The Asian Development Bank has announced the appointment of Fijian national, Imrana Jalal, to the post of Special Project Facilitator, a Director-General level post within the ADB.
Jalal is not only the first woman to be appointed to this role, but is also the first Fijian and Pacific Islander to be appointed to a post equivalent to a Director-General at ADB.
Fiji’s John Samy previously held the post of Deputy-Director General of the Pacific Department at ADB.
The SPF is the head of the Office of the Special Facilitator, a part of the ADB’s Accountability Mechanism.
The Mechanism receives environmental and social complaints against ADB projects, by project affected people, which have allegedly breached ADB safeguards.
The SPF office attempts to problem-solve complaints through consultative dialogue, information-sharing, dispute resolution or mediation.
Jalal is currently a Panel Member of the 3-member independent World Bank Inspection Panel, and will finish her 5 year term on the Panel on 31st December 2022.
Like most development accountability positions, Panel Members can only hold office for one 5-year term.
The Panel is a tribunal receiving and investigating complaints against World Bank projects.
Jalal was the Chair and head of the Panel for 3 years.
Jalal says she is thrilled and honoured at being selected for this position and she is so happy to be going back to ADB and Manila.
She says she was very happy there in her previous role at ADB as a principal gender specialist, and looks forward to the new challenges of the Special Project Facilitator role.
Jalal says she has thoroughly enjoyed working at the World Bank, every day was a challenge, but it was gratifying in every possible way.
She says it was in many ways a dream job, as it utilized the multiple experiences that she had acquired in her quite unusual and varied career.
Jalal says she did not take the path of a mainstream career lawyer, and in many ways it was serendipity rather than good planning that took her along this path.
However, she says having those diverse experiences prepared her for the World Bank role, as it has for the ADB role.
Jalal is a New Zealand trained lawyer, an Australian trained gender specialist, a founding member of the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement, a former Fiji Human Rights Commissioner, a former Fiji Law Reform Commissioner and architect of the Fiji Family Law Act.
She is also the author of “Law for Pacific Women”, and a Commissioner in the Geneva-based International Commission of Jurists.
Jalal started out her career working at the Fiji Attorney-General’s Office in the government in 1984, and was a founder of the Pacific Regional Rights Resources Team which is now subsumed under the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.
Jalal will move to her new role at ADB in mid-January 2023.
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