CSO Development Effectiveness

After a 2-year consultative process and several international meetings, civil society organizations (CSOs), partners, governments, traditional donors, South-South co-operators, emerging national economies, and private donors agreed on eight principles for development effectiveness.

Development actors like CSOs—a term that includes non-governmental organizations like ours—carry out a wide range of development initiatives. We as practitioners know how complex this process is, and that, over the past 50 years resources have been misapplied in attempts to create sustainable development.  Agreement on what effective development is, is essential for our work. When the application of human and financial resources leads to beneficial results as determined by all stakeholders, effective development has taken place. 

These principles for CSO development effectiveness, approved in Istanbul in 2010, are called The Istanbul Principles and form the foundation for the International Framework for CSO Development Effectiveness  and the Busan Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation. Both of these documents were instrumental in the creation of a Canadian specific Civil Society Partnership Policy in 2014.

The Istanbul Principles on development effectiveness:

  • Respect and promote human rights and social justice
  • Embody gender equality and equity while promoting women’s and girls rights
  • Focus on people’s empowerment, democratic ownership and participation
  • Promote environmental sustainability
  • Practice transparency and accountability
  • Pursue equitable partnerships and solidarity
  • Create and share knowledge and commit to mutual understanding
  • Commit to realizing positive sustainable change.