Assessing Performance – Boosting Results in MDBs – Takehiko Nakao | Asian Development Bank

Assessing Performance – Boosting Results in MDBs – Takehiko Nakao

Speech | 30 May 2018

Opening Remarks by ADB President Takehiko Nakao at the ECG-MfDR Working Group Joint Meeting on 30 May 2018 at ADB Headquarters, Manila, Philippines

I. Historic first meeting, cooperation among IFIs

Thank you for coming to Manila for the first joint meeting of the Evaluation Cooperation Group and the MDB Working Group on Managing for Development Results. I welcome participants from international financial institutions (IFIs), governments, the private sector, and CSOs (civil society organizations).

I am honored to have this opportunity to speak to you. 

There are many areas of cooperation among multilateral development banks (MDBs) and more broadly among IFIs. Through the meetings between relevant departments and staff, we share ideas and exchange views on strategy, treasury matters, legal issues, and operational approaches, to name a few areas. At the country level, we have regular and close discussions between staff in resident offices.

Three times a year we have Heads of MDBs meetings, including the representative from IMF.

This first joint meeting is another example of efforts to strengthen our cooperation and share knowledge, experience, and ideas.   

II. Importance of results management and independent evaluation

Both results management and independent evaluation are indispensable to the efficient and effective functioning of our organizations. 

I would like to offer my perspectives using ADB as an example.

ADB has practiced results management since 1995, and has enhanced this practice over time. ADB was the first MDB to introduce a corporate scorecard in 2008. Work is now underway on a Strategy 2030-aligned results framework. 

Independent evaluation is also a critical function at ADB, involving the systematic assessment of projects, programs, policies, themes, and corporate issues. 

This function was first established in 1978 as the post-evaluation office. In 1999, its mandate was expanded and it was renamed the Operations Evaluation Office. In 2003, it became independent and started reporting directly to the Board of Directors. In 2008, the new policy renamed the office as the Independent Evaluation Department (IED).

I would like to highlight three points in relation to results management and independent evaluation at ADB.

First, the results management framework is an important part of the Strategy, Policy and Review Department at ADB. We should always keep an eye on project and program outcomes, as there is a tendency to pay attention predominantly to inputs, especially volume.
 
Without such a results management framework, it is difficult to incorporate elements of quality in our operations and collectively work toward achieving development results. 

This results management framework is strengthened by independent evaluation through an objective validation of ADB’s performance.

Second, results management and independent evaluation share the same objective of making the functioning of the institution better. The Board and Management of ADB, and leadership of IED, are working together toward this objective.

IED’s evaluation reports support the role of our Development Effectiveness Committee (DEC) of the Board, and the broader Board. Clear guidance and oversight by DEC to IED is essential. The candid exchange of ideas and views between Management and IED, conducted regularly and informally, is highly valuable.

Third, it is critical to ensure that ADB operations are considered from the angle of objective, independent views of IED. At the same time, it is important for independent evaluation to be based on a clear understanding of what the institution is doing. 

And it is better that independent evaluation be focused on how the institution can improve its work, instead of pursuing an expansion of its coverage. There are so many challenges and difficulties on the ground. IED staff, in addition to theoretical knowledge, need to understand these daily difficulties. 

Informal discussions and staff mobility between IED and the rest of ADB help connect IED’s work more closely to the reality of operations. The mobility of staff is also important to ensure that ADB staff in operations departments have mindsets of looking at outcomes and measuring results.

To summarize, interaction between IED and the rest of ADB, dialogue between the leadership of IED and the Board and Management of ADB, and coordination between results management and independent evaluation, while preserving the independence of IED, is a central institutional principle that I promote.  

III. Remaining and emerging development challenges

I would like to take this opportunity to speak on the remaining and emerging development challenges in the world. 

Although there has been progress in poverty reduction and economic growth, extreme poverty is far from being eradicated. In Asia and the Pacific, 330 million people still live on less than $1.90 a day. 

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and adhering to COP21 climate change actions are collective priorities for the international community. 

Gender equality needs to be vigorously pursued. Widening inequality in many countries points to a renewed focus on inclusive growth. Demographic shifts and urbanization also provide challenges as well as opportunities. 

In addressing these challenges, our clients, shareholders, CSOs, and the private sector require us to achieve strong results. 

I would like to emphasize three cross-cutting issues for our institutions.

First is the development of new technologies and their impact on future growth. This was a very important part of discussions at our Annual Meeting held in early May here in Manila. IFIs must integrate new technologies for financial inclusion, better education and health, and more energy efficient and sustainable infrastructure. We must ensure that our institutions and staff harness new technologies.

Second is the need for our institutions to provide integrated solutions across sectors such as energy, transport, urban, health and education, and to remove silos between sovereign and nonsovereign operations. 

At ADB, there is still a culture of distinguishing staff by whether they are from the sovereign side or nonsovereign side. And I am promoting a One ADB approach to increase synergies across sectors and between public and private sector operations. ADB is increasing staff mobility among departments and between headquarters and resident missions. 

Third is the imperative to enhance coordination between IFIs to mobilize more private resources for infrastructure and other development priorities. 

Although we have different shareholders and governance structures, there is additional scope to strengthen cooperation in such areas as identifying bankable projects, inventing effective risk mitigation, and promoting public–private partnerships. 

Results management and independent evaluation will continue to play a key role in keeping our institutions efficient and effective including in the three areas I just mentioned.

IV. Conclusion

This joint meeting will provide all of us an important opportunity to share experiences and exchange views regarding results management and independent evaluation. 

I look forward to lively and productive discussions.

Thank you.