London-based Actis Energy 5
LP
jointly applied for
a
guarantee
from the WBG's Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) for
acquisition and refinancing of the project (MIGA, 2021). It
is
clear from
circumstances that the Bhola
IPP
has been sold
by
SP
Group. But it
is
now uncertain which entity will be accountable for the liabilities of
unpaid compensation and how the disputes around Bhola
IPP
will be
resolved under these circumstances.
5.4 COVID-19 Emergency Response
After the outbreak of Coronavirus
in
February 2020, the Government of
Bangladesh declared
a
lockdown and public holidays on 24 March
2020
(Mamun
,
2020). Nevertheless
,
NBBL didn't announce holidays
for the construction site workforce at Bhola, meaning that construction
work continued without any safety measures. After
a
few months, when
they gave
a
break
,
there was no way for the labourers to go back home.
So, they were stuck
in
adjacent
v
i
llages such as Dakshin Kutuba and
Chhoto Manika. Due to ongoing lockdown measures and restrictions
on mobility, the day labourers, shopkeepers and
hawke
r
s lost their
jobs. At least 23 villagers have also been affected
by
COVID-19
in
the
period of 2020-2021. But NBBL has taken no initiative to support the
labourers or the villagers at this time, not even as part of
a
self-proclaimed Corporate Social Responsibility agenda
(CSR).
nutrients. Indeed, on
average
,
spilled sands from the site during
monsoon season reduced betel leaf (paan) production at
a
rate of 60
percent.
Ultimately
,
the farmers have been forced to consider
changes to their livelihoods,
in
order to have the possibility of eking
out
a
basic subsistence. Though local communities have raised the
issue to the company's community liaison
officer
,
no solution or
remedy from the executing agency has been offered to date.
I
06
POWER SYSTEM UPGRADE AND EXPANSION PROJECT
HIDING COAL UNDER THE CARPET OF TRANSMISSION LINES
30 Brief on the AIIB Investments in Bangladesh from 2016 to 2021
The PSUEP is an AIIB stand-alone project implemented by Power Grid
Company of Bangladesh (PGCB), a state-owned enterprise under
BPDB. AIIB invested USD 120.00 million in the project while GOB and
PGCB contributed USD 46.39 million and USD 10.21 million
respectively. The stated objective of the project is to upgrade and
expand the power transmission system in the Chattogram
(Chittagong) region to ensure adequate and reliable power supply
(AIIB, 2019b).
The project comprises of six components as outlined by the AIIB:
1. Anwara-Anandabazar (New Mooring) 400 kV double-circuit
transmission line: 20 km overhead and 7 km underground cable:
27 km in total
2. Hathazari-Rampur 230 kV double-circuit underground cable: 3 km
3. Madunaghat-Khulshi 230 kV double-circuit underground cable: 16
km
4. 230/132 kV GIS substation at Anandabazar (New Mooring) with
transformer
5. 230/132/33 kV GIS substation at Khulshi with transformer
6. Two 230 kV GIS line bays at Madunaghat substation.
According to the document posted on the AIIB website (as of
September 2021), the project is intended to promote Bangladesh’s
goal to provide electricity for all by 2021. However, available
documentation does not clarify if ─ and how ─ poor communities will
benefit (Recourse, 2019). What is clear is that the power grid
connection will be located near several fossil fuel based power
plants in Chattogram Zone, including China-backed Banshkhali
(SSPL) 1320 MW Coal Power Plant in Banshkhali Upazila,
Chattogram and Matarbari (CPGCBL) 1200 MW Coal Power Plant in
Maheshkhali, Cox’s Bazar, which are yet to be connected with the
national grid.
I
31
Financing fossil fuels, failing our future
Figure-10
The Transmission Lines undertaken in Chattogram Zone
Source: Analysis based on ESIA Report (PGCB 2019), Project Profile (PPPA 2020) and
Project Information (PGCB 2021b)
COX’S BAZAR
Anwara
Banshkhali
Anandabazar
Matarbari
towards
Meghnaghat
CHATTOGRAM
Khulshi
Madunaghat
AIIB financed Power System Upgrade and Expansion Project
GOB financed Banshkhali-Madunaghat Transmission Line
JICA financed Matarbari-Meghnaghat Transmission Line
32 Brief on the AIIB Investments in Bangladesh from 2016 to 2021
Link with Coal Expansion
In fact, it would seem that the
objective of the project itself is
questionable. Though the
project is supposedly being
implemented in the name of
upgrading and expanding the
power transmission system in
Chattogram zone to ensure
adequate and reliable power
supply, 93% of the people living
in and around this area already
have access to sufficient
electricity (Daily Star, 2019).
So, it appears that in reality the
project is not intended to
connect the communities to the
grid, but rather fossil fuel power
plants ─ especially those that
are reliant on coal.
PGCB had already signed an agreement with Indian multinational
company KEC International as EPC Contractor for 214 km
Matarbari─Madunaghat─Meghnaghat 400 kV transmission line
under the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) financed
Matarbari Coal Power Project (Daily Sun, 2019) while AIIB is
financing the Madunaghat─Khulshi 230 kV double-circuit
underground transmission line. The Government has also taken an
initiative to establish Matarbari─Banshkhali─Madunaghat 400kv
transmission line to connect Banshkhali 1320 MW (SSPL) Coal
Power Plant (NewAge, 2021).
So, it appears the project will directly support the transmission of
electricity from present and future coal power plants in the area,
especially for example, from Matarbari and Banshkhali.
Image-3
Erection of a Tower for
230kv Transmission Line
Source: Tormuz Engineering Limited
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I
Financing fossil
fuels
,
failing our future
Disclose project documents and
ESIA
reports at least 120
days and 90 days before approval when considering
Category-A and Category-B projects respectively, with public
notification and circulation
in
the project area through large
information boards
in
public
places
,
in
all major local
languages as well as
in
braille
.
Disclose full project documents relating to non-sovereign
projects so that the affected communities and concerned civil
society members have detailed information about the areas to
To
this end, AIIB must:
Together
,
the organizations that have collaborated on this report
expect that
AIIB
will urgently take heed of the evidence of problems
and negative impacts reported
by
communities affected
by
its
project investments
-
and/or community affiliated allies
-
including
but not limited to those detailed above
in
Bangladesh, as well as
in
other DMCs.
Together we note that at
a
fundamental level, one of the major
challenges facing communities and broader civil society
organizations
is
the lack of accessible information about many of the
Category-A and Category-B projects of
AIIB,
as the bank has yet to
make an unequivocal commitment
in
regards to openly and fully
disclosing detailed project information and documents (regardless
of whether they are sovereign, non-sovereign of financial
intermediary investments).
This means that affected community members and concerned
members of civil society end up with limited ways to raise concerns
or questions before project approval, either to the Bank's board
members or management. This effectively shuts down meaningful
options for vigorous discussion and consultation
in
project affected
areas.
DEMANDS
Brief on the AIIB Investments in
Bang
l
adesh from 2016 to 2021
I
Stop investing
in
coal and fossil fuel-supporting infrastructures
including transportation, transmission and distribution (T&D),
port development, hybrid plants, as well as Carbon Capture,
Utilisation & Storage
(CCUS)
.
Support its developing member countries, including
Bangladesh
,
to achieve
100
%
RE
by
2050 at the latest to
ensure zero emissions from the energy sector, powered
by
the
Energy Investment
As
an MDB formed after adoption of the Paris
Agreement
,
the
AIIB
must take
a
lead
in
supporting the needed energy transition
in
the
region, setting
a
replicable example for the MDB Paris Alignment
Working Group (MDB-PWG) and more broadly for the International
Development Finance Club
(IDFC)
to invest without exception
in
renewable and decentralized power options
in
Asia, especially
in
climate-vulnerable Bangladesh.
To
this
end
,
AIIB
must:
be
impacted and components of the project not only
in
English,
but also
in
local languages including braille
.
Without
exception
,
recognize and respect the rights of affected
communities to raise concerns about safeguard compliance
and accordingly make use of the accountability mechanism,
i.e. Environmental and Social Framework
(ESF),
Policy on
Public Information
(PPI)
and the Project affected People's
Mechanism (PPM) of the
AIIB,
regardless of whether or not
they also make use of accountability mechanisms of any
co-financiers
,
or internationally recognized processes such as
consideration
by
National Contact Points under the
OECD
Guidelines
.
Ensure that before
publication
,
documents
in
local languages
are fully checked and verified
by
independent evaluators to
ensure they are readable, easily understandable and
applicable
in
local contexts.
I
Financing fossil
fuels
,
Jailing our future
Resolve the allegation of uncompensated land
appropriation
,
by
ensuring reparations are provided to all impacted
individuals with due regard to ensuring rates are agreeable to
local, self-identified representatives of the affected farmers of
Dakshin Kutuba and Chhota Manika villages
,
and respecting
that rates must encompass not only the land, but also the loss
of crops, livelihoods and intergenerational income
.
Compensate the harm and damage reported
by
betel leaf
(paan) farmers
in
surrounding communities, taking into
To
this
end
,
AIIB
must compel
SPICCPL
and NBBL to:
As
Bhola
is
upheld as one of the AIIB's flagship non-sovereign
investment projects
in
Bangladesh, it
is
imperative that the
AIIB
look
into the project-related concerns raised to date, ensuring
communities
'
full rights to remedy and reparations are met at the
current time, regardless of whether or not ownership over the project
is
transferred. The
AIIB
will need to take responsibility, given its key
role
in
bringing this project
online
,
for the
project
'
s
impacts on
affected communities.
Bhola
IPP
sun and wind, as opposed to for example, burning waste or
forest/plantation derived
materials
,
or large scale hydropower
.
Focus on distributed, decentralized and utility-scale
RE
projects which are ecologically sustainable, community-based
,
locally-owned
,
operated and managed and beneficial for the
natural resource dependent people
.
Comm
i
t
to developing
a
methodology to assess embedded
emissions of T&D, so that
AIIB
can be accountable for its part
in
increasing
GHG
emissions through its support for fossil fuel
related infrastructure.
AIIB
must also measure and set
reduction
ta
r
gets for embedded emissions
in
line with the goal
of the Paris
Ag
r
eement.
Brief on the AIIB Investments in Bangladesh
from
2016 to 2021
Disseminate related information
in
locally
appropriate
,
coherent and accessible language.
Allocate adequate compensation for households and
shopkeepers
,
based on rates agreed upon
by
community-
selected representatives, including but not limited to loss of
land, crops and income, according to the period of interruption
and self-reported, verified loss and damage. Such
compensation packages should not be limited to
a
financial
settlement, but also
be
inclusive of relocation, rehabilitation
and restoration of livelihoods.
I
The Power System Upgrade and Expansion Project
As
the
AIIB
is
increasingly focusing on T&D investments, it
is
critical
that such projects ensure full alignment with the Paris Agreement,
stringent, robust compliance with the Bank's environmental and
social safeguard framework and full accessibility for impacted
populations to its project affected peoples' mechanism.
To
this end,
in
the specific case of
PSUEP,
AIIB
must compel
PGCB
to:
account losses of production dating back to the start of
construction
in
2018.
Remove the discharge pipelines from the construction site to
Mandartoli Shakha Khal to stop the flow of debris and
contaminated sands into the canal and
e
n
sure proper
o
n
-site
disposal practices are adhered to
.
Ensure water-logging of Mandartoli Shakha Khal
is
avoided
by
removing debris on
a
regular basis,
in
consultation with
community members to the canal
is
able to carry the high tide
water flows, particularly
in
the lead up to, during and after
monsoon season (with due
r
egard to the fact that
in
the
context of the current climate crisis,
trad
i
tionally observed
timings of the monsoon are
in
flux).
I
Financing fossil fuels, failing our future
Compensate the landowners of areas affected
by
the
ROW
land acquisition on an annual basis as they will
be
affected
permanently
by
the high voltage transmission lines overhead
and underground
.
Initiate
a
cumulative impact assessment of different power
plants and transmission lines
in
Chattogram zone, all of which
should
be
considered possible associated facilities to the
transmission lines being installed. Ensure the measurement
of embedded
GHG
emissions
is
included
in
this cumulative
assessment.
42 Brief on the AIIB Investments in Bangladesh from 2016 to 2021
I
Fi
n
an
ci
ng
f
oss
il
fu
e
l
s,
Jail
i
ng
o
ur
futu
re
AECOM
(2019). Involuntary Resettlement Audit for Bhola
II
Combined
Cycle Power Plant.
AECOM
India Private Limited: June 2019
AIIB (2015). Articles of Agreement. Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank
(AIIB): 25 December 2015
AIIB (2016). Project Document: Distribution System Upgrade and
Expansion Project. Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB): 6
June 2016
AIIB (2018). Project Summary Information
(PSI):
Bhola
IPP.
Asian
Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB): 12 February 2018
AIIB (2019a). Environmental and Social Framework (amended February
2019). Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB): February 2019
AIIB (2019b). Project Document: Power System Upgrade and Expansion
Project. Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB): 26 March
2019
AIIB (2021a).
2020
Annual AIIB Report. Asian Infrastructure Investment
Bank (AIIB): May 2021
AIIB (2021b). Environmental and Social Framework. Asian Infrastructure
Investment Bank (AIIB): May 2021
AIIB (2021c). Members and Prospective Members of the Bank. Asian
Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB):
7
July,
2021
AIIB (2021d). Board of Directors: Constituency-3. Asian Infrastructure
Investment Bank (AIIB): 10 August 2021
AIIB (2021e). Project Information: Power System Upgrade and Expansion.
Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank
(AIIB):
undated (accessed on
10 August 2021)
BBS (2020). Poverty and Extreme Poverty 2017, 2018 and 2019.
Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS): February
2020
BBS (2021). Monthly Statistical Bulletin-Bangladesh. Bangladesh Bureau
of Statistics (BBS): February
2021
CEGIS
(2018). Resettlement Planning Framework
(RPF)
for Expansion and
REFERENCES
Brief on the AIIB Investments in Bangladesh
from
2016 to 2021
I
Strengthening of Power System Network Project under Chittagong
Area. Centre for Environmental and Geographic Information
Services
(CEGIS)
:
November 2018
CEGIS
(2021). "About
Us".
Centre for
Envi
r
onmental and Geographic
Information Services
(CEGIS):
Undated [accessed on 5 August
2021]
CEIC
(2021). Bangladesh External Debt: 2011-2020. Census and
Economic Information Center
(CEIC):
10 August 2021
CVF
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COUNTRY ASSESSMENT REPORT ON
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Article
Full-text available
p>The study was conducted over all 42 upazilas of Chittagong region during 2016 using pre-tested semistructured questionnaire with a view to document the existing cropping patterns, cropping intensity and crop diversity in the region. The most dominant cropping pattern Boro−Fallow−T. Aman occupied about 23% of net cropped area (NCA) of the region with its distribution over 38 upazilas out 42. The second largest area, 19% of NCA, was covered by single T. Aman, which was spread out over 32 upazilas. A total of 93 cropping patterns were identified in the whole region under the present investigation. The highest number of cropping patterns was 28 in Naokhali sadar and the lowest was 4 in Begumganj of the same district. The lowest crop diversity index (CDI) was observed 0.135 in Chatkhil followed by 0.269 in Begumganj. The highest value of CDI was observed in Banshkhali, Chittagong and Noakhali sadar (around 0.95). The range of cropping intensity values was recorded 103−283%. The maximum value was for Kamalnagar upazila of Lakshmipur district and minimum for Chatkhil upazila of Noakhali district. As a whole the CDI of Chittagong region was 0.952 and the average cropping intensity at the regional level was 191%. Bangladesh Rice j. 2017, 21(2): 109-122</p
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