Opening Remarks Paul J. Heytens, ADB Country Director, at the TA Cooperation and Experience Sharing Workshop, Beijing, People's Republic of China
Distinguished Mr. Wu Jinkang, Deputy Director General, International Department, Ministry of Finance (MOF); fellow participants; ladies and gentlemen:
This TA workshop will thus hopefully help to strengthen the forward looking TA program by more closely aligning our capacity development and policy analysis TAs with our ongoing efforts to reposition ourselves in priority sectors and thematic areas. The workshop will hopefully also provide an opportunity for both government and ADB to share initial thoughts on sector assessments and road maps for the new Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) now under preparation, particularly how the limited TA resources might be leveraged to better address emerging priorities coming out of the forthcoming 12th Five-Year Plan and the lessons learned from the implementation experience during the current CPS period.
With the increasing importance that the PRC accords to knowledge cooperation in our partnership, the TA program is in fact the primary tool in meeting the growing demand for policy advice and capacity development, and thus in addressing the emerging issues and challenges facing the country. For example, the TA program's sharper focus on climate change and social issues is in response to the government's ongoing efforts to make the economy greener and more socially inclusive. The TA facilities approved so far and managed by the Ministry of Finance have also greatly enhanced ADB's responsiveness to emerging priorities, by providing small grants to facilitate rapid responses to requests for policy studies, project demonstration workshops, and capacity development.
Further, the TA facility modality has also demonstrated its effectiveness in helping to significantly broaden and deepen the range and coverage of ADB's knowledge products and services (KPS) program here in the PRC. Anchored in the ongoing TA facilities, the KPS program has enabled ADB to provide timely support for a number of joint initiatives in 2010, including a capacity building workshop for TA delegation; a workshop on strategic options for urbanization; a second TA awards program; a high-profile international event on the direction and policy orientation of the 12th five-year plan; and even today's workshop.
Further, under the rubric of the ADB-PRC Knowledge Sharing Platform jointly launched by the MOF and ADB in October 2009, we are actively exploring knowledge partnerships with PRC's centers of excellence to expand joint studies and mutual learning experiences between the PRC and other developing member countries (DMCs). In particular, an urban knowledge hub was established with Tongji University in March this year, and a regional research center on water security has been proposed with Peking and Tsinghua universities. We are also exploring cooperation with the Ministry of Environmental Protection to support its newly established China-ASEAN Environment Cooperation Center for capacity development and joint environmental protection initiatives.
Paralleling these country knowledge initiatives, ADB has also strengthened its role as a regional knowledge sharing platform. In this context, the recent launch of the Regional Sustainable Transport Forum and Asia Solar Energy Forum will reinforce country knowledge initiatives, particularly in strengthening the knowledge base of lending operations and mainstreaming climate change considerations into country operations.
I am also very pleased that PRC is spearheading the TA delegation initiative among ADB's DMCs. TA delegation is part of ADB's broader TA reform agenda, which aims to make our assistances efforts more effective and responsive to the needs of DMCs, by making them more focused and better integrated into individual country programs and country partnership strategies. We believe that by making executing agencies more directly involved in TA administration through delegation, there will be greater country ownership and accountability, and thus enhanced the development impacts of our TA program.
Finally, ADB and MOF in recent months have jointly initiated the preparation of the next CPS in anticipation of the PRC's launch of the next five-year plan covering 2011-2015. Our partnership strategy will continue to be guided by the PRC's development priorities as set out in the 12th five-year plan as it intersects with ADB's long-term strategic framework, Strategy 2020.
Over the past years, the PRC-ADB partnership has grown from strength to strength, resulting in the greenest and most innovative programs among ADB's DMCs, and a knowledge cooperation program increasingly focused on regional public goods and the sharing of PRC's development experiences with other countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
We see the preparation of the next CPS as an important opportunity to step back and revisit our partnership and strategic framework to forge an even sharper focus in supporting the PRC's emerging development priorities and Strategy 2020 objectives, particularly efforts to foster environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive development. As such, the new CPS would strengthen the rationale for the selected focus of ADB's loan and TA operations by customizing our broad mandates to the PRC's country-specific circumstances and priorities, and in doing so will leverage our dynamic partnership for innovation and harmonious development.
In closing, I would like to take this opportunity to once again thank Mr. Wu Jinkang and his colleagues from MOF's TA Division for our very productive cooperation through the TA program. Your efforts in managing the TA programming process and day-to-day coordination with executing agencies has greatly broadened ADB's partnership with central and local government agencies, and has enhanced the effectiveness of the TA program in addressing their needs. Finally, I look forward to fruitful discussions in the coming two days, and I would encourage you all to actively participate in the workshop.