Roundtable Discussion on LGBTQI and the ADB Safeguards Policy at the 56th ADB Annual Meeting

By May 5, 2023 Advocacy, Regional

This informal Roundtable discussion held on 5 May at the CSO Centre was co-hosted by APCOM and Korean Sexual-Minority Culture and Rights Center, to look at how we can mobilise greater LGBTQI inputs from the NGOs in South Korea and the Asia Pacific region into the ADB’s Safeguards Policy review. 

After 10 years of implementing its 2009 Safeguards Policy Statement (SPS), ADB is conducting a comprehensive review of said policy statements. According to ADB, ‘with the changing contexts in countries and regions, the SPS needs to be updated to remain relevant and robust in responding to evolving development needs.’

Presently, there are not many LGBTQI organizations in Asia and the Pacific engaging the Asian Development Bank. For APCOM, bringing community voices to the forefront of discussions, specifically about issues affecting communities of diverse SOGIESC, is of prime importance.

We were honoured to have the Canada Executive Director Don Bobiash join in the discussion and offer support from Canada to ensure that the new Safeguards Policy also covers LGBTQI people. Representatives from the ADB, Bruce Dunn and Nianshen Zhang from the Safeguards Division, Sustainable Development provided some background to the ADB Safeguards Policy review and next steps in the review processes.

To contribute to awareness among LGBTQI organizations about the ongoing regional consultations of ADB specifically on SOGIESC, APCOM convened a virtual community consultation with LGBTQI organizations on 12 May 2022. The online community consultation was convened by APCOM in relation to the upcoming ADB Safeguards Review consultation on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity with Civil Society and Non-Government Stakeholders. Target participants were LGBTQI community organizations in Asia and the Pacific with the following objectives:

  1. Contribute to increased awareness of LGBTQI organization about the ADB Safeguards review
  2. Discuss how we can maximize the ADB regional consultations on SOGIE for our collective goal of equality, non-discrimination and inclusion
  3. Discuss positions on how SOGIESC can be addressed in the Safeguards policy review which can be forwarded by the community during the ADB consultations with civil society and non-government stakeholders on SOGI

The virtual consultation was participated in by 46 participants representing 31 LGBTQI organizations from at least 9 countries in the region. Regional networks of LGBTQI organizations also attended the virtual community consultation. The report can be accessed here.

Given that the 56th ADB Annual Meeting has been held physically since the Covid-19 pandemic, and the regional consultations have taken place with the release of the first draft which is due out in June. This is an opportunity to look at collaboration on how best to engage the ADB on SOGIESC inclusion, and bring the voices of LGBTQI from the Asia Pacific region for the next phase of the ADB Safeguards Policy review. 

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