The Asian Development Bank (ADB) committed to continue collaborating with the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in the country and coordinate their programmes in line with the government’s developmental priorities as is the practice. For this, a two-day seminar called the ADB Bhutan CSO Partnership Day was observed in Paro, which ended yesterday.
More than 70 participants comprising officials from government agencies, CSOs and relevant stakeholders took part in the two-day seminar. Participants said that this is timely, as the thirteenth Five-Year Plan will begin, come next year. The partnership, first of its kind was focused on the idea of “tri-unity,” creating channels of communication between the ADB-Bhutan, CSOs and the Bhutanese government. It is expected to strengthen trust and enhance networking while providing opportunities to explore capacity building of all parties. It is also expected to engage the stakeholders in constructive dialogues on relevant issues.
Needrup Zangpo an eminent member of the CSO Authority said, “While CSOs in Bhutan hold immense opportunities for growth, I think they suffer from a lot of challenges. Most of them are not able to sustain themselves on their own because of a lack of funds. Therefore, development partners like ADB will be crucial to the development of CSOs in Bhutan. So, I think the Royal Government of Bhutan and CSOs need to come together to take advantage of the interest the development partners show.”
Meanwhile, Nidup Tshering a Senior Social Development Officer with the ADB says his office actually consult the government and whatever the development priorities of the government are, the ADB aligning their activities with the development priorities of the country. “Moreover, there are a few technical assistance programmes where we build capacity of CSOs and government agencies, which in turn will assist them to take livelihood activities in a way where they are intended.”
About sixteen CSOs showcased their ideas, projects and activities as a part of the seminar.
“The event is also a market place where CSOs showcase their activities and also present project ideas where the government and development partners can actually assess and rather see the possibilities of supporting them to translate these ideas into tangible projects. In a way, this is a platform or an avenue where we celebrate works that we do”, Nidup Tshering added.
There are currently 52 CSOs in the country registered under the CSO Authority.
So far the ADB has committed loans, grants and technical assistance totaling USD 1.2bn to Bhutan.
Bhutan became a member of the ADB in 1982.