Water: Policy Reviews and Revision
To ensure the effectiveness of the Water Policy, ADB undertook review processes to assess the extent to which the policy provisions have been integrated into ADB's water operations and have contributed to the vision of attaining water for all.
Interim review and revision
In 2003, an interim review assessed the integration of the policy into ADB operations and generated lessons for ongoing and future operations. The progress report highlighted how water loans and technical assistance demonstrated encouraging progress in implementing the Policy.
The interim review also highlighted the need to revise the policy’s provision for large water resources projects that involve dams. The then prevailing provision called for all stakeholders to agree on the justification for such projects. The review noted that while ADB should continue such projects cautiously, expecting everyone involved to agree is impractical. The revised provision called for providing all stakeholders with the opportunity to comment on the justification with their views considered.
The original version of Paragraph 32 of ADB’s Water Policy stated that
ADB will adopt a cautious approach to large water resource projects—particularly those involving dams and storage—given the record of environmental and social hazards associated with such projects. All such projects will need to be justified in the public interest, and all government and nongovernment stakeholders in the country must agree on the justification. Where the risks are acceptable and ADB’s involvement necessary, ADB will ensure that its environmental and social impact assessment procedures are rigorously applied…
The policy provision was revised in the context of ADB’s accountability mechanism and to reflect how ADB can promote the participation of stakeholders in project preparation. The revised version reads
…All such projects will need to be justified in the public interest and stakeholders must be provided with the opportunity to comment on the justification with their views considered. The ADB will promote the informed participation of government, civil society, and other stakeholders in the country in an open and inclusive manner towards this end. Where the risks are acceptable…
In 2005, a comprehensive review assessed progress in policy implementation and provided recommendations to improve ADB’s water investments and operations. The review involved the commissioning of an independent expert panel and was conducted with broad stakeholder participation, transparent proceedings and reporting, and wide dissemination of results.