17 January 2019

Reflections on ADB’s Accountability Mechanism Expert Meeting

On January 17, 2019, Accountability Counsel attended the Asian Development Bank (ADB)’s Accountability Mechanism Expert Meeting in London. The ADB’s Accountability Mechanism (AM) was first established in 2003, and is one of the oldest accountability offices among the multilateral development banks. The AM encompasses two separate offices: the Compliance Review Panel (CRP) which handles compliance review, and the Special Project Facilitator which is a management-led tool for problem-solving. The AM seeks to provide a forum for people who have been adversely impacted by ADB-related activities to voice their concerns and seek remedy.

The Accountability Mechanism Expert Meeting featured a rich discussion with Mr. Dingding Tang, Chair of the ADB’s CRP, Ms. Halina Ward, the newest CRP member, and Mr. Munawar Alam, Advisor to the Office of the CRP. There was a presentation on case studies and lessons learned from ten years of compliance review, followed by a fruitful exchange with civil society.

Accountability Counsel’s recent ADB advocacy includes participating in workshops last year in Beijing, New Delhi, and New York City on environmental and social safeguards and accountability for financial intermediaries. Accountability Counsel provided insights from years of case and policy advocacy experience on the importance of accountability for both local communities and financial institutions. Accountability Counsel has also pressed the ADB to utilize a more inclusive hiring process to promote the independence of AM staff. In December 2018, Accountability Counsel and its partners sent a letter calling for the ADB to include external stakeholders, particularly representatives from civil society, in the selection process for the next CRP Chair, as Mr. Tang’s term is set to end this June. Accountability Counsel will continue to monitor the process for replacing Mr. Tang in the coming months, and looks forward to participating in future opportunities to enhance accountability at the ADB and other Asian financial institutions.