Looking ahead: Gender equality, universal healthcare in ADB's priority list
YOKOHAMA, Japan – As the Asian Development Bank (ADB) celebrates its 50th anniversary and its accomplishments in the past 5 decades, it also looks ahead to its new long-term strategy.
ADB President Takehiko Nakao, at the opening session of the bank's annual meeting, praised the work of the institution and the progress of Asia Pacific in the last 50 years, but said it is crucial not to be complacent.
"Several challenges remain and new ones have emerged in Asia. 330 million people still live in absolute poverty on less than $1.90 a day. Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals and the climate actions agreed at COP21 in 2015 are collective priorities for Asian economies," he said.
ADB has started discussing its long-term strategy, Strategy 2030, in which they've identified the following 5 priorities:
1. Infrastructure development
This remains ADB's top priority. A recent report by the bank found that $1.7 trillion per year through 2030 is needed in investments in power, transport, telecommunications, and water for the region's development.
"This is more than double our previous estimate, reflecting additional investments needed to support continued growth and address climate change," said Nakao.
ADB also looks to use more advanced technologies to help with maintenance costs and resilience of infrastructure, especially in developing countries.
2. Social sectors
Nakao said health and education are top on the list of ADB's development goals.
"In health, we will support universal healthcare systems and cross-border initiatives to combat communicable diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV. In education, we will continue to support Technical and Vocational Education and Training, or TVET, and help improve the quality of secondary education," he said.
3. Gender equality
While ADB has promoted gender quality for several years, Nakao said they will strengthen their work in this area, since "gender is a cross-cutting issue that influences all social and economic processes."
"We will design projects that help women and girls secure higher skills, better health, more jobs, and a larger voice in decision making," he said.
4. Using private resources for development
The ADB aims to promote greater and more effective use of public–private partnerships (PPPs). It also is financing projects by private companies working on solar, wind and geothermal power infrastructure, highways, telecommunications, and ports, as well as projects in education, health, and agriculture.
He said funding micro, small, and medium sized enterprises, through local banks, also remains a priority.
5. Reforms in ADB
To help it do its work better, ADB said it would also ensure they are working at the most efficient way they can, by continuing reforms in the bank as needed.
"ADB will strengthen its sector and thematic expertise, enhance staff capacity, and streamline procedures. We will deepen our collaboration with civil society, academia, the private sector, and local authorities such as Yokohama," said Nakao. – Rappler.com