52nd Asian Development Bank Annual Meeting set to begin

The Asian Development Bank, one of the world’s largest development banks, is holding its 52nd annual meeting in Nadi, Fiji this week.

This is the first time A.D.B. is being hosted by a development member state, and Fiji has the red carpet rolled out for nearly a thousand foreign delegates and media to attend.

A.D.B. President Takehiko Nakao arrived in Nadi on Tuesday for the A.D.B. Board of Governors meeting, which takes place before the annual meeting.

Fiji’s Ministry of Civil Service Permanent Secretary, Bernadette Welch said this meeting is the largest international conference in Fiji’s history, and will be an opportunity to show the world that Fiji is able to host such events.

“It’s a big event, over a hundred million viewers from around the world will be watching the meeting, and Fiji will be the star of the show,” she said, speaking with the Fiji Sun.

She said there are at least 500 volunteers from universities helping guide delegates, and the tourism sector has been receiving a boost as well.

“If we get this right, from the staff who meet delegates at the airport, to the drivers, hotel staff, performers, stallholders, chefs, cleaners, event crew and police, we’ll send a message that Fiji is not just one of the desired destinations for tourism but the perfect place to bring large international events like the Asian Development Bank Annual Meeting,” Ms. Welch said.

The theme of the meeting is “prosperity through unity". The programme includes sessions on tourism and sustainable development, digital solutions, the ocean’s health, renewable energy, gender equity and debt sustainability.

As well as government ministers from Asia and the Pacific regions, and A.D.B. representatives, the event will see internationally renowned speakers like former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clarke take the stage.

Ms. Clarke will be speaking as a panellist on the A.D.B’s development effectiveness in 2018, on managing natural resources and vulnerability in Asia and the Pacific, and on the hydrogen economy in various sessions throughout the week.

The meeting will also see representatives from the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, The Asia Foundation, the Institute of International Finance, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, the United Nations, Oxfam, and the Global Environment Facility, among others.

There is also a large media presence at the meeting, with heavyweights BBC, CNBC, the Financial Times and Bloomberg attending, as well as local outlets from Asian and Pacific nations.

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