Opening remarks by Fatima Yasmin, ADB Vice-President (Sectors and Themes), at the Financial Management Knowledge Event: Gender Equality and Climate Resilience - Role of Public Financial Management, 7 November 2023

Good morning, and a warm welcome to everyone. I would also like to extend a special welcome to our guests from the Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (or PEFA) Secretariat in Washington D.C. PEFA, as many of you know, is a globally recognized framework for assessing the public financial management capacity of countries. PEFA has recently added frameworks for climate and gender.

I am delighted to be here today, as this event addresses three of ADB’s seven operational priorities under our Strategy 2030. First is Operational Priority 2 on accelerating progress in gender equality; second, Operational Priority 3 on tackling climate change, building climate and disaster resilience, and enhancing environmental sustainability; and third, Operational Priority 6 on strengthening governance and institutional capacity.

I believe that underpinning the successful outcome of these operational priorities is the robust public financial management systems of each country. Having an idea of the risks and issues in a specific country’s financial management systems is a big help in designing financial management arrangements and conducting financial management and risk assessments.

Public financial management also has a big role in addressing climate change. As development partners and governments commit more funds for climate change and gender equality, we need to ensure that our DMCs are using the resources efficiently and effectively to achieve the desired goals. This, I believe, shows how our member countries’ development objectives and ADB’s operational priorities are interconnected.

The Asia and the Pacific region is home to 60 per cent of the global population or around 4.3 billion people. It also has the largest number of climate-vulnerable people worldwide and the region experiences average losses of $200 million per day because of natural disasters. In addition, the region contributes more than half of the global carbon dioxide emissions in the world.

Recent estimates suggest that climate change could push more than 100 million people in developing countries around the world below the poverty line by 2030, with most of its impact in Asia Pacific region. Women and girls, and particularly those who are poor, suffer disproportionately from the impact of climate change and their recovery from post-disaster shocks is typically less rapid than that of men. This, I believe, is a result of their lack of resource ownership and human capital endowments, disadvantaged socioeconomic position, lack of voice in decision-making processes, and disproportionate care responsibilities.

While there have been significant advances in accelerating gender equality, gaps persist in health, employment, participation, and leadership in decision making. The Global Gender Gap report also notes that it will take over 131 years to close the gender gaps in economic, education, and political participation in less developed regions, including Asia and the Pacific. It is important for the region to remove these gender disparities and ensure that women are included in decision-making at private and public levels and have equal rights and access to resources.

I have always believed that effective climate change adaptation will take place only when the social drivers of vulnerability are addressed. Countries with lower levels of gender inequality are more resilient to the impacts of climate change. In addition, addressing the vulnerabilities of the different groups in climate action can be an effective way to promote gender equality and climate adaptation.

To tackle climate and gender issues in the Asia and Pacific Region, ADB has set ambitious goals. We have set an ambition to provide $100 billion in cumulative climate financing from our own resources by 2030. Strategy 2030 also includes twin targets that serve as a mandate to strengthen the gender and climate nexus of projects, 75% of projects supporting gender equality and 75% operations support climate change mitigation and adaptation in sovereign and non-sovereign operations by 2030. Implementing effective climate change projects and programs that consider the specific needs and contributions of women and girls are part of ADB’s commitment to effective climate change investments.

I am pleased to see the cross-disciplinary panel of experts from the climate, gender, and public financial management teams. I am looking forward to hearing from the PEFA experts on how public financial management can be adapted to respond to climate and gender needs. I am also interested to hear from ADB’s climate and gender practitioners, on how they have applied these in our DMCs.

Distinguished participants, I invite everyone to actively participate and learn from our panelists how they have adapted public financial management and climate responsiveness in various projects. We would also like to see how this can be reflected in ADB projects. Let us all work together to meet our climate and gender goals and at the same time, strengthen institutions and governance in our member countries.

Thank you!