Stop! Mind the gender gap in development discourses

At a time when the United Nations, governments, development partners and civil society are vigorously having consultations on a post-2015 development framework, the issue of gender equality seems to have lost its resonance in discourses on development especially within the African continent. Lessons from experiences in implementing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) show that countries can experience different levels of economic growth but still suffer from massive social and economic inequalities.

I recently attended a gender forum organised by the African Development Bank (AfDB) in Tunis, Tunisia which brought together government ministers, representatives from civil society, international organisations, the private sector and development practitioners. The aim of the forum was to bring together key stakeholders from the continent to map out strategies needed to redress the challenge of gender inequality in Africa. The theme of the meeting was “changing the state of gender equality in Africa.”

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Civil Society in crisis: Civil Society funding and the way forward (23 May)

Many CSOs report declining funding, volatility and changing donor priorities, and in response are giving more attention to fundraising and diversification of funding sources. Financing for development and reforming the existing architecture of international aid are key issues on the global agenda for CSOs. Organised in conjunction with CIVICUS’ donors, this webinar hopes to explore techniques to weather these turbulent times.

Busan Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation – enabling environment holds the key to civil society’s role in implementation

Joint blog by Open Forum for CSO Development Effectiveness and CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation

The 4th High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, held December 2011 in Busan, South Korea, was a landmark event where civil society participated in negotiations on the new direction for international development cooperation on an equal basis with governments and donors, the first such time in the history of these OECD-led events.

It concluded with a compromise and mixed results for civil society organisations (CSOs).[1]  One important gain is the acknowledgement in the outcome agreement of the International Framework for CSO Development Effectiveness, as a reference on best CSO practices and conditions required from governments and donors. Continue reading

Bringing it together: organising for civil society effectiveness in Cameroon

A divided civil society sector is easy to ignore and will struggle to exert influence. By overcoming barriers to collaboration, civil society can improve its effectiveness and be taken more seriously. The Istanbul Principles for CSO Development Effectiveness have provided a framework to increase civil society collaboration in Cameroon. Here, Christine Andela of PLANOSCAM, the National Platform of Civil Society Organisation of Cameroon, describes the steps they took in uniting civil society and applying common principles of joint working to increase effectiveness.

Cameroon’s CSO community is composed of a great number of CSOs of different type, including faith-based CSOs, women’s associations, youth associations, trade unions, professional organisations and NGOs.   Continue reading

Moving the Goal Posts

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.

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Follow developments leading up to and during Busan on Twitter using #HLF4

It’s time to Make Aid Transparent

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

A multitude of convergence

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

Meet CIVICUS World Assembly 2011 Bloggers

Bloggers, passionate about CIVICUS’ goal of a just world, spend time sharing thoughts, analysis and opinions on issues around this theme in the CIVICUS World Assembly blog:; in this podcast invites all to the World Assembly in Monytreal next month

CIVICUS World Assembly: Are you ready for Montreal?

In Johannesburg and in Montreal, the CIVICUS World Assembly team has all but forgotten what their families and friends look like, but as the clock ticks down to the global event, its attendance list reads like a who’s who of the civil society “world.”

It’s official. It’s now exactly one month until an expected 900 plus civil society enthusiasts descend on the cobbled streets of Montreal for the CIVICUS World Assembly. Specialised workshop sessions have risen to 48, nearly double the number the event has held before. Accommodation in the Canadian city has been all but booked up under names like Google, Al Jazeera, the World Bank, UNDP, Oxfam and ActionAid among many others. Continue reading

Co-operation for effective development: Looking to Busan

Few areas of development spout as many euphemisms as aid does. The view that resource transfers from one country to another are in fact a form of justice for centuries of colonial exploitation, or, at least, mutually beneficial investments, has given rise to terms like “development co-operation”, “partner countries” and the like in preference to words like “aid”, “donors” and “recipients”. Continue reading