Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations Submit Joint Commentary on ADB’s Draft Environmental and Social Framework
May 9, 2024

Indigenous Peoples Rights International (IPRI), Right Energy Partnership with Indigenous Peoples (REP), and Asia Indigenous Peoples Network on Extractive Industries and Energy (AIPNEE) have collectively submitted a comprehensive commentary on the proposed Environmental and Social Framework (ESF) of the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Their focus? The draft Environmental and Social Standard 7 (ESS7) concerning Indigenous Peoples. This commentary, while centred on the ESS7, addresses broader issues of compliance, process, and accessibility, aiming to ensure effective implementation and respect for the rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Compliance, Process, and Accessibility: The commentary emphasizes the need for accessible language and forms in the ESF, considering that English is not the primary language for most Indigenous Peoples in the region. It underscores the importance of not just the wording but also the effective implementation, monitoring, and enforcement of the ESF, citing concerns raised in the Independent Evaluation Department’s (IED) 2020 report.

Text of the ESS7: The commentary welcomes the recognition of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in the draft ESS7 but calls for greater coherence with international standards. It stresses the need for alignment with the rights of Indigenous Peoples and effective implementation.

Identification and Impact Assessment: Issues with the identification of Indigenous Peoples and impact assessment methodologies are highlighted, pointing out flaws identified by the IED review and calling for robust assessments aligned with international standards.

Meaningful Consultation: The commentary underscores the importance of meaningful consultation, stressing adherence to Indigenous Peoples’ customs and traditions. It advocates for free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) and emphasizes Indigenous Peoples’ right to self-determination over their lands, territories, and resources.

Indigenous Peoples Plan (IPP) and Voluntary Isolation: Concerns regarding the implementation and enforcement of IPP, budget allocation, and FPIC requirements are raised. Additionally, the commentary questions the handling of voluntary isolation, advocating for a clearer and more respectful approach.

Special Requirements and FPIC: Specific recommendations are made regarding legal recognition of Indigenous lands, compensation, and sustainable development opportunities, all centered around the principle of FPIC.

The joint commentary serves as a comprehensive evaluation of the ADB’s draft ESF, offering detailed feedback and recommendations to ensure the effective protection of Indigenous Peoples’ rights. It calls for meaningful dialogue, alignment with international standards, and robust mechanisms for implementation and enforcement. As the ADB moves forward with its safeguard policy review, the voices and concerns of Indigenous Peoples must be given utmost consideration to achieve sustainable and equitable development in the region.

Download the full commentary here.


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