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Record participation by CSOs

Written by: Staff

Hyderabad, May 2 (UNI) Over 150 representatives of civil society organisations (CSOs) from 80 bodies in 24 countries have registered for the ADB's 39th Annual Meeting programme, starting here tomorrow.

In addition to government officials, business persons, academics and journalists, ADB has invited representatives of CSOs with an interest in development to participate in the yearly meeting of its Board of Governors, an ADB release said.

'ADB works closely with CSOs to promote economic growth that is pro-poor, socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable. The increasing level of ADB's engagement of civil society is reflected in the record percentage of approved ADB loans that involved CSOs last year at 74 per cent. Over the past year, CSOs have contributed to elaboration of the ADB country strategy and programme in various countries, and to the review of key ADB policies, such as water.' Since its last annual meeting in Istanbul, ADB had undertaken initiatives that strengthened growing links with CSOs. These included disclosing more information on ADB operations through the Public Communications Policy, simplifying procedures for engaging local and national CSOs to work on ADB projects and developing a staff guide to improve consultations and participation by stakeholders in ADB operations. The guide would be launched here on Thursday, it said.

In India, dozens of CSOs participated in ADB-financed projects to restore livelihoods in disaster-affected regions, raise community involvement in infrastructure development, clean up polluted sites and provide education, health services and microfinance.

In April, ADB approved regional technical assistance to provide small grants to CSOs to pilot test and demonstrate the relevance and impact of CSO mechanisms and approaches to improving transparency and accountability, and fighting corruption. Technical assistance would be implemented with the Partnership for Transparency Fund, a non-government anti-corruption organisation, in India, Mongolia, Pakistan and Philippines.

Among the many CSOs expected to join the Annual Meeting this week are Action Aid, Aga Khan Foundation, Asian Disaster Reduction and Response Network, DKT International, Greenpeace, Institute for Participatory Practices - PRAXIS, Oxfam, Plan International, Population Services International, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and World Vision. In addition, workers organisations would be represented in the form of the Asian Labor Network on International Financial Institutions, International Confederation of Free Trade Unions and Public Services International.

In recognition of the importance of the CSO contribution to development, ADB senior management would meet civil society delegates tomorrow to seek their views and recommendations on improving ADB's efforts to reduce poverty in the Asia and Pacific region.

UNI SM AA 1730

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