ADB's Revised Public Communications Policy

Opening Remarks by Makoto Ojiro, Country Director, ADB's Tajikistan Resident Mission at the Consultations on ADB's Revised Public Communications Policy, Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

Dear participants of the seminar, ladies and gentlemen, good morning to all of you.

Welcome to the discussion on the Consultation Draft of ADB's Public Communications Policy. I want to thank you for taking the time from your busy schedules to come to this consultation meeting. The meetings here in Tajikistan are the part of the consultations we are doing in 12 countries (Canada, US, Germany, Australia, China, Japan, India, Philippines, and others), and we are very glad to have the opportunity to consult with you.

Our experience has shown that making more information available about projects financed by ADB can improve project quality and sustainability and therefore improve development outcomes.

As an international development institution, we have a responsibility to keep the public informed about our work. The Public Communications Policy approved in 2005 recognizes that access to information is a right rather than a discretionary privilege. It directly supports the right of people to seek, receive and impart information and ideas about ADB's activities.

Internal reviews have found that the current PCP is a fairly open policy and has generally been implemented effectively. In particular, the Policy has provided greater access to information about ADB–assisted projects, enabling the public to track a project from early stage of processing to implementation and evaluation. In the process, the PCP has also helped raise public awareness of ADB's role, objectives, and operations.

For example, if you want to find out the status of implementation of the Nurek Hydropower Project, you will easily find out in our website that the engineering consultant has already been selected, and bidding process to select a turnkey contractor will soon start.

Nevertheless, ADB staff and external stakeholders have identified certain areas where improvements could be made. For example, there is a need to reflect relevant changes in ADB's recent policies, strategies, and business processes; update list of documents to be proactively disclosed; language clarifications, etc.

When the PCP became effective, we made a commitment to undertake a comprehensive review in 2010. The time is now. We ourselves have learnt a lot in the process of PCP implementation. We know you have a lot of knowledge around this room and we want to learn from that. We look forward to hearing what you say and we will take your comments seriously.

Let me now hand over to Delphine Roch, ADB's Public Information and Disclosure Specialist, and Shyamala Abeyratne, Communications Specialist to make a presentation. After that, we will have a question & answer session, and group discussions.

I wish you a very productive and useful workshop, and thank you for your attention.