Frequently Asked Questions

How can PCP 2011 strengthen project communications?

The revised PCP strengthens project communications to country stakeholders for all ADB projects. For instance, ADB teams will assist developing member country governments and private sector clients in developing an integrated communications strategy for the project cycle. At minimum, project documents will reflect the (i) types of information to be disclosed; (ii) mechanisms for public notice, including language and timing; and (iii) responsibility for implementing and monitoring of information disclosure and dissemination.

What is more, to promote better understanding of the project by country stakeholders the Project Data Sheet (PDS) for project preparatory technical assistance, loans, and grants will now be translated into the national language of the country concerned during project processing and implementation. These translated PDSs will be posted on ADB's website and disseminated in-country by the resident missions using appropriate channels.

Under PCP 2011, when will Annual Audited Project Accounts (APA) be disclosed by ADB?

APAs submitted to ADB by the borrower for sovereign projects will now be posted on the ADB website. Applicability is non retroactive, i.e., to all ADB sovereign projects for which the invitation to negotiate is issued on or after 2 April 2012. Procedures for disclosure will be discussed and agreed upon with each borrower once, and then be made part of the loan agreement for each project.

Can I file an appeal to ADB if my request for information is denied?

Yes. If you believe ADB has improperly or unreasonably denied you access to information, you can file an appeal to ADB's Public Disclosure Advisory Committee (PDAC) and the Independent Appeals Panel (IAP). Read the Appeals page.

Did improvements made to ADB's 2011 PCP result from consultations with ADB stakeholders?

The policy changes in the 2011 policy incorporate feedback from over 500 stakeholders in ADB member countries, including governments, the private sector, development partners, civil society, those affected by ADB's projects, academics and the media.

If a country's freedom of access to information law is more/less advanced than ADB's 2011 PCP, which disclosure standards apply?

The 2011 PCP lists the information that will be disclosed. It does not prohibit a member country from disclosing more information, if that is required under the country's law. If a country's law is less advanced, ADB will still follow the 2011 PCP standards.

What are the key changes in the 2011 PCP compared with the 2005 PCP?

The 2011 policy provides for

  • More disclosure. Additional information include Board and Management base salaries; transcripts of Board meetings after 10 years upon request, unless their content meets a policy exception; and audited project accounts submitted by developing member countries.
  • Expanded disclosure. In-country communications are expanded throughout the project cycle to give affected people—especially women, children and the poor—more information about projects and other ADB activities that could impact their lives.
  • Earlier disclosure. Board documents are now disclosed to the public at the time they are circulated to the Board.
  • Exceptions clarification. The exceptions list has been rationalized and made clearerand, whenever possible, the scope of the exceptions has been tightened by adding a harm test to some of the exceptions.
  • Independent appeals process. A second-tier/independent appeals process has been established to review requests denied by ADB.

What Board documents can now be disclosed simultaneous with their circulation to the Board?

Loan proposals or Reports and Recommendations of the President (RRPs) for sovereign projects and country partnership strategies (CPSs) will be posted on the ADB website at the time they are circulated to the Board, subject to country consent. This new provision for simultaneous disclosure will also apply to draft and final papers of policies and strategies which have undergone external consultations.

Is the new provision for disclosing a Board transcript after 10 years retroactive?

No, the provision is not retroactive.

What are the exceptions to information disclosure under PCP 2011?

Following are 7 categories of information exempted from disclosure:

  1. Deliberative and decision-making process information, such as internal documents, memoranda, and other similar communications, policy dialogue with developing member countries, and minutes of Board committee meetings.
  2. Information provided in confidence to ADB.
  3. Personal information, such as terms of employment, performance evaluations, and medical reports; information relating to staff appointment and selection processes; and personal communications.
  4. Financial information, such as estimates of ADB future borrowings; financial forecasts; data on individual investment decisions for ADB's treasury operations; credit assessments; analyses of creditworthiness; credit ratings; and risk assessments of ADB borrowers and clients
  5. Security and safety information, where disclosure could endanger the life, health, safety, or security of any individual.
  6. Legal or investigative matters, such as information subject to attorney-client privilege, restrictions imposed by securities, and banking and copyright laws.
  7. Internal audit reports of ADB's Office of the Auditor General and certain trust fund audit reports of ADB's external auditors

What is the associated harm for each of the exceptions to disclosure?

ADB's Public Communications Policy takes a proactive approach to disclosure and acknowledges the public's right to know. Some items are restricted because ADB aims to strike a balance between access to information and any potential harm disclosure may cause to particular parties. Below  are the potential harm to the 7 categories of exceptions:

  1. Deliberative and decision-making-process information, where disclosure might inhibit candid exchange of ideas and communications within ADB and between ADB and/or its stakeholders.
  2. Information provided in confidence, where disclosure could materially prejudice ADB's relations with that party or any other ADB member.
  3. Personal information, where disclosure could compromise the legitimate privacy interests of the person concerned.
  4. Financial information, where disclosure could compromise legitimate financial or commercial interests or the ability of a member to manage its economy.
  5. Security and safety, where disclosure could endanger the life, health, safety, or security of any individual, ADB assets, or national security of a member country.
  6. Legal or investigative matters, where information could materially prejudice an investigation or the administration of justice or violate applicable law.
  7. Internal audit reports and trust fund audit reports, where public disclosure would violate applicable auditing standards and could be exploited by third parties to the detriment of ADB.