Opening Remarks at the Meeting on Cooperating with Civil Society Towards 2030 - Takehiko Nakao | Asian Development Bank

Opening Remarks at the Meeting on Cooperating with Civil Society Towards 2030 - Takehiko Nakao

Speech | 4 May 2017

Opening Remarks by ADB President Takehiko Nakao at the meeting between Civil Society Organizations and ADB Management - 50th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors  on 4 May 2017 in Yokohama, Japan

Good morning ladies and gentlemen. I am pleased to welcome you to the 50th Annual Meeting of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

This meeting is particularly special because civil society organizations (CSOs) share with us a common goal of an Asia and Pacific region that is free of poverty. Through your engagement, CSOs have had a positive influence on ADB and our operations.

ADB’s strategic cooperation with CSOs

ADB has been engaging CSOs for many years. In 1998, our NGO Cooperation Policy established ADB as a facilitator for deeper collaboration between its member governments and civil society. It also expanded the role of civil society in ADB operations. Since then, ADB has developed strategic partnerships with a wide range of CSOs.

Our engagement with CSOs supports ADB’s development projects and programs, including in disadvantaged communities that are difficult to reach. The presence of CSOs in far-flung areas enables them to act as effective intermediaries to help ensure our programs are responsive to local needs and conditions.

"Our engagement with CSOs supports ADB’s development projects and programs, including in disadvantaged communities that are difficult to reach. The presence of CSOs in far-flung areas enables them to act as effective intermediaries to help ensure our programs are responsive to local needs and conditions."

In Bhutan, the Royal Society for Protection of Nature plays an important role to ensure that women and diverse stakeholders can participate more meaningfully in a renewable energy project. Similarly, the conditional cash transfer program in the Philippines relies on the work of hundreds of CSOs to promote enrollment of the poorest elementary school-age children, and improve access to maternal and infant health care.

ADB also supports civil society in monitoring public services that increase transparency and accountability in governance. As a member of the Open Government Partnership, ADB is helping improve access to information in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea so that citizens can monitor service delivery by governments.

Over the years, ADB has progressively increased CSO participation in the various stages of our project cycle. However, ADB’s business processes, which require CSOs to be engaged as consultants, continue to constrain deeper engagement with many key organizations. To address this, reforms are underway to simplify contracting procedures and mainstream partnership arrangements with CSOs.

ADB will be launching this year a technical assistance program called “Deepening Civil Society Engagement for Development Effectiveness” to address constraints in cooperating with CSOs. The project will enhance ADB’s readiness to fulfill Strategy 2020, future strategic directions, and Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) commitments for more inclusive development programs by effective partnerships and collaboration with CSOs.

CSO participation in ADB’s policy reviews

ADB recognizes that CSOs play an important role in identifying when things are not working well. In the last several months, ADB has been meeting with CSOs in many of our member countries to seek their views on the preparation of Strategy 2030 and the review of our Public Communications Policy.

The Civil Society program at the Annual Meeting will include sessions related to ADB’s key work. I am sure that most CSOs present here will agree that implementing the SDGs and the climate change actions agreed at COP21 are our collective priorities. More than ever, effective engagement with civil society will be critical to help developing member countries achieve their development goals.

I look forward to the discussions ahead and I thank you again for your active participation.

I would now like to open the floor to your questions and comments.