Accountability Mechanism

The Accountability Mechanism of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) exists to provide an independent and effective forum for those affected by ADB-assisted projects to voice their concerns.

Accountability Mechanism: In-Depth

Development effectiveness requires high standards of accountability, transparency, openness, and public participation. As an international development agency dedicated to eliminating poverty in Asia and the Pacific, ADB constantly strives to enhance all of these aspects of its operations.

The mechanism was designed to:

  • increase ADB's development effectiveness and project quality
  • be responsive to the concerns of project-affected people and fair to all stakeholders
  • reflect the highest professional and technical standards in its staffing and operations
  • be as independent and transparent as possible
  • be cost-effective, efficient, and complementary to the other supervision, audit, quality control, and evaluation systems at ADB.

The problem-solving function, led by the Special Project Facilitator (SPF), focuses on problem-solving and finding satisfactory solutions to problems caused, or is likely to be caused, by ADB-assisted projects. The compliance review function, primarily implemented by the independent Compliance Review Panel (CRP), focuses on ADB’s accountability on whether it has or has not complied with its operational policies and procedures that affect or may affect local people directly, materially, and adversely.

The Accountability Mechanism has two separate offices: the Office of the Special Project Facilitator (OSPF) and the Office of the Compliance Review Panel (OCRP), which support the CRP. The OSPF and OCRP work jointly in conducting outreach activities aimed at making the mechanism better known and understood both within and outside ADB. They support the SPF and CRP in carrying out the separate functions of problem-solving and compliance review.

ADB remains firmly committed to the principle of being accountable for complying with its operational policies and procedures, and solving problems of project-affected people. Therefore, ADB intends to ensure that the Accountability Mechanism remains adequate and effective in keeping with current international best practices.

An effective Accountability Mechanism to address the grievances of people adversely affected by ADB-assisted projects and ensure compliance with ADB operational policies and procedures is fundamental to equitable and sustainable development.

Frequently Asked Questions

The changes in the 2012 Policy are as follows:

  • The Accountability Mechanism will continue to have two functions: the problem-solving and compliance review functions. Complainants can now choose to start with the problem-solving or compliance review phase. Complainants can exit the problem-solving phase at any time during the process. Upon completion of step 3, complainants can also request compliance review if they have serious compliance issues.
  • To provide an easily accessible single entry point for project-affected people, this two-pronged structure is now supported by the Complaint Receiving Officer (CRO) who receives all complaints from people seeking access to the Accountability Mechanism.
  • The problem-solving function process has now reduced to 5 steps making the process more efficient and less time consuming.

The Complaints Receiving Officer receives all complaints from people seeking access to the Accountability Mechanism and forwards complaints to either the Office of the Special Project Facilitator or Compliance Review Panel based on the complainants' choice of function. The Complaints Receiving Officer also forwards complaints that are not within the scope of the Accountability Mechanism to the appropriate departments in ADB.

The following can file a complaint:

  • Any group of two or more people – an organization, association, society, or other group of individuals in the country where the ADB-assisted project is located
  • A local representative duly appointed as the agent of people affected by a project
  • A nonlocal representative in exceptional cases where local representation cannot be found
  • For the Compliance Review Panel, one or more ADB Board members

Yes. The latest date by which a complaint can be filed is 2 years after the loan or grant closing date. This date is known in advance, disclosed to the public, and can be found on the ADB website.