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www.civicus.org Maintaining CSO Accountability and Relevance in a Changing Development Context Katsuji Imata Deputy Secretary General CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
www.civicus.org CSOs across the Globe Today Major providers of essential services Influential advocates for marginalised groups Knowledgeable advisors on public policy
www.civicus.org Growing Pressure on CSOs Are they legitimate? Who are they? Whose voice do they represent? Are they accountable? Are their actions justifiable against their claims? Are they effective? Do they provide value- for-money? After all, are they trustworthy?
www.civicus.org Political Dimension of CSO Accountability Debate CSO accountability question tends to revolve around its technical dimension (self-regulation, codes of conduct, certification) CSO efforts to pro-actively set standards are commendable Important to recognise the political context of the discussion
www.civicus.org Reference to the HLFs on Aid/Development Effectiveness Paris Declaration in 2005 Accra Agenda for Action in 2008 (Author: Ministers of developing and donor countries responsible for promoting development and Heads of multilateral and bilateral development institutions Busan Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation in 2011 (Author: Heads of State, Ministers and representatives of developing and developed countries, heads of multilateral and bilateral institutions, representatives of different types of public, civil society, private, parliamentary, local and regional organisations
www.civicus.org Political Context 1: Ownership Question Country Ownership is one of 5 principles of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness Often misused to justify restrictions on access to funding and CSOs’ right to operate independently free from unwarranted interference
www.civicus.org Ownership Question – CSO Response In Accra, “We will broaden country-level policy dialogue on development” with a reference to parliaments, local authorities and CSOs (Accra Agenda for Action) In Busan, “Deepen, extend and operationalise the democratic ownership of development policies and processes (Busan Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation)
www.civicus.org Why focus on Democratic Ownership? The space of civil society is volatile, contested, and often limited CIVICUS and other groups call it “shrinking civil society space”
www.civicus.org Volatile Civil Society Space (1) 47% of respondents in the recent CIVICUS surveys found the legal environment for civil society restrictive. Others found new opportunities opening up but contested. Some feel that the sector is at a historical moment for decline or renewal
www.civicus.org Volatile Civil Society Space (2) CIVICUS report in 2010, “Clampdown is Real” Post 9/11 security measures and the clampdown on democratic dissent Shrinking of civil society space is pervasive across the global north and south Threats in over 90 countries tracked by CIVICUS in 2009 – 2010
www.civicus.org Volatile Civil Society Space (3) Legal Restrictions on Civil Society Policy and Related Measures (government statements and funding for CSOs) Imprisonment of Activists and Assassinations Physical Attacks and Bureaucratic Harassment Brutal Crackdowns on Protest Demonstrations
www.civicus.org Political Context 2: Effectiveness Question Demand on CSOs to be not only accountable but also effective Value-for-money tenet in the post-global financial crisis era, Political “shift to the right” in many donor countries Age of impact evaluation
www.civicus.org Effectiveness Question – CSO Response Accountability framework to include effectiveness dimension Building capacity to speak the language of impact Open Forum on CSO Development Effectiveness (Istanbul Principles)
www.civicus.org CSOs working on the Effectiveness Question It works hand-in-hand with CSOs’ demand for an Enabling Environment In Accra, –“We will deepen our engagement with CSOs as independent development actors in their own right” – We will work with CSOs to provide an enabling environment that maximises their contributions to development.” Open Forum on CSO Development Effectiveness (Istanbul Principles)
www.civicus.org CSOs working on the Effectiveness Question In Busan, –“Implement fully our respective commitments to enable CSOs to exercise their roles as independent development actors, with a particular focus on an enabling environment, consistent with agreed international rights, that maximises the contributions of CSOs to development”
www.civicus.org CSOs across the Globe Today (2) Major providers of essential services Influential advocates for marginalised groups Knowledgeable advisors on public policy Major player in setting international norms and standards on macro political questions
www.civicus.org CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation Established in 1993 in Washington, DC. Recognised as a broad alliance of CSOs with a focus on the global south. Moved its headquarters to Johannesburg, South Africa in 2002 The CIVICUS alliance is made up of organisations from across the spectrum of civil society from over 100 countries
www.civicus.org CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation Mission To strengthen global citizen action and civil society throughout the world. Vision A worldwide community of informed, inspired, committed citizens engaged in confronting the challenges facing humanity.
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