[ADB]

Information Disclosure

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ADB's Public Communications Policy (PCP) governed the sharing of ADB information and documents with external stakeholders from April 2012 to December 2018.

The PCP promoted improved access to information about ADB operations and established disclosure requirements for documents and information. It also required ADB to conduct a comprehensive policy review within 5 years of its implementation.

Below are NGO Forum on ADB's submission on -

  1. SUMMARY OF QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS DURING THE COUNTRY CONSULTATIONS

  2. COMMENTS OF NGO FORUM ON ADB ON THE DRAFT STAFF INSTRUCTIONS

  3. NGO FORUM ON ADB SUMMARY COMMENTS ON THE PCP REVIEW

  4. PUBLIC COMMENTS ON THE 2ND CONSULTATION DRAFTS OF THE PROPOSED ACCESS TO INFORMATION POLICY AND IMPLEMENTATION ARRANGEMENTS AND ROUTINELY DISCLOSED DOCUMENTS AND INFORMATION

NGO Forum on ADB's comments on the First Draft Consultation Paper and Staff Instructions

Transparency serves multiple objectives. It serves practical objectives important for the Bank to strike a balance between achieving its mission and reaching its targets for operational efficiency. Corruption and non-compliance to safeguards have proven to bear multiple long-term risks to the Bank, its borrowers, and project-affected communities.  Transparency also serves public interest benefits as it can help reduce corruption; identify potential social, environmental and economic risks and benefits and help create or increase democratic space for stakeholders to participate and shape a self-determined development process. Most importantly, transparency has a legal basis. Above all, access to information held by International Financial Institutions (IFIs) is a fundamental human right.  Article 19 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights guarantees our right “to see, receive and impart information and ideas”. This substantive provision is repeated in Article 19, par 2 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights adopted in 1966 that binds state and non-state parties, including the Asian Development Bank (ADB, referred hereunto as the Bank).

Read the full document here.

Read ADB response (March 27) here.

Read NGO Forum on ADB's Submission on PCP Consultations (July 17) here.

Read ADB response (July 24) here.

Read NGO Forum on ADB's Submission on Staff Instructions (July 31) here.

Read ADB's response on the Comments on Staff Instructions (August 18) here.

Read NGO Forum's Summary Comments during the PCP Review (November 21) here.

Read NGO Forum's letter to ADB Board of Directors on PCP here.

NGO Forum on ADB's objections on proposed changes effectively diluting measures in the 2011 Public Communications Policy

 

CONTEXT

Transparency serves multiple objectives. It serves practical objectives important for the Bank to strike a balance between achieving its mission and reaching its targets for operational efficiency.  Corruption and non-compliance to safeguards have proven to bear multiple long-term risks to the Bank, its borrowers, and project-affected communities. Transparency also serves public interest benefits as it can help reduce corruption; identify potential social, environmental and economic risks and benefits and help create or increase democratic space for stakeholders to participate and shape a self-determined development process. Most importantly, transparency has a legal basis. Above all, access to information held by International Financial Institutions (IFIs) is a fundamental human right.  Article 19 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights guarantees our right “to see, receive and impart information and ideas”. This substantive provision is repeated in Article 19, par 2 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights adopted in 1966 that binds state and non-state parties, including the Asian Development Bank (ADB, referred hereunto as the Bank).

Read the full document here.

NGO Forum on ADB Submission on the Draft Public Communications Policy of the Asian Development Bank 2016 December

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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 the 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 Existing 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 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.

ADB’s disclosure policy does not also provide an independent appeals mechanism. The Public Disclosure Advisory Committee (PDAC) is not independent of the Bank management’s influence.

Now on its fifth year of implementation, the ADB is undergoing a review of the PCP which will involve consultations with government officials, civil society and the private sector. However, the success of the consultations and the review will depend on how serious the Bank is in consulting project-affected communities who are the ones directly affected by its programs and projects.

Forum’s Campaign on the Public Communications Policy

© 2019 by NGO Forum on ADB

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