EBRD Issues Proposal on Information Policy With Few Changes

28 March 2008

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has proposed an only slightly revised Public Information Policy (PIP) and is seeking comments by April 9.

The draft policy will also be the subject of a consultation session to be held in conjunction with the EBRD’s review of its Environment and Social Policy.

The revamped PIP essentially would maintain the status quo, although it does seem to strengthen the business confidentiality language, which effectively gives businesses a veto over the release of information pertaining to their operations and investments.

The proposed policy is reorganized and slightly shorter, with the useful omission of four confusing boxes.

The draft section on information considered confidential (E) appears more specific, providing lengthier lists of what materials will not be released, especially regarding deliberative internal documents and documents sent to countries.

Regarding draft country strategies, the language appears somewhat expanded, noting, for example, that “the posted documents will not contain confidential information.” This also would apply to final country strategies.

Regarding the consultation process on sectoral strategies, the draft PIP omits a line from the old policy that said “management will proactively stimulate stakeholders’ interest in, and contributions to, the drafting process of these policies.”

After promising to have consultations in four areas (PIP, environmental and social policy, procurement policy and the independent recourse mechanism) the Bank, in Section 2.3.2, says this “does not apply to any other of the Bank’s policies.” This appears to be a new limitation. The review of the PIP every 3 years is retained.

One possible improvement is Section E (3) which seems to provide a very limited opening for the Bank to release confidential information that would be likely to avert imminent and serious harm to public health, safety or the environment.

By Toby McIntosh

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ABOUT IFTI WATCH

In this column, Washington, D.C.-based journalist Toby J. McIntosh reports on the latest developments in information disclosure in International Financial and Trade Institutions (IFTI).
Contact: freeinfo@gwu.edu or
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