ADB's 1987 policy paper The Bank's Cooperation with Non-Governmental Organizations established a broad framework of cooperation between ADB and NGOs and addressed a range of operational and institutional implications. In reviewing ADB's experience with NGOs to that time, the 1987 policy paper regarded cooperation with NGOs as an effective means of supplementing efforts in selected operational areas. The policy stated that ADB could enhance the effectiveness of its operations through employing the special capabilities and expertise that NGOs possess. The 1987 policy paper concluded that given the potential contribution of NGOs in operations, it would be appropriate that ADB formulate a strategy and related policies for cooperation with NGOs in selected projects and on a selective basis.
The developmental circumstances of the Asian and Pacific region have changed significantly since 1987. Reflecting these changes, ADB and the NGO sector in the region have changed significantly as well. ADB has adopted an operational strategy that not only supports integrated, growth-oriented development projects, but also supports projects focused on human development, social development, and environmental protection. At the same time, the NGO sector has shown significant strengthening in its operational capacity, and its role, impact, and influence of NGOs in development processes have become much greater. Respective changes within ADB and the NGO sector necessarily have resulted in changed relationships between ADB and NGOs. Within the context of this set of changes, it became necessary that ADB review its strategies and policies for cooperation with NGOs, and develop new and more appropriate policies and approaches for ADB-NGO cooperation.
In April 1998, a new policy on cooperation with NGOs was adopted. This policy addresses cooperation with NGOs in ADB's current operational and policy environment and provides a specific framework for action.