The Asian Development Bank (ADB) swiftly met its clients’ coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic response needs in 2020 while remaining aligned with long-term strategic priorities, according to its Development Effectiveness Review (DEfR) released on Wednesday.
“In the face of increasing poverty and inequality, and new challenges and opportunities for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals through green, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable COVID-19 recovery, we recognize that ADB’s efforts are more vital than ever,” said ADB Strategy, Policy, and Partnerships Department Director General Tomoyuki Kimura.The 2020 DEfR is the 14th edition of Management’s flagship report on ADB’s performance in achieving the priorities of its corporate strategy, using indicators in its corporate results framework as the yardstick. Focusing on operations financed by ADB, it assesses ADB’s development effectiveness, highlights actions ADB has taken to improve, and identifies areas where ADB’s performance needs to be strengthened.
The report includes a special chapter focused on ADB’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic across seven key results areas. To meet clients’ critical pandemic crisis needs, ADB reoriented to deliver a record level of operations focused on health and social protection, including extensive support for developing member countries’ (DMCs) pro-poor countercyclical expenditure programs.
As early as the end of January 2020, ADB had refocused an ongoing health security project in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic to respond to COVID-19 and by the end of February committed its first new nonsovereign pandemic response project.
By 11 March, ADB had committed $32.3 million in seven refocused and new operations covering 40 of its DMCs. In April 2020, ADB announced a comprehensive $20 billion package, and in December 2020 launched a $9 billion Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility, to assist its DMCs address the crisis. By the end of 2020, ADB had committed $16.3 billion across Asia and the Pacific, of which $9.7 billion had been disbursed.
An independent survey of ADB’s primary clients conducted at the end of the year found high levels of satisfaction with the swiftness of ADB’s response to the pandemic. Nearly 1.1 billion people and more than 4.4 million businesses are expected to benefit from COVID-19 response projects committed during 2020.
ADB found opportunities within these operations to pursue Strategy 2030 priorities, according to DEfR. COVID-19 response operations prioritized safeguarding and furthering gender equality, and helped push the share of committed ADB operations supporting gender mainstreaming to another record level during 2018–2020.Despite efforts to integrate climate actions into pandemic response operations where appropriate, progress toward the Strategy 2030 climate targets—though still on track—slowed and additional efforts over the coming years will be crucial to reach the ambitious targets.
The report flags the success rates of completed sovereign and nonsoveriegn operations as ongoing challenges—both remained off track on 2024 targets. DEfR’s final chapter outlines the actions ADB started, continued, and completed in 2020 to address these areas for improvement.