ADB

ISLAMABAD: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will hold the second stage of its 53rd Annual Meeting as a virtual event on September17-18.
According to a press statement issued here on Monday, the event will include a formal business session and selected knowledge events. “As the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic continues to evolve, with travel restrictions impacting many ADB members and continued health risks, ADB and the Government of the Republic of Korea have agreed not to proceed with a physical meeting in Incheon,” said ADB Secretary Eugenue Zhukov.
The Republic of Korea has offered to host ADB’s 56th Annual Meeting in Incheon in May 2023. ADB’s Board of Governors will consider this proposal when it convenes virtually on 18 September.
The first stage of the 53rd Annual Meeting comprised a reduced-scale meeting of the Board of Governors on 22 May at which Governors approved ADB’s financial statements and net income allocation in line with ADB institutional requirements.
ADB is actively supporting its members as they address the effects of COVID-19 through its $20 billion comprehensive response package announced on?13 April. Visit?ADB’s website?to learn more about our ongoing response.
Meanwhile, the pandemic has created an unprecedented crisis for overseas workers and the remittances they send home.
Guntur Sugiyarto, Principal Economist, Pakistan Resident Mission, Asian Development Bank (ADB), expressed these views on Monday in a blog at ADB website. The blog is co-authored by Werner E. Liepach, Director General of ADB’s Central and West Asia Department.
The impact of the COVID-19 crisis on migration and remittances is going to be devastating because the crisis affects directly the flow of international migrants and the money they send home to help their families. Asia has been contributing to more than 40 percent of total migration worldwide, with south and central Asia as the main sources.
For traditional migrant-sending countries, these overseas workers have constituted more than 10 percent of their labor force and remittance flows account for more than 10percent of total outputs. When these are diminished by COVID-19, this will bring enormous challenges to the poverty reduction efforts in Asia and the Pacific. Migration and remittances are known to be pro-poor.
Remittance inflows have been very stable over the years and much bigger than the flows of foreign direct investment and international development assistance combined. Remittance inflows have helped reduce poverty rates among migrant families and beyond, and increased migrant families’ spending on education and health care, which is good for overall human development.
The pandemic is truly global, affecting both sending and receiving countries, and it is unprecedented in its magnitude and scale. The impact is also very different than the previous two crises that we experienced: the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997/98 and the Global Financial Crisis in 2008/09. This crisis devastates markets across the board.
The impact assessments by international and national institutions that we have seen so far assume the crisis will only reduce remittance flows, and that they will be bouncing back soon after the virus has gone. But this is a complete understatement. From the past we know that migration and remittances are very resilient, but this crisis has changed dramatically the situation of the countries and economies that send and receive migrants.
The pandemic has put a “country stigma” to the migrant workers from areas that have been struggling to cope with the pandemic, and this may prevent them from entering other countries. Worse still, they may even be prohibited from exiting their own countries by their governments if the pandemic has become uncontrollable. If blocked from finding work overseas, there is no guarantee that the migrants can find an alternative job, which have become scarce.
As if that is not enough, migrants are also most likely excluded in the list of targeted groups for government incentives and social programs, as the existing lists are often already straining government capacity.
So, what should be done? The governments of sending countries must work with their international and domestic counterparts to facilitate re-entry of migrants to the destination countries. This can be done by ensuring that the migrants are healthy and ready to be deployed using special transportation, such as chartered flights, to resume their work.
This will require high-level diplomacy and strategic action at the country and regional levels. Secondly, while waiting for workers to deploy overseas, governments must make use of migrants as part of the recovery program in the domestic economy. This can be done by
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