GTI Recommends Changes to Draft ADB Openness Policy

28 January 2011

The Global Transparency Initiative (GTI) explained its proposals to improve the second draft of the Public Communications Policy (PCP) prepared by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) during a workshop in Manila Jan. 24 with key stakeholders, including senior ADB representatives.

The ADB Board of Directors is scheduled to consider the draft PCP on Feb. 16.

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 were prepared by Toby Mendel of Centre for Law and Democracy (CLD) and Nepomuceno Malaluan of the Philippine Access to Information Network.

“We welcome the positive changes that the ADB is proposing in its new draft policy,” said 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.

The ADB is nearing completion of its work on the new policy with a final round of consultations. (See previous Freedominfo.org reports.)

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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).
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