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Friday, December 8, 2023

More ADF grants for developing world pushed

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AS climate change, geopolitical tensions and diseases have strained the financial capacities of developing member countries, there is a “pressing” need for Asian Development Fund (ADF) grants to support their recovery efforts and long-term development plans, according to the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

ADB’s Independent Evaluation Department (IED) Director General Emmauel Jimenez said the multilateral development bank has used concessional resources well and has reached the “most vulnerable developing member countries at risk of debt distress.”

However, he said, “There is an opportunity to enhance ADF’s impact in several ways. Closing the monitoring and evaluation system gaps that limit the measurement of ADF outcomes and leveraging policy-based lending by reevaluating the cap for policy-based grants are some ways in which the ADF platform can be improved.”

ADF provides grants to ADB’s “poorest and most vulnerable” developing member countries.

A report from ADB’s IED noted that more concessional resources are needed for “key thematic priorities” such as climate change adaptation and transformative gender agenda.

IED assesses the performance of ADF operations every four years and provides lessons and recommendations for improving its development effectiveness and informing the next “replenishment,” ADB said in a statement on Tuesday.

The report released by ADB with the title, “Navigating through the Polycrisis: Asian Development Fund 12 and 13 Support to Vulnerable Countries,” noted that while ADF
allocations are relevant and target the most vulnerable developing member countries (DMCs), a number of issues must be considered in the ADF 14 replenishment discussions.

Among the recommendations, the report noted, is to “increase the allocation of thematic resources toward key ADF priorities.”

These priorities are [Regional Cooperation and Integration] RCI, [Disaster Risk Reduction-Climate Change Adaptation] DRR-CCA, and the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 transformative gender agenda.

Another recommendation, based on the report, is to “Revisit the country allocation framework to strengthen performance incentives while recognizing the importance of stability and predictability of allocations.”

Jimenez said ADF can improve as a platform in several ways: incentivizing performance within the country allocation framework; closing monitoring and evaluation system gaps that limit the measurement of ADF outcomes; and leveraging policy-based lending by reevaluating the cap for policy-based grants, improving the design of policy-based lending, and strengthening joint policy reform frameworks.

Lastly,  he said, in response to a new area of demand, the ADF should provide “institutional guidance on crisis support in conflict-driven emergencies.”

“Amid multiple crises, the ADF has been instrumental in advancing the region’s development. It has become a platform of collaboration on a regional scale, uniting and consolidating donor efforts to alleviate poverty, foster economic resilience, and ensure a more equitable future for Asia and the Pacific,” Jimenez noted. 

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