Statement on Asian Development Bank Annual Meeting

Sep 14, 2020

ADB Must Clarify Asbestos Policy Now

This week the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is running their 2020 Annual Meeting online. At the 2019 Annual Meeting in Fiji, Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA raised the issue of asbestos funding directly with the ADB’s President and Senior Staff.  Thanks to advocacy by asbestos ban campaigners across Australia and Asia, the ADB announced that they would cease funding all types of asbestos.

The ADB is currently reviewing its Safeguard Policy and it is unclear if the total asbestos ban will come into place now, or at the end of the review and if it covers the Covid-19 relief and development funding being dispersed. The current ADB Safeguard Policy does not allow the use of raw asbestos in projects, however it does allow the use of asbestos bonded cement sheets which are the most common products in Asia.

The ADB has announced $20 Billion USD in funding to member countries to respond to the pandemic and economic crisis.

Each funded project that puts asbestos into the community and workplaces creates a health crisis that will last decades.

In 2020 there is unprecedented funding around the world for public health and economic stimulus in response to Covid-19. In countries that still use asbestos, the hospitals and health clinics that are being built, or the public and private construction that is being planned, may contain asbestos. Putting that hazardous material in buildings across Asia will place tragedy on tragedy and leave a cancerous legacy.

Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA is calling on all Multilateral Development Banks to commit to not funding asbestos products in pandemic relief loans or development aid. You can join the campaign by signing the petition here.

The Australian community and our Government have a clear understanding of the devastating effects of asbestos and we have a responsibility to ensure that no Australian funds or international development funds contribute to its continued use. Current Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade policies reflect the commitment that the use of asbestos should not be allowed in projects funded or supported by the Australian Government overseas. By implementing policies which do not allow the use of asbestos the asbestos industry is weakened and asbestos alternatives are utilised.

No asbestos in COVID-19 Relief!

If you haven’t already signed the petition calling on the Multinational Development Banks to commit to not funding asbestos products in COVID-19 pandemic relief loans or development aid, now is the time to sign!​ Will you help us reach our target of 1,000 signatures?

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