The IDB and Civil Society
The Bank considers civil society organizations (CSOs) to be key actors in the development of the countries in the region. The IDB Group works with these organizations at several levels. At the operational level, the IDB and its borrowers consult with CSOs and affected populations during the project preparation and implementation stages. CSOs may also be eligible to receive financing from the Bank. At the policy level, different non-governmental organizations and interest groups reviews drafts of strategy and policy documents and submit comments for Bank consideration.
The Bank uses a broad and inclusive definition of what constitutes a civil society organization. CSOs represent the interests of different groups that are directly or indirectly affected by IDB financed operations, at the country, regional or international level. Civil society organizations may include:
- Non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
- Community organizations, community groups, and groups of residents directly affected by a Bank-financed projects.
- Non-profit organizations
- Business associations
- Universities, academia, research centers and professional associations whose field of study makes significant contributions to the IDB.
- Religious institutions
- Groups of indigenous and Afrodescendant peoples, and other groups of particular interest to our institution.
Citizen Participation Strategy
Given the mandates stated above and those established by the Bank’s governing bodies, and based on long experience, there is a clear relationship between citizen participation and the Bank’s operational activities and objectives. Participation means the set of processes by which citizens, either through governments or directly, influence the decision-making process on these activities and objectives. From this perspective, citizen participation does not mean decision-making, but rather the opportunity to influence the decisions that must be made by the authorities that have been put in place in each case. Furthermore, participation does not mean replacing or reducing the role of the governments of IDB member countries as the primary stakeholders in the Bank and as members of its highest management and decision-making bodies.
The “Strategy for Promoting Citizen Participation in Bank Activities” was prepared in order to expand, strengthen and systematize citizen participation in the Bank’s activities. It was approved by the IDB Board of Directors in 2004. Unlike sectoral policies, this document presents a corporate strategy and refers to the procedures by which the institution incorporates citizen participation into its operational activities.
The Bank promotes citizen participation in its activities in four main areas:
- Definition of agendas, plans and policies for country development;
- Formulation of sectoral strategies and country strategies;
- Project preparation and implementation; and
- Evaluation of the Bank’s activities.