According to ADB documents, the proposed knowledge and support technical assistance (TA) cluster will help build the capacity of Asian Development Bank (ADB) developing member countries (DMCs) to enhance water security and resilience in Asia and the Pacific. It will (i) support increased climate resilience in water projects, programs, and policies by facilitating a shift toward climate-resilient and low-carbon development; and (ii) help build the capacity of DMC clients to use information and communications technology (ICT), digital and remote sensing technologies, and innovations. The TA cluster is aligned with ADB's Strategy 2030, particularly operational priorities 2 (gender equality and women's empowerment), 3 (tackling climate change, building climate and disaster resilience, and enhancing environmental sustainability), 4 (making cities more livable), and 5 (rural development and food security). The TA is included in the 2021 ADB Management-approved results-based work plan of the Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department (SDCC) and in the Water Sector Group (WSG) work plan, 2021 2022.
PROJECT RATIONALE AND LINKAGE TO COUNTRY/REGIONAL STRATEGY
2. Sector challenges. Climate change threatens achievements in economic development, improved livelihoods, well-being, and water security for millions of people across Asia and the Pacific. As the most disaster-affected region in the world, Asia and the Pacific is home to more than 40% of disasters triggered by natural hazards and 84% of the people they affect. Climate change will alter ecosystem services' benefits, have detrimental health impacts, stimulate migration, and possibly lead to conflicts. These changes disproportionately affect the poor, women, children, and the elderly.3 Many ADB DMCs with limited resources are extremely susceptible to climate change impacts and lack investment and policy development to address climate adaptation.
3. Water is the primary medium through which the effects of climate change are felt. Effects may include increased, more intense, and frequent flooding; storm surges; and increased and prolonged droughts. The direct impacts on water resources and water, sanitation, and hygiene are already present across Asia and the Pacific and will continue to grow, threatening sustainable and inclusive prosperity in the region. The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has also highlighted the linkages between water, sanitation, and hygiene; climate resilience; and health. Climate change may also affect the chance of water-related disasters striking during pandemics and epidemics, compounding their impacts.
4. Contribution to global commitments. The TA will contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by building resilience for water sector infrastructure, systems, and stakeholders. By doing so it will contribute to clean water and sanitation for all (SDG 6), poverty reduction (SDG 1), hunger reduction (SDG 2), sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11), and action to combat climate change impacts (SDG 13).
5. With ADB's water sector projects contributing about 60% to ADB's total climate adaptation financing, proactively targeting climate resilience through adaptation-focused water interventions and engagement with clients offers the greatest opportunity to develop more robust, sustainable, and nature-positive economic development pathways and improved social well-being. ADB needs to ensure that DMC counterparts can access the required knowledge, capacity, and tools to conceptualize, design, and implement climate change adaptation and resilient water projects and sector policies. Additional upstream efforts are required at the country level to integrate project planning with each country's nationally determined contributions and long-term strategies, so that investment projects are planned with an adaptation focus, rather than simply climate proofing them. Integrating ICT and digital and remote sensing tools and technologies has become an important and necessary aspect of water resilience, increasingly available at cost-effective prices. The COVID-19 pandemic further highlighted the glaring lack of digital technologies for water and sanitation service providers and the need to adopt them. The water sector has been slow to adopt digital technology, with resistance stemming too often from lack of awareness of what is available and affordable. The gender divide is particularly evident in the water sector in service delivery and water resources management. Improving water resilience will benefit women and girls since climate induced disasters affect them disproportionately as primary care givers.
6. Building resilience and adaptive capacity is one of the five guiding principles in the upcoming ADB water sector framework, 2021 2030. In 2021, the WSG prepared a guidance note that provides an operational road map to integrate climate resilience into the water sector and DMC investment planning and policy development. Additional assistance is needed for ADB and its clients to implement this road map and these measures, so that current and future water operations and programs of ADB and its DMCs can shift their focus towards adaptation and resilience.
7. Digitalization. To support and spearhead digitalization for water resilience in DMCs, the WSG will foster collaboration with development partners, institutions, and private solution providers. In March and October 2021, ADB organized e-marketplace events for water management, bringing together ICT and digital and remote sensing technology solution providers and connecting them with water sector DMC clients and staff. The WSG plans to continue such events and synthesize solutions, both internal and global best practices, on an interactive virtual learning hub for staff and DMC stakeholders.
The TA cluster is estimated to cost $5,000,000, of which (i) $2,000,000 will be financed on a grant basis by the Climate Change Fund; (ii) $2,000,000 will be financed on a grant basis bythe Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction and administered by ADB; and (iii) $1,000,000 will be financed on a grant basis by the Republic of Korea e-Asia and Knowledge Partnership Fund and administered by ADB.
|Responsible ADB Officer||Wilson, Geoffrey|
|Responsible ADB Department||Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department|
|Responsible ADB Division||SDSC-WAT|
|Executing Agencies||Asian Development Bank
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