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ADB's Work on Governance and Development

ADB’s work on governance includes helping governments operate more efficiently and equitably, as well helping societies strengthen their capabilities to achieve their development goals. It supports the strengthening of government institutions from within, while assisting them in the improving the delivery of their services to the public.

Governance as public sector management. ADB focuses on 7 areas: public expenditure and fiscal management; economic affairs management; public administration; reforms of state-owned enterprises; decentralization; law and the judiciary; and social protection. Between 2013-2015, ADB invested $4.1 million in loans and grants to improve how governments in Asia are managed.

Governance as capacity development. In 2015, about 80% of ADB projects included some degree of capacity development, defined as developing the skills, experience, technical and management capacity of an organization.

ADB also supports countries in addressing issues such as corruption, e-governance, information and communications technology, decentralization, and others.

Because of the broad scope of work needed in the area of governance, ADB prioritizes its work based on areas where it is most needed. This is done by assessing where the risk is greatest that development and social goals will not be met.

A commitment to good governance

In a region with historically diverse economic and political systems, an uneven pace of progress and a wide development gap among countries is to be expected. In Asia, however, successful development has taken place in countries of different political persuasions or economic policies. Their common denominator: good governance.

ADB recognized this early on and in 1995 became the first multilateral development bank to adopt a Governance Policy to help enhance governance quality in its member countries, while considering the uniqueness of each country’s governance institutions and cultures. The policy became the basic building block for a cluster of good governance policies, which now includes policies on procurement, law and policy reform, participation of civil society, and anticorruption. Good governance has since also been established as one of the three pillars of ADB’s Poverty Reduction Strategy.

More recently, ADB’s Strategy 2020, which reaffirms ADB’s mission of a poverty-free Asia-Pacific, identifies governance as a key driver of change.

ADB’s Governance Thematic Group takes the lead in promoting governance issues in ADB’s development work and coming up with initiatives that strengthen the plan’s implementation.