ADB signs agreement on safeguard systems

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Manila-based lender Asian Development Bank (ADB) has signed a collaboration agreement with development partners to help strengthen country-safeguard systems in Asia and the Pacific.

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In a statement on Friday, ADB said the use of a country’s own laws, regulations, and institutions for approval of projects funded by the development partners has been a long-term goal of all the institutions.

“The agreement reaffirms the partners’ joint commitment for working together to achieve this,” it said.

The Principles of Collaboration for Country Safeguard Systems was signed by ADB, fellow members of the Development Partners Safeguard Coordination Committee, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and the World Bank during the International Association for Impact Assessment conference held in Nagoya.

“Safeguards are integral to ADB and its partners’ goal of socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable growth,” said Herath Gunatilake, director of the ADB Environment and Safeguards Division.

“As such, this agreement is a major step forward in reaching the goal of using country safeguard systems,” Gunatilake added.

Mutual collaboration with more information sharing will prevent duplication of activities and foster synergy, the lender noted.

Working together will also allow ADB and its partners to utilize financial resources more effectively and to capitalize on each others’ comparative advantages, it added.

As part of the agreement, ADB and its partners will meet as required to provide regular updates on the results of their country safeguards programs, and likely future strategies and areas of work.

The agreement builds on previous commitments by ADB and its partners to help developing member countries improve their legal and regulatory systems and to strengthen their capacity for implementing safeguards.

In 2012, ADB, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Australia, JICA, and the World Bank established the regional Joint Community of Practice on Safeguards, which has carried out activities including joint training, studies, and knowledge sharing.

Two learning centers have been established in the Philippines and Vietnam for undertaking capacity building on safeguards, while two more centers are planned for Indonesia and The Pacific, the ADB said.

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