The 2017 ADB–Asian Think Tank Development Forum with the theme, “Financing for Sustainable Urbanization in Asia and the Pacific,” was held in Colombo, Sri Lanka on 20–21 September 2017.

The ADB-Asian Think Tank Development Forum 2017 was attended by participants from top think tanks in Asia and the Pacific region. New participants from think tanks in Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, and Myanmar attended for the first time. Representatives from regional think tanks also attended, i.e., Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), Central Asia and Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Institute, and ADB Institute. Also present during the forum were delegates from international development organizations including the World Bank, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and UN Habitat, along with representatives from various ministries and universities in Sri Lanka.


  1. 20 September 2017 — Day 1

    Opening Ceremonies

    Moderator: Dushni Weerakoon, Acting Executive Director, Institute of Policy Studies (IPS)

    Time Speaker / Affiliation
    09:30 a.m. Session 1: Welcome remarks
    1. Dushni Weerakoon, Acting Executive Director, IPS Sri Lanka
    2. Opening Remarks
      Sri Widowati, Country Director, ADB Resident Mission in Sri Lanka
    9:30 a.m.–9:45 a.m. Keynote address
    1. Hon. Patali Champika Ranawaka, Minister of Megapolis and Western Development, Government of Sri Lanka
    10:00 a.m.–10:30 a.m. Photo session and coffee break
  1. Session 2: Regional and Country Economic Outlook

    The session provides an overview of regional integration trends and issues in Asia. Country economic outlook presentations with subregional impact follow featuring the economies of the People’s Republic of China, India, and Sri Lanka.

    Moderator: Anbumozhi Venkatachalam, Senior Economist, Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia

    Time Speaker / Affiliation
    10:30 a.m.–11:05 a.m. Regional Integration in Asia: Trends and Issues
    Cyn-Young Park, Director, ADB
    --Open Discussion
    11:05 a.m.–11:50 a.m. Country Presentations:
    1. China’s Economic Outlook
      Qiangwu Zhou, Director General, International Economics and Finance Institute
    2. India’s Economic Outlook
      Radhicka Kapoor, Research Fellow, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations
    3. Sri Lanka’s Economic Outlook
      Kithmina Hewage, Research Officer, IPS, Sri Lanka
    11:50 a.m.–12:20 p.m. Open Discussion
    12:20 p.m.–1:30 p.m. Lunch
  1. Session 3: Financing for Sustainable Urbanization in Asia and the Pacific (Part 1)

    The first part of session 3 discusses Asia’s infrastructure needs and how it could be met. Country experiences in meeting urban infrastructure requirements for housing, solid waste, water supply and land are featured. Incentive schemes for public--private partnerships are discussed as well as directions to finance the PRC’s Belt and Road Initiative.

    Moderator: Nonarit Bisonyabut, Research Fellow, Thailand Development Research Institutes

    Time Speaker / Affiliation
    1:30 p.m.–2:15 p.m. Meeting Asia’s Infrastructure Needs
    Juzhong Zhuang, Deputy Chief Economist, ADB
    --Open Discussion
    2:15 p.m.–3:00 p.m. Country Presentations:
    1. Financing for Urban Infrastructure in the Era of Climate Change and Disaster Risks: Philippines
      Marife Ballesteros, Vice President, Philippine Institute for Development Studies
    2. Potential Financial Instruments Toward Sustainable Urban Infrastructural Development in Indonesia
      Carunia Mulya Firdausy, Senior Research Fellow, Economic Research Centre-Indonesian Institute of Sciences
    3. Sustainable Financing for Urban Solid Waste Disposal Services in Sri Lanka
      Bilesha Weeraratne, Research Fellow, Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka
    3:00 p.m.–3:30 p.m. Open discussion
    3:30 p.m.–4:00 p.m. Coffee break
      Moderator: Shiro Patrick Armstrong, Director, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University
    4:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m. Country Presentations:
    1. Dynamics of Financing and Governances of Melamchi Water Supply Project in Kathmandu, Nepal: Lessons Learning
      Ram Kumar Phuyal, Associate Professor, Center for Economic Development and Administration, Tribhuvan University
    2. Financing the Belt and Road Initiative of the People’s Republic of China
      Qiangwu Zhou, Director General, International Economics and Finance Institute
    3. Land Conversion During the Urbanization Process in Viet Nam: Current Status, Problems and Solutions
      Tran Kim Chung, Vice President, Central Institute for Economic Management
    4. Public–Private Partnerships with a Governmental Fund: An Optimal Incentive Device
      Keiichiro Oda, Research Fellow, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry
    5:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m. Open Discussion
    6:00 p.m. Dinner (hosted by IPS Sri Lanka)
    21 September 2017 — Day 2

    Session 3: Financing for Sustainable Urbanization in Asia and the Pacific (Part 2)

    The session discusses in detail the fiscal implications of urbanization. It features presentations on infrastructure investments and promotion of small and medium-enterprises. The relationship between rural and urban areas are also examined.

    Moderator: Derek Brien, Executive Director, Pacific Institute of Public Policy

    9:00 a.m.–9:40 a.m. Fiscal Implications of Urbanization
    Sanjeev Gupta, Deputy Director, International Monetary Fund–Fiscal Affairs Department
    --Open Discussion
    9:40 a.m.–9:50 a.m. Video Presentation on Infrastructure Investment, SME Promotion and Education for Sustainable Growth
    Naoyuki Yoshino, Dean, Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI)
    9:50 a.m.–10:50 a.m. Country Presentations:
    1. The State of Urban Living: A Review of Housing Laws and Financing Instruments in Urban Pakistan
      Shujaat Farooq, Senior Research Economist, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics
    2. Global Capital Supply and Sustainable Urbanization: Investment-led Development Financing
      Xiaoming Huang, Professor and Director, Wellington Network of Asia-Pacific Research & Policy, Victoria University of Wellington
    3. Dynamic Relationship Between Rural and Urban Area
      Enkhbaigali Byambasureng, President, Analysis Group of Mongolia
    4. Financing for Effective, Inclusive and Sustainable Urbanization – China case
      Li Xu,Senior Research Fellow, ADBI
    10:50 a.m.–11:20 a.m. Open discussion
    11:20 a.m.–11:40 a.m. Coffee Break
  1. Session 4: ATTN: Way forward

    The session will discuss future direction for the Think Tank Network.

    Time Speaker / Affiliation
    11:40 a.m.–11:50 a.m. ATTN Accomplishments
    Dongxiang Li, Lead Regional Cooperation Specialist, ADB
    11:50 a.m.–12:00 p.m. Options/Next Steps for the ADB–Asian Think Tanks Network
    Juzhong Zhuang, Deputy Chief Economist, ADB
    12:00 p.m. Open discussion
    12:30 p.m. Concluding remarks
    ADB and IPS Sri Lanka
    12:35 p.m. Lunch
  1. Session 5: ATTN Networking Session

    2:00 p.m.–5:30 p.m. Cultural Site Visit and Networking activity (hosted by IPS Sri Lanka)