In the past few years, the Asian Development Bank has increasingly recognized the importance of strengthening stakeholder participation to achieve improved development results. In fact, ADB’s long-term strategic framework presents partnerships as a key driver of change.
One consequence of this prioritization has been a growing focus on collaboration with civil society organizations, whose sectoral expertise and local knowledge can help ensure that the bank’s activities are more closely tailored to the needs of beneficiaries. Today, a vast majority of ADB-financed projects involve CSOs in one way or another.
But in more practical terms, how does the Manila-based institution determine its engagement priorities with civil society groups in Asia, and which types of partnerships does it seek to foster? To find out, Devex’s Rolf Rosenkranz asked Lainie Thomas, social development specialist for civil society and participation at ADB, to share her insights.
When it comes to determining areas where ADB and CSOs can cooperate, Thomas emphasized the importance of finding “natural connections” — areas of intervention where both the bank and civil society already share common goals and activities.