Director General

Vinod Thomas

Vinod Thomas assumed office on 17 August 2011 as the Director General of Independent Evaluation at the Asian Development Bank.

He reports to the Board of Directors through the Development Effectiveness Committee and oversees the activities of IED. Mr. Thomas brings 35 years of professional experience from the World Bank Group--the latest as Director General and Senior Vice-President of the Independent Evaluation Group.

He has a PhD in Economics from the University of Chicago and authored numerous books, articles, and reports.

There is no universal strategy for pursuing a triple bottom line of high, socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable growth, but better governance is an imperative.

Asian countries are increasingly turning to investing in dedicated development programs rather than relying entirely on economic growth to deliver better social outcomes. Evaluations of their actual impact have not always accompanied such decision making, but where they have, it has made a key difference.

Striking rates of economic growth notwithstanding, 550 million people remain hungry in Asia and the Pacific, 65% of the population has no safe piped water, and more than 600 million people live without electricity. Overcoming these problems requires a combined approach in which food, water and energy are treated as a nexus, rather than as separate, standalone issues, which has too often been the case in the past.

The recent stability of food prices in Asia and the Pacific presents policymakers a window for addressing several crucial issues that, if ignored, risk reigniting the food price crisis of 2007–2012 and undermining the region’s rise out of poverty.

For development institutions, private sector investments offer plenty of potential for promoting inclusive and environmentally sustainable growth at a profit. But how successful are they in achieving actual development gains?

View blog  

  • 3 September 2014

    Impact evaluations to guide policy - Vinod Thomas

    Asian countries are increasingly turning to investing in dedicated development programs rather than relying entirely on economic growth to deliver better social outcomes. Evaluations of their actual impact have not always accompanied such decision-making, but where they have, it has made a key difference.
  • 29 August 2014

    Asia's transformation through better governance - Vinod Thomas

    Asia is by far and away the global top performer in the pace of economic growth, but it is becoming clear the region can no longer continue pursuing growth at any cost and postpone social inclusion and the environmental care. As we now know, everything won’t come out in the wash. There is no universal strategy for pursuing a triple bottom line of high, socially inclusive and sustainable growth — but better governance is imperative.
  • 16 June 2014

    A troubling conundrum - Vinod Thomas

    Election victories everywhere are built on promises of faster economic growth and greater prosperity. But despite the evidence of the massive economic damage from climate change, few politicians here in Asia or elsewhere have successfully run for national office vowing to confront the problem.
  • 3 May 2014

    Sustaining GDP growth through greater inclusion - Vinod Thomas

    The time has come for government and economic leaders throughout Asia and the Pacific to push harder for more socially inclusive growth. Indeed, it has become imperative to sustaining the region’s strong economic performance and restoring a healthy environment. 
  • 10 April 2014

    Asia's exclusive growth is leaving too many behind - Vinod Thomas

    In two decades of spectacular economic growth and poverty reduction, Asia has nonetheless seen income inequality rising by more than 20 per cent - a growth pattern that cannot be considered inclusive. A shift to more inclusive growth that taps the contribution of people at all income levels, not just the better-off, would not only be socially desirable but also help sustain growth itself.

Pages

The frequency of intense natural disasters (defined here as events triggered by hazards of nature and causing at least 100 deaths or affecting the survival needs of at least 1,000 people) has been on the rise over the past 40 years. This is especially true for Asia and the Pacific, where such disasters have long been relatively frequent. A crucial question is the extent to which the frequency of such disasters is related to increases in the number of people exposed to hazards, changes in people’s vulnerability to hazards, and temperature and precipitation anomalies. This paper addresses this question with an econometric analysis of disaster risk determination for countries of Asia and the Pacific during 1971–2010.

As part of the United Nations Evaluation Group's "Lessons and Insights Series," Vinod Thomas shares his thoughts on evaluation and what it can do, as well as challenges moving forward.

At an ADB knowledge sharing event, Independent Evaluation Director General discusses a recent report, Inclusion, Resilience, Change: ADB's Strategy 2020 at Mid-Term, which calls on ADB to support the region's development with a triple bottom line of fostering growth, social inclusion, and environmental sustainability, underpinned by better governance systems.

Shell's Powering Progress Together forum aims to spark debate around how to remain resilient in a changing world. The forum convened a panel discussion composed of Jericho Petilla, Energy Secretary of the Philippines; Simon Henry, Royal Dutch Shell Chief Financial Officer; Brahma Chellaney, Professor of Strategic Studies, Centre for Policy Research; and Vinod Thomas, Director General of Independent Evaluation, Asian Development Bank.

This paper considers three main disaster risk factors behind the increased frequency of intense natural disasters—rising population exposure, greater population vulnerability, and increasing climate-related hazards.

Despite Asia’s remarkable economic success in the last half century, income inequality has worsened substantially and the region has become the world’s leading emitter of greenhouse gases. Should Asia simply continue on its established growth path? How can Asian governments pursue growth strategies that are socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable?