SEARCH’s World Heritage team provided subject matter expertise to develop the current policy draft for the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) forthcoming cultural heritage standard entitled Environmental and Social Standard 8 (ESS8). The effort is part of the ADB’s Safeguard and Policy Review Update, which will update the organization’s multidisciplinary impact assessment policy and include a suite of 10 ESS and the associated policy framework. These ESS, including ESS8, were publicly disclosed in September. The current draft of ESS8 contains expanded policy language on tangible cultural heritage types, maritime cultural heritage, and intangible cultural heritage covered by the policy. The review period will last through January 2024. If interested in commenting, click here.

SEARCH’s contribution to this effort led by Senior Advisor Dr. Emlen Myers, included support of public consultation on the existing policy and of developing the draft guidance language that will support the policy’s rollout. Starting in 2025, the new policy will guide the management of cultural heritage impacts for all ADB-funded projects in its Member Countries, which in 2022 totaled approximately $28B USD.