Tuesday, July 14, 2009

CSO Development effectiveness: the key event of the Czech Presidency

Source: Concord Flash 62, June 2009

What are the key principles of development effectiveness? What is the specific role of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in development that could best contribute to their full potential? How is effectiveness influenced by external conditions and how to turn these conditions into advantages? These are the questions that were debated on 23-24 June by 170 representatives from civil society organisations (CSOs), donors and governments from nearly 50 countries from around the world that gathered in Prague.

Organised by the Czech NGDO platform “FoRS” (in collaboration with CONCORD) this conference was the closing event of the FoRS programme under the Czech Presidency of the European Union. Participants discussed the principles guiding their development effectiveness, the roles of CSOs in development and the framework provided by donors and governments for CSO work.

The opening sessions presented different perspectives on CSO development effectiveness, including from Europe, Africa, Latin America and the Open Forum for CSO Development Effectiveness. Additional workshops explored more details topics such as: sustainable technologies; migration and development; inclusive development; gender; democratic governance, agriculture and food security. The conference concluded with a lively discussion on the conference statement which sets out principles of CSO development effectiveness. Participants committed to deepen discussions of these principles within the Open Forum for CSO effectiveness.

Just 2 days before this conference, this Open Forum held a meeting to discuss how to organise their political dialogue with donors and government, funding issues, and how international CSO processes linked to the development effectiveness agenda (Open Forum and Better Aid) could be sufficiently funded.

Political dialogue: One of the key objectives of the Open Forum is to advocate for an enabling environment for CSOs as development actors. This should be achieved through a multi-level political dialogue that also includes those governments and donors that have so far remained reluctant to engage with civil society. To facilitate this dialogue, a group of supportive governments including Austria, Sweden, Canada and the UK, have mobilised their peers to create a multi-stakeholder working group linked to the OECD DAC Working Party on Aid Effectiveness. This working group will reach out to donors and governments and work on some CSO-specific provisions in the Accra Agenda for Action in the run-up to the next High-Level Forum in 2011.

Funding: A management group has been established. It will work closely with donors and with CONCORD for the Open Forum and IBON for Better Aid. Tentative commitments have been made by some donors, and it is expected that these will translate into concrete pledges in the weeks to come.

For further information contact Franz Josef Berger or visit and

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