The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Public Communications Policy (PCP) guides the ADB’s external relations when it comes to transparency and in its operations.
The PCP, also known as the policy on information disclosure, intends to provide greater access to project information documents and related information. It ensures participation by project-affected people in the development intervention of the ADB in their respective communities. It mandates all project-related documents to be posted on the ADB’s website.
Access to project-related information by local people allows them to participate actively and effectively in decision-making processes related to the development agenda of international financial institutions such as the ADB in their respective communities which could adversely affect the environment and disrupt their living conditions.
Issues with the PCP
Though it has been stating that it values transparency and is committed to increasing information disclosure, the ADB has fallen short on its commitment to respecting the rights of the people’s right to information. The PCP does not expressly recognize public access to information is a right. Experiences on the ground have shown that the Bank lacks both the political will and the resources to respect this right.
Documents identified by the ADB as publicly available are only accessible through its website. This has prevented poor communities from getting project-related information since the internet facility remains a luxury for them. Civil society groups believe that this manifests the pro-business bias of the Bank’s disclosure policy.
The PCP also provides a long list of exceptions. Not all exceptions identify the serious harm to a clearly and narrowly defined, and broadly accepted, an interest that is sought to be avoided by non-disclosure.
Below are NGO forum on ADB's submission, communication, and other documents on its campaign on a just ADB PCP: