ADB to meet South Asians in New Delhi this week

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Singapore, Jan 14 (UNI) The Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) will meet various groups from South Asia on the update of its environment, involuntary resettlement and indigenous peoples safeguard policies.

These meetings in New Delhi from January 16-17 will be followed by a one-day meeting on January 18 with civil society organisations and private individuals who have expressed an interest in discussing the safeguard policies, said the ADB today.

The safeguard policies require that projects financed by ADB avoid, minimize and mitigate harm to people and the environment.

In 2006, ADB lending for development projects in South Asia amounted to 3.1 billion dollars, about 39 per cent of total ADB lending for the year.

Being home to more than half of Asia's poor, South Asia is an important region for ADB, whose mission is to help its developing member countries reduce poverty and improve the quality of life of their citizens, it said.

The consultation meetings will include representatives from government, non-government organisations, academia and the private sector in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

Multilateral financial institutions and other development agencies are also expected to join.

The meetings follow similar consultations held in November last year for Central and West Asia indigenous peoples organisations in Asia, and various stakeholder groups in the Philippines.

More consultations are planned in March 2008.

The ongoing Safeguard Policy Update is seeking to improve the effectiveness of ADB's safeguard policies and enhance their relevance to changing client needs and ADB's new lending products.

The update is intended to articulate the safeguard requirements to improve their clarity, coherence and consistency; balance a front-loaded procedural approach with more focus on results during implementation; make policy implementation more adaptable in practice to match an evolving range of lending products and innovative financing modalities; It also included work toward greater harmonisation with safeguard practices across multilateral financial institutions and tailor safeguard approaches to different clients with different capacities and improve ADB's internal processes and resource allocation, it said in a statement issued in Manila.

The goals of the consultative meetings include enhancing ADB's understanding of stakeholders' perspectives and establishing a shared understanding of safeguard objectives, principles and requirements.

UNI XC PD HS1505

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