Uzbekistan: Prosperous Villages Project (AIIB-0000328)

Countries
  • Uzbekistan
Where the impacts of the investment may be experienced.
Financial Institutions
  • Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)
  • World Bank (WB)
International, regional and national development finance institutions. Many of these banks have a public interest mission, such as poverty reduction.
Project Status
Proposed
Bank Risk Rating
B
Risk rating varies among banks and may refer only to the particular investment and not to the risk for the project as a whole. Projects marked 'U' have an 'Unknown' risk rating at the time of disclosure.
Voting Date
Dec 11, 2019
The estimate day the bank will vote on a proposed investment. The decision dates may change, so review updated project documents or contact the EWS team.
Borrower
Republic of Uzbekistan
The holder of the loan, grant, or other investment.
Sectors
  • Construction
  • Energy
  • Infrastructure
  • Law and Government
  • Transport
  • Water and Sanitation
The service or industry focus of the investment. A project can have several sectors.
Potential Rights Impacts
  • Housing & Property
  • Labor & Livelihood
Only for projects receiving a detailed analysis, a broad category of human and environmental rights and frequently at-risk populations.
Investment Type(s)
Loan
The categories of the bank investment: loan, grant, etc.
Investment Amount (USD)
$ 82.00 million
Value listed on project documents at time of disclosure. If necessary, converted to USD$. Please review updated project documents for more information.
Project Cost (USD)
$ 183.60 million
Value listed on project documents at time of disclosure. If necessary, converted to USD$. Please see updated project documentation for more information.
Primary Source

Original disclosure @ AIIB website

Updated in EWS Jan 23, 2020

Disclosed by Bank Sep 26, 2019


Contribute Information
Can you contribute information about this project?
Contact the EWS Team

Project Description

According to the Bank's website, this project aims "to increase access to basic infrastructure and services, and to strengthen participatory local governance processes in targeted rural communities." Bank documents outline two components:

  • Sub-projects comprising investments in basic infrastructure such as access to water for drinking, irrigation and agricultural production; sanitation services; rehabilitation of social facilities; rehabilitation of roads, footpaths and bridges; rural electrification, and energy efficiency improvements. Investments are subject to a negative list that includes housing construction and renovation or any investments that require physical displacement or resettlement of people 
  • Project management, monitoring and evaluation and institutional support as devised by the Ministry of Economy and Industry 

Because this project will be co-financed by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and World Bank, it has been agreed that the World Bank's Environmental and Social Safeguard Policies will be used. 

Early Warning System Project Analysis

Although this project endeavours to deliver needed infrastructure and ensure this development is community-based, the continued prevalence of forced labour under the larger Obod Qishloq programme, the restricted environment for communities to voice their opinions free from coercion, and the current capacity of civil society to meaningfully participate in these processes is concerning.

Despite government reforms, since the launch of the programme in May 2018, Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights (UGF) has documented numerous reports and complaints from residents of Uzbekistan that local authorities are forcing employees of state-funded organisations to work without pay and carry out unskilled, and often dangerous, tasks.

There is an ongoing and high risk of abuses, including evidence of state-organized mass forced labour, directly related to the Obod Qishloq programme, which this project supports. Given the plans and mitigation measures currently outlined in the World Bank’s project documents, there are challenges with the:

  • focus and dependence on regional and district hokomiyats in promoting and implementing participatory community-based development, including discretion over land use, given evidence of widespread current complicity in enabling forced labour and other violations when carrying out the Obod Qishloq programme;

  • lack of attention to capacity building for Uzbek civil society in order to enable their meaningful participation and leadership, as envisioned;

  • lack of penalties or repercussions outlined for contractors found to use forced labour under this project;

  • lack of preventive measures to address the proven inadequacy of traditional grievance reporting frameworks, such as hotlines, in reporting forced labour for fear of lack of anonymity and of reprisals; and

  • lack of specific provisions outlining how the World Bank and the AIIB will proactively create and safeguard space for community members and civil society to safely express their opinions and priorities to create qishloq development plans for sub-investments under this project, including in instances where there is disagreement with authorities, and if intimidation, threats and reprisals are reported.

For additional details and civil society recommendations, see: https://ews.rightsindevelopment.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Letter-to-WB-AIIB-Board-re_-Obod-Qishloq.pdf 

Investment Description
  • Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)
  • World Bank (WB)

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank: US$82 million loan

Contact Information

AIIB 
Toshiaki Keicho - Sr Investment Operations Specialist - foshiaki.keicho@aiib.org 

World Bank
Robert Wrobel - Sr Social Development Specialist - rwrobel@worldbank.org

Project Implementation Unit 
Zafar Urakov - Director - zurakov@mineconomy.uz