“We’ve never seen anything like this” is the refrain increasingly heard in every corner of the world in the wake of natural disasters. Indeed, intense natural disasters have increased nearly fourfold over the past four decades, with floods and storms representing 70% of the increase. Asia and the Pacific has been the worst hit region. Yet, the response to hazards of nature has been mostly to react when they strike. The upshot I see is this: unless prevention takes center stage, disasters will likely unravel progress.
In development, as in matters of health, prevention is better than cure. Had policymakers acted boldly to avert well-recognized economic imbalances before 2008, the financial crisis may have been avoided.
A global debate on what comes after the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) expire in 2015 is already in full swing. For Asia and the Pacific, a new development agenda will need to address those MDGs that made only slow progress or regressed and a number of emerging development issues gaining prominence.
For development institutions, private sector investments offer plenty of potential for promoting inclusive and environmentally sustainable growth at a profit. But how successful are they in achieving actual development gains?
As multilateral development banks gear up to fill serious gaps in infrastructure in Asia, attention also focuses on safeguards, which should be a top concern for established lenders such as the World Bank and ADB as well as new players like the AIIB.
Although evaluation findings often confirm strongly held and highly intuitive views in areas like project design, sometimes there are unexpected results.
ADB reforms and new resources provide an opportunity to make incremental progress on development work in Asia’s low-income countries.
Yes – but only if the focus is on quality and impact, and not on the quantity and volume of investment.
Recent evaluation shows these elements are crucial to supporting economic growth and eradicating poverty without further harming the environment.
In its quest to become an industrialized nation, Viet Nam must redouble efforts to improve the skills of the labor force and cultivate high-technology, high value-add industries.