2016 Annual Evaluation Review

Evaluation Document | 12 April 2016

The report assesses the performance of ADB operations based on findings of recent evaluations, and draws out the priorities for ADB in coming years. It also reviews the institution’s efforts to achieve environmentally sustainable growth and to implement evaluation recommendations.

The Asia and Pacific region has been a global driver of economic growth and poverty reduction. Vulnerabilities and downside risks in the global and regional economies, however, are substantial, threatening continued progress. New challenges also call into question the economic approaches that delivered success in the past. Climate change and environmental degradation, increasing income inequality, and a growing need for social spending to address a vast demographic transition necessitate new solutions. Greater inclusion and environmental sustainability will have to be defining features of the region’s growth process.

As the premier regional development institution, the Asian Development Bank can help countries respond to global and regional uncertainties. It will need to support countries to build resilience against climate change, environmental degradation, and natural hazards. It should help ensure that economic growth is inclusive through support for quality education, health services, well-targeted social policies, gender equality, and infrastructure investments whose social benefits exceed costs. ADB must foster inclusion in its non-sovereign operations and seek private sector solutions for service delivery with substantial social benefits. Finally, it can engage with middle- and highincome countries to deepen its capacity to advise on cutting edge issues.

The ongoing efforts to develop ADB’s new corporate strategy, Strategy 2030, and to sharpen its corporate directions are timely, given the structural shift in the regional economic prospects and the ADB’s operational environment. This 2016 Annual Evaluation Review shows that ADB has made important progress in achieving some of the targets of the current long-term strategic framework, Strategy 2020, and in improving its operational performance. ADB leadership has placed greater importance on evaluation findings and recommendations, both in strategy and implementation, and taken action. However, responding to emerging challenges requires stronger efforts and results and a clear and decisive shift in directions.

First, it will pay for ADB to focus on responses or solutions for themes such as urban management, inclusive infrastructure, and climate disaster resilience and not be confined within sectoral boundaries. Second, ADB must leverage the links among sectors, most significantly between infrastructure and climate action as well as between infrastructure and inclusion. Third, to ensure that these directions go beyond statements of intent, it will be essential for ADB to discuss staffing and budget allocation plans together with the priorities of Strategy 2030—and not to consider the budget separately from the strategy.

ADB’s current Strategy 2020 adopts inclusive growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional cooperation as guiding principles. These agendas remain valid leading up to 2030. ADB is thus well positioned to make a difference. It needs to take bold steps to make these directions operational, to link strategy to budget and actions, and to achieve stronger results on the ground.