Access to Information: Overview | Asian Development Bank

Access to Information: Overview

Transparency and accountability are essential to achieve ADB's vision of eradicating extreme poverty and achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific.

The Public Communications Policy (PCP) in effect since April 2012, governs ADB’s sharing of information and documents with stakeholders. The PCP has a presumption in favor of disclosure and provides for proactively disclosing information and responding to information requests on a timely basis. The PCP commits ADB to equal information access for all, recognizing the right of people to seek, receive, and share information. The PCP required ADB to conduct a comprehensive policy review within 5 years of its implementation.

ADB’s Board of Directors approved the new Access to Information Policy (AIP) in September 2018 and will go into effect 1 January 2019. The AIP retains the key information disclosure and sharing principles and exceptions of the PCP, and includes a new overarching principle of “clear, timely, and appropriate disclosure” but still underpinned by a presumption in favor of disclosure and a commitment to sharing information and ideas.

The new policy focuses on these principles of sharing information:

  • Clear, timely, and appropriate disclosure
  • Presumption in favor of disclosure
  • Limited exceptions
  • Proactive disclosure
  • Sharing of information and ideas
  • Providing information to project-affected people and other stakeholders
  • Country and client ownership
  • Clear appeals process
  • Continuous monitoring

ADB's policy will ensure that information is available to people affected by its projects and other stakeholders, including women, the poor, and other vulnerable groups. This information is provided in a form and language they can understand, and is disclosed early enough for them to provide meaningful inputs into project design and implementation.

ADB’s website is the primary medium for disclosure. Where necessary, more appropriate means of information dissemination will be used that considers such things as literacy level, geography, infrastructure, and popular mass media for reaching project-affected people. For instance, new technologies, such as social networking and mobile applications, may offer exciting opportunities for information exchange. And for stakeholders without access to technology, more traditional communication methods that consider literacy level, geography, and infrastructure of communications will be used.