No Asbestos in International Development! – campaign update

Sep 28, 2020

Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA is campaigning to make sure none of the Multilateral Development Banks are funding dangerous asbestos products.

We’re working with allies across the world, from the Philippines to Geneva, Washington DC to Delhi, and many places in between. We’re part of a global push to make sure the billions of dollars distributed by the Asian Development Bank, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, World Bank and others, isn’t supporting the asbestos industry. We’ve got updates from the ADB, European Investment Bank (EIB) and Inter-American Development Bank (IADB).


Asian Development Bank (ADB) Annual Meeting

In September the Asian Development Bank (ADB) held the second section of their Annual Meeting online after the in-person event was cancelled in May. Usually the Annual Meeting has a Civil Society program and an opportunity for Civil Society Organisations (CSO) and Trade Union representatives to directly address the senior management of the Bank. Unfortunately, the ADB cancelled the CSO sessions. The NGO Forum on the ADB held an online rally and social media actions to increase awareness of their campaigns on climate action, human rights and other issues. Emma Bacon, Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA’s Asbestos Ban Campaign Coordinator, spoke at the online rally to demand that the ADB clarify now whether their planned asbestos ban will apply to the $20 Billion USD currently being dispersed to respond to COVID-19. We released this statement last week.


European Investment Bank (EIB)

We might not think of them as a big player in Asia, but the European Investment Bank finances up to 1.1 Billion Euro in the region. With Building and Wood Worker’s International (BWI) and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), we met with the EIB to clarify their asbestos policy and advocate for a ban across all projects. Thanks to the information we shared, they’ll be updating their policies to make clearer their ban on asbestos products. Every project that is safeguarded from asbestos will keep workers and communities safe.


Inter-American Development Bank (IADB)

The Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA campaign to ban asbestos is targeted in Asia because that’s where the vast majority of the world’s asbestos is still used. However, we know that asbestos use anywhere is a danger to workers, so along with the ITUC and BWI we made a submission supporting the IADB’s exclusion of asbestos in their projects. The IADB announced their final version of the update of their Environmental and Social Policy Framework with a ban on the use of all raw asbestos and asbestos containing products.


Working together to stop Multilateral Development Banks funding asbestos

Together, this progress undermines the asbestos lobby and removes funding for the asbestos industry across the world. We’re going to keep on working to make sure no Australian money, or International Development money, goes towards putting dangerous asbestos in workplaces or communities.



Take action on Asbestos!
  1. Sign our petition to stop International Development Banks funding asbestos products in Indonesia and other countries. Removing this funding will shrink the market and promote alternative products.
  2. Join the campaign: Asbestos. Not Here. Not Anywhere.

Join the Campaign to Ban Asbestos

We are building a movement of people in Australia to join with unionists and campaigners across South East Asia to support their struggle to ban asbestos and eliminate asbestos-related diseases. We want to secure an asbestos-free future because as long as asbestos is being used anywhere, it remains a risk everywhere.

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