Community-Driven Development and Institutional Sustainability in Asia

Speech | 21 June 2011

Welcome remarks by Amy S. P. Leung, Director, Urban Development and Water Division, ADB's Southeast Asia Department, at the Regional Workshop, Jakarta

Mr. Budi Yuwono, Director General of Human Settlements, Government of Indonesia;
Mr. Sujana Royat, Deputy to the Minister for Poverty Alleviation, Government of Indonesia;
Mr. Djohermansyah Djohan, Director General of Regional Autonomy, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of Indonesia;
Resource Persons from People's Republic of China, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Mongolia, and Indonesia;
Colleagues in development -- good morning.

On behalf of the Asian Development Bank, I welcome you to the Regional Workshop on Community-Driven Development and Institutional Sustainability in Asia. I'd like to thank the Government of Indonesia, particularly the Directorate General of Human Settlements from the Ministry of Public Works, including the SMERU Research Institute, for the support and cooperation in organizing this workshop. I'd also like to thank the participants and resource persons who have traveled to Jakarta to participate in this event.

Many achievements have been made resulting in vigorous economic growth in the region. However, despite all this, economic challenges prevail with regard to health, corruption, rising inequality, as well as high prices of food, fuel, and gas, to name a few. Growth won't necessarily make these disappear. In fact, it might even exacerbate some of them. Growth can raise expectations from the population, especially from those who have yet to benefit from it. If not addressed, these concerns could undermine progress that has been made, keeping us from moving forward.

Numerous studies show that the community-driven development, or CDD, approach offers considerable benefits to communities and can increase poor people's access to important infrastructure and services. Yet we still need to gather more evidence based on experience and observation on what works or not. We need more information on what conditions and institutional arrangements are needed to establish the CDD approach as standard practice in development activities. This workshop will allow us to focus on some of the lessons for institutionalizing and sustaining the CDD approach in local development.

ADB recognizes the importance of CDD in promoting economic and social development. ADB's Long Term Strategic Agenda or Strategy 2020, which reiterates its commitment to promoting inclusive growth in Asia and the Pacific, places CDD at its core. As Strategy 2020 is anchored on inclusive growth, the CDD approach is highly relevant by ensuring that poor communities benefit from and participate in development efforts.

Even before Strategy 2020 was launched in 2008, ADB had been implementing projects with CDD components. Between 2001 and 2008, ADB funded 72 projects with CDD elements, valued at nearly $4 billion, translating to about 10% of the total number of ADB-financed projects approved during this period. These projects, spanning from Southeast to Central Asia, were mostly for water supply and sanitation, water management, education, health, and agriculture and natural resources. Although ADB funds projects with strong CDD components mostly in the rural areas, it also uses the CDD approach to support urban development projects, such as the Indonesia's Neighborhood Upgrading and Shelter Sector Project, Mongolia's Community-Driven Development for Urban Poor in Ger Areas, and Bangladesh's Second Urban Governance and Infrastructure Improvement Project—all of which will be discussed today.

There is a need to build, strengthen, and sustain local institutions that can allow ordinary citizens, including the most vulnerable, to take part in local decision making on important service delivery and local development. The new generation of CDD projects aims at widening citizen participation in service delivery, empowering them to claim accountability from their leaders, and promoting bottom-up approaches to service delivery.

An ADB technical assistance project that recognizes the need to promote knowledge sharing and capacity building on community-driven development in our developing member countries supports not only this workshop, but also studies of institutional impacts of CDD Projects in Indonesia, Philippines, and the People's Republic of China, as well as documentation of the participatory Saemaul Undung Movement in the Republic of Korea. Today, our resource persons will share with us the lessons from these studies.

In the next day and a half, we will hear about the lessons learned from findings of the CDD project assessments and country experiences in ADB-funded CDD projects. Most importantly, development partners, governments, and NGOs will share their insights on CDD and its institutional sustainability. Finally, a half-day field visit in Subang City tomorrow will give us a chance to meet and hear from beneficiaries of urban development projects using the CDD approach.

I believe this sharing of knowledge and experiences will help us refine our understanding about the opportunities and challenges of engaging local communities in the development processes and making economic growth more inclusive and equitable. Let us remember that though a higher GDP is undoubtedly a remarkable achievement, it has to translate to a better quality of life for the people.

Thank you for your attention and I look forward to a productive discussion.