ADB's Work in FCAS and SIDS
Despite decades of economic growth and declining poverty across Asia and the Pacific, vulnerable populations continue to be susceptible to drivers of fragility such as weak governance, climate change, and armed conflict or civil unrest. These expose populations to the full brunt of global economic shocks, pandemics, natural hazards, and other external events.
ADB requires a comprehensive approach to address the drivers of fragility; otherwise, pockets of vulnerability will remain and those most in need will continue to be excluded from regional development gains. The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak has added urgency to this task. The pandemic has exposed the frailty of development success and shown how quickly hard-won progress on poverty can be reversed. Supporting at-risk developing member countries (DMCs) to rebound economically while safeguarding prior development gains is a key challenge for ADB moving forward.
ADB’s FCAS and SIDS Approach (FSA), approved in April 2021, delivers these solutions. ADB is the first multilateral development bank to support FCAS and SIDS together under a single operational approach. The FSA recognizes that despite their contextual differences, FCAS and SIDS face similar challenges and vulnerabilities—for example, a strong need for governance and institutional capacity building, high vulnerability to economic shocks, and less developed private sectors. The FSA’s tailored approaches effectively address both the transient vulnerabilities of FCAS and the more permanent fragilities of SIDS.
The FSA is complemented by ADB’s regional Pacific Approach, 2021-2025, which is designed to support a resilient Pacific by helping 12 of the smallest Pacific SIDS prepare for and respond to shocks, deliver quality and sustainable services, and support inclusive growth. The Pacific Approach applies innovative and context-specific ways of engaging with SIDS, including improved analytics and tailored business processes that focus on increasing efficiency, building resilience, and ensuring sustainable results. It introduces comprehensive climate actions at national and regional levels, rather than project-based, and long-term holistic capacity supplementation to better respond to the needs of each Pacific SIDS.
Vulnerable Country Groups
Excludes Afghanistan and Myanmar. ADB placed its regular assistance to Afghanistan and Myanmar on hold effective 15 August 2021 and 1 February 2021, respectively. ADB remains committed to supporting the economic and social development of the people of both countries.
Fragile and Conflict-Affected Situations (FCAS)
Multilateral development banks classify these countries as FCAS based on an assessment of quality of macroeconomic management, coherence of structural policies, degree to which policies and institutions promote equity and inclusion, quality of governance and public sector management, and performance of concessional assistance project portfolio.
FCAS developing member countries are generally characterized by political instability, weak governance and institutional capacity, economic and social insecurity, and greater vulnerability to the effects of climate change and natural hazards. While an FCAS designation is typically ascribed to a country, it sometimes describes a subnational territory that has been destabilized due to fragility, conflict, and/or violence. In Asia and the Pacific, subnational conflict is now the most common type of conflict involving violence.
ADB has used the MDB harmonized FCAS classification system since 2013. In FCAS-classified developing member countries, ADB implements differentiated approaches and takes special considerations regarding resource allocation.
ADB conducts a country performance assessment (CPA) using the International Development Association (IDA) country policy and institutional assessment questionnaire and guidelines. The CPA assesses the performance of each country based on the (i) quality of its macroeconomic management, (ii) coherence of its structural policies, (iii) degree to which its policies and institutions promote equity and inclusion, and (iv) quality of its governance and public sector management.
A country is considered FCAS if it has an average rating of 3.2 or less based on the ADB CPA and the World Bank Group country policy and institutional assessment. A country is also considered FCAS if a United Nations and/or a regional peacekeeping or peace-building mission from such organizations as the African Union, the European Union, or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has been present during the previous 3 years, excluding border-monitoring operations.
2020 List of Countries Classified as FCAS
ADB’s 11 FCAS countries are: Afghanistan, the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Kiribati, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, the Marshall Islands, Myanmar, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, and Tuvalu. Vanuatu, while not officially listed, will remain under monitoring as its most recent score borders the threshold. The next fragile and conflict-affected country classification will take place in 2022 upon the completion of the 2022 CPA exercise.
|Developing member country||CPA/CPIA Average|
|Federated States of Micronesia||2.8|
|Lao People’s Democratic Republic||3.2|
|Papua New Guinea||2.9|
Small Island Developing States (SIDS)
SIDS self-identify as a distinct group of countries with specific social, economic, and environmental vulnerabilities, including geographic remoteness and dispersion, small populations and markets, narrowly based economies, low fiscal revenue, vulnerability to exogenous economic shock, high import and export costs for goods, and increasing exposure to natural hazards and climate change.
SIDS in Asia and the Pacific are affected by extreme fragility that can threaten lives and livelihoods, strain state capacity and service provision, and exacerbate local tensions over land issues and other resources.
Sixteen ADB DMCs are SIDS: Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Maldives, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.
SIDS can share similar structural constraints to FCAS, regardless of whether they are also categorized as such. The small size, remote locations, and narrow asset bases (often concentrated in resource extraction, agriculture, and/or tourism) of most SIDS complicate public service delivery and leave them exposed to external economic shocks, natural hazards, and the impacts of climate change. This threatens lives and livelihoods and can create debt sustainability issues. For the four SIDS that are atolls, rising sea levels are an existential threat. SIDS can also be affected by instability or conflict—several Pacific SIDS have experienced periods of political instability or conflict in the 21st century. Gender inequality as both a cause and consequence of fragility and instability affects FCAS and SIDS, and some Pacific SIDS experience a high prevalence of gender-based violence.
Evolution of ADB's FCAS and SIDS Agenda
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Busan New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States
Accra Agenda for Action
The Principle for Good International Engagement in Fragile States and Situations
Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness
FCAS and SIDS
ADB has developed an approach to ensure that its operations address the specific challenges and requirements of FCAS and SIDS. This approach promotes the use of innovative approaches and technologies built on a solid foundation of data analytics and context-specific knowledge. It delivers integrated solutions by combining expertise across sectors and themes and through a mix of public and private sector operations.
Advisor, SDCC and Chief of Fragile and Conflict-Affected Situations
Principal Operations Coordination Specialist (Conflict-Affected Situations)
Principal Operations Coordination Specialist (Fragile Situations)
Operations Coordination Specialist (Conflict-Affected Situations)
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