May 3, 2005 – ISTAMBUL, TURKEY — The day before governors of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) sit with their new president for their 38th Annual Governors’ Meeting, dissenters of the institution’s policies and programs demanded that the ADB become accountable to their “prime customers” – the poor.

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Longgena Ginting of Friends of the Earth International said: “It is time for the Asian Development Bank to stop playing with the poor and to stop exploiting the environment in the name of poverty reduction.”
“The ADB has been getting away with too much for too long,” said Hemantha Withanage, Executive Director of the NGO Forum on the ADB. He added: “They claim that they are reducing poverty but actually they have run roughshod over poor people and we have had enough of it.”
According to Ozan Zeybek from the Turkish Working Group on the ADB, “Turkey is a member of the ADB. Our taxes finance part of the ADB’s operations which are then channeled to private construction firms from Turkey. We do not want our tax money to be used for increasing the profits of Turkish companies by exploiting communities in Asia and the Pacific.”
In an effort to raise public awareness on the destructive impacts of neo-liberal policies imposed by the Asian Development Bank, Friends of the Earth International, theTurkish Working Group on the ADB, the NGO Forum on the ADB, and Focus on the Global South have organized a series of alternative events that include seminars, four fora, and a public rally. According to the organizers of these events, development banks like the ADB have increasingly become instruments of an empire made up of a network of Northern governments, multinational corporations and military powers, who are imposing neo-colonialism through their exploitative economic policies.
“The ADB pays no attention to countries’ human rights situations and supports dictatorships as in Nepal and Central Asia,” said Gopal Siwakoti ‘Chintan’, International Convenor of NGO Forum on ADB, “and it must stop now.”

For more information contact in Istambul:
Friends of the Earth International:
Longgena Ginting: +31 6 188 46 365 or email
The Turkish working group on the ADB:
Ozan Zeybek: +90(0)532-6784217
Levent Sensever +90(0)537-7235494
Joy Chavez: +90(0)544-8875651