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Governance and Public Management

Good governance is critical for development. ADB promotes good governance processes and practices for inclusive, participatory, and sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific.

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.

Architectural detail of the National Capitol Complex in Ngerulmud, Palau.
Architectural detail of the National Capitol Complex in Ngerulmud, Palau. Photo: Eric Sales/ADB

Governance Thematic Group

ADB’s Governance Thematic Group is the in-house network of experts on governance, public financial management, anticorruption, public sector management, e-governance, and institutional and capacity development.

The Governance Thematic Group plays a crucial role in promoting governance issues in ADB and delivering quality operations in developing countries in Asia through hands-on analytical and advisory support, peer review, and knowledge and innovative solutions.

The Governance Thematic Group is a network of about 200 ADB staff that fosters discussions and knowledge-sharing on governance and related issues and themes. The group runs a seminar series and other learning and development events showcasing operational experiences and lessons, and providing a forum for global thought leaders to discuss emerging trends, practices, and innovations. It also establishes partnerships and maintains links with like-minded organizations and networks.

The Governance Thematic Group is led by a technical advisor who heads a small Committee of directors, leading specialists, and senior staff, which acts as a think tank that provides advice on strategic directions in governance and public management related areas. A secretariat provides technical and administrative support.

Featured Multimedia

Strengthening Tax Policy and Enhancing Tax Transparency

This video introduces the concept of base erosion and profit shifting and showcases how ADB's Office of Anticorruption and Integrity promotes international tax transparency and domestic resource mobilization.

Contacts/Experts

ADB Governance Policies Timeline

 

1995

 

ADB adopts Governance Policy.

     

    1998

     

    ADB adopts Anticorruption Policy.

     

    1999

     

    Anti-corruption Unit, now the Office of Anticorruption and Integrity, is established.

     

    2001

     

     

    2003

     

    ADB establishes Accountability Mechanism.

       

      2004

       

      Anticorruption Unit is upgraded to an Integrity Division with expanded functions.

       

      2005

       

      Public Communications Policy is approved.

         

        2006

         

        Governance and Capacity Development Committee supports the development of the Second Governance and Anticorruption Action Plan (GACAP II).

         

        2007

         

        The Governance and Capacity Development Committee supports the development of ADB's first Capacity Development framework and action plan.

         

        2008

         

        The Governance and Public Management CoP is established.

         

        2009

         

         

        2011

         

        ADB revises and approves Public Communications Policy.

         

        2012

         

        ADB approves revised Accountability Mechanism Policy.

         

        2013

         

         

        2014

         

         

        2015

         

        Governance Thematic Group takes over the Governance and Public Management CoP.

        Professor Atiq Nisa speaks on the subject of Project Management and Corporate Governance at the Investment Gallery Room of the Batam State Polytechnic.
        Professor Atiq Nisa speaks on the subject of Project Management and Corporate Governance at the Investment Gallery Room of the Batam State Polytechnic. Photo: Lester Ledesma/ADB

        Corporate Governance

        Good corporate governance helps an organization achieve its objectives; poor corporate governance can speed its decline or demise. In Asia, many public institutions and state-owned enterprises can benefit from corporate governance practices that help foster sustainable development.

        Governments across Asia and the Pacific have established policy, legal, and institutional frameworks to promote sustainable development. Most of ADB's developing member countries are also parties to major multilateral environmental agreements. However, even in cases where policy frameworks are sound, actual reforms and implementation often do not materialize due to limited institutional capacity, lack of technical expertise, insufficient funding, and fragmented institutional arrangements.

        In developing Asia, ADB is helping countries promote green justice through knowledge sharing and capacity building. ADB's Environmental Justice Program is supporting several initiatives that aim to strengthen environmental regulatory frameworks and enforcement capacities of public institutions, including the judiciary, as well as promote regional cooperation.

        Local Governance

        Improved local governance is crucial for transparent, accountable, efficient and effective delivery of public services at the local level. ADB supports client countries in implementing local governance reforms, such as in local government finance, accountability in public expenditure management and service delivery, policy and regulatory reforms, and institutional development.

        Improved local governance is crucial for transparent, accountable, efficient and effective delivery of public services at the local level. Increasingly, decentralization has put the spotlight on local government performance in the delivery of development agendas. Multilateral financial institutions, including ADB, have opened doors to local government projects through subsovereign lending mechanisms.

        ADB supports countries in implementing local governance reforms, such as in local government finance, accountability in public expenditure management and service delivery, policy and regulatory reforms, and institutional development.

        Training facilitators from Vena Energy, Mataram University, and the local government helped the women of Jeger Buana Lombok to expand their market for their cassava chips business.
        Training facilitators from Vena Energy, Mataram University, and the local government helped the women of Jeger Buana Lombok to expand their market for their cassava chips business. Photo: Achmad Ibrahim/ADB

        Governance Issues in Asia and the Pacific

        For Asia, embracing good governance to build economies that are socially inclusive and environmentally sound will be vital for achieving sustainable development. Despite the region’s success in producing fast-growing economies, many countries still face a host of governance issues, including poor public services, weak government institutions, and corruption.

        With the region’s diverse political systems and institutional cultures, addressing these governance challenges becomes doubly difficult since it requires determining appropriate approaches or strategies applicable in particular country contexts. ADB assists countries in Asia and the Pacific to improve governance at national, local, and institutional levels.

        Anticorruption

        Anticorruption

        ADB is reducing the burden that widespread, systemic corruption exacts upon the people of the region, by helping to strengthen key government institutions that advance transparency and accountability in developing member countries.

        Decentralization

        Decentralization

        Decentralization, as a reform measure, reconfigures power relationships between and among governance institutions. ADB supports countries in implementing decentralization reforms, such as in public services delivery, infrastructure development, and financial management.

        Domestic Resource Mobilization

        Domestic Resource Mobilization

        The challenge for many governments in Asia is finding financial support for development projects, while managing debt and creating more opportunities for private sector investments. ADB supports countries in improving domestic resource mobilization for inclusive growth.

        E-governance and Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

        E-governance and Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

        Information and communication technology can help improve the delivery of public services, allow greater public access to information, and play an important role in public administration reforms in many countries in Asia and the Pacific.

        Fragile and Conflict-Affected Situations (FCAS)

        Fragile and Conflict-Affected Situations (FCAS)

        Fragile and conflict-affected situations (FCAS) and SIDS require special attention, given the risks they present and their larger need for institutional strengthening.