ISTANBUL, TURKEY (3 May 2005) - ADB has made "serious and genuine efforts" to avoid and eliminate corruption within the institution and its financial activities, ADB President Kuroda said today.
Speaking to representatives of more than 30 advocacy and service-delivery nongovernment organizations (NGOs) working in the Asia and Pacific region, he said: "I hope our efforts could further reduce the possible risk of fraud and corruption in ADB financed activities."
The meeting was held on the eve of ADB's 38th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors in Istanbul.
Mr. Kuroda said he appreciates nongovernment organization perspectives on how ADB can improve accountability and transparency.
"NGOs play an important role in ADB-assisted projects," he said. "We regularly draw on the strengths of NGOs as experts, as sources of project models, as advocates for the poor, and as a source of alternative viewpoints."
He pointed out that last year, NGOs participated in nearly two thirds of ADB-approved loan projects. "In addition, we provided direct funding to 60 projects under a pilot small grants scheme supporting NGO-run initiatives in 15 countries," he said.
Many NGOs had also given feedback on the early operations of ADB's accountability mechanism, approved two years ago. "Your comments will be an important contribution to a review of the mechanism to be undertaken after December next year," he told the gathered NGO representatives.
He said he would also be seeking their ideas for building upon the current ADB-Government-NGO Cooperation Framework 2003-2005, which has served as a road map for tripartite collaboration in the context of ADB-assisted activities.
He pointed out that ADB had recently approved its Public Communications Policy, part of its overall reform agenda aimed at achieving demonstrable improvements in the impact of ADB's operations. The new policy provides improved access to documents and commits ADB to greater openness with stakeholders.
NGOs representatives present quizzed Mr. Kuroda on various issues, ranging from problems of corruption in developing countries and in activities financed by international financial institutions, ADB's operations in Nepal, its accountability mechanism, release of funds for tsunami assistance, to the next step in achieving the Millennium Development Goals, and the dangers of climate change.
"The relationship between an institution like ADB and advocacy NGOs can sometimes be tense and even conflictive," Mr. Kuroda said. "A lively, ongoing debate about development helps to ensure that voices are heard, and that the diversity of views on complex issues is taken into consideration."
NGO representatives at the meeting said they were encouraged by Mr. Kuroda's appointment, saying they wanted to have a good start with the new President.