ADB transparency review by tyndale


									                   Comment on ADB’s 1994 Disclosure and Information Policies


  FROM:            La’o Hamutuk
                   The East Timor Institute for Monitoring Reconstruction and Analysis

  DATE:            14 November 2003

  Dear ADB,

  We greatly welcome the ADB’s transparency review. We hope the ADB uses this opportunity to
  become more transparent particularly from the point of view of disclosing documents. It would
  be a great step forward, if, in the future, the ADB were to practise the level of transparency it
  states is necessary in the governments of its developing member countries.

  Structurally the ADB’s decision making process needs to be more open and democratic. The
  current system whereby voting is weighted according to subscriptions of its member countries is
  unfair as is the quotas of staff allotted to member countries. The practise of continually
  appointing a Japanese male from the Japanese Ministry of Finance also needs to be stopped. If
  all member countries had equal votes, equal numbers of staff and equal opportunity to aspire to
  the presidency it much more serve the interests of developing member countries and lead to
  more innovative development initiatives.

  Our experience of the ADB in East Timor has been of an institution that talks but does not fully
  practise openness, transparency and involving civil society. The ADB is very willing to provide
  its own literature but unwilling to provide anything else unless it is very out of date.

  ToRs of ADB TAs are not disclosed. Reports submitted by consultants are promised but when
  the final draft is completed we are told the report is now owned by the government and we must
  obtain the report from them. The ADB only involves members of civil society it feels will support
  their initiatives.

  For example, in East Timor we have been trying to obtain the report ‘power sector master plan’.
  We became aware of the report after an ADB presentation. The ADB stated they included civil
  society but the list of invitees included donors and government. Other ngos and civil society
  representatives were unaware of the presentation. The ADB were willing to give us the power
  point presentation and promised us the report when it was ready. We have been phoning and
  emailing since then and have finally been told it is the governments and we must ask them.
  Although this is fine it is not the hall mark of an open institution. It also gives us the impression
  that rather than involve civil society in the discussion or the decision making process, the ADB
  likes to present civil society with a fait accompli with the government.

The views expressed in this paper are the views of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or
policies of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), or its Board of Directors or the governments they represent.
ADB makes no representation concerning and does not guarantee the source, originality, accuracy,
completeness or reliability of any statement, information, data, finding, interpretation, advice, opinion, or view
The ADB invited one us to the conference on governance in Fiji. We support this kind of
initiative and moves to involve civil society in discussion. We would like to feel this has an
impact on ADB policies. However, we feel that the ADB involves a broad range of civil society
members in its decision making processes rather than getting using civil society to get feedback
on what it has already decided to do or done.

We would like the ADB to have civil society input into the drafting of terms of references for ADB
TAs and access to all internal reports and policy documents in addition to minutes from all
internal meetings.

La’o Hamutuk
The East Timor Institute for Monitoring Reconstruction and Analysis

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