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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Informing, communicating, influencing: Organizing NGO capacity in European cooperation and development

Nowadays, public policy on development seeks to incorporate views from civil society, the private sector as well as oher non-state actors. Northern NGOs face new challenges if they are to influence the development policies of the EU and its Member States.

Taking these new challenges into account, Martin Behrens just authored a report for Euforic on the mechanisms Northern NGOs use to improve the use, access and exchange of information. It also examines organizational aspects of NGO advocacy networks and their influence on strategies towards public policy maker.

The study maps different national and EU level institutions that are crucial for NGO–public policy interaction. In a survey of German NGOs it assesses mechanisms to improve the use, access and exchange of information. It also examines organizational aspects of NGO advocacy networks and their influence on strategies towards public policy makers.

Although various communication and information tools are applied quite effectively, NGOs were not so good at the qualitative aspects of information use and management. Communication and information management was regarded as important but strategically underdeveloped. The study underlines the role of NGO networks and platforms to influence public policy-making at national and EU levels. However European networks can only be successful if they enhance coordination between secretariats and members, which requires that deficiencies identified are tackled.

To remain influential, NGOs need to re-orientate their actions towards new coalitions in North and South – also with NGOs outside the development sector – to include all parts of civil society and the private sector. Since these activities require efficient and effective employment of information, NGOs need to strengthen their capacity in these areas.

Read the full report (pdf). Visit the euforic information dossier

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