Public Communications Policy

Sharing information for better development

Advancing a practice of presumption in favor of disclosure, ADB's Public Communications Policy (PCP) 2011 promotes proactive external relations and improved access to information about ADB operations for better development effectiveness. The policy promotes greater transparency and accountability by enabling ADB's stakeholders—especially people affected by development activities—to better participate in the decisions that affect them.

Key changes include

  • earlier disclosure of core ADB documents, such as final proposals for country partnership strategies and sovereign project loans, subject to country consent.
  • translation of summary project information into relevant national languages.
  • release of project financial statements of borrowers for ADB-financed sovereign projects.
  • strengthening of in-country communications to give the public more information about projects and other ADB activities that could affect their lives.
  • disclosure of proposed policies and strategies that have been drawn up after public consultation, prior to Board consideration.
  • clarification of the disclosure exceptions list, with inclusion of harm-test.
  • creation of an independent appeals panel with three international experts to review information requests denied by ADB.
  • increased dissemination of knowledge products—online and in hard copy—to support the development of knowledge-based economies in the region.
  • disclosure of transcripts of ADB Board meetings upon request after 10 years.

Disclosure requirements

The PCP establishes the disclosure requirements for documents and information ADB produces or requires to be produced. It mandates project-related documents normally produced during the project cycle to be posted on the web. Specific disclosure requirements are detailed in the Operations Manual (L3) on Public Communications.

ADB's public communications approach

PCP 2011 strengthens ADB's existing public communications approach, underscoring the need to intensify communications with stakeholders in response to evolving development challenges in Asia and the Pacific.

Public communications are tailored to the needs of specific audiences. Engagement with affected people and other interested stakeholders are maintained throughout the project cycle, with essential communications and information-sharing aspects integrated into ADB-supported projects and programs.

ADB will increase the dissemination of its knowledge products—online and hard copy—to support the development of knowledge-based economies in the region. ADB will also use other key platforms such as regional and national conferences and other events to share its knowledge products and exchange views with government officials and other key audiences.

Exceptions

ADB's PCP 2011 strikes a balance between access to information and any potential harm disclosure may cause. It clarifies and streamlines the exceptions to disclosure and identifies the potential harm if information is disclosed.

Making the policy work

All ADB departments and offices are responsible for implementing the policy.

Staff from operations departments will play a key role in assisting project sponsors and clients in communicating with project-affected stakeholders, and in ensuring disclosure requirements are met. They will promote awareness among people from the public, private, and civil society sectors regarding the policy and the public's right to access ADB information The ADB NGO and Civil Society Center will support relationships with civil society.

ADB's knowledge departments and DER will work together to optimize the dissemination of knowledge products. DER will be responsible for the policy's implementation and consistent application, and work closely with ADB Management, departments and offices, including field offices in carrying out proactive public communications and engaging external stakeholders.

Monitoring policy effectiveness

Management will continue to play a key role in leading and monitoring ADB's public communications efforts to maximize their impact. The Public Disclosure Advisory Committee (PDAC) will continue to serve as Management's oversight body to interpret, monitor, and review the disclosure requirements of the policy.

The PDAC reports directly to the President and comprises

  • the Managing Director General (serving as chair)
  • the Principal Director, Department of External Relations
  • the Secretary
  • the General Counsel