ISLAMABAD: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is intensifying ongoing efforts to promote good governance among its developing member countries (DMCs), according to the Office of Anti-corruption and Integrity (OAI) 2018 Annual Report released on Monday.
“ADB regards the strengthening of governance and institutional capacity of its DMCs as integral to achieving a more inclusive and sustainable future for Asia and the Pacific,” said OAI Head John Versantvoort. “ADB remains committed to promoting the highest ethical standards in our operations, in our developing member countries, and among our staff to deliver better development results for the region.”
ADB ranked first in the International Aid Transparency Index last year, recognizing the bank’s commitment to transparency in its operations as an essential tool to maintain integrity and promote accountability. Good governance is one of ADB’s seven operational priorities under Strategy 2030, the bank’s development blueprint in pursuing a more prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific.
In 2018, ADB concluded 57 investigations of integrity violations in ADB-financed operations, 45 of which resulted in remedial actions on 109 firms and 42 individuals. These include debarments of 80 firms and 25 individuals. OAI also enforced cross-debarment on 272 firms and 48 individuals as part of the agreement among multilateral development banks (MDB), whereby entities debarred by one MDB may be sanctioned for the same misconduct by other participating development banks. These remedial actions have enhanced the integrity within ADB-related activities and the general business environments in DMCs, according to the report.
ADB continued to support efforts of Bhutan, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, and the Philippines to institute regulatory measures to combat money-laundering and the financing of terrorism. ADB also provided technical and knowledge assistance to DMCs whose tax administrations are adjusting to evolving international standards on tax transparency and tax integrity, including the Federates States of Micronesia, Maldives, the Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Samoa, and Thailand.
Knowledge sharing on anti-corruption and integrity efforts remained an overarching priority in 2018. Over 100 learning events were conducted, which drew around 4,500 participants from within ADB, member governments, and other stakeholders. ADB, in collaboration with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, also led an evaluation of the Anti-Corruption Initiative for Asia and the Pacific, the largest anticorruption network in the world that provides support to DMCs in implementing the United Nations Convention Against Corruption through capacity development and exchange of expertise and knowledge, among others.
In 2018, ADB launched a pilot program to strengthen integrity due diligence for ADB-administered consulting services, with the aim of ensuring that regulations and controls are in place to identify and address potential integrity and reputational risks in consultant recruitment.
ADB’s Respectful Workplace Unit (RWU) provided advice on 125 workplace matters and investigated 52 complaints of alleged misconduct. ADB established RWU in 2017 on a pilot basis to promote an inclusive and respectful work environment and raise awareness and prevent harassment in the workplace.