Asian Development Fund: Focus Areas

ADB's Strategy 2020 vision of an Asia-Pacific free of poverty guides the Asian Development Fund (ADF) with three complementary development agendas: inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional cooperation and integration. ADB reaffirmed these strategic priorities in addressing the remaining and emerging challenges in the region in its Midterm Review of Strategy 2020.

Inclusive Economic Growth: Fostering Growth that Reaches All

Inclusive growth has two mutually reinforcing objectives. First, rapid and sustainable growth will create and expand economic opportunities. Second, broader access to these opportunities will ensure that members of society can participate in and benefit from growth.

ADB has supported investments in infrastructure—roads, water, energy and urban services—to help raise productivity, create jobs, and promote trade and investment. Infrastructure provides access to basic social services. In many ADF countries, for example, developing rural infrastructure is essential to connect the poor to markets and enable them to participate in the growth process. To sharpen the focus on inclusive growth in the lead up to 2020, ADF operations will support infrastructure projects that benefit lagging areas; expand operations in health and education; emphasize social protection, financial inclusion, and inclusive business; help strengthen governance systems and institutional capacities; and provide more resources for low-income and fragile and conflict-affected developing member countries.

Environmentally Sustainable Growth: Growth for a Green Future

Rapid growth is a high priority but it also has to be environmentally sustainable. ADF countries face daunting challenges in responding to climate change and increased vulnerability to natural disasters, water scarcity, unplanned and unsustainable urbanization, pollution, and loss of forest cover and biodiversity. The region has also become more vulnerable to extreme weather, rising sea levels, and other phenomena related to climate change. Poor communities in many ADF countries, particularly women and children, will continue to be hardest hit.

ADB integrates environmental sustainability into its ADF operations. ADF assistance supports infrastructure investments in clean, energy, sustainable transport and urban development, and reliable water supply and sanitation. ADF projects also seek to improve natural resource management in rural areas, maintain the integrity of important regional ecosystems, and strengthen environmental governance and management capacities. ADB will scale up support for climate change adaptation strategies while maintaining assistance for mitigation. ADB will also strengthen disaster risk management and support ADF countries' access to environment and climate change funds.

Regional Cooperation and Integration: Partnering for Shared Prosperity

Regional cooperation and integration (RCI) plays a critical role in accelerating economic growth, strengthening institutions, and reducing development gaps between countries. In South Asia, for example, the size and scattered nature of the region’s hydropower and natural gas resources—and the different sizes of its national economies and associated energy demand levels and rates of growth—suggest immense potential for mutually beneficial integration and trade in energy and energy resources.

ADF supports various cross-border infrastructures, which helped improve connectivity and raise national as well as household incomes. ADF operations aim at expanding connectivity and value chains by enhancing cross-border infrastructure investments, complementing these investments with measures to promote reforms related to trade facilitation, investment climate improvement, access to finance, and skills development. They also support regional public goods, including effective regional responses to climate change and control of communicable diseases.