ADB meeting to tackle impact of technology, climate change on inclusive growth

This year’s meeting of the Board of Governors of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) will tackle the global and regional challenges brought by rapid technological progress, climate change, aging populations, urbanization and infrastructure gaps in fulfilling the institution’s vision of a “resilient, inclusive, sustainable and prosperous” Asia-Pacific region. 

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, who chairs the ADB Board of Governors this year, said the institution will focus on how to “make progress more evenly felt throughout the entire membership of the ADB.” 

ADB Secretary Woochong Um said the 51st Annual Meeting of the Bank to be held in Manila on May 3-6 will also discuss the impact of globalization, creating jobs in Asia and expanding opportunities for women entrepreneurs in the context of forging a vision and strategy for the region’s future. 

The third leg of the press launch of the Philippines’ hosting of the Annual Meeting will be held at the Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga on April 13. The previous ones were held in the cities of Manila and Davao. 

“We have noticed that in many countries, while you know progress is happening, there are always inevitably communities that are left behind. This I think should be the focus in the coming years,” said Dominguez during an earlier press launch. 

“There’s that old phrase, ‘no one left behind.’ So this is I think one of the key topics that we will be looking at,” Dominguez added. 

Um said the ADB sees “an increasingly complex development landscape emerging – rapid technological progress offering opportunities and challenges, climate change and environmental pressures, aging populations, urbanization and infrastructure gaps.” 

“The ADB will continue to play a critical role in helping our region adapt to these challenges,” Um said at the press launch. 

Um said “these are exciting times” for this year’s host, the Philippines, which has maintained its steady pace of economic growth, with ADB projecting its GDP to accelerate to 6.8 percent in 2018 “driven by increased investment.” 

“‘Build Build Build’ and the comprehensive tax reforms are excellent initiatives in continuing the country’s strong economic performance,” Um said. 

He said the ADB is contributing to the Philippine government’s commitment to sustainable and inclusive growth by “helping improve infrastructure, regional development, public service delivery, youth employment and education, and also minimizing disaster risks, and expanding financial inclusion.” 

“The Philippines can rest assured that we will be with you through all these changes. For 50 years, we have listened to you, your people, your needs and we have responded by delivering solutions to help you adapt, grow and prosper,” Um said. 

Um pointed out that last year, loans provided by ADB to the Philippines reached a record-high $1.08 billion, with majority of the assistance going to infrastructure-related activities, especially in Mindanao.

“We hope to sustain and even surpass this level of assistance to the Philippines. We share with the Philippines government and all Filipinos the goal of creating a prosperous, competitive and inclusive society,” Um said. 

Based in Manila since its inception in 1966, the ADB is dedicated to reducing poverty in the Asia-Pacific region through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration.

Some 3,000 delegates are expected to fly to Manila for the 51st ADB Annual Meeting. They include the finance ministers and central bank governors of the ADB member-countries, bankers, representatives from the private sector, civil society, academe, multilateral institutions and the media. 

The ADB meetings will be attended by the finance and development ministers and central bank governors of the Bank’s 67 members, of which 48 are from the Asia-Pacific region.

Representatives from the Bank’s development partners, private sector and civil society organizations, media, and the academe will also troop to Manila to take part in the meetings. 

Besides this year’s event, 15 previous Annual Meetings were also held in Manila, with the most recent one in 2012 and an earlier small-scale meeting in 2003. 

Photo: Asian Development Bank