Civil society enabling environment now on global agenda - preparing for Busan

Civil society organisations (CSOs) around the world are mobilising resources, actions and advocacy to influence key global processes this year. One key event slated for the latter part of 2011, where major issues including Development Effectiveness and the role of and operational environment for civil society need to be taken up in earnest, is the High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, South Korea (HLF-4), from 26 November-1 December. After 18 months of engagement and advocacy by civil society, including CIVICUS, the Task Team has finally agreed on collective key messages for consideration by all participating stakeholders in HLF-4.

Civil society enabling environment now on global agenda

21 April, 2011

Dear CIVICUS Friend,

As you may know, civil society organisations (CSOs) around the world are mobilising resources, actions and advocacy to influence key global processes this year. One key event slated for the latter part of 2011, where major issues including Development Effectiveness and the role of and operational environment for civil society need to be taken up in earnest, is the High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, South Korea (HLF-4), from 26 November-1 December.

The forum is expected to assess the progress of governments in terms of meeting the commitments made in recent years and what additional commitments are necessary to ensure CSOs' role as independent development actors. We hope that the forum will lead to renewed energy amongst governments to catalyse greater development cooperation.

Today, as a member of the Task Team on CSO Development Effectiveness and Enabling Environment, I am happy to report back to you one key outcome of this process, which I believe is a tremendous step towards influencing the outcome of the upcoming High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness.

After 18 months of engagement and advocacy by civil society, including CIVICUS, the Task Team has finally agreed on collective key messages for consideration by all participating stakeholders in HLF-4. These messages are derived from the Task Team's work over the past 18 months, and build upon the civil society-related commitments in the Accra Agenda for Action (AAA). The messages address key issue areas with respect to the theme of CSO development effectiveness and an enabling environment. They point towards continued commitments and further engagement for progress in these important areas, which are an essential foundation of inclusive ownership and development outcomes for poor and vulnerable people.

We are happy to see that this multi-stakeholder group has gone beyond acknowledging the global trend of shrinking space for civil society and reaffirming existing commitments, but has also elaborated key parameters necessary for an enabling environment for civil society. The Multi- stakeholder calls upon HLF 4 participants, "including governments to commit to:

"Promoting an enabling environment for CSOs as independent development actors, both in law and practice, at minimum in keeping with existing commitments in international and regional instruments that guarantee fundamental rights."
"These include: freedom of association, freedom of expression, the right to operate free from unwarranted state interference, the right to communicate and cooperate, the right to seek and secure funding, and the state's duty to protect."

This is indeed a tremendous win for civil society, and I look forward to keeping you updated as we move towards Busan.

In Solidarity

Netsanet Belay
Policy and Research Director
CIVICUS

 


The momentum towards Busan:

 

Hundreds of CSO's are organised under two complementary processes, the BetterAid and Open Forum with a view to collectively advocate for the effectiveness of development cooperation, Civil Society's rightful role and independence in development endeavours. One critical advocacy process that civil society has been engaged with in this enterprise is through the Working Party on Aid Effectiveness (WP-EFF). The WP-EFF is an international partnership of policy makers and aid practitioners from donor and developing countries hosted by the OECD's Development Assistance Committee. It is the principle forum though which policy makers and aid practitioners deal with issues related to aid effectiveness. It aims to contribute to the development of non-OECD member economies by making aid more effective at supporting poverty reduction and sustainable development.

In April 2009, a multi-stakeholder group (Task Team on CSO Development Effectiveness and Enabling Environment) was launched within Cluster A (Ownership and Accountability) of the WP-EFF to promote the implementation of civil society-related commitments in the Accra Agenda for Action (AAA) and the Advisory Group on Civil Society and Aid Effectiveness' 2008 recommendations to the Working Party in their preparations for the 2008 Accra High Level Forum (HLF-3). The Task Team is co-chaired by Sweden (SIDA), Mali (Office of the President), and the Canadian Council for International Cooperation (CCIC, representing the Open Forum for CSO Development Effectiveness). Membership of the Task Team includes over a dozen donor governments, a few developing country governments, and a number of CSOs including CIVICUS, representing the two key global CSO-led processes to HLF-4: the Open Forum and BetterAid.

 

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