ISLAMABAD: Despite remarkable economic growth, governance remains a concern in Asia and the Pacific. The rapid growth has lifted millions out of poverty, yet the region continues to face governance deficits that constrain its ability to raise the quality of growth, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) says in an evaluation report on Thursday.

Conventional indicators suggest continued weakness in key governance dimensions, and stakeholder surveys consistently point to poor governance as a top concern.

Weak governance lies at the heart of numerous challenges confronting the Asian region. In the more rapidly growing and diversifying economies, improving service delivery, avoiding the middle-income trap and fostering more inclusive growth are among the challenges, report says.

All countries face the critical challenge of preparing for and managing the impact of recurrent economic shocks and more frequent natural disasters, according to the report on enhancing governance in public sector operations.

Stating that weak governance lies at the heart of numerous challenges, the assessment report says, across the region surveys continue to identify corruption as a major threat to development. Addressing these challenges will require a transformation of governance in many countries, suggests the report.

Improving governance in a country is rightly recognised as an arduous undertaking. For external actors, supporting good governance is naturally challenging, requiring analysis, sensitivity, time, and much effort.

Good governance also matters for other development outcomes, such as poverty reduction, human development, gender equality, infrastructure quality, and water security.

Effective governance is important for improving the distribution of income and people’s welfare and ensuring both greater participation of low-income groups and the sustainability of the growth process, the report says.

Corruption pervades the region, imposing significant costs, including reputational externalities. Corruption which disproportionately affects the poor, is deemed a critical constraint to development in many countries. A number of high-profile corruption cases, some involving ADB-supported projects, highlight the continuing integrity of controlling corruption, report says.

While ADB attention has developed a range of guidance documents to mainstream governance into its sector operations, evaluations often find that good practices reflected in these documents are not followed. The proportion of transport and energy loans with governance and capacity development components has declined.

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