The Asian Development Bank (ADB) responded effectively to its clients’ urgent needs amid the COVID-19 pandemic and should accelerate efforts to achieve the vision of its Strategy 2030 to support recovery and the Sustainable Development Goals, according to its Development Effectiveness Review (DEfR) released.
“Despite tumultuous times, we achieved good progress in 2021 on strategic priorities to mainstream gender in operations, reaching an all-time high, and diversify the nonsovereign portfolio into frontier economies and nontraditional sectors,” said Director General of ADB’s Strategy, Policy, and Partnerships Department Tomoyuki Kimura.
The 2021 DEfR is the 15th edition of the flagship report on ADB’s performance in achieving its corporate strategic priorities. The report uses corporate results framework indicators that were updated during a midterm review in November 2021. Focusing on operations financed by ADB, the report assesses ADB’s development effectiveness, highlights actions ADB has taken to improve effectiveness and identifies areas where performance needs to be strengthened.
To meet clients’ pandemic crisis needs, ADB swiftly reoriented to deliver a record level of operations focused on health and social protection, including extensive support for developing member countries (DMCs) countercyclical expenditure programs targeting the poor. It is expected that nearly 1.4 billion people will benefit from improved health services through COVID-19 response projects committed during 2021. Projects under the Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility helped swiftly procure safe and affordable vaccines, financing 226.9 million doses delivered to six DMCs. ADB also leveraged expertise and additional resources through established and new partnerships in support of DMCs’ COVID-19 responses and recovery paths.
Despite continuing market challenges, the nonsovereign cofinancing ratio increased and the share of nonsovereign operations over total operations committed improved. The performance of completed sovereign and nonsovereign operations steadily rose while the aggregate success rates still required continuous attention to meet the targets. ADB sustained improvement in work quality, development results, and additionality for completed nonsovereign operations. Improvements also were seen in sustainability and effectiveness for completed sovereign operations, even though challenges remain.
The pandemic response challenged efforts toward maintaining the strategic focus of ADB’s committed operations, according to the report. Progress toward climate change targets on both the share of operations and the financing volume slowed further in 2021, despite efforts to integrate climate actions into pandemic response and recovery. The share of financing committed for education remained off-track as some education projects were postponed in favor of other COVID-19 response operations.
Informed by these findings, ADB is taking action to improve sovereign operations’ sustainability and nonsovereign operations’ development effectiveness. “The fruit of actions taken over the past five years to strengthen design and monitoring frameworks, monitoring, and self-evaluation, coupled with improvements to project readiness, will likely be seen in future iterations of the DEfR,” said Mr. Kimura.