Improving Livelihoods, Inclusiveness, and Resilience in Most Vulnerable Situations and States

Video | 15 June 2021

ADB will launch its Fragile and Conflict-Affected Situations (FCAS) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Approach (FSA) to improve livelihoods, inclusiveness, and resilience in these countries through more agile, flexible, and acutely responsive operations.

The new approach is built on 3 pillars: (i) improving ADB responsiveness, (ii) increasing institutional capacity, and (iii) enhancing understanding of developing member countries contexts.

A mixed record of success in FCAS and SIDS suggests that ADB cannot continue doing business as usual in these countries. The FSA introduces new protocols and tools such as flexible business processes, procedures, and practices; fragility and resilience assessments; and context-driven and risk-informed decision making.

The way ADB prepares its country partnerships strategies, designs its projects, oversees their implementation, and sets and monitors its performance targets will be even more tailored to the specific context of each country.

Transcript

ADB’s vision for a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific cannot be fully achieved while pockets of fragility remain in some countries. Issues such as weak governance, poverty, remoteness and isolation, unsustainable debt, extreme effects of climate change, conflict and violence (including gender-based and ethnic violence), are all causes of fragility.

ADB’s work in countries facing these challenges has been less successful when compared to elsewhere in the Asia and Pacific region. This implies that ADB cannot continue doing business as usual, and follow the same processes, procedures, and practices in these countries.

A new Fragile and Conflict-Affected Situations (FCAS) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Approach (FSA) has been developed to improve ADB’s operations and ultimately improve livelihoods, inclusiveness, and resilience in these countries. Our operations must remain agile, flexible, and acutely responsive, with the COVID-19 outbreak adding urgency to this task.

The new approach is built on 3 pillars: (i) improving ADB responsiveness, (ii) increasing institutional capacity, and (iii) enhancing understanding of developing member countries contexts. Its underlying principles include flexible business processes, procedures, and practices; introduction of fragility and resilience assessments; context-driven and risk-informed decision making; and optimizing adequate resources and strategic partnerships.

Under the new approach, the way ADB prepares its country partnerships strategies, designs its projects, oversees their implementation, and sets and monitors its performance targets will be even more tailored to the specific context of each country. This means a shift to enhanced understanding of the context and adapting to it. ADB will work closely with its clients, make changes and increase flexibility to its processes and procedures to make them more responsive to the specific needs of FCAS and SIDS on such issues as social and environmental safeguards, procurement, and financial management, without losing their integrity. 

In Afghanistan, a fragility and resilience assessment was prepared to better inform the country partnership strategy 2021-2025. This assessment focused on deepening ADB’s understanding of the various constraints faced by the country, and the interaction between such fragility drivers and ADB’s sectoral interventions. It identified factors that can act as sources of resilience going forward and provided concrete recommendations on how to make ADB’s operations more effective, sustainable, and resilient to the changing context, and contribute to the country’s efforts towards peacebuilding and stability. The multi-dimensional nature of the fragility and resilience assessment required close coordination with other assessments being prepared as part of the Afghanistan country partnership strategy process.

While in Tonga, a context-specific solution was introduced using innovative financial instruments and strategic partnerships. ADB Private Sector Operations and the Pacific Department teamed up to design and develop a credit enhancement mechanism to support the credit worthiness of power utilities where government guarantees cannot be given. The climate-resilience project was bid to the private sector through a transparent tender process. By encouraging new modalities and working with both sovereign and non-sovereign operations, ADB is helping Tonga step into its renewable energy future.

Overall, this new approach will help ADB serve better the poorest and most vulnerable people in the Asia and Pacific region.