ADB and Civil Society: Overview | Asian Development Bank

ADB and Civil Society: Overview

ADB works in partnership with a broad range of civil society organizations to strengthen its efforts to reduce poverty.

Working at the grassroots level, CSOs fill a vital space in the development process, giving voice to marginalized communities, providing expertise and knowledge, testing innovative approaches to poverty reduction, and ensuring beneficiary participation in projects.*

ADB cooperates with CSOs to increase the effectiveness, quality, and sustainability of its operations. Over three quarters of ADB projects include some kind of CSO participation—from planning and design consultations through the project cycle to project implementation and monitoring.

Increasing ADB efforts with civil society organizations

ADB collaborates with CSOs in most sectors of its projects. In some areas such as agriculture, education and urban development there are higher levels of CSO participations. In addition to project-level participation, CSOs routinely contribute to policy dialogue and stakeholder consultations on ADB's country strategies, and thematic and sector policy and strategy reviews.

ADB's policies, strategies, and practices have been adapted to embrace and facilitate more active participation of CSOs. Under Strategy 2020, ADB's partnerships with nongovernment organizations (NGOs), community-based organizations, labor unions, and foundations will become even more central to the planning, financing, and implementing of ADB operations.

Making civil society organizations a part of the development process

In 2010, 81% of approved loans, grants, and related technical assistance and 37% of stand-alone technical assistance approved included some form of CSO participation.

Some highlights of civil society participation in ADB operations in 2010 include:

  • After a two-year decline of civil society participation largely led by the global financial crisis, the incidence of civil society participation in ADB-funded projects has increased to 80%.
  • For the first time ever, all ADB developing member countries reported civil society participation in their ADB-funded projects.
  • The consultation process of the Public Communications Policy (PCP) review was successful, and for the first time, a multilateral development bank has met with multiple groups of affected people to solicit their input on communications about projects that affect them.
  • ADB and NGOs collaborated constructively through the Accountability Mechanism in record numbers, discussing and agreeing on how to improve projects when they face problems.
  • Technical assistance dedicated to increasing civil society participation in ADB operations supported a range of interventions in Southeast Asia throughout the project cycle, starting with country partnership strategy development and continuing through project monitoring.
  • ADB hosted the annual meeting of the Focal Points of United Nations Agencies and international financial institutions in Manila in October 2010.

Developing country partnership strategies with civil society organizations' help

ADB's country partnership strategy (CPS) is the primary planning instrument guiding ADB operations in a member country. The CPS is prepared through consultation with government and other country stakeholders, including the private sector, other development agencies, and civil societies.

CSOs wishing to work with ADB should familiarize themselves with the CPS of the country as ADB works directly with governments to provide support for the activities of NGOs and other CSOs.

ADB also works closely with CSOs through the Civil Society Program at ADB Annual Meetings, ongoing dialogue with labor organizations, and outreach on ADB's Accountability Mechanism.

Civil society refers to groups distinct from the government and the private sector who operate around shared interests, purposes, and values. Civil society organizations (CSOs) encompass a wide range of organizations, including nongovernment organizations (NGOs); community-based organizations (CBOs); and people’s organizations, mass organizations, professional associations, labor unions, private research institutes and universities, foundations, and social movements.