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51st ADB Annual Meeting in Manila, the Philippines

 

The 51st Annual Meeting of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) was held from May 3-6 at the ADB Headquarters in Manila.  With the theme of "Linking People and Economies for Inclusive Growth," the Annual Meeting was attended by over 4,000 delegates from member governments, academics, business leaders, and civil society representatives. ADB President Mr. Takehiko Nakao while unveiling Strategy 2030 said that it will be aligned with the international agenda, including the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on climate change. Strategy 2030 will have 10 priorities: (1) tackle remaining poverty and increasing inequalities in Asia and the Pacific; (2) accelerate progress in gender equality; (3) scale up support to combat climate change, build climate and disaster resilience, and enhance environmental sustainability; (4) build liveable cities that are competitive, green, resilient, and inclusive; (5)  promote rural development and food security; (6) strengthen governance; (7) foster regional cooperation and integration; (8) mobilize private sector resources to meet the region’s huge development financing needs; (9) further strengthen ADB’s role as a provider and facilitator of knowledge; and (10) pursue a stronger, better, and faster ADB.

 

The ADB has a long history with civil society organizations (CSOs) and recognizes that cooperation with CSOs helps improve the quality of its development services. This year’s meeting featured many sessions including the consultation workshop on ADB’s new strategy.  The participants shared concrete suggestions to promote accountability and transparency, especially on projects involving the private sector. The discussions put emphasis on food security and rural development, as well as the role of youth as an active contributor to development. The CSO seminars covered shrinking democratic space in selected countries in Asia and the Pacific; engagement with governments to strengthen the implementation of the Open Government Platforms across national and subnational levels; biodiversity conservation in socio-ecological land and seascapes and applying multi-sector management approaches help advance inclusive development in Southeast Asia; and decent work to link people and economies towards sustainable, inclusive and resilient Asia and the Pacific.

 

One of the seminars featured agricultural co-operatives in the Asia and the Pacific. The panellists included Cornelis (Kees) Blokland, Managing Director, Agriterra; Rico B. Geron, AGAP Party-List Representative, Philippine House of Representatives; Wen-Chi Huang, Professor and Chair, Department of Agribusiness Management, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, Taipei, China; Cresente C. Paez Asian Farmers' Association (AFA) Cooperative Development Program Director;  Xianbin Yao, Special Senior Advisor to the President, ADB; and Marlene Ramirez, Secretary General, Asian Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Areas (AsiaDHRRA).

 

Panellists discussing agricultural co-operatives in the Asia Pacific region.

 

Agricultural co-operatives play a key role in linking farmers to markets, providing a collective platform for negotiating with buyers, offering aggregating, marketing and processing services, providing distribution channels for primary products, and delivering training, business planning and capacity building services to their members. The discussions acknowledged the value of farmers’ associations and agricultural co-operatives in giving farmers stronger involvement in the value chain and increasing their market power.