Governance and Public Management in Asia and the Pacific: Your Questions Answered
Hiranya Mukhopadhyay, Chief of ADB's Governance Thematic Group, discusses governance and public management challenges in developing Asia and how ADB is helping with fiscal reform and knowledge sharing.
How important is fiscal reform and domestic resource mobilization in improving governance in Asia and the Pacific?
Good governance is needed for a state to deliver quality public goods and services to benefit its citizens and society. Sound fiscal management and domestic resource mobilization are critical to good governance. These help to ensure that a government has enough resources to deliver on its mandate, can implement planned projects, and can achieve development outcomes.
What progress has ADB made in mainstreaming tax reform in its developing member countries?
ADB works to improve revenue collection, strengthen tax administration, and build the capacity of tax officials in DMCs. This is achieved through technical assistance, training, and knowledge products. ADB also supports regional efforts to strengthen international cooperation in base erosion and profit shifting (the OECD two pillar solution) along with tax transparency and exchange of tax information.
ADB launched the Asia Pacific Tax Hub (APTH) in May 2021. The APTH, in collaboration with development partners, is strengthening domestic resource mobilization and international tax cooperation in ADB DMCs. The hub also supports the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
What role is ICT-related reform playing in improving governance in Asia and the Pacific?
ICT-related reforms help improve governance in the region in various transformative ways. It can enhance the efficiency of government and organize data so that meaningful information can help decision-makers better manage government operations. Examples include linking central national budget and planning systems with budget execution at the implementation level.
ICT can also increase the transparency of government operations through online public tender boards and the filing of tax returns online (reducing interaction with tax officials). ICT is also important in citizen budgets, that enhance the engagement of stakeholders in areas like budget planning and audits.
Is there a visibility issue with ADB’s governance work given it appears less high profile compared with say, the bank’s transport, energy and climate change work?
ADB's governance work is cross-cutting thematically, helping to improve the institutions, systems, and practices needed to deliver positive development in ADB’s DMCs.
Quality governance is closely linked to economic and social development in Asia and the Pacific.
Decentralization and e-governance have real social and economic benefits when they improve delivery of services and empower local authorities.
Has ADB been involved in any successful knowledge sharing initiatives that have impacted positively on governance in Asia and the Pacific?
ADB recently completed a project to strengthen collaboration between the government and civil society to support citizen participation in service delivery.
The project supports the Open Government Partnership (OGP) in member countries to formulate and implement national commitments and provide learning opportunities for aspiring member countries to meet OGP eligibility statues. These include access to information, budget transparency, income and asset disclosure, and citizen engagement. ADB is also supporting many initiatives to improve public financial management at the local level.
Is Asia and the Pacific on track to achieve its governance-related SDGs by 2030?
Regionally, more still needs to be done towards Goal 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions) and Goal 17 (Partnership for the Goals). For instance, data availability on peace, justice and strong institutions remains poor, national human rights institutions need to be strengthened further and more must be done to end corruption and human trafficking.
Progress on partnerships towards achieving the SDGs has also been slow. Significant gaps were noted in the volume of public-private partnerships for infrastructure development. To achieve the 2030 targets, most indicators require acceleration of progress or improvements in data availability.
Is there a link between improved governance and reducing the impact of climate change?
Yes, there is. To remain committed to mitigating and adapting to climate change, governments need to focus on programs that support the development of low carbon pathways and a climate, disaster and health resilient society. Governments also have to ensure that post-COVID 19 recovery efforts and investments are consistent with a green and resilient economy.
What other governance issues need to be addressed to enhance responses to climate change in developing Asia?
To achieve national and regional climate goals, governments must boost public financial management and procurement, to ensure that limited resources contribute towards national climate-related targets and commitments.
Infrastructure investment projects should be planned with sustainability in mind. Also, adequate resources need to be allocated to the appropriate sectors, and projects implemented in a timely and cost-effective manner. Legal frameworks to support infrastructure need to improve, along with staff capacity and IT systems.