ADB celebrates International Youth Day with regional forum
ADB’s Youth for Asia, with partners Plan International gathered 467 youth and civil society representatives from 27 countries for the 4th Asian Youth Forum on 10-12 August in ADB headquarters. Led by Vice-President Susantono, the meeting culminated in a renewed commitment to build youth awareness and strengthen multi-sector collaboration to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. See the photo
World Wide Web Foundation pushes for open data
“Open data means letting CSOs understand, access, and analyze datasets,” said Michael Caneres, Open Data Regional Research Manager for Asia of the World Wide Web Foundation, who spoke on 28 July 2016 at ADB on the topic “Why Open Data and Why Now?”
The speaker shared how free access to government datasets, or a collection of sets of information, can contribute to attaining the Sustainable Development Goals, promote transparency and citizen participation. In addition, he said it helps improve reach and effectiveness of public services, catalyze innovation and contribute to economic growth. However, only 10% of the 1,380 government datasets surveyed by World Wide Web Foundation are open to public access (http://opendatabarometer.org/).
The World Wide Web Foundation advocates open data as a tool for ensuring that people are able to access, understand, and engage with the data directly affecting them.
Freeland Foundation shares anti-wildlife trafficking program
Several NGOs, namely: World Wildlife Fund, Tanggol Kalikasan, and Save Our Philippines Seas, joined the Philippines Anti-Wildlife Trafficking Agencies in a knowledge sharing forum titled, “ARREST: Asia’s Regional Response to Endangered Species Trafficking”. The forum was held at the ADB headquarters in Manila, on 16 June 2016.
Steven Galster, Director of Freeland Foundation, presented lessons and experiences in implementing ARREST, a United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded program that aims to stop wildlife the illegal trade in wildlife in Asia. The program works with Asian government authorities, strengthens law enforcement against wildlife trafficking, and improves regional cooperation and anti-trafficking networks. The ARREST undertakes multimedia campaigns aimed at reducing consumer demand for wildlife. Through the program, more than 2 million live animals have been recovered from 2008 to 2015. Representatives of Philippine National Police Maritime Group, Biodiversity Management Bureau, and USAID’s Ecosystems Improved for Sustainable Fisheries (ECOFISH) Project, likewise presented lessons in anti-wildlife trafficking activities.
The knowledge event inspired participants, as they listened to the successes and lessons from other organizations. The forum acknowledges the need for more cooperation and concerted efforts from donor and government agencies, as well as civil society organizations, to overcome the remaining challenges to completely stop wildlife crime in Asia. ADB’s Environment and Safeguards Division, Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department hosted the event.
Civil society program held at Annual Meeting 2016 in Frankfurt
Close to 300 civil society representatives participated in the 49th Annual Meeting of the ADB Board of Governors, held on 2-5 May 2016, in Frankfurt, Germany. Participants came from 16 ADB member countries, representing 65 civil society organizations (CSOs) and NGOs. There were 59 attendees from CSOs based in the host country, Germany. The theme was, "Cooperating for Sustainability". There were 3,450 total attendees, comprising of civil society, youth, government representatives, media, bankers, and other development partners.
This year's Civil Society Program featured seven events which focused on important development issues. The purpose is to provide a venue to dialogue with ADB, share knowledge, and build network with other organizations. Each session is organized in cooperation with key CSOs in the region. The program also included a meeting between CSOs and ADB Management, which took place on 2 May 2016.The program included discussions on core labor standards in ADB operations, infrastructure financing, safeguards, climate change finance, shrinking civil society space, and the role of youth in the Sustainable Development Goals.
In general, civil society attendees found the sessions relevant and useful and recommend continuous communication, information-sharing, and consultation with ADB.
ADB leads workshop on civic engagement and governance for youth
The ADB Youth Initiative led a workshop on civic engagement and governance during the AIESEC Youth Action Summit at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on 9 December 2015. The summit brought together 450 participants from 108 countries. The workshop exchanged information on good practices on promoting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Participants committed to engaging corporate partners on the SDGs, aligning their organizations’ events with awareness strategies, making information digestible when promoting the SDGs, and harnessing the power of social media.
As part of the workshop, ADB resource persons gave introductory remarks. Vinay Bhargava, Chief Technical Adviser, cited the results of My World global survey to emphasize that people, especially young people, around the world consider an honest and effective government among the top five priorities for making their lives better. He shared information on the multidimensional effort required to improve governance by building inclusive, effective, and accountable pubic institutions. He concluded by presenting a framework for youth to engage in promoting good governance effort.
Maja Cubarrubia, former Country Director of Plan International Thailand, then led an interactive dialogue on the participants’ understanding of civic engagement and participation. The session concluded with “civic speed dating,” where groups took turns reading each others’ answers and writing comments or suggestions with their contact information to establish networks and connections for potential collaboration.
Civil society’s role in the EITI: Some lessons learned
The event focused on multi-stakeholder engagement on natural resource management issues and the needed support for local CSOs to position themselves better to effectively engage in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative discussions. Representatives from Bantay Kita, Cordaid Extractives, and Spectrum shared experiences from Guatemala, Honduras, Kenya, Myanmar, and the Philippines.
Workshop on ADB-Civil Society cooperation in Fiji
More than 35 NGO representatives gathered at the Holiday Inn, Suva, on 23 October 2015 to learn about ADB programs and projects and find opportunities for engagement. Those present at the training program were involved in various aspects of development work in Fiji, which included gender equality, youth and development, disability, and environmental protection. Participants included a mix of local civil society groups and international organizations like the WWF-Pacific, which aims to protect Pacific island ecosystems. There were presentations made by NGO networks such as the Fiji Council of Social Services (FCOSS), and the Pacific Islands Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (PIANGO), a network of NGO focal points or coordinating bodies covering 22 Pacific Island countries.
A presentation about ADB's Fiji Urban Water Supply and Waste Water Management outlined opportunities for civil society organizations (CSOs) to collaborate with ADB. Through the project, CSOs may take part in awareness campaigns on water, sanitation and hygiene, and provision of water and sewerage in informal settlements, and other topics. A session about the role of CSOs in implementing ADB's Safeguard Policy Statement was highly appreciated by participants. In addition, attendees learned about participatory tools such as stakeholder analysis and how to facilitate multi-stakeholder meetings as important skills in engaging with institutions like ADB. The training provided an opportunity for participants to learn about ADB operations in Fiji and recommend ways to strengthen cooperation.
Forum on civil society engagement held in Tajikistan
A knowledge-sharing forum was held in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on 14-15 September 2015 participated in by 12 Tajik civil society organizations (CSOs) working on various sectors, which included small and medium enterprises, youth in development, environment, and gender, and other sectors. The forum aims to enhance understanding of ADB policies supporting CSOs engagement, and learn about procurement processes for doing business with ADB. C.C. Yu, Country Director of ADB's Tajikistan Resident Mission, opened the event and highlighted ways and opportunities for engaging with NGOs in ADB projects.
Haidy Ear-Dupuy from ADB's NGO and Civil Society Center (NGOC), made a presentation about policies on CSO cooperation, and participation tools. Minerva Dacanay, NGOC Consultant, led a session on finding business opportunities in ADB for CSOs. Mart Khaltapurev, Principal Procurement Specialist from Uzbekistan Resident Mission, shared ADB’s procurement processes and the project cycle.
Participants emphasized the important role of NGOs in monitoring ADB-financed projects. In addition, discussions focused on the need to collect CSOs expertise and put into a database to facilitate procurement purposes. As Tajikistan's country partnership strategy (CPS) for 2016-2020 is being developed, participants suggested that CSOs be consulted and their inputs be considered in developing the strategy.
Workshop on Civil Society Engagement held in PNG
ADB held a knowledge sharing event for representatives of civil society organizations and NGOs in Papua New Guinea (PNG) on 11 September 2015. The workshop aims to enhance understanding about ADB and its engagement with CSOs, as well as identify opportunities for ADB-CSO cooperation. The day-long training also provided an opportunity for participants to apply skills in participatory approaches for development projects.
ADB's Suzanne Nazal facilitated the workshop which was joined in by 20 participants. From ADB PNG's resident mission, Hussain Haider opened the event and highlighted the importance of CSO participation in the design, delivery, and monitoring of projects. Dr. Jayantha Perera made a presentation on the importance of civil society in implementing ADB's safeguard policy. Discussions also covered lessons in CSO engagement, focusing on ADB-supported projects in PNG: Extending Socioeconomic Benefits to Roadside Communities, Rural Primary Health Service Delivery, and Airport Upgrading and Rehabilitation Project.
One-day forum on CSO participation held in Astana
A one-day forum on effective engagement of civil society organizations (CSOs) and NGOs in Kazakhstan was held on 24 August 2015 in Astana. The main objective of the workshop was to enhance knowledge of CSO representatives about ADB's procurement processes, and find opportunities for cooperating with ADB. The forum was opened by Jinlin Yang, Country Director of Kazakhstan Resident Mission, and facilitated by Asem Chakenova.
A session on ADB's procurement processes was presented by Mart Khaltapurev, Principal Procurement Specialist from Uzbekistan Resident Mission. The forum provided opportunities for CSO representatives to learn various ways to monitor ADB-financed projects, in the context of implementing ADB's Safeguard Policy Statement. Through video conference, Haidy Ear-Dupuy and Minnie Dacanay of ADB's NGO and Civil Society Center, made a presentation about ADB's policy on engaging CSOs and other NGOs for better development results. Several concerns were also raised about ADB projects in Kazakhstan which were noted by the training facilitators. ADB assured participants that appropriate action will be taken up on the issues raised.