ADB vital to sustainable recovery of Asian economies

Finance Secretary and Asian Development Bank (ADB) Governor for the Philippines Benjamin E. Diokno underscored the importance of cooperation among member countries of the ADB in ensuring sustainable and inclusive post-pandemic recovery in the Asia-Pacific region.

“Multilateral cooperation and concessional funding assistance for Developing Member Countries will remain to be the most effective tools in ensuring a sustainable and inclusive recovery,” said Secretary Diokno on Thursday, September 29, at the ADB Governors’ Business Session on positioning climate-resilient green economy for the post-COVID-19 world.

Finance and economic ministers from ADB member countries gathered in Manila on September 26-30, 2022 for the 55th Annual Meeting of the ADB Board of Governors.

Secretary Diokno sits as an ADB governor, representing the Philippines, with Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Felipe Medalla as his alternate.

Secretary Diokno said that the immense support of the ADB is critical to the achievement of the Marcos administration’s vision for the country in the next six years.

He said that this vision is guided by the government’s comprehensive 8-point socioeconomic agenda that aims to propel the country to upper middle-income status by 2024 and bring down the poverty incidence to 9 percent by 2028.

He added that environmental sustainability and climate action are embedded in the plans of the government.

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. acknowledged the ADB for being a steadfast partner in achieving the country’s development goals.

In his keynote speech during the ADB Governors’ Luncheon on Thursday, September 29, he thanked the ADB for being among the first institutions to assist the Philippines at the height of the pandemic through a financial assistance worth USD3 million for purchasing medical supplies for frontline health workers.

He also recognized the ADB for allowing the Philippines to access the COVID-19 Active Response and Expenditure Support (CARES) Program, a quick disbursing budget support facility to aid countries in mitigating severe health, social, and economic impact of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Secretary Diokno emphasized the importance of concessional financing support of multilateral development banks or MDBs in the energy sector and other related climate financing initiatives.

He cited the ADB’s generous support to the country’s climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts through the Energy Transition Mechanism Facility, Climate Investment Fund, and Climate Change Action Program.

The government also continues to closely work with international development partners, such as the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action and the Nationally Determined Contributions Partnership, to contribute to the mission of global green recovery.

“Ultimately, MDBs deliver innovative financing solutions and technical knowledge in the areas of environmental sustainability, social inclusion, and good governance, which help developing countries like ours achieve sustainable development goals,” said Secretary Diokno.

Secretary Diokno called on donor countries to provide MDBs with additional funding through capital infusion and advanced scheduled replenishments to scale up the capacity of MDBs and help them overcome barriers that may preclude them from providing sustainable support.

He added that improved collaboration between Public Development Banks and MDBs will increase bank capacities and provide a better understanding of the local financial landscape.

“Concrete forms of such cooperation including loans between institutions, co-financing, technical assistance, portfolio exchanges between MDBs, and guarantees between banks will enable increased lending,” Secretary Diokno explained.

He counts on the country’s partnership with the ADB and other multilateral and international development partners in pursuing a greener and more inclusive society.

The ADB is the country’s second largest provider of Official Development Assistance (ODA), with combined loan and grant commitments amounting to more than USD9 billion or about 29 percent of the country’s total ODA portfolio.

The Bank has also pipelined additional assistance to the Philippines amounting to USD12.24 billion as part of the ADB’s approach to accelerate infrastructure and long-term investments; promote local economic development; and invest in people.