The Asian Development Bank (ADB) continues to have a positive impact on the lives of the poor in the Asia and Pacific region, says a new independent perceptions survey commissioned by the organization.
The survey – conducted with 900 stakeholders in 31 member countries late last year and earlier this year – shows that the majority of opinion leaders across ADB member countries also think ADB helps countries meet their development goals, particularly through its support for infrastructure development.
“ADB is taking the survey findings seriously and is committed to improving its effectiveness. We will ensure that the survey results are fully utilized to assess our current performance and provide inputs to future corporate planning,” said ADB President Takehiko Nakao.
On its core mission in poverty reduction, more than half of stakeholders (58%) rated ADB's performance as either good or excellent. This is an improvement from the last survey conducted in 2009, in which about 50% of stakeholders rated ADB’s performance as either good or excellent. Among those who rated ADB’s performance on poverty reduction as average or poor, a majority stated that poverty is too big and complicated a problem for any single organization to solve.
The survey found that ADB’s focus on, and knowledge of, the Asia and Pacific region is seen as its greatest strength. Being slow and bureaucratic is considered its greatest weakness. Respondents indicated that ADB needs to show improvements on its work in promoting gender equality, improving education, and mobilizing resources to develop the private sector. Those surveyed suggested ADB should be more innovative.
Corruption and environmental degradation remain the top two perceived threats to economic and social development in the Asia and Pacific region for respondents.
Stakeholders also increasingly believe that poor infrastructure, limited educational opportunities and inadequate health services are also serious threats to development. A strong majority said ADB should focus on improving infrastructure and education in order to best help reduce poverty and achieve regional development.
ADB commissioned GlobeScan, an international polling firm, to conduct the survey to assess the views of critically important audiences toward international development in Asia and ADB's performance in fighting poverty. The sample included randomly chosen opinion leaders in government, media, civil society, academia, the private sector, and development partners in donor countries and ADB's five operational regions.