Seminar & Lecture Series

ADB-AFDI Lecture Series International Development Autumn 2019

8 Oct 2019 - 22 Nov 2019 Shanghai, The People's Republic of China

This semester-long lecture series addresses important topics concerning international development, drawing on ADB’s experience with developing member countries in Asia, primarily in the PRC.  The PRC’s extraordinary progress over the past forty years and ADB’s evolving partnership with the PRC offers important experiences and lessons for other developing countries. The lecture series emphasizes challenges, approaches, and case studies based on development projects, featuring senior experts from ADB’s East Asia Department, Southeast Asia Department, and Independent Evaluation Department. 

The 2019 topics are:

  • An Overview of Principles for Public Financial Management
  • ADB’s Operations and Portfolio in the PRC;
  • Green Cities;
  • Role of Cross-border Economic Zones in Economic Corridor Development: ADB’s Experience;
  • Middle-Income Countries in Asia and the Pacific: Challenges and Opportunities;
  • Developing Sustainable Infrastructure;
  • Labor Markets in the Age of 4IR: How Technology Affects Jobs; and
  • Evaluating for Development Effectiveness.

At the end of the course students are expected to have gained familiarity with: (i) the institutional arrangement concerning international development and cooperation; (ii) the approaches and processes that development assistance is delivered by multi-lateral development banks; (iii) current thinking and best practices in key sectors that ADB is engaged in, especially current and future cooperation priorities with the PRC government.  The course also provides a forum for interaction with ADB senior development practitioners.

Course Outline

Hans Van Rijn, Principal Public Management Specialist, EARD

8 Oct 2019, 10:00am – 11:30am

Public financial management plays a central role in macroeconomic management and fiscal policy. In this lecture, we’ll present a discussion of the objectives of PFM and we’ll discuss what the key characteristics of prudent PFM are. We then go into a discussion of principles for strategic budgeting; the first part of the lecture will be concluded with a discussion of budget cycle management, including a discussion of debt management approaches. Throughout the discussion, we will emphasize the political and institutional underpinnings of PFM. In the second part of the lecture, we will present an overview of internationally accepted tools and instrument that can be used to assess the quality of PFM systems.


Hao Zhang, Deputy Country Director, PRC Resident Mission, EARD

17 Oct 2019, 10:00am – 11:30am

This lecture provides a snapshot of ADB’s operations in the PRC over the past 30 years, its portfolio, and the evolving sectoral and geographical interventions over time. It provides an overview of ADB’s operational cycle in terms of programming, project preparation and implementation. And discusses common challenges encountered during project implementation. A brief overview of ADB—who is ADB, how it helps, and what employment opportunity it offers—will also be discussed.

Sangay Penjor, Director, Urban and Social Sectors Division, EARD

30 Oct 2019, 10:00am – 11:30am

A “green” city means an area that is resilient and inclusive, manages its natural resources well, promotes low carbon growth to remain competitive and improves the livelihoods of all citizens. There is increasing need for cities to pursue strategic integrated urban development and environmental planning as they make a transition to a cleaner, greener and more prosperous future. Urbanization is placing a growing environmental strain on cities, such as air, water and noise pollution, traffic congestion and inadequate solid waste management.

As the world calls for more sustainable living and several countries begin to prioritize greener development, ADB responds with green solutions to achieve more livable cities. The lecture discusses what it means for a city to be green and livable; how ADB helps countries make their green city visions a reality, including a step-by-step discussion on how to develop a Green City Action Plan; and how partnerships are a powerful tool in achieving green city goals. ADB’s assistance through the technical assistance, knowledge work, and prioritized investments targeting green and livable cities approach will be discussed and a few key green and livable cities projects case studies will be presented.

Ying Qian, Advisor, Office of the Director General, EARD

30 Oct 2019, 13:30pm – 15:00pm

This lecture reviews the history of development of (cross) border economic zones, focusing on various forms, functions, modalities their development, and roles in developing cross-border economic corridors. Case studies of cross-border economic zone development will be presented, based on ADB’s experience in supporting PRC-Viet Nam cooperation.

Benjamin Graham, Principal Evaluation Specialist, IED

Over the past four decades, rapid growth in the Asia and Pacific region has resulted in many economies attaining middle-income status. At the same time, these middle-income countries (MICs) continue to face major development challenges, some of which emerge as a consequence of their rapid growth. About half of the world’s poor live in these countries. Many face problems such as rapid unplanned urbanization and environmental degradation. With opportunities for easy productivity gains becoming exhausted, improving productivity to hurdle the middle-income transition remains a challenge. Likewise, maintaining macroeconomic and financial stability has also become important. Some MICs will also need to achieve more economic diversification and product sophistication to sustain growth. Newer challenges are arising from greater competition, rapid technological change, more integrated global trade and financial systems, and climate change. Meanwhile, new development opportunities such as fostering development through South–South cooperation, investments in infrastructure and connectivity, and mobilizing new resources for development are emerging. Furthermore, with increased sophistication and capacities, more innovative solutions can be tested in these countries.

Understanding the dynamics of these rapidly evolving countries and their specific development challenges and opportunities is important. The lecture will: (i) review the evolution of MICs in Asia and the Pacific; (ii) discuss the unique challenges they face; and (iii) identify new opportunities for further growth and development for these economies. The lecture will also discuss the engagement of ADB with MICs and how it has evolved and might further evolve under ADB’s new Strategy 2030. The lecture will also integrate recent findings from ADB’s Independent Evaluation Department from evaluations conducted in MICs.

Sujata Gupta, Director, Sustainable Infrastructure Division, EARD

Infrastructure is a key element for growth in any economy. It is important to plan and develop systems to be environmentally and socially sound, resilient, efficient and financially sustainable. Technology provides innovative options and at the same time works as a “disruptor” in the system. Any solution requires the right choice of policies, technologies, linkages with other sectors, financing and business models. The session includes an interactive discussion on planning for sustainable infrastructure, future priorities for ADB support, including urban transport, clean energy and climate change.

Sameer Khatiwada, Economist, SERD

10:00am-11:30am, 20 Nov 2019, Wednesday

Asia has made considerable progress in creating good jobs, lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. Technological progress and structural transformation have driven this process. But there is growing concern that Asia’s continuing success faces serious risks from automation that new technologies are enabling. The lecture will examine changing labor demand in Asia in the age of Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), drawing on his research for the Asian Development Outlook 2018: How technology affects jobs.

Maya Vijayaraghavan, Principal Evaluation Specialist, IED

10:00am-11:30am, 21 Nov 2019, Thursday

Evaluation refers to the process of determining the worth or significance of an activity, policy or program. It is an assessment, as systematic and objective as possible, of a planned, on-going, or completed development intervention. In this lecture, we will present an overview of the evaluation function in the Asian Development Bank (ADB). We will discuss the independent evaluation function in ADB and its role in maximizing development effectiveness of ADB operations. Accountability and learning lessons for development effectiveness will be highlighted. We will introduce the evaluation framework and methodology used, and present results from selected completed evaluations.

Hsiao Chink Tang, Head, Regional Knowledge Sharing Initiative, EARD

1:30pm-4:00pm, 22 Nov 2019, Friday

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