Talking Development Effectiveness in the Cambodian Jungle…

28/06/2011 at 3:50 pm Leave a comment

By Garry Walsh.

It’s hot and sweaty as I get off the plane in Siem Reap, Cambodia, even though the sun has already gone down. Since the end of the Cambodian civil war, this small town has experienced a massive tourist boom, in no small part due to being next to the Angkor Wat temples – Cambodia’s 8th wonder of the world.

I’ve just spent 14 hours in the air, making the long journey to the Open Forum Global Assembly on CSO Development Effectiveness (quite a title) like 200 other civil society organisations from all across the globe. It’s a long way to come for a conference. Is this going to be just another NGO circus, a big fanfare in a tropical location? Or will there be a meaningful outcome as CSOs articulate a useful vision of what they mean by development effectiveness?

After 3 years, the Open Forum process is coming to an end. To its credit, it has been an open and inclusive process, involving over 3,000 CSOs and 80 national consultation sessions in every continent.

The Open Forum was established in 2008 following the Accra summit. As CSOs criticised donor countries at that summit on Aid Effectiveness, donors threw the challenge back on CSOs and said ‘show us how you as CSOs are effective’.  And so now 3 years later, global civil society has its answer.

Last year the Open Forum articulated what it means to be an effective CSO through the Istanbul Principles. Now those principles have been developed further into an International Framework on CSO Effectiveness. This is what we’re trying to hammer out and finalise in Siem Reap.

The framework will indentify key areas of how we can be most effective, such as working to end human rights abuses, ending gender inequality, working in partnership, and other principles which widen the debate beyond just aid effectiveness to a broader concept of development effectiveness.

What will be key for Dóchas members will be to understand how we can actually implement the new international CSO effectiveness framework. What will it mean for organisations on a practical day-to-day basis? How can we tailor it to our Irish context? How can it help us improve our accountability, transparency, and commitment to demonstrating our effectiveness and impact in our work? And how will all this feed into the Busan High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness at the end of 2011?

Keep reading the Dóchas blog to hear more from the Global Assembly as it progresses, and follow Dóchas on twitter.
(Follow Garry Walsh on Twitter)

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Entry filed under: Development Effectiveness, MDGs, Overseas aid. Tags: , , , , .

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