The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Board of Directors has approved a new long-term corporate strategy, “Strategy 2030”, that sets out the institution’s broad vision and strategic response to the evolving needs of Asia and the Pacific.
“Asia and the Pacific has made great progress over the last half century in poverty reduction and economic growth, but there are unfinished development agendas,” said ADB President, Mr. Takehiko Nakao. “Under Strategy 2030, we will combine finance, knowledge, and partnerships to sustain our efforts to eradicate extreme poverty and expand our vision towards a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable region.”
ADB’s aspirations are aligned with major global commitments such as the Sustainable Development Goals, the Financing for Development agenda, the Paris Agreement on climate change, and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. Given the size of Asia and the Pacific, achieving such commitments will depend critically on the region’s success.
Strategy 2030, according to the ADB, recognises that the ambitious global development agenda must be tailored to specific local circumstances. The body says it will strengthen its country-focused approach, promote the use of innovative technologies, and deliver integrated interventions that combine expertise across a range of sectors and themes and through a mix of public and private sector operations.
It further stresses that it will continue to prioritise support for the region’s poorest and most vulnerable countries by applying differentiated approaches to meet the diverse needs of various groups of countries: fragile and conflict-affected situations, small island developing states, low-income and lower middle-income countries, and upper middle-income countries. Across these country groups, ADB discloses that it will also prioritise support for lagging areas and pockets of poverty and fragility.
Infrastructure investments – particularly those that are green, sustainable, inclusive, and resilient – will remain a key priority, says the ADB, adding that it will likewise expand operations in social sectors, such as education, health, and social protection.
The bank points out that it will focus on seven operational priorities: (i) addressing remaining poverty and reducing inequalities; (ii) accelerating progress in gender equality; (iii) tackling climate change, building climate and disaster resilience, and enhancing environmental sustainability; (iv) making cities more livable; (v) promoting rural development and food security; (vi) strengthening governance and institutional capacity; and (vii) fostering regional cooperation and integration.
At least 75% of the number of ADB’s committed operations (on a three-year rolling average, including sovereign and nonsovereign operations) will promote gender equality by 2030, the organisation discloses, pointing out that it will ensure that 75% of the number of its committed operations (on a three-year rolling average, including sovereign and nonsovereign operations) will be supporting climate change mitigation and adaptation by 2030. Climate finance from its own resources will reach $80 billion for the period 2019 to 2030. A new corporate results framework – expected to be ready in mid-2019 – will include more targets for ADB’s other operational priorities.
To support the seven operational priorities under Strategy 2030, ADB says it will expand and diversify its private sector operations to reach one-third of ADB operations in number by 2024.
“We will expand our private sector operations in new and frontier markets, such as fragile and conflict-affected situations and small island developing states. We will also support more public-private partnerships,” said Mr. Nakao.
He adds that ADB’s private sector operations will help improve environmental, social, and governance standards; provide financing that is not available from the market at reasonable terms; improve project design and development outcomes; and mitigate perceived risks. In addition to innovative infrastructure, they will increase support for agribusiness, and support social sectors such as health and education through private ventures, he contends.
ADB further notes that it will continue to be a reliable financier and catalyser of finance. “A key measure of our success will be the volume and quality of additional resources we mobilise on top of our own financing,” Mr. Nakao adds, pointing out that ADB targets a substantial increase in long-term cofinancing by 2030, with every $1 in financing for its private sector operations matched by $2.50 in long-term cofinancing.
The institution will also work closely with its developing member countries to produce the most relevant knowledge products and services, albeit by proactively engaging in research, providing high-quality policy advice, strengthening countries’ institutional capacity, and expanding knowledge partnerships.
Nakao adds: “As it strives to be stronger, better, and faster, ADB will pursue a dramatic modernisation of its business processes by taking advantage of available technology. It will expand its products and instruments, strengthen human resources, and accelerate its digital transformation. ADB is committed to diversity in the workforce, including promoting gender balance and a respectful work environment for all. ADB will institute a ‘One ADB’ approach, bringing together knowledge and expertise across the organisation. It will collaborate with civil society organizations in designing, implementing, and monitoring projects.
“In preparing Strategy 2030, extensive consultations were carried out with a wide and representative group of stakeholders across ADB’s membership, leading development experts, and civil society organisations.
“ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region. In 2017, ADB operations totaled $32.2 billion, including $11.9 billion in cofinancing.”