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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.

The Problem-Solving Function

The problem-solving function assists people who are directly, materially, and adversely affected by ADB-assisted projects to find solutions to their problems. It is led by ADB’s Special Project Facilitator (SPF).

The problem-solving function starts with consideration of the eligibility of the complaint. If accepted, the focus will be on seeking agreement among all the parties involved such as the complainant, project implementer, developing member country government or private sector sponsor, and ADB. The Special Project Facilitator will, however, not interfere in the internal matters of a developing member country.

The general approaches in the problem-solving function include (i) consultative dialogue, (ii) information sharing, (iii) joint fact-finding, and (iv) mediation. The SPF may also suggest various specific approaches to resolve problems, such as convening meetings, organizing and facilitating problem-solving processes, or engaging in a fact-finding review of the situation.

The problem-solving function is outcome driven. It will not focus on the identification and allocation of blame, but on finding ways to address the problems of the project-affected people.

The Special Project Facilitator offers an additional avenue for problem-solving but does not supplant the project administration and problem-solving functions of ADB’s operations departments. He/ she reports directly to the President of ADB and recommends actions to deal with the complaint. He/she will also monitor implementation of agreements resulting from the problem-solving process.

The Problem-Solving Process

The Problem-Solving Process

Within 21 days of the Special Project Facilitator receiving complaint

  • The Office of the Special Project Facilitator screens the complaint to determine eligibility.
  • The Office of the Special Project Facilitator consults with the complainants, borrower, and operations department concerned.
  • The Office of the Special Project Facilitator ensures the confidentiality of complainants’ identities if requested.
  • The Special Project Facilitator reports the decision on eligibility to the President, with a copy to the vice-president and operations department concerned, and the complaint-receiving officer.
  • The Office of the Special Project Facilitator informs the complainants upon determination of eligibility.

Note: The Special Project Facilitator forwards the complaint to the operations department if the complainants did not make prior good faith efforts to solve the problems with the operations department.

About 120 days from determination of eligibility to complete review and assessment

  • The review may include site visits; interviews; and meetings with complainants, borrower, and any others as deemed helpful and beneficial by the Special Project Facilitator.
  • The Office of the Special Project Facilitator obtains information from the operations department and, if necessary, requests the operations department’s advice and support.
  • The Office of the Special Project Facilitator fields fact-finding missions on its own initiative; or participates, in consultation with the operations department, in special project administration missions of the operations department.
  • The Office of the Special Project Facilitator completes the review and assessment, and the Special Project Facilitator reports the findings to the President, with a copy to the vice-president concerned.
  • The Office of the Special Project Facilitator sends the findings to the complainants, borrower, and operations department, with a request for their comments.
  • The Special Project Facilitator
    • decides to proceed with problem solving, or
    • determines that further problem-solving efforts will not be purposeful and concludes the process.

The time required for problem solving depends on the nature, complexity, and scope of the problems

  • The Office of the Special Project Facilitator assists all parties to engage in resolving the problem.
  • The Office of the Special Project Facilitator may facilitate a consultative dialogue, promote information sharing, undertake joint fact-finding, facilitate establishment of a mediation mechanism, and/or use other approaches to problem solving.
  • Remedial actions involving a change in the project require approval following applicable ADB procedures, and agreement by the borrower.
  • Upon completion of step 3 (with or without agreement), the Special Project Facilitator submits a report to the President, with a copy to the vice-president and operations department concerned, summarizing the complaint, steps to resolve the issues, the parties’ decisions, and the parties’ agreement, if any. The Office of the Special Project Facilitator provides this report to the complainants, borrower, Compliance Review Panel, and Board for information. If no agreement is reached, the problem-solving process ends.

Notes:

  • A party can walk away or disengage from the problem solving process at any time. This closes the process.
  • Upon completion of step 3, the complainants can request compliance review, to be carried out in parallel with implementation and monitoring of the remedial actions (step 4).

Generally not longer than 2 years

  • The Office of the Special Project Facilitator monitors the implementation by all parties of the agreed-upon remedial actions.
  • As part of monitoring process, the Office of the Special Project Facilitator consults with the complainants, borrower, and operations department.
  • The Office of the Special Project Facilitator prepares monitoring reports on the implementation of remedial actions, to be sent to the complainants, borrower, and operations department; and submits them to the President and the Board for information.

After monitoring of remedial actions is completed, the Office of the Special Project Facilitator prepares a final report and submits it to the President, complainants, borrower, operations department, Compliance Review Panel, Board Compliance Review Committee, and the Board for information.