Asian Development Bank (ADB) | Accountability Mechanism (AM)

  • Overview

    The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is a multilateral development financial institution (or regional development bank). The ADB works to reduce poverty in developing member countries through loans, technical assistance, grants, guarantees (insurance), and investments.

    Asian Development Bank (ADB)

    Created In: 1966

    Headquarters: Manila, The Philippines

    Member Countries: 67

    Largest Shareholders: Japan and the United States

    Mission: The Asian Development Bank aims for an Asia and Pacific free from poverty. Its mission is to help developing member countries reduce poverty and improve the quality of life of their people.

    The Accountability Office: Accountability Mechanism (AM)

    Established in: 2003

    Functions: Compliance Review, Problem Solving

    Visit the AM’s website

    Projects funded by the ADB must follow the ADB’s Safeguard Policy Statement. The ADB also has an Access to Information Policy, which requires the bank to make certain types of documents publicly available.


    The Accountability Office

    The Asian Development Bank’s Accountability Mechanism provides a forum for people negatively affected by ADB projects to voice concerns and seek solutions. The 2012 Accountability Mechanism Policy directs the work of the mechanism.

    The Accountability Mechanism has two separate functions:

    • The Problem-Solving Function – The problem-solving function is run by the Special Project Facilitator (SPF) and responds to the concerns of project-affected people through consensus-based problem-solving methods.
    • The Compliance Review Function – The compliance review function is run by the Compliance Review Panel (CRP) and allows project-affected people to file requests for investigation and review of compliance with the ADB’s operational policies and procedures.

    Submit a complaint to the ADB Accountability Mechanism if:

    • You and at least one other person have been directly, materially, and adversely harmed or are likely to be harmed by an ADB-supported project.
    • It has been less than two years from when the grant or loan was closed.

    The Complaints Receiving Officer receives and acknowledges your complaint and forwards it to the function you choose (the CRP or the SPF). The SPF determines eligibility of your complaint, attempts to facilitate an agreement between the parties involved and monitors the implementation of this agreement. You can walk away from this process at any time and request a Compliance Review.

    The CRP determines eligibility, conducts an investigation, and analyzes whether the ADB has complied with its own policies and procedures. The CRP presents its findings to the ADB board, which decides the proper action. Once you begin the Compliance Review process, you cannot then use the Problem-Solving function for the same issues, unless the CRP finds your complaint ineligible.

    For more information, see our brochure on the ABD’s Accountability Mechanism (with SOMO), our Accountability Resource Guide, or visit the Accountability Mechanism’s website.

  • Our Advocacy

    In collaboration with regional partners, including the NGO Forum on ADB, Accountability Counsel actively advocates for the strengthening of the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Accountability Mechanism.

    2017 and 2018 ADB Annual Meetings

    Accountability Counsel participated in the 2017 and 2018 ADB Annual Meetings, held in Yokohama, Japan and Manilla, Philippines, respectively. In meetings and events with stakeholders from the ADB, Accountability Counsel and partners stressed needed reforms to ensure that the ADB’s accountability mechanism effectively provides remedy for affected individuals and communities. Accountability Counsel continued to advocate for enhanced accountability at the ADB’s Accountability Mechanism Expert Meeting in London on 17 January 2019. While several aspects of the Accountability Mechanism, comprised of the Special Project Facilitator (SPF) and the Compliance Review Panel (CRP), improved in accessibility and predictability after the 2010 – 2012 policy review, major gaps remain in the mechanism’s operations.

    These gaps, highlighted in Glass Half Full? The State of Accountability in Development Finance, include the lack of external stakeholder participation in the selection of Accountability Mechanism staff, and the inability of the CRP to make recommendations to address non-compliance. Additionally, the mechanism currently faces potential conflicts of interest, as it is advised by the ADB’s general counsel. The mechanism’s independence could be improved by having its own legal counsel. Independence would be further promoted by preventing the ADB’s board and board committees from reviewing or approving the CRP’s proposed Terms of Reference or draft compliance reports. Accountability Counsel will continue to work with regional partners to address these gaps and ensure that those harmed by the ADB’s investments have an effective avenue for accountability and redress.

    Accountability for Financial Intermediary Financing

    On 31 October and 1 November 2018, Accountability Counsel participated in an ADB workshop in New Delhi on environmental and social safeguards and accountability for financial intermediaries. The workshop was attended by staff from numerous and varied financial institutions operating throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Accountability Counsel gave a presentation detailing our work assisting project-affected communities in Asia and illustrating the importance of robust accountability mechanisms for both communities and financial institutions. Accountability Counsel participated in an additional workshop in New York on 8 November and an outreach meeting in Washington, D.C. on 16 November, where we continued to provide best practice insights on financial intermediary accountability, as well as on project-level grievance mechanisms.

    Independence Through a More Inclusive Hiring Process

    In December 2018, Accountability Counsel and its partners sent a letter to the ADB calling on it to enhance its CRP hiring process by conducting formal consultations with external stakeholders. The letter noted that external stakeholder involvement in the hiring process is key to ensuring the independence of accountability mechanism staff and is a best practice adhered to by numerous development finance institutions. The letter called for this more inclusive approach to be utilized for the hiring of the next CRP Chair, due to begin in June 2019. Accountability Counsel will continue to push for a more inclusive hiring process and other policies that help ensure the independence of the CRP.

    Please see Past Advocacy to learn more about Accountability Counsel’s past policy initiatives, including advocacy concerning the 2012 ADB results-based financing review and the 2010 – 2012 ADB Accountability Mechanism review.

  • Past Advocacy
  • Documents

    Institutional Documents

    Public Communications Policy

    Safeguard Policy Statement

    2012 ADB Revised Accountability Mechanism Policy


    Documents by Release Date

    Dec 2018 – Accountability Counsel and partners sent a letter calling for the ADB to enhance its CRP hiring process by conducting formal consultations with external stakeholders.

    Aug 2012 – ADB released a Working Paper on its proposed Results-Based Financing scheme, which would link ADB disbursements directly to results achieved on a project.

    Jul 2012 – Accountability Counsel submitted comments to the ADB about its proposed Results-Based Financing scheme.

    Feb 2012 – ADB released its 2012 ADB Revised Accountability Mechanism Policy.

    Sep 2011 – The ADB released a Second Working Paper with final recommendations for revisions on the Accountability Mechanism.

    May 2011 – Accountability Counsel submitted follow up comments to the ADB on its April Working Paper.

    Apr 2011 – ADB released a Working Paper on their Draft Revised Accountability Mechanism Policy.

    Mar 2011 – Accountability Counsel, and 13 other civil society organizations, provided comments on the ADB’s Draft Revised Accountability Mechanism Policy.

    Feb 2011 – ADB released a Draft Revised Accountability Mechanism Policy.

    Nov 2010 – Accountability Counsel provided comments to the ADB regarding their existing Accountability Mechanism.