ADB to further play an important role to address challenges facing the region: Crown Prince Naruhito

By M Naeem Chaudhry

YOKOHAMA (Japan) May 06 (APP): Crown Prince of Japan, Naruhito
Saturday expressed the hope that Asian Development Bank will further
play an important role in addressing the challenges of developing infrastructure, power supply networks and transportation facilities
besides resolving issues of natural disasters and climate change.
In his address at the opening session of the Board of Governors,
Asian Development Bank on the eve of its 50th Annual Meeting here
at National Conventional Hall, Naruhito, the elder son of Emperor
Akihito and Empress Michiko, and the heir apparent to the
Chrysanthemum Throne, recalled ADB’s inaugural meeting in Tokyo
” when Asia and the Pacific was one of the poorest regions in
the world.”
“Since then, during the last half century, the countries in
this region have made significant progress in economic
development and poverty reduction,” he added.
The opening session of the ADB Board of Governors was
attended by among others the finance and development ministers,
central bank governors, senior government officials, business
executives, media persons, academics, representatives from
civil society, development organizations and youth from the
Asia and Pacific region.
Welcoming participants at the session, the Crown Prince lauded
the role of the Bank in working closely with its member countries
and across a range of areas with development assistance.
Even with such progress, he noted that much more still needs
to be done, specifically in the area of poverty reduction. “There
are, however, still over 300 million people living in poverty in
this region, and poverty reduction through sustainable and
inclusive growth remains an important agenda to us,” he said.
He also emphasized the need for infrastructure for sustainable
development. “The region is also faced with a range of challenges,
such as developing infrastructure including power supply networks
and transportation facilities, as well as addressing natural
disasters and climate change,” he added.
The Crown Prince hoped, “the Bank will further play an
important role in addressing these issues” and “the participants
gathered here in Yokohama from around the world will combine their
wisdom and work towards overcoming various challenges, so that we
can together build Asia’s prosperity.”
Earlier In his address at the opening session, ADB President
Takehiko Nakao recounted the achievements of the Bank over the
last 50 years, specifically for combining finance and knowledge
to support developing member countries, promoting good policies,
and fostering regional cooperation and friendship.
ADB has provided about $270 billion of loans and grants, based
on a cumulative $7 billion of paid-in capital contributions from
67 members, and $30 billion of contributions from 34 members to
the Asian Development Fund, Nakao stated.
“Asian countries have adopted prudent macroeconomic policies
and open trade and investment regimes, as well as strong investment
in infrastructure and education, all underpinned by clear long-term
visions through ADB’s help in the form of “high-level dialogue with
state leaders and ministers, technical assistance, capacity building,
and policy-based budget support loans”, he said.
During the course of his speech, the President pinpointed
five future priorities of the Bank: supporting infrastructure
development, social sectors like health and education, gender
equality, more effective public-private partnerships, and
continued reforms in the ADB.
“Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals and the
climate actions agreed at COP21 in 2015 are collective
priorities for Asian economies,” he added.