Civil society organizations and communities affected by Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) projects hope that the current election process for the president of the IDB Group is taken as an opportunity to designate a person prepared to lead the transformations that the institution needs.
The Bank should be headed by someone who can respond effectively to emergencies and to environmental and social challenges in Latin America, promoting operations, technical assistance, and programs that ensure real and sustainable benefits for the diversity of peoples and communities.
The person leading the region’s most prominent development finance institution must be able to articulate a clear vision of the IDB Group’s development mission aligned with the challenges at hand. This vision, which will shape the course of the institution for the coming years, must be committed to community-led development, gender equity, the fulfillment and promotion of human rights, responding to the climate crisis, and ensuring transparency and accountability throughout the Bank’s actions.
For all of these reasons, in our opinion, the candidate to lead the IDB group should be someone who is not only committed to the effective implementation of the Environmental and Social Policy Framework (ESPF) but who has also shown knowledge and commitment in terms of:
● Knowledge of the Latin American and Caribbean region and experience working with its institutions and diverse communities.
● Commitment to human rights and sustainable development, prioritizing the well-being of communities and promoting a development approach centered on people and respectful of the autonomy of peoples to democratically manage their territories and natural resources. In this regard, the candidate should know and commit to the work of the defenders of human rights, the territory, and nature, including the commitment to a zero-tolerance approach to reprisals in the framework of its projects.
● Comprehensive experience and vision on sustainability, environmental protection, and the diversity of life forms in the region, especially a solid background in international development, which allows the IDB Group to address the challenges of climate change and the reduction of poverty and inequality in a fair and inclusive manner.
● Commitment to opening spaces for effective interaction with civil society and people affected by projects and operations promoted by the Bank. For example, opening up specific spaces for participation in the Bank’s Annual Meetings. The IDB Group should be open to receiving feedback and willing to improve and build on the constructive criticism from external interested parties, in particular civil society and affected communities.
● Prioritizing the discussion to develop a reparations framework for affected communities, in line with the United Nations Remedy in Development Finance Report.
● Lead by example and act according to the highest ethical standards related to integrity, transparency, the fight against corruption, gender equity, non-discrimination, and the institution’s and its representatives’ accountability.
● Commitment to the agreements and regional and international treaties that address the issues of climate change, the protection of biodiversity, the defense of human rights, and sustainable development, such as the Paris Agreement and the Escazú Agreement, as well as the framework for the protection and recognition of indigenous peoples ́rights in the region.
To this end, the IDB must guarantee a clear job description and a transparent selection process, where the Bank’s Board of Directors periodically communicates to the interested parties about the progress of the process and the criteria used beyond the three standards established in the regulations for the selection for the president of the institution.
Whoever is finally appointed as president of the IDB has the opportunity to lead a change towards an IDB that is stronger, more responsible, more effective, and, above all, closer to the peoples of the region, paving the way toward a truly sustainable development.
AMATE, El Salvador
Asociación Ambiente y Sociedad, Colombia
Asociación Interamericana para la Defensa del Ambiente
Bank Information Center
Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)
Derecho, Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (DAR), Perú
Fundación CAUCE: Cultura Ambiental – Causa Ecologista, Argentina
Fundación para el Desarrollo de Políticas Sustentables (Fundeps), Argentina
Plataforma Internacional contra la Impunidad
Protection International Mesoamérica