CIVICUS research shows faith structures usually have the highest trust of any non-governmental formation. Faith-based CSOs may have particular routes to some sections of the public and the ability to reach and channel large pockets of support. At CIVICUS, we are seeking to build partnerships with FBOs in order to achieve greater impact in areas of common interest.
In May 2012 CIVICUS World Alliance for Citizen Participation Outreach Director Henri Valot conducted a formal interview with the for the Division of Sustainable Development at the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) and the Head of the Rio +20 Secretariat, Mr. Nikhil Seth. The purpose of the interview was to attain valuable knowledge from the organization about the upcoming Rio +20 Conference that is to take place between the 20- 22 June this year in Brazil. Mr. Seth responded to a myriad of questions concerning his aspirations for the conference with regards to the current challenges being face at the UN, the relationship between the SDGs and MDGs in the post 2015 agenda, and finally his opinion on the significance of civil society organizations at the Rio +20 conference this year. Mr. Seth’s responses were viewed with optimism, which serves as an interesting point of departure to the fast approaching negotiations ahead.
Feedback needed from civil society on a proposed Global Partnership for Enhanced Social Accountability
Recent events in the Middle East and North Africa have compelled leaders of global institutions and heads of government to rethink the way they do business. There seems to be momentum building around new ways of involving non-state actors and especially civil society organisations with a view to bridge the gaps and disconnects between citizens and governance. One such initiative seems to be emerging from the World Bank. In the immediate aftermath of the uprisings in North Africa, President of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick, in a lecture at the Peterson Institute for International Economics on 6 April 2011, conceded that participation of civil society in development processes at national level has a positive impact on public service delivery and developmental outcomes1.
Following Mr. Zoellick’s address, the World Bank Group has come up with a new initiative entitled Global Partnership for Enhanced Social Accountability with the stated ambition of “strengthening beneficiary feedback and participation by supporting civil society capacity to engage with governments to improve development effectiveness.” To help formulate this partnership, the World Bank Group is currently carrying out consultations at country and regional levels to obtain feedback from civil society and other stakeholders.
The on-going consultations are aimed at collating feedback on the nature and type of support that the proposed partnership can offer to assist civil society in dealing with current challenges and the role of the World Bank in providing this support. The consultations also seek to clarify possible criteria that can be used to identify those who will represent civil society in the partnership; the potential risks involved and the impact the partnership will have on developmental outcomes.
CIVICUS joined the consultation, held in Johannesburg on 7 February 2012, with World Bank Officials and a number of civil society representatives from the Southern African region including civil society groups from Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. A summary of feedback from these and other consultations held in different regions around the globe is expected to be posted online. More consultations on the operationalisation of the partnership are expected to run from May to June.
There is no denying that this proposed partnership is timely and arises from the recognition that governments and intergovernmental bodies cannot continue business as usual. It is also true that this is yet another initiative that needs to prove whether it works and delivers on its promises. In any case, it’s critical that citizens and civil society organisations have their say now in how this partnership is formulated. Hence we strongly encourage you to provide your feedback online as part of the consultation and send the completed form to gpesa[at]worldbank.org.
1For more information on Zoellick’s lecture, see The Middle East and North Africa: A New Social Contract for Development.
For many in civil society, attention this fortnight will focus on the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, South Korea. The persistent global wave of protests against current economic models and the increasingly irrefutable evidence of accelerating climate change should provide the impetus and motivation for visionary leadership in Busan. This timely op-ed by Jeremy Hobbs (Executive Director, Oxfam International) reminds us all just how high the stakes are.
Moving the Goal Posts
Parents with young children will be familiar with the phenomenon – a game is going badly, little Daniel is losing, but rather than redouble his efforts he changes the rules of the game. He makes his goal smaller or tells his opponents only to kick with their left foot.
This can be amusing and endearing in children, but not when the richest, most powerful nations display it in their dealings with the poorest.
At the end of this month, Ban Ki-moon, Hillary Clinton and ministers from around the world will gather in Busan, South Korea, for the fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness. The rather dull title should not obscure the fact that this meeting will have important consequences for the world’s poorest people.
Follow developments leading up to and during Busan on Twitter using #HLF4
CIVICUS, along with 98 organisations from all over the world, is calling on governments to publish more information about the aid they give. The campaign, Make Aid Transparent, will culminate in just 4 weeks’ time at a high level meeting on Aid Effectiveness in Korea where we will be demanding that governments redouble efforts to meet their aid transparency promises. Continue reading
Civil society is a term whose definition sometimes seems elusive. Its role is almost always fiercely contested. The phrase is now bandied about by politicians, pundits and practitioners alike, especially in the context of the revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa and the popular uprisings around the world. Continue reading
The 2011 CIVICUS World Assembly has come to a close! During this year’s event we saw a convergence of themes – from climate justice to development effectiveness to democratic space – with different movements from around the world coming together towards a common dialogue of sustainable, inclusive development based on human rights. The energy and motivation to find sustainable solutions for a more just world was palpable.
Since the event, many delegates from plenary speakers to youth participants have offered up their reflections and interpretations on the event. For those who joined us in Montreal, I invite you to read these and reflect on how closely they resemble your own experience. For those who unfortunately could not be with us, I invite you to read these pieces and add your voice to the discussion.
While working on the final press release for the CIVICUS World Assembly, which ended on Monday, Ingrid Srinath, CIVICUS’ Secretary General, suggested we change the title to read “Civil society breaks through silos”. My French-speaking colleagues at Institut du Nouveau Monde (INM – the World Assembly co-hosts in Montreal) groaned “not that phrase again!” They were frustrated because it was a term that kept popping up in our communications, but they struggled to find a good translation in French. Yet, it seems impossible to reflect on this year’s World Assembly and not speak of breaking the silos – every angle you consider when looking back on the three days is an example of a silo being broken and disparate ideas, themes, regions, you name it, converging together. Continue reading