Njeri Kinyoho, the Bank’s Senior Civil Society Officer for the Southern Africa Region emphasised the Bank’s position on positive partnerships with civil society organisations, and in turn, with communities on the ground. By engaging with the Bank, she said, civil society is able to support the Bank by providing practical evidence and solutions that the Bank can use to improve on their projects and programmes.
“We are a Development Bank and development is really about the people. We want to engage more civil society organisations as they have the benefit of working directly with communities,” said Kinyoho. “We want our projects to be more targeted, we want to become more accountable, and create more impact, but we also want communities to become more vocal and to own these projects. Because at the end of the day they are their projects, and we want to help improve the quality of their lives, so we see you [civil society] as a very critical partner in insuring that that does happen.”
The African Development Bank has a huge role to play in unlocking finance all over the world, but also can play the lead in saying what that finance can be used for – and the Zero coalition think it should only be used for sustainable development. “We know that there are vested interests within countries. For example in South Africa we have a problem with vested interests in coal; but it’s about using the power as the African Development Bank to put restrictions into place to disallow investments that do not contribute to sustainable development, and those that have negative environmental and social impacts,” said Hamilton.
The petition handover does not mark the end of Zero Emissions|Omissions. It is rather an opportunity to show the African Development Bank Group that already there are thousands of Africans and people from around the globe that believe they can do more to support Africa in leapfrogging towards new and clean energy sources of the 21st century – for our climate, our health, and a just and sustainable future.