[ADB] Safeguard Policy Statement

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  1. The operational policies of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) include three safeguard policies: the Involuntary Resettlement Policy (1995), the Policy on Indigenous Peoples (1998), and the Environment Policy (2002). All three safeguard policies are due for revision. ADB needs to address emerging environmental and social challenges of development in its developing member countries (DMCs), respond to lessons learned from its experience with its current safeguard policies, and adapt to its new lending modalities and financing instruments. In addition, ADB policies need to reflect changing best practices of other multilateral financial institutions (MFIs) and of private sector institutions such as the equator principles financial institutions. In December 2004, ADB management approved a concept paper for a safeguard policy update (SPU) to enhance the effectiveness of ADB’s safeguard policies and to ensure that these policies remain relevant to changing client needs and to new business opportunities.
  2. The SPU has sought to (i) better articulate the safeguard policies to improve their clarity, coherence, and consistency; (ii) balance a front-loaded procedural approach with one also focused on results during implementation; (iii) adapt policy implementation to an evolving range of lending products and innovative financing modalities; (iv) work toward greater harmonization with safeguard practices across MFIs and tailor safeguard approaches to different clients with varying capacities; and (v) improve internal processes and resource allocation.
  3. The SPU has resulted in a consolidated policy with the following structure:
    1. A safeguard policy statement (SPS) that describes common objectives of ADB’s safeguards, lays out policy principles, and outlines the delivery process for ADB’s safeguard policy. The SPS is designed for application to current and future lending modalities and caters to the varying capacities and needs of DMC clients in both the public and private sectors. (ii) A set of specific safeguard requirements that borrowers/clients are expected to meet when addressing social and environmental impacts and risks. Through their due diligence, review, and supervision ADB staff will ensure that borrowers/clients comply with these requirements during project preparation and implementation. Over time ADB may adopt additional safeguard requirements or update existing requirements to enhance effectiveness, respond to changing needs, and reflect evolving best practices.  (iii) A consolidated Operations Manual section that specifies ADB’s internal review procedures for due diligence and for supervision throughout the project cycle.
  4. Once approved by the ADB Board of Directors, the SPS and the safeguard requirements for borrowers/clients will supersede the three current safeguard policies and the new OM section will supersede the existing OM Sections F1, F2, and F3. ADB will update its Handbook on Resettlement and Environment Assessment Guidelines (2003) and prepare a handbook on Indigenous Peoples to provide detailed technical guidance and recommend good practices.
  5. A consultation draft of the SPS was posted on ADB’s website in October 2007 for external consultations. During the consultation period (November 2007 through April 2008), ADB received extensive comments and detailed suggestions through the 14 multistakeholder consultation workshops held in the region and outside. ADB also received feedback from numerous written submissions, thematic discussions, and informal meetings and teleconferences. All comments received before the close of the consultation period were posted on ADB’s website. To be responsive to the wide range of comments, ADB management decided to prepare a second draft of the SPS based on the comments and suggestions received from external consultations and hold another consultation workshop in Manila for stakeholders to have an opportunity to review the revised documents.
  6. The second draft of the SPS was made available for public comments on ADB’s website from 3 October to 4 December 2008. A detailed comments-response matrix was posted on ADB SPU website on 9 October 2008, which includes comments received from the 14 country/subregional consultations and written submissions during the comment period of 12 October 2007–30 April 2008. The preliminary draft safeguard review procedures (draft Operations Manual) were made available on 24 October 2008. In addition, as requested by many stakeholders, a draft glossary of terms was also posted on the web. Consultation workshops on the second draft SPS were held 18–21 November 2008 in Manila, to allow a comprehensive and substantive discussion of the second draft SPS with an emphasis on ADB’s response to stakeholder comments on the consultation draft of the SPS (see ADB SPU website for a report on the stakeholder consultations).
  7. The working paper of the SPS was prepared and circulated to the ADB Board for consideration and guidance in January 2009, and the Board discussion was held in February 2009. This R-paper is the result of the internal and external consultation process in which ADB Board and staff, and external stakeholders, including governments, civil society organizations, private sector, and academia, took part.

Click here to download the policy.