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2. Introduction and proposed Components

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Laetitia Ricklin10 October 2012

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The purpose of this note is to present to participants of the Policy Forum on Development a first proposal for the Thematic Programme on CSO and LAs. During the Policy Forum on Development, discussions will be organised on specific aspects of this draft. Participants are kindly requested to carefully read this note and to bring their comments with them!

The new programme 'Civil Society Organisations and Local Authorities is the successor to the thematic programme Non State Actors and Local Authorities in Development (2007-2013) currently being implemented. The new programme covers the period 2014-2020. Its objectives and expected results will be detailed in the so called Multiannual Indicative Programme (MIP). This note presents a first proposal for the MIP for the period 2014-2017. During the implementation of the Programme, following a Mid-Term Review, a second MIP will be prepared for the period 2018-2020.

The legal basis of the new programme is in the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) Regulation. The proposal for the new DCI Regulation for 2014-2020 was adopted by the European Commission in December 2011 and is still being discussed by the European Council and Parliament. The DCI Regulation outlines the broad priorities and scope of the programme.

1. Background

The new CSO-LA Thematic Programme builds on the Agenda for Change, which identified two priority areas for support:

  • Human rights, democracy and other key elements of good governance;
  • Inclusive and sustainable growth.

The Programme reflects the recently adopted policy The Roots of Democracy and Sustainable Development: Europe's Engagement with Civil Society in External Relations (2012) and the related Council Conclusions. This policy integrates the conclusions of the Structured Dialogue. It outlines an enhanced and more strategic approach to the EU's engagement with civil society, with a focus on EU engagement with local CSOs in developing, neighbourhood and enlargement countries. The Communication put forward three priorities for EU support:

  1. To enhance efforts to promote a conducive environment for CSOs in partner countries.
  2. To promote a meaningful and structured participation of CSOs in domestic policies of partner countries, in the EU programming cycle and in international processes.
  3. To increase local CSOs' capacity to perform their roles as independent development actors more effectively.

At the operational level the policy calls for the elaboration of country level 'EU roadmaps for engagement with CSOs', which should ensure consistency and impact of EU actions with regard to dialogue and cooperation with civil society.

The new Thematic Programme will also reflect the forthcoming policy proposal on the EU's future engagement with LAs in Development (to be adopted in early 2013). A consultation with relevant stakeholders within the EU and in partner countries is on-going. The part of the MIP regarding support to LA may be adapted if necessary to take into account the result of this consultation process.

2. Challenges

The new Thematic Programme will seek to respond to a number of challenges:

  • Gaps in the enabling environment for CSOs and LAs
  • Challenges for CSOs and LAs to effectively contribute to governance and domestic accountability
  • Limited access by populations to social services
  • Ensuring economic growth is inclusive and sustainable
  • Gaps in coordination and dialogue
  • Internal governance and accountability of CSO and LAs
  • The European public's understanding of development cooperation
  • A crosscutting challenge in different domains are capacity constraints for CSO and LAs

Proposed components of the Thematic Programme

In line with the proposed DCI Regulation, the draft MIP 2014-2017 includes the three components outlined below.  

Capacity development and internal governance of CSOs and LAs are considered important crosscutting issues throughout the three components.

Guiding principles

The implementation of the Thematic Programme will be guided by the following principles:

•Considering CSOs' right of initiative.

•Considering CSOs' diversity and specificities.

•Sound understanding of the CSO and LA arena as the starting point.

•Strategic engagement with CSOs and link with "roadmaps" at country level.

•Independence of the Thematic Programme (no government agreement required).

•Support to transparent and accountable actors.

•Appropriate and flexible funding.

•Systematic knowledge capitalisation and dissemination.

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Comments

ENoP applauds the continued efforts of the European Union to support Civil Society Organisations in their endeavor to foster sustainable development. Furthermore, ENoP welcomes the translation of the new Strategy of the EU towards its engagement with Civil Society Organisations[1] into the Multiannual Indicative Programme (MIP) for the Thematic Programme for CSOs and LAs for the period 2014-2020.

Generally, ENoP considers that the incorporation of several topics of the Structured Dialogue and the newly adopted Communication into the draft MIP is a strong aspect of the strategy. These refer especially to the strong focus on promoting an enabling environment for CSOs, capacity-building for CSOs, diversity of CSOs and their right of initiative, as well as flexible and adapted funding modalities. Also, ENoP regards the component of capacity development and internal governance as being crucial and cross-cutting, which is being adequately tackled in the strategy and we thus consider it a strong aspect of the MIP.

Regarding the questions, which require clarification or fine-tuning: ENoP misses fine-tuning on the coherence with other instruments, such as for example the Civil Society Facility or the EIDHR. Coherence and complementarity between the EU roadmaps for engagement with CSOs and the Human Rights country strategies, foreseen in the EU framework on Human Rights and democracy, should also be clarified.

Regarding how to best support networks at regional and global level, we think support could be improved by including in addition to project funding alsoother aid modalities, such as for example core funding, in certain cases. It is in the nature of networks that they do not implement activities but rather provide support functions for and to their members. Therefore, network structures mainly rely on voluntary contributions by members and external funding. Especially in developmental contexts, the financial member support might be meager and alternatives have to be found.

Regarding missing issues: The MIP should adequately reflect the priorities of EU external action set out in key EU communications, such as the Agenda for Change and the Communication on the role of CSOs in development1. Although the priority area of support to Human Rights, democracy and good governance, as set out in the Agenda for Change, is mentioned in the introduction of the MIP, ENoP considers that it is not sufficiently streamlined throughout the documents. Support to Human Rights, democracy and good governance is not reflected in the challenges mentioned on page 2 of the document and it is not streamlined as a key priority throughout the 3 components. Please, refer to specific comments on the 3 components for further detail.


[1] COM(2012) 492 “The roots of democracy and sustainable development: Europe's engagement with Civil

Society in external relations“ (12. September 2012)

Desde mi territorio, y en representación del Intendente de la Municipalidad de San Carlos, Provincia de Mendoza, Argentina, agradezco a los miembros de la Unión Europea, la oportunidad que nos brindan de participar en tan intensos debates con el propósito de alcanzar los objetivos fijados con mayor celeridad y profesionalidad.

En representación de Jorge Difonso, les hago llegar en este post sus comentarios:

"Como Intendente de la Municipalidad de San Carlos, y representante de AL del Cono Sur ante el FPD, agradezco a la Comisión de la Unidad Europea, y en especial en este caso, a quienes activamente desarrollan Capacity for Development, por el esfuerzo puesto en el análisis profundo que elaboran, de cada tema en particular, a fin de poder ayudar a las AL y las CSO involucradas para la concreción exitosa de los proyectos encarados.


Considero que el documento que estamos analizando, abarca en profundidad los aspectos más sensibles respecto de la necesidad de fortalecimiento tanto de las AL como de las CSO. Puedo sugerir, en base a mi experiencia como AL, y por haber articulado varios encuentros en mi área de acción entre AL regionales y Entidades Intermedias, la necesidad de considerar equipar a los grupos de trabajo de ambos sectores, de herramientas concretas que ayuden a los actores a elaborar un análisis previo de cada una de sus propias fortalezas y debilidades respecto de las características de una buena Gobernanza. Brindar, tanto a las AL como a las CSO, de líneas de análisis previas para que preparen el terreno adecuadamente al momento de aplicar los Programas Temáticos con el fin de lograr resultados beneficiosos para todas las partes. Las AL deberían conocer, antes de aplicar los programas, las debilidades para poder así, cambiar o modificar esa realidad, y evitar que el modelo propuesto falle. Sobre todo, permitirles hacer una reflexión y evaluación sobre las pautas básicas de aquello que se entiende, desde la EU, como una buena gobernanza necesaria para alcanzar los objetivos fijados.


Por supuesto, dentro de este análisis, es fundamental un profundo conocimiento de los pasos de control a seguir para evitar posibles acciones de corrupción, ajenas muchas veces a las AL, pero enquistadas en acciones burocráticas, que pueden contaminar las acciones programadas para concretar un proyecto.


De la misma manera, también deberían sugerirse, dentro de los programas propuestos, una clara interacción entre las AL y CSO regionales, a fin de articular sistemáticamente una mayor coacción no solo para un proyecto específico , si no también para dotar a ambos sectores de herramientas para acciones conjuntas futuras.


Como un punto aparte, quisiera mencionar, que durante el FPD se indicó como posible método de calificación de países aptos a participar de los Programas Temáticos, aquellos que no sean considerados como de renta media según el BM. Si esto fuese así en el futuro, considero que quedarían descalificadas regiones, aún dentro de países de renta media, con un alto déficit tanto económico como de acceso general a necesidades básicas. El PBI de un país, dado por una calificadora, no refleja la realidad del total de la población. Propongo, por lo tanto, que se analice en particular cada caso, basándose en análisis regionales."

CONCORD's general comments on the draft CSO-LA MIP:

·More emphasis should be put on HRBA to development. The current proposal doesn’t reflect the central role of Human Rights, governance and the rule of law, all of which are central elements of the Agenda for Change. Governance and democracy should be mainstreamed across all priorities, and be reinforced for actions at the local level.

·Differentiation shouldn't be applied to thematic programmes. During the last Policy Forum in May 2012 the EC clearly stipulated that the thematic programmes would be eligible for all developing countries (See report of Policy Forum interim meeting 2012). All concerned texts of the MIP, AAPs and day-to-day management of the CSO programmes via EU Delegations and DG DEVCO in Brussels, must ensure access to thematic programmes for CSOs in all partner countries covered by the DCI, including those without bilateral support. The recently launched call on violence against children (IIP) is already one example of the EC’s new tendency to narrow down the access to thematic programmes, as only LDCs and other low income countries were eligible, meaning that no Latin American country were eligible. Furthermore, EU Delegations in MICs should also continue to have the necessary capacity and human resources to manage projects funded under the thematic programmes.

·European CSOs should be recognised as development actors with various and diverse functions (i.e. service delivery and capacity building) and not just limited to “information sharing, mentoring, joint advocacy etc.” (p.4). In our view this narrows down the role of EU CSOs. Our opinion is also that the CSO programme should promote the contribution of EU CSOs in holding the EU accountable against its commitments on policy development and funding, and to strengthen CSO participation in the policy processes.

·The guiding principle of the Right of Initiative (p.3) should not only be "considered" , as stated in the draft MIP, but also "upheld", respected and promoted as an intrinsic right to CSOsas independent actors for developmentin their own right. This is in linewith the Structured Dialogue Conclusions adopted in May 2011 and the internationally agreed commitments (Accra Agenda for Action, Art.20)

·In line with the spirit of the EC Communication on CSOs in Development, the principle of enabling environment should also be part of the guiding principles. Furthermore, the guiding principles should emphasise the importance of adopting requirements for local CSOs and smaller community based organisations. The calls for proposals under the existing instruments have a low success rate for smaller CSOs. Therefore, the EU should issue calls that are tailored and targeted to smaller organisations.

·The heading on challenges (p.2) mentions "Challenges for CSOs and LAs to effectively contribute to governance and domestic accountability". The MIP would need to be more specific by making a difference between the challenges faced by CSOs and those faced by LAs, as these are not always the same.

·It is important to ensure coherence and complementarity with other thematic programmes.

·If the EC decides to remove the multi-country envelope promoting cross-border multi-stakeholder partnerships, it should be ensured that the Global Public Goods programme includes such approaches in order to fill the gap.

CONCORD's comments on the Proposed allocations for the thematic programmes:

·

The proposed allocations for the thematic programmes are currently very broad. It would be very useful to see a much more detailed breakdown for the sub-components. How much will be going to CSOs and LAs? A focus should be put on component 1 and especially on component 1.1.2. We strongly advocate for keeping the ratio between CSO and LAs as it was before, i.e. 85 % (CSO) and 15 % (LA). This ratio should be applied throughout the programme, i.e. applied to all components.

Support measures: 10% is on the high side. We are aware of the fact that for example in 2011 a lot of the money allocated to support measures was actually used as a reserve. There seems to be no clear distinction between the two pots of money. We would encourage that some of these funds serve to enhance the relationship with CSOs in country and to build the capacity of local actors to access and secure EU funding.

Reserve: What would the reserve funds be used for? Under the geographic DCI allocations we recommend this reserve in order to fund LRRD.

General comments on behalf of the EU environmental platform (Green10 + IUCN)

  • There is a strong focus on inclusive economic growth. The promotion of inclusive economic growth should not be environmentally harmful and the Commission should ensure environment is mainstreamed in its development programmes, including in the CSO programme. We believe that the term “sustainable development” is a more appropriate objective. Poverty eradication cannot be achieved only via economic growth but because of the multidimensional aspects of poverty, the EU should consider other types of indicators such as empowerment, respect of human rights, access to resources, voice and participation etc.

  • Differentiation should not be applied to thematic programmes. During the last Policy Forum in May the EC clearly stipulated that the thematic programmes would be available for the Middle Income Countries as well. The EU delegations in the Middle Income countries should continue to have the necessary capacity and human resources to handle the management of projects funded under the thematic programmes.
  • The CSO programme should recognize the specificity and added-value of family organisations for their global coverage, their effectiveness, their roles in convening multistakeholder alliances, , their experience and ability to make local, regional and global connections to address drivers of global problems
  • The CSO programme should recognise and promote the important contribution of EU CSOs in holding the EU to account, in the same way as the EU wishes to support civil society actors in other parts of the world to hold their governments to account.
  • If the EU decides to remove the multi-country envelope promoting cross-border multistakeholder partnerships, then they should ensure that the Global Public Goods programme will include such approaches in order to fill the gap. We believe that multi-stakeholder partnerships are highly important to achieve development objectives.Triggering dynamic and innovative partnerships to work on complex integrated issues. The EC should encourage and support the creation of such partnerships.

PLATFORMA COMMENTS

1-   Background

  • Two crucial references should be added in the background: first of all, the Millennium Development Goals framework, among which the objectives of poverty reduction, gender equality, environment protection and global partnership should be guiding principles for the EU thematic programmes as a whole. Furthermore, the Busan Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation should also be a strong component of the programme’s background, with consequences in the programme’s organisation (see observation on challenges and on the component 1 of the programme in particular).

2-   Challenges

  • In line with the Busan Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation, the second challenge should be reworded as follows: “challenges for CSOs and LRAs to effectively contribute to democratic ownership andgovernance and to accountability to each other
  • The third challenge should be reworded as follows : « limited access by populations tobasic public services” 

3-   Proposed components

  • We welcome the articulation of the programme around 3 components, which we consider relevant regarding the contribution of CSOs and LRAs to development.
  • In particular, we would like to stress our support for the following items (details provided in corresponding sections):
    • Welcome innovation with component 1 focussing on the country level and foreseeing pilot actions promoting a territorial approach to development;
    • Significant priority set on development education, a major challenge for the upcoming budget period, with opening of this component to middle-income countries;
    • Distinction between support to development processes at country level in component 1 and support to structuring partner country networks included in component 2

4-   Guiding principles

  • We urge the Commission to adapt some of the proposed principles as follows:
    • “Considering CSOs’ right of initiative” into “Considering CSOs’ right of initiative andLRAs’ democratic legitimacy in countries where they are elected
    • “strategic engagement with CSOs” into “strategic engagement with CSOs and LRAs from both Europe and partner countries ”
  • We would like the Commission to encourage a partnership and reciprocal approach between LRAs and CSOs for all the proposed objectives.
  • We would also like to add a specific principle regarding the need to consider the diversity of LRAs as actors given the various states of decentralisation in partner countries
  • The principle of flexible funding is fundamental. However, further indication on how to make funding flexible is required. As relevant as what you do is how you do it. In this regard, we believe that the implementation should move beyond the project approach and seek to establishmedium term strategic partnerships with all relevant actors involved.

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