To support the Government of Bangladesh (GoB) in strengthening the social resilience of Bangladeshi people.
The proposed Program (Subprogram 2) is a policy-based financing (PBF) to help the GoB to mitigate the social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Program focuses on further advancing the key reform agenda supported under ADB-financed Subprogram 1 by: (i) improving the administrative efficiency of the social protection system with better protection coverage; (ii) deepening the financial inclusion of disadvantaged people; and (iii) broadening the scope of protection, as well-aligned with the GoB’s medium-term reform agenda on social protection. This is to be supported under AIIB’s COVID-19 Crisis Recovery Facility (the Facility) and co-financed with the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
The Program will be co-financed with the ADB as lead co-financier, and the Program’s environmental and social (ES) risks and impacts have been assessed in accordance with the ADB’s SPS. AIIB’s Environmental and Social Policy (ESP) was designed to apply to investment projects and has no provisions for its application to PBF operations. Therefore, as permitted by the decision of the Board of Directors set forth in the Decisions to Support the AIIB COVID-19 Crisis Recovery Facility (Decisions), AIIB will apply the provisions of ADB’s SPS to this PBF in lieu of the ESP. This will ensure a harmonized approach to addressing the ES risks and impacts of the Program.
Based on the ES assessments carried out according to ADB’s SPS requirements, the Program will support policy actions related to improving inclusiveness and responsiveness in social development and no adverse impacts have been identified concerning involuntary resettlement, indigenous peoples, and environment. Therefore, the ADB has categorized the Program as Category C for involuntary resettlement, indigenous peoples, and environment. An ES risk assessment on the policy matrix was also undertaken to ensure that no outstanding safeguard issues remain and to provide guidance on the safeguards for future reforms.
The Program is also categorized as “effective gender mainstreaming” at entry, as it will expand its outreach to excluded and vulnerable women by increasing the coverage of both the old age allowance (benefiting women over 62) and the allowance for widowed, deserted, and destitute women. The Program will enhance the financial inclusion of disadvantaged people by enabling broader access to digital financial services, giving particular attention to the gender gap in financial inclusion and the needs voiced by vulnerable women and groups. It supports the approval of the National Urban Health Strategy to strengthen health care services for urban populations, taking into account their gender-specific needs. The Program will also improve the management of social protection with a management information system capable of producing sex-disaggregated data on social protection benefits and providing the tools to obtain quantitative data and analyses of poverty and gender-related aspects.
Md. Shahriar Kader Siddiky
Additional Secretary & Wing Chief (Asia, JEC,
F&F), Economic Relations Division (ERD),
Ministry of Finance