Remarks by ADB President Takehiko Nakao at the 28th Pacific Developing Member Countries Governors and ADB Management Meeting on 2 May 2018 in Manila, Philippines
Thank you, Governor Teuea Toatu, for your opening remarks.
Distinguished Governors and Alternate Governors, ladies and gentlemen:
It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the 28th Pacific Developing Member Countries (DMCs) Meeting with ADB Management. Thank you for joining us at ADB headquarters in Manila.
Today’s meeting is a very good opportunity for me to renew our friendship because I already have met many of you.
And today, we’d like to welcome the Honorable Sir Toke Tufukia Talagi, Premier of Niue, as an observer. Niue is very interested in becoming a member of ADB. Niue already had support from many of our member countries and is now close to the threshold required for new membership.
At last year’s Annual Meeting in Yokohama, we commemorated our 50 years of partnership with Asia and the Pacific.
This year, our focus is on the future. We are finalizing Strategy 2030, ADB’s long-term strategy that defines how we will respond to the changing development needs across the region.
For our DMCs in the Pacific region, Strategy 2030 calls for ADB to prioritize support for small island developing states (SIDS) and countries in fragile and conflict-affected situations (FCAS).
I would like to discuss how ADB is strengthening its financing, business processes and human resources to better support Pacific DMCs.
First, ADB will further expand the amount of concessional financing available to our Pacific DMCs. To assist small states, we are working to increase country base allocations for grants and concessional loans from the current $6 million to $13 million a year per country.
Also, based on your request at our meeting in Yokohama, we will consider measures of fragility and vulnerability in decisions on the eligibility and allocation of concessional resources. This will contribute to more favorable pricing of finance to SIDS and FCAS countries.
Second, we will continue to tailor our business processes to meet the needs and constraints of our Pacific DMCs. To improve project readiness, for example, we are increasingly using project design advances (PDAs) before project financing is approved.
To simplify procurement, we have streamlined the tendering process for civil works and goods, which will also benefit local contractors and suppliers. As we continue to roll out ADB’s new procurement policy, we will be introducing advanced and cleaner technologies in the Pacific. To support project implementation, we are providing more on-the-job training to our counterpart staff in executing agencies.
Third, ADB will continue to strengthen deployment of our human resources in the Pacific. As you know, we have three resident missions (Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste) and four extended missions (Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu). Based on the positive experience we have had with our four extended missions in the region, we will establish development coordination offices with ADB staff in all of the eleven smaller Pacific DMCs. This will ensure our physical presence in every Pacific DMC.
Last year, you identified eight priorities for ADB support, including the three points I just mentioned. ADB is addressing the remaining five priorities by pursuing new approaches and modalities that better respond to your needs in the Pacific.
First, we are working with the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to clarify their funding criteria and to expedite their review of proposals and disbursement of funds.
Second, we are leveraging ICT investments to expand applications for e-governance, e-education, e-health, and e-commerce across the Pacific.
Third, we are facilitating regional dialogue on de-risking, anti-money laundering, and combating financing for terrorism.
Fourth, we are promoting greater private sector investment in the region, as well as public–private partnerships.
And fifth, we are also supporting more peer-to-peer learning, and our new Pacific Fellows Program will help build capacities of senior government officials from the region.
Governors, Alternate Governors, ladies and gentlemen:
Let me now turn to climate change and natural disasters which are among the greatest threats to development progress in the Pacific. ADB will continue to mobilize climate finance for both adaptation and mitigation purposes.
Working closely with you, we will expand the availability of contingent financing to provide quick-disbursing funds in the immediate aftermath of natural disasters, building on the Pacific Disaster Resilience Program approved in December 2017 covering Samoa, Tonga, and Tuvalu.
ADB is committed to continuing our support to strengthen resilience across the Pacific. Earlier this year, tropical cyclone Gita significantly impacted Tonga and Samoa. The massive earthquake in Papua New Guinea affected half a million people in the Highlands Region. I offer my sincere condolences to the governments and the people of Tonga, Samoa, and Papua New Guinea. ADB will work with you to recover and build back better.
As we look to the future, ADB’s Annual Meeting in 2019 is clearly in our sights. With sincere thanks to the Government of Fiji, this will be the first ADB Annual Meeting hosted by a Pacific DMC.
The Annual Meeting in 2019 will be an unprecedented opportunity for all of you to showcase the Pacific and its achievements, but also to highlight the development challenges that remain. On our part, we will pursue further measures to support vulnerable small states in the Pacific.
To support ADB’s preparations for the 2019 Annual Meeting, I plan to travel to Fiji later this year. I also hope to visit other Pacific DMCs.
In closing, I look forward to our continued partnership to achieve more inclusive and sustainable development across the Pacific.