MANILA, PHILIPPINES — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is committed to partnering with developing economies in Asia and the Pacific to achieve their recovery goals from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, President Masatsugu Asakawa said in an address to ADB’s Board of Governors today.
“ADB will continue to earn your trust as a steadfast partner during the uncertain times we still face in our region as we build for a strong and lasting recovery,” said Mr. Asakawa. “Our work toward a sustainable, resilient, and inclusive recovery stands on a foundation of mutual trust formed over decades of cooperation with you, our members.”
He was speaking at the opening of the Business Session of the second part of ADB’s 53rd Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors, this year held in a virtual and abbreviated format due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
ADB announced in April a $20 billion package to help its developing members address COVID-19. This included rapid emergency grants and technical assistance to help governments meet urgent medical needs; a new COVID-19 Pandemic Response Option (CPRO), which is supporting countercyclical expenditure programs; and assistance for the private sector.
ADB has so far committed about $11.2 billion in financial and technical assistance to fight the pandemic. Working closely with development partners, ADB has also mobilized about $7.2 billion in cofinancing.
As the region moves forward toward recovery, Mr. Asakawa said ADB will build on its relationship with its members to support them in six key areas.
First, ADB will promote regional cooperation and integration to help members seize the opportunity that renewed globalization can offer in a post-pandemic new normal. “While there are some who suggest that recent border closures and travel restrictions are signs that globalization has ground irreversibly to a halt, I do believe that globalization will return, but it will take a different shape,” Mr. Asakawa said. ADB will work with developing members to secure more diversified value and supply chains, and to promote regional public goods for better collective prevention of disease outbreaks, mitigation of climate change impacts, and enhancement of the regional financial safety net.
Second, since COVID-19 has contributed to an increase in income inequality and absolute poverty, ADB will strengthen investments in health, education, and social protection, which will better ensure safety and opportunities for all, while building the human capital that economies need to thrive in the long term.
Third, ADB will accelerate its efforts to tackle climate change in order to reach the goals
established in its long-term Strategy 2030—to reach $80 billion in cumulative climate investments and 75% of the total number of committed operations by 2030.
Fourth, ADB will invest in information technology and data for health; education; financing for micro, small, and medium enterprises; and remote work—while also addressing both the digital divide and cyber security.
Fifth, ADB will help its members strengthen domestic resource mobilization through international tax cooperation, since all key areas of development require that governments improve their capacity to mobilize financial resources while managing debt sustainability.
And last, ADB will support the efforts of its developing members to secure safe and effective vaccines, and to formulate strategies for equitable delivery. To accomplish this, ADB will continue to strengthen collaboration with the World Health Organization; the World Bank; GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance; vaccine experts; and pharmaceutical companies.
Over two days of online Annual Meeting events, ministers from ADB members, development and industry experts, journalists, and nongovernment organizations have discussed a range of issues confronting Asia and the Pacific. Other events today included the CNBC Debate, Resetting Asia: Technology, Investment, and Sustainability; and the Governors’ Seminar on Developing Asia Beyond the Pandemic.
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 68 members—49 from the region.