This blog was originally published on the website of the CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE) on 11 October 2023. See the original post here.
At the recent Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation’s Learning and Acceleration Programme (GPEDC LAP) in Seoul, the CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE) continued to urge development stakeholders to build an enabling environment for civil society to engage in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
The LAP comprises workshops directed at governments, development partners and civil society to provide peer learning opportunities and technical training for the next GPEDC Monitoring Round, the fourth iteration of an exercise that evidences multi-stakeholder action for more effective development co-operation.
Recognising the paramount significance of a conducive environment for civil society organisations (CSOs), CPDE Senior Policy Liaison Matt Simonds spoke on civil society reflections on the Enabling Environment Assessment (EEA), a survey that measures the operational environment for CSOs, and which is a pivotal component of the Global Partnership’s monitoring framework.
He underscored the value CSOs place on the EEA and urged governments to collaborate closely with national CSOs to complete the survey: “The EEA is not merely an assessment tool but also a catalyst for establishing multi-stakeholder dialogues. It should be viewed as a tool in its own right, fostering country-level multi-stakeholder dialogues to facilitate CSO engagement throughout the entire monitoring process and in implementing the effectiveness agenda.”
Moreover, his presentation stressed that EEA monitoring represents just the first step; governments should prioritise follow-up actions to address assessment findings and, crucially, implement EEA results through policy and action while actively involving civil society in decision-making processes.
For the evaluation to yield fruitful results, Simonds highlighted the importance of recognising CSOs as versatile development actors, ranging from watchdogs to project implementors. He explained that CSOs play a significant role in delivering development cooperation, with 20% of Official Development Assistance (ODA) channelled through them. It is thus vital to acknowledge that CSOs should be distinguished from governments and official development partners, he added.
The core components of the EEA encompass four crucial aspects: engaging CSOs through democratic country ownership of national development strategies, CSOs fulfilling their commitments to the effectiveness agenda, development partner support for CSOs, and establishing a robust legal and regulatory framework to safeguard civic space.
The presentation placed considerable emphasis on the importance of building trust between CSOs and various stakeholders and the need to maintain inclusive partnerships to ensure effective engagement.
In conclusion, Simonds introduced the Thematic Initiative on CSO Enabling Environment (CSO EE), aimed at enabling civil society through trust-building and informed implementation, along with inclusive monitoring of effectiveness commitments, and with particular emphasis on reversing the trend of shrinking civic space. CSO Enabling Environment is one of CPDE’s core advocacy issues in promoting the reform of legal and regulatory frameworks based on human rights standards, to facilitate CSO spaces in policy and practice in compliance with the Istanbul Principles.
CPDE will soon be releasing updates about the 4th GPEDC Monitoring Round (2023-2026), where it will offer technical support and tools to help CSOs engage in this initiative.