How DAC members work with civil society organisations: An overview 2011
Publication date: 3 October 2011
In the Accra Agenda for Action (2008), donors and developing country governments committed to deepening their engagement with civil society organisations (CSOs). This requires a broad understanding of CSOs as development actors in their own right, and as aid donors, recipients and partners. The book, How DAC members work with civil society organisations: An overview, examines why donors think it is important to work with CSOs, the ways they provide funds and the challenges they encounter.
Although donors have made progress in developing policies and strategies for working with CSOs, clarifying and streamlining processes, strengthening mutual accountability and engaging in meaningful dialogue on development policy remain challenging. The book points to areas where donors, developing country governments and CSOs from developing and developed countries can improve the way they work together towards development objectives.
Agree on definitions of CSO and NGO and when the terms should be used.
Make aid allocations to and through NGOs more transparent through better reporting to the OECD.
Develop transparent, forward looking and results-oriented policies and strategies for working with CSOs. Be clear about the overall objectives, principles and conditions for working with CSOs. Do this in consultation with CSOs.
Strike a balance between respecting CSO autonomy and steering CSOs to deliver development co-operation objectives.
Collaborate with CSOs to identify achievable objectives, indicators for measuring achievements and realistic outcomes for ODA channelled through CSOs that take into account the need to be fully accountable to donor governments.
Simplify and harmonise contracting, funding and reporting requirements to reduce transaction costs. Consider accepting and using CSO systems for monitoring and reporting.
What donors and partner governments can do
Engage systematically in meaningful dialogue with CSOs that taps into their knowledge of beneficiary needs, and expertise in development co-operation and humanitarian assistance.
What CSOs can do
Collaborate with donors to identify achievable objectives, indicators for measuring achievements and realistic outcomes for ODA channelled through CSOs that take into account the need to be fully accountable to donorgovernments and beneficiaries.
Support DAC member efforts to harmonise donor systems and processes by harmonising CSO systems and processes.
Make how they manage and spend aid more transparent by establishing an international database for CSO financing for development.