MANILA, PHILIPPINES - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) met most of its key performance targets in 2011 but outcomes from recently completed operations remained below target despite improvements over the previous year, said an ADB performance report released today.

The Development Effectiveness Review 2011 shows that ADB made significant progress in promoting gender equity in projects ― which surpassed targets for the first time ― and in mobilizing more cofinancing to expand its impact. It also noted a sharp improvement in the performance of ongoing sovereign projects, reflecting initiatives taken to strengthen project design and implementation.

"ADB continued to make operational and organizational improvements in 2011, indicating that efforts to strengthen our development effectiveness are working," said Rajat Nag, ADB's Managing Director General. "We must persist with these efforts to overcome the performance challenges highlighted in the report and bring greater benefits to the poor in Asia and the Pacific."

That must include redoubling efforts to fully mainstream recent reforms to improve project implementation and outcomes, as well as pushing ahead with further remedial measures in response to the latest findings.

The review - ADB's fifth annual corporate performance report - shows that project outputs due for delivery between 2009 and 2012 remained on track for ADB operations as a whole. ADB also delivered more successful sovereign operations and technical assistance projects, although performance was still short of the 2012 targets. In addition, ADB continued its strong support for environmental sustainability, private sector development, and regional cooperation and integration.

At the organizational level, ADB increased operational staff numbers, improved its overall gender balance, strengthened resident missions, and continued to improve internal efficiency to maximize cost savings. ADB also won the Asian Most Admired Knowledge Enterprise Award in 2011.

These gains were offset by off-track ratings for the outcome achievement and success rates of recently completed operations, and lower output delivery for operations funded by the Asian Development Fund due to project delays and cancellations. The average time for processing sovereign projects also rose, reversing a trend toward faster project processing.

The performance report, which uses a scorecard system to track ADB's progress in carrying out its Strategy 2020 development agenda, noted that Asia and the Pacific continued to cut poverty levels in 2011 on the back of further sustained economic growth. At the same, inequality in the region is rising and a number of poorer countries are struggling to meet many of the 2015 Millennium Development Goals, including primary education completion rates, child mortality, and access to clean water and sanitation.

In response to the results of the review, ADB will fully implement recently approved initiatives to strengthen project implementation and outcomes, as well as the streamlined business processes designed to speed up project delivery. ADB will also take further actions to sharpen its results focus and improve gender balance within the organization. With current performance targets set to expire in 2012, a full-scale review of the existing results framework is now being carried out, and a refined and updated system will be put in place in 2013.

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