Poverty and Development Division
last updated : 27 April 2000
Box VI.1. The role of the Asian Development Bank in economic monitoring after the crisisa
ADB has been an integral part of the regional response to the economic and financial crisis. Besides its loan programmes to address financial, economic and social problems in the affected countries, it has contributed to the development of economic and social monitoring. The Bank participated in the Manila Framework process and, as a result, established the Regional Economic Monitoring Unit within its secretariat to act as a focal point for monitoring exercises. This Unit, whose work is supported by technical assistance projects, has three main responsibilities.
The Unit was designated to provide substantive assistance and capacity-building for the ASEAN surveillance process for the first two years of its existence. The Unit provides inputs to the ASEAN surveillance reports, which are presented to meetings of Deputy Ministers before the actual surveillance meetings occur; conducts studies on specialized topics on request; and offers in-house training to ASEAN officials on surveillance-related matters. So far, three-month on-the-job training has been given to officials from Indonesia, Myanmar and Thailand, and another group from the Philippines and Viet Nam started in December 1999. The intention of this training is to build the capacity in the relevant ministries in each ASEAN member country to undertake surveillance work.
The Unit is also responsible for the development and implementation of the Asia Recovery Information Center (ARIC). This project, being implemented with financial assistance from AusAID, grew out of a proposal from the Government of Australia made in March 1999 on how to meet the need for accurate and timely information on the economic and social impacts of the crisis and on the state of progress of the recovery. ARIC is an Internet-based web siteb which was launched on 9 November 1999. It contains, at the initial stage, information on the five crisis-hit countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Republic of Korea and Thailand) under seven sections: recovery watch, social dimensions, international assistance, country focus, ARIC indicators, meetings and conferences and key hyperlinks. The ARIC high-frequency indicators include 60-70 key variables for each country under five categories: performance indicators, policy indicators, market indicators, prudential indicators and social indicators. The data are drawn from national sources through a contact in each country, from international sources such as IMF or BIS, or from private information providers such as Bloomberg. They are to be updated on a regular monthly, quarterly and annual basis, depending on the reporting frequency of the underlying data series. The Center has an advisory board with representatives of ADB, APEC, ASEAN, AusAID, IMF, UNDP and the World Bank. The intention is to widen the country coverage at a later stage once the system is running smoothly and its utility to governments, both donors and developing countries, researchers, NGOs etc. can be assessed.
Partly as a result of the above two initiatives, and in the light of the Bank's experience with preparing Asian Development Outlook on an annual basis, the Bank is now preparing a regional monitoring/surveillance report twice a year which is to be used as a background document for the Manila Framework meetings; the first one is to be presented in Hong Kong, China in February 2000. The idea is that the Bank will take more of a regional perspective than IMF does in its paper prepared for these meetings, which covers global and country-level developments, and thus the two complement each other.
The Regional Economic Monitoring Unit reports directly to the President of ADB. This signals the importance the Bank places on these new activities. However, the Bank has limited resources for data collection and processing activities and the related analysis and yet the work is heavily resource-intensive. There will be questions about the sustainability of ARIC once the current projects are completed.
a Information drawn from the ADB brochure on the Regional Economic Monitoring Unit (autumn 1999) and an interview with the Head of the Unit (November 1999).
b The web site can be accessed at <http://aric.adb.org> or through <http://www.adb.org> (31 January 2000).
Please contact the webmaster with questions or comments about this web site.
For any queries concerning the substantive content of the page, please contact PDD homepage.