BALI, Friday 12 October 2018: Helping financial institutions focused on international development in the Asia Pacific region to be more inclusive of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people is the aim of a new project which launched this week in Bali.
The new initiative – called Finance Inc. – will develop a range of approaches to help community organisations engage with multilateral financial institutions such as the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to improve their policies and practices in relation to LGBT people and communities, taking learnings from the World Bank which has a dedicated Global Adviser on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI).
Finance Inc. is being produced by Asia Pacific HIV and LGBT community network APCOM with the support of a Voice Global Influencing grant. Voice Global is an initiative of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and is executed by a consortium between Hivos and Oxfam Novib. Voice Global supports projects which help the most marginalised and discriminated people in selected countries in Asia with the aim of amplifying and connecting unheard voices in efforts to leave no one behind.
Finance Inc. is a multi-country initiative involving partners from Cambodia (Micro Rainbow International-Cambodia), Indonesia (Suara Kita), Lao PDR (LaoPHA) and the Philippines (Babaylanes). Representatives from participating organisations met in Bali this week during the 2018 Annual Meetings of International Monetary Fund & World Bank Group (IMF-WBG) which was attended by 15,000 people from 189 member countries. At the Civil Society Policy Forum on 10 October, APCOM initiated the project and planned the way forward with the country partners.
APCOM Executive Director Midnight Poonkasetwattana: “When governments in our region seek to secure project finance from regional development banks, the standard application and approval processes generally include criteria about meeting the needs of vulnerable people, such as women and children, indigenous people and people in rural areas. For many reasons, LGBTI people are also a vulnerable community but are not part of the assessment criteria of these banks and so their needs are generally not addressed in projects supported by these banks. International development is about making sure that no one gets left behind in relation to the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. This year is the 70th anniversary of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and we look forward to our Finance Inc. initiative making international development financing in our region much more inclusive of LGBTI people.”
World Bank Group Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Global Advisor Clif Cortez: “International development banks can play a valuable role in shaping government agendas and policies. This role includes creating a framework that ensures the needs of people from marginalised communities are appropriately represented in relevant responses. LGBTI people have a range of needs that can often be easily incorporated into project planning and implementation. The World Bank has been working towards achieving good outcomes for LGBTI people for many years and I hope our practice can encourage other similar institutions to improve their approach.”
The Finance Inc. project will be focused on forging strong partnerships with relevant multilateral banks, improving their practice across a range of indicators and then using their influence to get governments in the region to include LGBTI-related outcomes in their development projects. The initiative will incorporate elements of research, data generation, training and advocacy.
The Finance Inc. project was highlighted during a special session presented by APCOM and Indonesian LGBT advocacy organisation GAYa Nusantara entitled SOGIESC inclusion in regional MDBs: Taking a leaf out of the World Bank’s Playbook. With a focus on the experience of Indonesia’s LGBTI communities, the session explored the approach which the World Bank takes to LGBTI inclusion. The session panel was chaired by Dédé Oetomo of GAYa Nusantara. Other panelists included Imrana Jalal from the Independent Panel of the World Bank, BJ Eco from Babaylanes, Yuli Rostinawati from Arus Pelangi, and APCOM’s Midnight Poonkasetwattana.
Media Contact: Michael Badorrek, APCOM Snr Communications and Partnerships Manager
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