Special Address by ADB President Takehiko Nakao at the 2nd Asia-Pacific Evaluation Association International Evaluation Conference on 27 February 2019 at ADB headquarters in Manila, Philippines
Good afternoon. On behalf of the Asian Development Bank, I wish to extend a warm welcome to all the participants of the 2nd Asia-Pacific Evaluation Association (APEA) International Evaluation Conference. I appreciate the work by APEA President Prof. Romeo Santos, the founding APEA President Dr. Ryoichi Hirono, and others to realize this conference.
APEA is an important regional organization engaged in improving the theory, practice, use, and institutions of evaluation. Since APEA was launched in 2012, it has undertaken capacity building on evaluation, in addition to promoting the culture of evaluation throughout our region.
This conference brings over 300 people to Manila, all linked through evaluation, and hailing from governments, parliaments, the United Nations, the private sector, foundations, and civil society organizations. ADB is pleased to support APEA and this 2019 conference, here in our headquarters.
II. Importance of evaluation at ADB
At ADB, to deliver effective results for our vision of a “prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific,” we are employing rigorous systems of evaluation. Evaluation helps us to do the right things and learn whether we are doing things right. Evaluation findings incentivize staff to improve their work and provide direction on how to improve.
ADB regards both self-evaluation and independent evaluation as indispensable parts of our organization. Self-evaluation is the responsibility of our Strategy, Policy, and Review Department. Independent evaluation is the responsibility of our Independent Evaluation Department, which reports directly to the ADB Board of Directors through its Development Effectiveness Committee.
Regarding self-evaluation, ADB adopted results management in 1995 and we have been enhancing the practice over time. In 2008, we became the first multilateral development bank (MDB) to introduce a corporate scorecard to assess annual performance. We are now adopting a new corporate results framework in line with our new long-term Strategy 2030. We are striving for a more focused results framework, with fewer but more meaningful numerical targets.
Regarding independent evaluation, ADB established a post-evaluation office in 1978. Over time, the office’s mandate expanded, and in 2003 it became independent. The office’s Director-General started being appointed by the Board of Directors upon the recommendation of the President, and it began reporting to the Board. In 2008, it was then named the Independent Evaluation Department (IED). Independent evaluation is essential for the effective and efficient functioning of ADB. This involves the systematic assessment of projects, programs, policies, themes, and corporate issues.
Self-evaluation and independent evaluation share the same objective of making the institution function better. In the case of ADB, I am promoting the idea of better coordination between self-evaluation and independent evaluation, enhanced interaction between IED and the rest of ADB, and regular dialogue between the leadership of IED and Management of ADB, while preserving the independence of IED.
ADB has been instrumental in bringing together the self and independent evaluation communities of MDBs. In 2018, we hosted the first ever joint meeting of MDB networks of self and independent evaluation, an initiative we hope continues in the future.
III. Remaining and emerging development challenges
Now, I would like to speak about ADB’s Strategy 2030, which will tackle the remaining and emerging development challenges in Asia and the Pacific.
Over the past half century, our region has made great progress in poverty reduction and economic growth. Yet, many challenges remain and are emerging.
Given the size of Asia and the Pacific, achieving major global commitments, such as the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on climate change, will be critical to the region’s future development.
ADB's Strategy 2030 sets seven operational priorities: (i) addressing remaining poverty and reducing inequalities, (ii) accelerating gender equality, (iii) tackling climate change, disaster resilience, and environmental sustainability, (iv) making cities more livable, (v) promoting rural development and food security, (vi) strengthening governance and institutional capacity, and (vii) fostering regional cooperation and integration.
There are several clear numerical targets in the strategy. For example, by 2030, at least 75% of our operations in number will actively promote gender equality. We will expand our private sector operations to one-third in number by 2024.
To effectively implement Strategy 2030, we are taking a "One ADB" approach, including close collaboration between our sovereign and private sector operations. The promotion of public-private partnership transactions and greater usage of credit enhancement products are also indispensable. We are deploying innovative and integrated solutions for our clients, drawing on the rapid advancement of digital technologies, artificial intelligence, big data, satellite systems, and others.
Ladies and gentlemen:
The 2nd APEA International Evaluation Conference is an excellent opportunity for us to share experiences and exchange views on the role evaluation plays in pursuing the missions of our institutions more effectively and efficiently.
I am happy that many ADB staff are also benefiting from this conference. I wish all of you lively and productive discussions.