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Creating Spaces for Asian Interaction Through the Anti-Globalization Campaigns in the Region*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 March 2012

Department of Political Science, University of the Philippines, Room 3135, Third Floor Faculty Center, Diliman 1101, Philippines Email:


This paper discusses the political opportunity structures which facilitated the creation of sites of interaction and protest against the Asian Development Bank during the Bank's Annual General Meeting in Chiang Mai, Thailand, in 2000. The factors which facilitated the coming together of Thai social movements and their regional and international counterparts are mainly their shared critique of the neo-liberal paradigm and its adverse effects on their respective countries. The strategies they used to highlight these effects enhanced their sites of engagement and confrontation with the Bank and included dialogue with Bank officials, demonstrations, and the use of the media to highlight their concerns. Importance was also placed on the manner in which they were able to mobilize resources for the anti-Asian Development Bank campaigns and the process by which they framed their issues to gain the sympathy and support of the public. The 1997 Asian financial crisis, which highlighted the shortcomings of the Bank's development paradigm, as well as the ongoing democratization process in Thailand during that period, provided the impetus in fostering the anti-globalization alliances of local and transnational social movements in a common venue.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2012

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1 ‘Headquartered in the Philippines, the Asian Development Bank is the multilateral bank charged with promoting economic growth in developing countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Although its primary founding members and two largest stockholders are Japan and the United States, it now consists of 60 members’: see Nurina Widagdo, ‘Overview of What is to Happen in Hawaii’, Bank of Information Center Document, 9 March 2001, pp. 1–12.

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7 One rai is equal to 1,600 square metres.

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9 The implementation of the Samut Prakarn Wastewater Management Project was being supervised by the Pollution Control Department as the executing agency, including implementation of the pollution prevention and capacity-building programmes. See Asian Development Bank, Final Report of Inspection Panel on Samut Prakarn Wastewater Management Project, Appendix 1, Document, 14 December 2001, p. 5.

10 Supradit Kanwanich, ‘Money Down the Drain?’, Bangkok Post, 18 June 2000, p. C6. The term ‘turnkey basis’ refers to the fact that ‘the contractor had to find the land, provide the construction technology, construct and pre-operate the project for three years before handing it over to the authority’.

11 Nurina Widagdo and Jane Garrido, ‘Testing Asian Development Bank Accountability: The Case of the Samut Prakarn Wastewater Management Project in Thailand’, Document, Washington D.C., Bank Information Center, 18 February 2002, p. 4.

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63 Nelson, ‘Agendas, Accountability, and Legitimacy’, p. 152.

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67 Laifungbam, ‘Letter to NGO Alliance’.

68 Violeta Perez-Corral, Head, NGO Forum on the Asian Development Bank, ‘Letter Responding to Roy Laifungbam's Letter Regarding NGO Advocacy Work vis-à-vis the Asian Development Bank’, Document, 25 April 2002.

69 Perez-Corral, ‘Letter Responding to Roy Laifungbam's Letter’.

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