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ADB President Calls for Transparency and Accountability in Tsunami Work as High-Level Meeting Opens

News Release | 18 March 2005

MANILA, PHILIPPINES (18 March 2005) - The distribution of the billions of dollars pledged for reconstruction after the Asian tsunami must be "predictable, transparent, strategic and effective," ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda said at a high-level coordination meeting on the disaster.

"As the recovery effort now moves from initial relief to rehabilitation and reconstruction, it is essential to keep the world's attention focused on continued support and ensure that donor confidence in our efforts remains high," Mr. Kuroda said.

"In coming together today, we re-affirm our commitment to coordinate our efforts to make the rebuilding process as efficient and effective as possible."

He was speaking at the opening of a High-Level Coordination on Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Assistance to Tsunami-Affected Countries, hosted by ADB at its Manila headquarters.

The one-day meeting brings together more than 200 participants, including ministers from the five tsunami affected countries - India, Indonesia, Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Thailand - senior officials from donor countries, and representatives of international agencies. Delegates from civil society organizations and the private sector are also attending, as well as local and international media.

The meeting aims to maintain the momentum and build stronger coordination on the rebuilding process for the countries devastated by the December 2004 earthquake and tsunami disaster and consider a draft tracking mechanism to help keep the overall rebuilding effort on track.

Mr. Kuroda said that the size and complexity of the recovery effort, amount of funds coming in, and the large number of agencies involved in the relief and reconstruction efforts make the task ahead highly challenging.

"Given the scale of the recovery, even with our best efforts at coordination, the potential for gaps, overlaps and duplications is significant," Mr. Kuroda said. "We need to develop tools that can assist us in identifying gaps, and avoiding duplications."

He said all sectors have an important role to play in addressing this challenge, including strong country leadership, NGOs that can ensure that all assistance is in line with community needs, that private sector that will bring needed skills to the rebuilding effort, and multilateral development partners that can provide the financing and expertise.

"Strong partnerships and good coordination have characterized our efforts over the last two-and-a-half months," he said. "Strong partnerships and even stronger coordination must also be our hallmark in moving forward."

In a special joint video message to the conference, former US Presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton encouraged the international donor community to work closely with officials of affected countries, civil society and the private sector.

"President Bush and I are encouraged that the international donor community will coordinate its planning and actions with the nongovernment organization (NGO) and private sector communities as well as local governments - this is essential," said Mr. Clinton, special UN envoy on the Tsunami. "The work of each of you will be vital to put these hard-hit countries back on the road to recovery."

Mr. Bush Sr. added that on their recent travels to tsunami affected areas, they were assured by governments that accountability and transparency would be top priority.

"They know that the international community is concerned about the use of funds. And they told us they intend to be good stewards of the money raised for their aid," he said. "We encourage all of you to work as cooperatively as possible to help speed delivery to those in need."