THE ASIAN Development Bank (ADB) has increased its funding for development projects in the Asia-Pacific by a tenth in 2011-2012 as it recognized the continuing problems of poverty and climate change in the region.
In its 2013 Sustainability Report, the ADB said it approved $43 billion worth of development projects in 2011 and 2012, a 10% increase from the previous two-year period.
"Each approval takes into account economic, social and environmental impacts... ADB investments contributed to providing and improving access to basic services, including funding for education, health, energy, water supply, sanitation and transport," it said in its report.
However, the multilateral lender noted that several problems continue to persist in Asia, including the lack of inclusive economic growth and the impact of climate change.
"The gap between the region’s rich and poor has widened significantly in the last two decades. The pattern and quality of economic growth is critical to ensure that the poor and disadvantaged are not left behind," the Bank said.
To address this, the ADB continues to provide "effective solutions to the needs of the rural and urban poor for transport and for information and communication technology."
"Such solutions improve the poor’s access to economic opportunities and social services such as hospitals and schools," the report said.
Education projects in the last two years reached $951 million.
The ADB said it is also focused on countering the effects of climate change, noting that the region "has become a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, increasingly contributing to climate change."
It stressed that the Asia-Pacific faces higher risks to the consequences of climate change because most of its population live in coastal areas or depend on agriculture for a living.
"Continued economic growth and poverty reduction will not be possible without proactive efforts to mitigate the causes of global warming and help the region adapt to the expanding impacts of climate change," the Bank said.
In line with this, the ADB approved 112 environment-related projects amounting to $13 billion in 2011-2012, 50% higher than the previous two-year period.
It also approved 221 technical assistance projects amounting to $278 million and 35 grants worth almost $294 million geared towards environmental sustainability.
Under its long-term strategic framework covering 2008 to 2020, the ADB said it would continue to support projects that promote inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth and regional integration.
The lender said it would concentrate funding on five core areas, namely infrastructure development, environment and climate change, regional cooperation and integration, finance sector development, and education. -- Diana Jean B. Evite