ADB's safeguard policy aims to help developing member countries address environmental and social risks in development projects and minimize and mitigate, if not avoid, adverse project impacts on people and the environment.

In the Spotlight


Safeguard Policy Statement

Approved by ADB’s Board of Directors in July 2009, the Safeguard Policy Statement (SPS) builds upon the three previous safeguard policies on the environment, involuntary resettlement, and indigenous peoples, and brings them into a consolidated policy framework that enhances effectiveness and relevance. The SPS applies to all ADB-supported projects reviewed by ADB’s management after 20 January 2010. ADB works with borrowers to put policy principles and requirements into practice through project review and supervision, and capacity development support. The SPS also provides a platform for participation by affected people and other stakeholders in project design and implementation.

Available in:

The SPS supersedes ADB's Involuntary Resettlement Policy (1995), Policy on Indigenous Peoples (1998), and Environment Policy (2002).  To obtain copies of these superseded policies, please contact the Safeguards Help Desk.

Safeguard Policy Review

Father and Child on a Bridge

Draft Environmental and Social Framework (ESF)

ADB proposes the ESF which will comprise of: (i) Vision; (ii) Environmental and Social Policy; (iii) Environmental and Social Standard (ESSs); and (iv) Prohibited Investment Activities List. Ten Environmental and Social Standards establish the mandatory performance standards that borrowers/clients are required to meet throughout the project cycle.

The public comment period for the draft ESF closed on 6 May 2024.

Country Safeguard Systems

ADB’s safeguard policy statement is the comprehensive articulation of ADB’s safeguard provisions in three areas: environment, involuntary resettlement, and indigenous peoples. Country safeguards systems are composed of the policies, practices, legal frameworks and institutions that a country puts in place to avoid, minimize or mitigate potentially adverse environmental and social impacts of development activities. ADB believes that the application of country safeguards systems to development projects reduces transaction costs, enhances country ownership and helps ensure long-term sustainability of development efforts.

Use of country safeguards systems is neither automatic nor mandatory. Country safeguards systems cannot be used on projects that ADB considers highly complex or sensitive.

  • Photo: Asian Development Bank​

    Environment Safeguards

    Without committed efforts to safeguard the environment, pressure will continue to build on the region’s land, forests, water systems, wetlands, marine ecosystems, and other natural resources--assets many of the poor depend on for their livelihoods.

  • Photo: Asian Development Bank​

    Involuntary Resettlement

    Involuntary resettlement under development projects can give rise to severe economic, social, and environmental risks, and result in long-term hardship and impoverishment of affected people if it is not managed well.

  • Photo: Asian Development Bank

    Indigenous Peoples

    Nearly three-quarters of the world’s indigenous peoples live in Asia and the Pacific. Their rights are increasingly threatened by development programs that could encroach on areas they traditionally own, occupy, use, or view as ancestral domain.