Wednesday, 25 June 2008

In a word

At an initial cost of at least €143,000, a group of civil society organisations (CSOs/NGOs) have belatedly begun to examine how their effectiveness can be improved. The process is called 'Framing and Promoting the Effectiveness of CSOs as Development Actors' and kicks off with a meeting on 29th June run by CONCORD.

An interesting tension that emerges from the concept note and FAQ paper is that between 'aid effectiveness' and 'development effectiveness'. Governments signed up to the former as part of the Paris Declaration, but CSOs have agreed that they would rather the latter:
The concept framing the process is “development effectiveness”, which goes beyond the concept of aid effectiveness enshrined in the Paris Declaration. While the latter is perceived by civil society as being a narrow and technical agenda designed to govern official aid, “development effectiveness” is much broader in scope and frames effectiveness in terms of the impact development has on poor and marginalised communities and territories. It therefore reflects more properly the diverse roles CSOs play in development. Aid effectiveness can be conceived as a part of development effectiveness.
Of course civil society organisations are not the same as governments and it is not unreasonable to imagine them adhering to a different set of accountability principles. But this paragraph reads suspiciously like CSOs are preparing for a cheeky manoeuvre.

They would be well advised not to try and slide from a tightly defined concept (aid effectiveness) to a more loosely defined one (development effectiveness) for the sake of convenience. Donors are watching!

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