AfDB adopts Integrated Safeguards System

09/01/2014
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On December 17, 2013 the Boards of the African Development Bank unanimously adopted the Integrated Safeguards System (ISS) – a cornerstone of the Bank’s strategy to promote growth that is socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable. Safeguards are a powerful tool for identifying risks, reducing development costs and improving project sustainability, thus benefiting affected communities and helping to preserve the environment.

With this Integrated Safeguards System the Bank will be better equipped to address emerging environmental and social development challenges. The Integrated Safeguards System not only promotes best practices in these areas but also encourages greater transparency and accountability. It upholds the voices of people who are affected by Bank-funded operations, especially the most vulnerable communities, by providing, for example, project-level grievance and redress mechanisms – a structured, systematic and managed way of allowing the voices and concerns of affected people to be heard and addressed during project planning and implementation.

The AfDB, in accordance with its mandate views economic and social rights as an integral part of human rights, and accordingly affirms that it respects the principles and values of human rights as set out in the UN Charter and the African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights. These were among the principles that guided the development of the Integrated Safeguards System. The AfDB encourages member countries to observe international human rights norms, standards, and best practices on the basis of their commitments made under the International Human Rights Covenants and the African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights.

The Integrated Safeguards System has been developed through extensive consultations. In particular, five regional workshops – in Nairobi, Lusaka, Libreville, Abuja and Rabat – provided the Bank with an opportunity to listen to and address concerns raised by our stakeholders and civil society.

All of this has contributed to what we believe is an unusually strong and well-considered policy package for the Bank – one that is built on broad experience – embodies today’s cutting-edge thinking, and will serve the Bank and Africa for many years to come.

It puts the Bank in the forefront of multilateral development banks, with a clear, integrated package of policies and procedures to address the safeguards issues that arise in development. We believe the Integrated Safeguards System will strengthen the Bank’s ability to carry out its mandate and will help increase the effectiveness and development impact of our operations.

But more than that, the Integrated Safeguards System will be one of the strongest tools we have for helping to promote the well-being of our true clients, Africa’s people.