Monday, January 24, 2011

Workshop on ADB Openness Policy

Date: January 24, 2011 4:18:58 AM AST
Subject: Workshop on ADB Openness Policy

24 January 2011: For immediate release

Workshop Calls for Bold Measures in ADB's Openness Policy

Today, 24 January 2011, the Global Transparency Initiative (GTI) hosted a
Workshop with key stakeholders, including senior ADB representatives, to
discuss the second draft Public Communications Policy (PCP) prepared by
the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The Workshop provided a chance for civil
society and ADB representatives to discuss the further changes that are
needed to bring the draft PCP fully into line with international standards
on information disclosure, ahead of the 16 February discussion by the
Board of Directors on the draft Policy.

At the Workshop the GTI provided ADB representatives with a document
entitled Proposed Amendments by the GTI to the Second Consultation Draft
of the PCP. The Proposed Amendments, prepared by Toby Mendel of CLD and
Nepomuceno Malaluan of the Philippine Access to Information Network,
presents in track changes the specific amendments GTI is proposing for the
new policy.

"We welcome the positive changes that the ADB is proposing in its new
draft Policy," said Toby Mendel, Executive Director of CLD. "But if the
ADB wants to do more than just keep pace with other international
financial institutions, it needs to adopt a bolder vision. It should, in
particular, show leadership by heralding in greater Board openness and
limiting the third party exception to sensitive business information."

Other key demands presented at the Workshop included:
•    Removing the proposed power of the Board and President to trump
disclosure, even when information is not covered by an exception.
•    Broadening the powers of the Independent Appeals Panel to at least make
recommendations in cases involving a refusal by the Board or President to
disclose information.
•    Taking more direct responsibility for ensuring effective access by
affected people, including through a commitment to develop project
communication plans jointly with implementing partners.

When it adopted its new policy in 2005, the ADB was at the forefront of
IFI transparency but it has now fallen behind. We call on the ADB to take
the initiative and once again adopt an information disclosure policy that
breaks new ground.

The Proposed Amendments are available at:

For further information, please contact:
Toby Mendel
Executive Director
Centre for Law and Democracy
tel: +1 902 431-3688