Singapore, Jul 31: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Haruhiko Kuroda today became the latest recipient of the MDG3 Champion Torch, committing the institution to support gender equality and women's empowerment. The Torch campaign, launched by Denmark on March 7 this year, intends to secure extra commitments from participants to promote gender equality - the third goal in the set of development targets that world leaders have pledged to achieve by 2015, known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Accepting the Torch, President Kuroda said: ''Under ADB's new long-term strategic framework or Strategy 2020, we will stress support for investments in rural infrastructure, including irrigation and water management, rural roads, and rural electrification - services that particularly benefit women.'' ''Strategy 2020, which ADB adopted earlier this year, highlights gender equality as one of the five drivers of change for achieving the greatest impact in Asia and the Pacific.'' Mr Kuroda said ADB will strengthen the monitoring of ADB's delivery on gender equality results. ''Between 2004 and 2006, we have achieved nearly 38 per cent of our projects, including specific provisions for gender equality and women's empowerment.
We commit to increase the number of such projects and report on the progress annually.'' ADB will also scale up partnerships with the United Nations and multilateral and bilateral agencies to improve statistical capacity of developing member countries. Collection of sex disaggregated data and gender equality information will help these countries better monitor the gender-related MDG targets.
Mr Kuroda added that ADB will strengthen policy research and advisory services on gender issues arising from looming regional and global challenges, such as the food crisis and climate change.
This will identify impacts and mechanisms in Asia and the Pacific and find ways to reduce vulnerability among women and girls.
More than 100 MDG3 Torches will travel around the world in the run-up to the high-level meeting on MDGs to be convened at the United Nations on September 25.
Recipients of the Torch include representatives of governments, the private sector, civil society, media and international organizations.
At September's MDG meeting, all commitments will be presented to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who will receive the last MDG3 Torch.