MANILA, PHILIPPINES (1 March 2024) — The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Independent Evaluation Department (IED), in its midterm review of ADB’s Strategy 2030, said the bank needs to further clarify its strategic priorities to remain relevant and responsive to the needs of its developing member countries (DMCs).   

Strategy 2030, which was adopted in 2018 and maps ADB’s corporate direction until 2030, had identified three approaches for ADB to address the region’s evolving needs: It should be flexible in planning its operations; it should develop integrated solutions to address the region’s increasingly complex challenges; and it should focus on honing its country-focused approach. The overarching question posed by the evaluation was: How has Strategy 2030 changed ADB and what further actions are needed?  

“Strategy 2030, in contrast to the previous strategy which bound ADB to core sectors, introduced flexibility which served the institution and its clients well, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said IED Director General Emmanuel Jimenez. “However, while maintaining flexibility, ADB can also be clearer in articulating its strategic direction. This report examines how Strategy 2030 might be adjusted to serve evolving priorities to respond to rapidly changing national, regional, and global environment, including the polycrisis.”

The report found that ADB has established itself as a leader in financial innovation, making it a model for other multilateral development banks. Under Strategy 2030, ADB must continue these efforts, which are critical if it is to provide additional resources to the region.

The evaluation also found that ADB has been responsive to country needs. “ADB has close relations with its DMCs, but its country strategies have yet to reflect Strategy 2030’s vision of a differentiated approach that caters to a more varied set of needs,” said evaluation team leader Erik Bloom. “Country partnership strategies should be based on country diagnostics that weigh different options in a holistic way to develop country-focused and tailored solutions. A country-focused approach would be facilitated if ADB had more staff presence on the ground.” 

The report added that ADB needs to better guide staff on the implementation of Strategy 2030. Better internal communications would have led to a more coherent interpretation and implementation of the strategy.

About Independent Evaluation at ADB

ADB's Independent Evaluation, reporting to the Board of Directors through the Development Effectiveness Committee, contributes to development effectiveness by providing feedback on ADB's policies, strategies, operations, and special concerns in Asia and the Pacific.

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