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In brief

by Wolf Dagmar

In brief

China is struggling with the consequences of growth, not only in the Pearl River Delta region.

China is struggling with the consequences of growth, not only in the Pearl River Delta region.

Why engagement in China still makes sense for ADB, the UN’s Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals published its proposals for the post-2015 agenda and the new government for Afghanistan.

Why engagement in China still makes sense for ADB

The People’s Republic of China is interested in further cooperation with multilateral finance institutions, especially the World Bank (WB) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). At the same time, it is involved in setting up a new international development bank in the context of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and a new international infra­structure Bank in Asia.

Experts argue that the new institutions will compete with World Bank and the ADB. Some financial-sector professionals feel that it does not make sense for the WB and the ADB to stay engaged in China given that China obviously commands the funds to finance development.

Ayumi Konishi, the director general of the ADB’s East Asia Department disagrees. He points out that the decision whether the ADB will continue cooperation with China, must be made by the Bank’s shareholders  so he cannot comment on the issue.  From a technical perspective, however, cooperation with the People’s Republic still makes sense, Konishi told finance experts in Frankfurt in September. His main points were:

  • China is a huge, but still comparatively poor country. When Hong Kong and Singapore took their last ADB loans in the 1980s, their per-capita income was about 40 % of that of the USA. China’s per-capita income today is about 12 %.  The country has not caught up with  the advanced nations.
  • China does not get concessional  funding from the ADB, and ADB loans in general do not account for more than 50 % of project costs, and often less. The ratio shows that money is not the main issue.
  • China is interested in tackling problems that have arisen in the course of its development, including environmental sustainability, social inclusion, vocational training and care for the elderly.

It matters, moreover, that China is  a member of the ADB. Its role as a financial contributor to the Bank is growing. According to Konishi, there are increasingly opportunities for south-south cooperation. At the same time, he says the ADB does  not see the new BRICS bank as a threat.  The need to build infrastructure is so great internationally, Koinishi says, that additional players are welcome. (dem)


Proposed list for Sustainable Development Goals

After long debate, the UN’s Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals published its proposals for the post-2015 agenda at the end of July. It lists 17 goals and more than  120  in­di­cators.
The goals are:

  1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere
  2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture
  3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
  4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all
  5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
  6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
  7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
  8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation
  10. Reduce inequality within and among countries
  11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
  12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
  13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
  14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
  15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
  16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
  17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development

Experts expect the document to have a strong impact on further UN decision making. The Open Working Group acknowledges that the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change is the appropriate context for tackling climate change. (dem)

Outcome document:

New government for Afghanistan

Ashraf Ghani is Afghanistan’s new president. He made a power-sharing agreement with his competitor Abdullah Abdullah, who, as chief-executive officer, will have considerable influence. The deal was struck in September after a long dispute concerning the results of the presidential election. The USA contributed to brokering the agreement. (dem)