Independent Panel Completes Compliance Report on Pakistan Irrigation Project

News Release | 21 June 2010

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has addressed a range of challenging issues involved in an ADB-funded irrigation project in Pakistan, and compliance requirements have now been met, the independent Compliance Review Panel (CRP) says.

In a report submitted to the ADB's Board of Directors, the CRP said that "considerable progress" has been made by ADB to comply with all its safeguard policies for the Chashma Right Bank Irrigation Project. After five years of monitoring, the CRP concluded that ADB complied with 24 of the original 29 recommendations and partially complied with four other recommendations. One recommendation, the report said, "had already been superseded by events."

This is the first time, under ADB's Accountability Mechanism, that CRP has completed a full five-year monitoring period. The Mechanism, which was established in 2003, aims to provide a forum for people adversely affected by the ADB-financed projects to raise their problems to ADB. The CRP is an independent body appointed by the ADB's Board of Directors to carry out compliance review. It also monitors the implementation of remedial actions on compliance review cases approved by the Board. The CRP consists of 3 members - a full-time Chair and two part-time members.

"The panel is pleased to be able to report to the Board that ADB, with cooperation from the Government of Pakistan and executing agencies, has been able to bring the compliance process to a satisfactory conclusion," said Rusdian Lubis, the CRP Chair.

The Chashma project was approved in December 1991. In 2002, various issues were raised regarding the project's induced flooding and involuntary resettlement; inadequate compensation for loss of land and livelihoods; adverse impact on traditional farmers; design-related social and environmental problems; and insufficient consultation and participation of affected people.

The CRP, working with ADB, identified a number of lessons learned during the monitoring phase. Among them, the CRP suggested that ADB must address the implementation of its environmental and social safeguards at the earliest stages of project approval and implementation. It also recognized that, to be effective, the CRP should give project-specific recommendations that are directly related to policy compliance and essential to project administration. The CRP also emphasized the importance of continued support from ADB's operations staff, borrowers, and project executing agencies, to ensure successful outcomes.

"This was a challenging case, with a very good result. It is also timely, as the lessons from this case can be used during the current review of the Accountability Mechanism," Mr. Lubis said. The review will cover the operation of the Mechanism and related operating and administrative procedures.

The final report is now available online.