In 2003, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) created the Accountability Mechanism (AM) to replace the Inspection Function and to provide an independent forum where people adversely affected by ADB-assisted projects can voice and resolve their problems and can report alleged noncompliance of ADB with its operational policies and procedures. The AM is part of ADB’s efforts to enhance development effectiveness and improve project quality by being responsive to the concerns of people affected by projects, and by being fair and transparent to all stakeholders. The Mechanism has two separate phases: the Consultation and the Compliance Review phases. The ADB Accountability Mechanism is currently under review. More information at: www.compliance.adb.org
The Office of the Special Project Facilitator (OSPF) is responsible for the problem solving function of the ADB’s Accountability Mechanism.
People who believe they have been adversely affected by an ADB-assisted project can use the problem solving function regardless of whether ADB operational policies and procedures have been violated. However, complainants must first make a good faith effort to resolve their problems by working with the concerned ADB operations department.
Project-affected people are at the core of the problem solving function, however, the Office of the Special Project Facilitator does not assume that ADB operations departments, the government, or private project sponsors are less sensitive to project-affected people’s concerns. In seeking solutions to problems, the Office of the Special Project Facilitator aims to win the confidence of all parties.
The second mandate:
The Special Project Facilitator problem solving function also aims to strengthen the internal problem solving processes of ADB’s operations departments. The Special Project Facilitator will carry out activities designed to improve the overall internal problem solving functions of ADB
OSPF is guided by the principles of:
- Enhancing ADB development effectiveness and project quality;
- Being responsive to the concerns of project-affected people, and treating all stakeholders fairly;
- Reflecting the highest professional and technical standards in its staffing and operations;
- Being independent and transparent; and
- Being cost-effective, efficient, and complementary to the other supervision, audit, quality control, and evaluation systems at ADB.
What we do:
- Help solve problems caused by ADB-assisted projects through a number of informal, consensus-based methods with the consent and participation of the concerned parties.
- Initiate and guide the consultation process and facilitate development of solutions to the issues identified by different stakeholders.
- Provide opportunities for all parties to meet and discuss their concerns—individually on a strictly confidential basis, when requested, or in meetings among themselves, or in joint deliberations with other parties.
- Provide independent facilitators for dialogues and meetings.
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 Office of the Special Project Facilitator
The mandate of the Office of the Special Project Facilitator is to promotes consensus-based problem solving: seeking agreement among all parties in identifying the matters in dispute, ways to resolve the problems, and the time frame required.
People who believe that they have been adversely affected by an ADB-assisted project can use OSPF’s consultation process regardless of whether ADB‟s operational policies and procedures have been violated. However, complainants must first attempt to resolve their problems in good faith with the assistance of the concerned ADB operations department.
OSPF seeks consensus among stakeholders – including ADB, the complainant, the executing agency, and the developing member country government or the private project sponsor regarding the complaint, the acceptable method for resolution, and the time frame for resolution. It uses flexible problem-solving approaches, including convening meetings with various stakeholders, organizing consultation processes, and engaging in a fact-finding review of the situation. It suggests actions to deal with the complaint directly.
In addition to its prominent role in handling complaints from project-affected people, OSPF is also mandated to carry out proactive activities intended to strengthen the internal problem-solving capacity of ADB‟s operations departments. These activities include:
- Collating and integrating internal and external problem-solving experiences to be fed back into ADB operations, including the formulation, processing, and implementation of projects;
- Providing generic problem-solving support and advice to the operations departments, but not for specific cases under review by those departments; and
- Conducting outreach programs to the public. OSPF is headed by the Special Project Facilitator, who is independent of the operations departments and reports directly to the ADB President.
Compliance Review Phase and the Compliance Review Panel
Provides a mechanism through which project-affected people (and in special circumstances, any Board member) can file filing requests for compliance review if they believe that ADB has not followed its policies and procedures.
• Compliance reviews focus on whether ADB has or has not complied with its operational policies and procedures in connection with the particular project under compliance review. They do not investigate the borrowing country, the executing agency, the borrower, or the private project sponsor.
•The Compliance Review Panel (CRP) investigates alleged violations by ADB of its operational policies and procedures in any ADB-assisted project that directly, materially, and adversely affect local people in the course of the formulation, processing, or implementation of the project.
Activities of the CRP
- Receiving and determining the eligibility of a request for compliance review
- Engaging with all project stakeholders to thoroughly understand relevant issues
- Conducting thorough and objective reviews of policy and procedural compliance
- Coordinating with co-financing institution compliance review mechanisms
- Issuing draft compliance reports and seeking comments from ADB Management and requesters
- Issuing final reports to the Board with its findings and recommendations
- Informing requesters of the Board‟s decision
- Monitoring the implementation of the Board approved recommendations and providing requesters with monitoring reports
- Issuing annual reports
- Developing a roster of independent technical experts for carrying out its work
- Liaising with accountability mechanisms at other institutions
The Office of the Compliance Review Panel (OCRP) provides secretariat support to the CRP and is responsible for conducting outreach and inreach on compliance review.
The compliance review focuses on the direct and material harm alleged by project-affected people, and whether this is caused by ADB’s violations of its operational policies and procedures in formulating, processing, or implementing the project. The compliance review is done by an independent Compliance Review Panel (CRP).1
The compliance review starts with the Compliance Review Panel determining the eligibility of a request for compliance review and recommending to the ADB Board of Directors to authorize a compliance review. If approved, the Compliance Review Panel conducts an independent investigation and makes recommendations to the Board of Directors to ensure project compliance, including remedial changes in the scope or implementation of the project. The Compliance Review Panel then monitors the implementation of its recommendations and any remedial actions approved by the Board of Directors.1
The compliance review function of ADB’s Accountability Mechanism is done/undertaken by the Compliance Review Panel or CRP. The CRP investigates alleged noncompliance by ADB with its operational policies and procedures that has caused, or is likely to cause, direct and material harm to project-affected people.2
Compliance review does not investigate the borrowing country, the executing agency, or the private sector client. The conduct of these parties will be considered only when relevant to the assessment of ADB’s compliance. Compliance review does not provide judicial-type remedies such as injunctions or monetary damages. Relative to the problem solving function of the Accountability Mechanism, a request for compliance review is not an appeal to a higher authority.2
The Compliance Review Panel is an independent body appointed by the ADB’s Board of Directors to carry out compliance review under the second phase of the ADB Accountability Mechanism. The Compliance Review Panel consists of three members—a full-time Chair and two part-time members. Two Compliance Review Panel members are from regional member countries, with one of them from a developing member country, and the third member from a nonregional country. The Compliance Review Panel reports directly to the Board on all activities except on two specific activities where it reports to the Board Compliance Review Committee.1
The Compliance Review Panel consists of three members—a full-time Chair and two part-time members. Two Compliance Review Panel members are from regional countries, with one of them from a developing member country, and the third member from a nonregional country. The Compliance Review Panel reports directly to the Board on all activities except on two specific activities where it reports to the Board Compliance Review Committee.1
The Compliance Review Panel is supported by a Secretariat - the Office of the Compliance Review Panel or OCRP.1
The CRP is a fact-finding body on behalf of the ADB’s Board of Directors. The CRP investigates alleged noncompliance by ADB with its operational policies and procedures in designing and implementing ADB-financed projects.2
The CRP has three members, one of whom is the chair. The CRP chair works full time and the other two CRP members are part time and are called on when required. Two members are from ADB’s regional member countries, with one from a developing member country, and the third member from a non-regional member country.2
The CRP does the following:2
- investigate complaints requesting compliance review
- coordinate with other multilateral or bilateral compliance review mechanism conducting a separate review of the same project conduct thorough and objective reviews of ADB compliance
- consult with the complainants, the borrower, the Board member representing the country concerned, Management, and staff on its preliminary findings;
- issue draft report and seek comments from the complainants, the borrower, the Board Compliance Review Committee, Management, and the operations department concerned;
- issue final compliance review report to the Board;
- monitor the implementation of Board’s decisions on compliance review and produce annual monitoring reports
- prepare and publish Accountability Mechanism annual reports jointly with the Office of the Special Project Facilitator
- produce a learning report every three years through joint efforts with the Special Project Facilitator, Independent Evaluation Department, and Regional Sustainable and Development Department
- develop a roster of independent technical experts who can assist the CRP in carrying out its work; and
- liaise with accountability mechanisms at other institutions.
The CRP chair:2
- performs all the functions listed for the CRP;
- serves as the head of the Office of the Compliance Review Panel and have full responsibility for running the Office;
- manages the OCRP’s personnel, budget, and work program under the oversight of the BCRC, and in accordance with ADB rules and procedures;
- assigns CRP member(s) who will conduct the compliance review and monitor tasks in consultation with the BCRC;
- provides regular (e.g., quarterly) briefings to the BCRC;
- prepares the annual work plan and budget for the CRP and OCRP;
- engages stakeholders in the compliance review process and ensure that compliance review results are communicated to them and the public;
- ensures high-quality professional work and set quality standards for OCRP outputs;
- formulates and implement the CRP’s and OCRP’s work program and report activities to the Board
- provides feedback on CRP members’ performance to the BCRC
The Compliance Review Panel undertakes the following activities:1
- determining the eligibility of a request for compliance review
- engaging all project stakeholders in understanding the issues during compliance review
- conducting thorough and objective reviews of policy and procedural compliance
- consulting with project stakeholders, including the Board representative of the concerned country, on its preliminary findings and recommendations during compliance review
- coordinating with the compliance review mechanism of other cofinancing institution conducting a separate compliance review of the same project
- issuing draft reports and seeking comments from ADB Management and the requesters on its findings and recommendations on compliance review
- issuing final reports to the Board on its findings and recommendations
- informing the requesters of the Board’s decision on compliance review
- monitoring the implementation of the Board’s decisions on compliance review and providing the requesters with copies of the monitoring reports
- issuing annual reports outlining lessons learned from past compliance review cases
- developing a roster of independent technical experts for carrying out is work
- liaising with the accountability mechanisms at other institutions
Eligibility - Compliance
- Complaints will be excluded if they are
(i) about actions that are not related to ADB’s action or omission in the course of formulating, processing, or implementing ADB-assisted projects;
(ii) about matters that complainants have not made good faith efforts to address with the operations department concerned;
(iii) about matters already considered by the SPF, unless the complainants have new evidence previously not available to them and unless the subsequent complaint can be readily consolidated with the earlier complaint;
(iv) about an ADB-assisted project for which 2 or more years have passed since the loan or grant closing date;41
(v) frivolous, malicious, trivial, or generated to gain competitive advantage;
(vi) about decisions made by ADB, the borrower or executing agency, or the private sector client on the procurement of goods and services, including consulting services;
(vii) about allegations of fraud or corruption in ADB-assisted projects or by ADB staff;
(viii) about the adequacy or suitability of ADB’s existing policies and procedures;
(ix) within the jurisdiction of ADB’s Appeals Committee or ADB’s Administrative Tribunal, or relate to ADB personnel matters; and/or
(x) about ADB’s non-operational housekeeping matters, such as finance and administration.