Regional: Asia Regional Integration Center, Phase IV

Sovereign Project | 45135-001 Status: Closed

Summary

In April 2005, the Office of Regional Economic Integration (OREI) was established to support the Bank's work on regional cooperation and integration (RCI). In July 2006, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) adopted an RCI strategy to support ADB's overarching goal of poverty reduction through regional collective actions. Consistent with this strategy, OREI launched the Asia Regional Integration Center (ARIC) website in October 2006 as a one-stop web-based knowledge and information portal on the progress of RCI initiatives in the region. This period marked the first phase of an RCI-focused ARIC technical assistance (TA). Further, in April 2008, ADB adopted Strategy 2020, which identified regional integration as one of three development agendas and RCI as one of its core specialization and operational areas.

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Project Name Asia Regional Integration Center, Phase IV
Project Number 45135-001
Country Regional
Project Status Closed
Project Type / Modality of Assistance Technical Assistance
Source of Funding / Amount
TA 7913-REG: Asia Regional Integration Center, Phase IV
Technical Assistance Special Fund US$ 1.48 million
Strategic Agendas Inclusive economic growth
Regional integration
Drivers of Change
Sector / Subsector

Finance - Finance sector development

Industry and trade - Trade and services

Public sector management - Economic affairs management

Gender Equity and Mainstreaming No gender elements
Description

In April 2005, the Office of Regional Economic Integration (OREI) was established to support the Bank's work on regional cooperation and integration (RCI). In July 2006, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) adopted an RCI strategy to support ADB's overarching goal of poverty reduction through regional collective actions. Consistent with this strategy, OREI launched the Asia Regional Integration Center (ARIC) website in October 2006 as a one-stop web-based knowledge and information portal on the progress of RCI initiatives in the region. This period marked the first phase of an RCI-focused ARIC technical assistance (TA). Further, in April 2008, ADB adopted Strategy 2020, which identified regional integration as one of three development agendas and RCI as one of its core specialization and operational areas.

This technical assistance (TA) aims to assist the RCI work in the Bank by strengthening the ARIC website as a knowledge and information portal for RCI, thereby adding value to ADB's role as a knowledge institution. Building on the successes of previous TA projects, this TA will improve ARIC's RCI databases and develop an indicator system to track the progress of regional integration and its concomitant effects in the region--contributing to economic growth and reducing economic uncertainty and financial volatility. It will also enhance ARIC's role to keep a close watch and provide up-to-date analyses of the changing global economic and financial environment--activities that have become more important in the wake of increasing global uncertainty and financial volatility.

Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy

Regional economic integration plays a vital role in improving productivity, accelerating economic growth, and reducing poverty. It is thus a welcome development that regional cooperation and integration has gained momentum in Asia and the Pacific. In 2010, intraregional trade comprised 59.3% of the region's total trade flow, from 54.9% in 2000. As of August 2011, 123 Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) had been concluded, up from 45 in 2000. The region's share of its total foreign asset holdings also rose from 15% in 2001 to 27.9% in 2009.

There remains a need, however, to promote greater awareness and understanding of the benefits of RCI. This can be achieved by providing reliable, timely, and accurate information on and analyses of various RCI initiatives in the region. Indeed, a prime opportunity for doing so is presented by the increased uncertainty and financial sector volatility that currently hang over the world economy. The growing tension in the eurozone also highlights the Achilles heel of regional integration--contagion. These are key risk factors and important concerns for the region, which need to be tracked, their regional implications need to be considered, and measures to mitigate their effects need to be identified. And ARIC is in a unique position to assist in this function having gained expertise in disseminating RCI knowledge and information widely, efficiently, and inexpensively.

Over the years, the ARIC TA has contributed to the increased capacity of key stakeholders in the region to respond to various regional challenges. During the 1998/99 Asian Financial Crisis, the Asia Recovery Information Center provided reliable, timely, and accurate crisis-related information, which was vital for restoring confidence and facilitating economic recovery in the region. In March 2004, it was renamed the Asia Regional Information Center in recognition of its key role of disseminating useful knowledge and information on regional initiatives. During this period, the Asia Regional Information Center continued to provide information on recovery efforts in Indonesia, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand, which was later extended to cover the People's Republic of China, Singapore, and Viet Nam. In 2006, it was renamed the Asia Regional Integration Center and given a new mandate to serve as the knowledge and information portal on various RCI initiatives in the region. Its website was restructured to focus on four pillars: Cross-Border Infrastructure and Software, Trade and Investment, Money and Finance, and Regional Public Goods.

To date, the ARIC website has established itself as a reliable and leading source of RCI knowledge and information. It provides updated information on: (a) news, opinions, and editorials on a daily basis as well as RCI-related studies; (b) useful databases such as trade integration and FTAs; investment, macroeconomic, monetary, and financial indicators; tax incentives; and climate change action plans and commitments, among others; (c) calendars of economic data releases and RCI events; and (d) early warning system indicators. It supports the publication of the Asia Economic Monitor (AEM), the RCI Working Papers, and other ADB flagship studies. ARIC also assists in the preparation of the Economic Prospects and Policy Issues for ASEAN+3 (Confidential Notes), which are ADB's contribution to the biannual ASEAN+3 Finance Deputies' Meetings.

ARIC's information architecture, database systems, and state-of-the-art technology have been used as a benchmark by the ASEAN Statistics Unit. ARIC also assisted the development of the Aid for Trade, the Global Reserve System, and ADB Finance Community of Practice websites. The Secretariat for the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa consulted ARIC on its plan to establish a regional integration surveillance mechanism. In 2009, the ARIC website was included by the Center for Comparative Regional Integration Studies at United Nations University in its best-practice analysis of online resources dealing with regional integration studies. The ARIC website's FTA section is currently linked to the Asia-Pacific trade and investment agreements database, which is maintained by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. The website generates an average of 7,650 unique visitors and 50,100 downloads monthly.

Following these achievements, this TA will serve as the fourth phase of ARIC, which is timely given two important developments in the region. First, as a consequence of the global financial crisis, there is a growing need to re-balance growth in favor of strengthening economic ties within Asia and the Pacific, not only so that the region would have new growth drivers, but also to make regional economies less vulnerable to external shocks. Second, due to the heightened global uncertainty and increasing financial volatility, regional economic cooperation and economic surveillance have gained heightened significance.

In this regard, the ARIC Phase IV will aim to improve RCI monitoring by developing an RCI indicator system, which will track the progress of regional integration in the region. To be developed in collaboration with ADB's RCI Community of Practice and in consultation with the rest of the Bank, the RCI indicator system will aim to order and combine existing regional integration indicators so as to gain a multi-dimensional perspective of RCI trends. The aggregation of indicators will provide a holistic view of the progress of RCI. In addition, the RCI indicator system will include the perception of key stakeholders regarding the progress of and impediments to RCI in the region. It could also include other regional indicators from ADB's results-based framework.

Impact Implementation of existing RCI activities, development of new ones, and assisting in economic monitoring, and greater policy dialogues in the region

Project Outcome

Description of Outcome Greater access to economic analysis and RCI-related knowledge, which will enhance the capacity of key stakeholders in the region to implement RCI initiatives
Progress Toward Outcome
Implementation Progress
Description of Project Outputs

New and expanded ARIC website and updated RCI knowledge and information in the OREI intranet

Improved RCI database and a new indicator system for RCI

Publication of an RCI Monitor, ADB working paper series on RCI, and new ARIC knowledge products

Asia Economic Monitor (AEM)--online and print version

RCI seminars including a regional seminar to link RCI initiatives in the Bank

Other activities that support RCI work by ADB staff and enhance links between ARIC website and other relevant sites

Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues)
Geographical Location

Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects

Environmental Aspects
Involuntary Resettlement
Indigenous Peoples
Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation
During Project Design
During Project Implementation

Business Opportunities

Consulting Services

international consultants: Lead Economist (18 person-months); Economists (total 18 person-months total); Economics and Copyeditor (15 person-months)

national consultants: Assistant Lead Economist (total 18 person-months); Economic Analysts (total 144 person-months); Web Administrator and Programmers (total 36 person-months); Multi-media Designer and Developer (total 18 person-months); System nd Database Developer (total 18 person-months); Typesetter (total 4 person-months); Project Specialist (total 18 person-months)

Procurement Database, equipment, and computer software

Responsible Staff

Responsible ADB Officer James Villafuerte
Responsible ADB Department Economic Research and Regional Cooperation Department
Responsible ADB Division ERCI
Executing Agencies
Asian Development Bank
6 ADB Avenue,
Mandaluyong City 1550, Philippines

Timetable

Concept Clearance 20 Sep 2011
Fact Finding -
MRM -
Approval -
Last Review Mission -
Last PDS Update 20 Sep 2011

TA 7913-REG

Milestones
Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
16 Nov 2011 - 16 Nov 2011 30 Nov 2013 31 Dec 2014 -
Financing Plan/TA Utilization Cumulative Disbursements
ADB Cofinancing Counterpart Total Date Amount
Gov Beneficiaries Project Sponsor Others
1,480,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 1,480,000.00 16 Nov 2011 1,337,707.59

Safeguard Documents See also: Safeguards

Safeguard documents provided at the time of project/facility approval may also be found in the list of linked documents provided with the Report and Recommendation of the President.

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Evaluation Documents See also: Independent Evaluation

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Related Publications

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