Closing Statement at the 45th Annual Meeting

Speech | 5 May 2012

Closing Statement by ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda on 5 May 2012 at the PICC, Manila, Philippines

I. Introduction

Mr. Chairman, ADB Governors, ladies and gentlemen:

As the 45th Annual Meeting draws to a close, I would like to take the opportunity to thank all of you for your very insightful contributions over the past few days. Your guidance is critical to ensure that limited resources for development are invested for maximum development impact across Asia and the Pacific.

The last few days have served to highlight the many challenges still facing our region, as well as the opportunities. We have also discussed ADB's role in a changing Asia and Pacific. We have had many rich and deep discussions on a wide range of issues including the global crisis and likely impact on the region, increasing inequalities, ADB's role in middle-income countries, ADB's financial capacity to respond to the region's needs, climate change, and more.

Let me highlight a few key themes.

II. The Region and ADB

First, poverty, although declining, remains the region's number one challenge. In addition, new challenges are emerging.

Chief among them is the challenge of bridging Asia's widening disparities. Our Asian Development Outlook 2012 cast this issue into the spotlight. It pointed out that most of the fast-growing economies in the region show rising income inequality in the last 2 decades.

We therefore appreciate the ongoing and strong support of Governors for ADB's strategic agenda of inclusive growth. We will continue to pursue this agenda with investments in both physical and social infrastructure to create, and improve access to, economic opportunities and services. We will also further improve incentive structures to mainstream inclusive growth in our operations, including good governance and gender equality, and to capture our contribution to inclusive growth more effectively.

We also appreciate your support for our work in environmentally sustainable or green growth. As has been noted, this is an important and complex challenge that affects not only Asia but the entire world. We are particularly concerned that climate change, natural disasters, and environmental degradation most profoundly affect the poor.

We believe that ADB has a vital role in helping developing member countries transition to a greener growth paradigm. We will continue to promote green growth not only as an environmental necessity, but also as a tremendous economic opportunity. We will remain closely engaged in the process leading up to Rio+20.

While following an inclusive and environmentally sustainable development path, Asia needs to also recognize the critical importance of knowledge-led growth.

Of course, regional cooperation and integration will help the region meet its challenges. I am pleased that this Annual Meeting was witness to major milestones such as the doubling of the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization resources and the launch of the ASEAN Infrastructure Fund.

ADB remains an active partner for such efforts to increase regional resilience, stability and prosperity. And we will accelerate our efforts to promote south-south cooperation with other developing regions of the world, including Latin America.

As the region's needs continue to evolve, ADB will work hard to respond. We have noted your guidance throughout the session, including points you have raised regarding ADB's financial capacity, leveraging of private sector resources, operational efficiency, results framework, and provision of knowledge solutions. We will take action on each of these issues and continue to report the progress through our results framework. You emphasized the need to focus on achieving project outcomes. I cannot agree more. We will further enhance the staff incentives and management attention to project design and implementation. We very much appreciate the support of Governors in all our institutional efforts.

Finally, I take this opportunity to reiterate our sincere appreciation for your generous support of the Asian Development Fund. I assure you of our full commitment to implement ADF XI in accordance with the priority needs of ADF borrowers, and in close coordination with other development partners.

III. Conclusion

Governors:

I believe we can conclude our meeting for this year with a sense of confidence and optimism in the future. Clearly, Asia's transformation and evolving role in a dramatically changing world is a crucial one. Asia has an unprecedented opportunity to chart a new course and provide a better life for its people – and also to contribute to global growth and wellbeing.

There are many large challenges to overcome. But the region's fundamentals are strong, and it has the ability to move in the direction of more inclusive, green and knowledge-led growth. Continuing on this path will benefit the region and the world for generations to come.

I would like to express our sincere gratitude to His Excellency, President Aquino and to the Chair, Secretary Purisima, for the excellent arrangements for the 45th Annual Meeting. I also congratulate the Philippines on its successful initiative, the Philippine Corporate and Investment Forum. Above all, I thank the people of Manila, whose inherent warm hospitality and support have made this a most memorable and successful event.

Finally, let me congratulate the Governor for India, who will serve as Chair of the Board of Governors for the coming year. I look forward to seeing all of you next year when we meet in Delhi for ADB's 46th Annual Meeting.

Thank you again, and have a safe and pleasant journey home.