1.01 The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) is committed to an active public information disclosure policy (IDP), aimed at improving access to information1 in relation to its mission and activities and in support of its role, function and purpose of contributing to the harmonious economic growth and development of its member countries in the Caribbean and promoting economic cooperation and integration among them.
1.02 The objective of CDB’s IDP is to support the Bank’s commitment to increasing the transparency of its operations, and to meet a growing public interest in its activities.
1.03 The policy provides CDB with a framework within which the wide range of information collected and generated about its activities and projects in support of development programming can be disclosed. CDB recognises that as a custodian of public funds, transparency of operations facilitates public oversight of Bank-supported operations and enhances good governance, accountability and development effectiveness.
1.04 In line with current international best practices on information disclosure, this policy is based on a presumption of disclosure of any information in CDB’s possession that is not on the list of exceptions. Under this policy, information will be made accessible to the widest external audiences possible to provide opportunity to increase public exposure and broaden stakeholder understanding of CDB’s activities. This policy is therefore expected to generate an open and much strengthened engagement between CDB and its stakeholders.
1.05 While developing this IDP, CDB has taken into account its obligation as a responsible institution, to respect confidentiality of certain information. Given the nature of CDB’s work, this IDP is designed to balance the need for openness and transparency with the need for confidentiality. Confidential information would include information that would cause harm to CDB’s interest, its beneficiaries or cooperating institutions or would violate agreements with third parties. It also includes information that would invade the privacy or endanger the independence of its staff. Documents and records that are subject to legal privilege, or whose disclosure might prejudice services will not be disclosed to the public. The final determination as to what information may be disclosed to the public shall rest with CDB.
1.06 This policy is based on five guiding principles:
(a) Maximising Access to Information
CDB recognises the fundamental importance of transparency and accountability in the development process. Accordingly, the Bank would disclose any information in its possession that is not on a list of exceptions. Further, so long as CDB is not legally obligated to non-disclosure, and has not received information with the understanding that it will not be disclosed, certain categories of information on the list of exceptions will not remain restricted indefinitely and will be disclosed in accordance with timelines and procedures for release.
(b) Setting out a Clear List of Exceptions
CDB may, in exceptional circumstances, decide not to disclose information that would be normally accessible if it determines that the harm that might occur by doing so will outweigh the benefits of access. CDB may also, in exceptional circumstances, make available to the public information ordinarily excluded from disclosure when it determines that the benefit would outweigh the potential harm.
(c) Safeguarding the Deliberative Process
This policy will strike an appropriate balance between the need to grant the public maximum access to information in the Bank’s possession, and the Bank’s obligation to respect confidentiality, particularly during deliberative processes.
(d) Providing Clear Procedures for Making Information Available to the Public
CDB will employ all practical means to facilitate access to information. Guidelines for maximising access to information will include clear and cost-effective procedures and timelines for processing requests and will be based on use of a system for classifying information according to its accessibility over time.
(e) Recognising Requesters’ Right to an Appeal Process
This policy will provide persons with legitimate concerns about CDB’s level of disclosure, the means to appeal decisions denying access to information and with time- bound responses through an appeals mechanism.
1.07 This policy statement is divided into four parts. Following this introduction – Section 1, Section 2 sets out the core policy, Section 3 sets out how CDB handles information relating to member countries and other parties, and Section 4 sets out the implementation aspects of this Policy.