ADB watchdog submits critique on Safeguards Review

Network charges that poor quality of 2nd draft implies that President Kuroda has been unable to convince the ADB bureaucracy to uphold and support his vision of the ADB as the leading regional development organization on poverty alleviation and climate change.

The 250-member strong NGO Forum on ADB submitted its detailed recommendations to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) on the 2nd Draft Safeguard Policy Statement in the form of a Matrix which was compiled with analysis and contributions from its members. The Matrix and accompanying Narrative Summary elaborates how the dilution of existing policy has occurred in a multitude of ways in the 2nd draft Safeguard Policy Statement including:

  • The direct weakening of safeguard requirements;
  • The replacement of clear terms for implementation and processing requirements with vaguely worded language;
  • The lack of integration of safeguard principles with implementation measures and requirements for borrowers and clients;
  • The proposed wider use of “broad-brush” safeguard frameworks which are not envisioned under current Involuntary Resettlement and Indigenous Peoples policies;
  • The proposed use of complex “country safeguard systems” without any proposed increase in resource availability or supervision;
  • The proposed “derogation” or replacement of any or all safeguard requirements by individually negotiated “alternative approaches”;
  • The proposed increase in self-regulation, including the devolution of authority from the ADB to the Bank’s clients and borrowers for important safeguard assessment, monitoring and other functions;
  • The removal of language specifying a clear chain of command within the ADB for clear safeguard assessment, monitoring and compliance requirements.
  • The lack of any specific resource commitments for the increased monitoring and supervision necessary to oversee the new proposed requirements.

The Forum also released last week a report exposing the failure of the Asian Development Bank to implement its current safeguard policies. Titled “Towards the Cliff“, the report places the spotlight on key projects of the ADB plagued with violations of the ADB’s safeguards policies.

See also:

Complete collective comments of the NGO Forum on ADB network (Acrobat, pdf 984 KB)

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