Developing countries in the Asia-Pacific region are facing three challenges, namely reducing poverty, addressing environmental degradation and promoting regional cooperation, said Tadao Chino, President of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), at the opening ceremony of ADB's annual meeting Friday in Shanghai.
The ADB is working closely with its partners to address these challenges, Tadao Chino added.
Reducing poverty was the greatest challenge facing developing Asia and the Pacific, he said. ADB's mission was to reduce poverty in its broadest sense and within a desirable time frame. However, Asia was still home to two thirds of the world's poor. Achieving the ultimate millennium development goal of eradicating extreme poverty depended first and foremost on the reduction of poverty in Asia.
One of the three pillars of ADB's Poverty Reduction Strategy was pro-poor, sustainable economic growth, he noted. Continued economic growth was required to maintain progress in reducing poverty. To achieve this, ADB needed structural reforms, technological progress, sufficient investment, and financial stability, he said.
The second pillar of the strategy was social development, he said. ADB's Social Protection Strategy, Water Policy, and Gender and Development Action Plan were aimed at further strengthening its social development agenda.
The third pillar was good governance, he said. To achieve pro- poor, sustainable economic growth, develop a strong private sector, and support a healthy, well-educated, equitable and inclusive society, good governance was essential, according to him. The second challenge was overcoming environmental degradation, Chino said. Environmental sustainability was one of the three crosscutting themes of ADB' Long-Term Strategic Framework. ADB was reaffirming its long-standing commitment to the environment with a new environment policy that would integrate environmental considerations into all aspects of its operations.
He said regional cooperation was essential for developing countries to integrate into the world economy and to share in the benefits of growth. The Asian experience also showed that regional cooperation could be a powerful means to minimize the risks of globalization. At the subregional level, ADB was actively supporting several initiatives, including the Greater Mekong Subregion Program, the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation Program, and the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Program. ADB was also promoting regional cooperation in the Pacific.
(People's Daily May 11, 2002)