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ADB president vows closer collaboration with WB in PH, other Asia-Pacific nations

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Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Mr. Takehiko Nakao announced on Monday that ADB will improve collaboration with the World Bank in the Philippines and other countries across the Asia and Pacific region.

“ADB is responding to the Philippine Finance Secretary Mr. Carlos G. Dominguez III’s call for us to become more efficient, responsive, and better coordinated with the World Bank and other multilateral development banks to meet the changing needs of our client countries,” Mr. Nakao said. “In the Philippines, ADB is already collaborating with the World Bank on the implementation of the government’s conditional cash transfer program and the rehabilitation and recovery efforts in Marawi, among others. We can do better, and will take concrete steps to further improve the process.”

Mr. Nakao and Mr. Dominguez have had numerous talks in the run-up to ADB’s 50th Annual Meeting in Yokohama in 2017 and ever since. In his speech in Yokohama, Mr. Dominguez emphasized the need for ADB to “reinvent itself.” More recently, Mr. Dominguez wrote a letter to Mr. Nakao, asking ADB to promote its position as the region’s premier multilateral institution and expand collaboration with the World Bank, which is under the new leadership of Mr. David Malpass.

Mr. Nakao said ADB and the World Bank are exploring new joint initiatives to reduce transaction costs for developing member countries. The two institutions are exchanging views on how to work more closely in areas such as programming support, procurement, project implementation review, and social and environmental safeguards.

In the Philippines, ADB hosted a meeting last May 14, chaired by the Department of Finance (DoF) and joined by the World Bank (WB), and discussed ways to strengthen collaboration in support of government priorities. Immediate focus areas include tourism development, ocean pollution, disaster risk management, post-conflict resolution, and improving local governments’ ability to deliver public services.

ADB projects in the Philippines are expanding in line with the “Build, Build, Build” initiative and other development priorities of the government. Accordingly, annual lending is increasing, from below $1 billion (approximately P52 billion) in 2011–2017 to $1.4 billion (P72.9 billion) in 2018 and $2.5 billion (P130 billion) in 2019–2021.

Regarding the collaboration between ADB and the World Bank beyond the Philippines, there have already been long-running efforts and concrete progress, especially in the Pacific. They are cofinancing a range of investment projects under a common procurement arrangement, which alleviates the administrative burden in small island countries. Based on this experience in the Pacific, in December 2018, ADB and the World Bank signed the Procurement Framework Agreement, which has allowed the lead cofinancier’s procurement procedures to be used for cofinanced projects in Asia and the Pacific. In addition, ADB and the World Bank, along with other development partners, are working to develop a shared approach to the management of environmental and social risks that will take into consideration factors such as fragility, community engagement, and land ownership.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. In 2018, it made commitments of new loans and grants amounting to $21.6 billion (P1.125 trillion). Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.

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