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3. Add comments on Component 1: Focus on country level

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Laetitia Ricklin11 October 2012


This component is aimed at enhancing the capacities of CSOs and LAs to work at the country level, given the vital but distinct roles they play respectively in promoting democracy and accountability and in facilitating pro-poor service delivery and inclusive economic growth. With a view to operationalize recognition of the distinct roles of CSOs and LAs and to support their collaboration for local development, the programme distinguishes the following three strategic objectives:

·1.1: To enhance CSOs contribution in development processes: The programme will support CSOs as actors in governance, as partners in promoting broader access to service delivery and as key stakeholders in promoting inclusive and sustainable growth.

·1.2: To enhance LAs' contribution in development processes: The programme will support LAs, as autonomous public institutions operating within a given territory. It will promote their overall environment enabling them to play their legitimate and legally mandated roles. It will also reinforce their capacity to effectively ensure provision of public services and goods and to promote inclusive and sustainable growth within their framework of competence.

·1.3: To support pilot actions promoting a territorial approach to development through joint action by CSOs, LAs and other relevant stakeholders.

EU Delegations will ensure interventions supported through the programme are tailored to country needs and context and promote coherence and complementarity with other instruments and programmes. In this respect, interventions to support CSOs will be integrated into the roadmaps for engagement with CSOs, announced in the new CSO policy[1] and related Council Conclusions.

Whilst the programme focuses on local CSOs, it recognizes and supports the role played by European CSOs in supporting local partners, through information sharing, mentoring, joint advocacy, etc. In difficult contexts, European CSOs can also play an important role in promoting the enabling environment of local CSOs and raising awareness about restrictions or attacks on them. 

 1.1.1 Enhancing the space and capacity of CSOs to operate and engage in public policy processes and accountability systems

  • The programme will contribute to enhance the de jure and de facto enabling environment for CSOs so that they can effectively contribute to development processes.
  • The programme will seek to empower CSOs to contribute effectively and meaningfully to local and national policy processes and to hold public authorities to account alongside other institutional actors. Special consideration will also be given to CSOs' capacity to play an oversight role in the budgetary cycle.
  • The Programme will support CSO contribution in policy making at national and sector level with attention on policies relating to human development (including the provision of social services) and on inclusive growth.
  • The programme will provide tailored support to different categories of CSO actors (e.g. NGOs, trade unions, cooperatives, etc.), recognizing that dialogue schemes are actor and sector specific.
  • The programme will contribute to fostering CSOs' transparency and accountability to their constituencies and partners with a view to enhance their legitimacy and credibility in policy and accountability processes.
  • The programme will support CSO capacities to use new technologies and social media.

1.1.2: Strengthening CSOs' role for improved pro-poor social service delivery.

This axis of the programme will be activated in Least Developed Countries (LDC) and in fragile/post conflict countries in order to improve access to basic services, notably health, education, water and sanitation, and food security.

In Middle Income Countries support to service delivery may be mobilized within focal sectors of cooperation through geographical funds (bilateral cooperation). In the longer term CSOs' action in service delivery is to be progressively integrated in national systems and interventions of this Programme will embrace this perspective.

Focus will be on the following:

  • The programme will provide direct support to CSOs to improve the provision of basic services, particularly for disenfranchised or vulnerable populations.
  • The programme will support the capacity development of CSOs in relation to the quality of services and their complementarity within the framework of national systems.
  • Special consideration will be given to fragile LDCs where CSOs often play a pivotal role in providing basic services. Support to CSOs in this context should ensure it does not harm state building processes.

1.1.3: Strengthening CSOs' role for inclusive economic growth.

  • The programme will support CSO initiatives which combine social and economic ambitions. This covers initiatives to promote entrepreneurship and extend access to business support services, credit and markets to marginalized groups and to capacitate vulnerable groups to enter the formal workforce.
  • The programme will support cooperatives and producers organisations' work to promote inclusive growth and to address the needs and interests of their members and communities, for example by facilitating access to credit.
  • The programme will support actions by trade unions and employers' organisations to promote inclusive growth.
  • Finally, the programme will seek to support CSOs in multi-stakeholder partnerships to promote entrepreneurship, create jobs and support growth, allowing different relevant stakeholders to work together and develop mutually-reinforcing initiatives.

1.2.1: To promote an enabling environment for LAs to play their roles effectively.

    • Taking into account country-specific contexts, this programme will support improvements in the legal and regulatory framework related to LA competences, particularly within decentralisation processes, allowing LAs to play their institutional roles more effectively.
    • The programme will also promote the participation of LAs in policy processes at country level, in line with the national policies. This may include support to networking, mentoring or twinning among LAs and associations of LAs at country level as well relevant exchanges with LAs and associations of LAs from other partner countries and from Europe, in order to enhance a broad-based and democratic ownership of development. The programme will also support actions to develop the capacity of LAs for policy analysis, negotiation and coordination, in line with their specific competences.
    • The programme may support actions to strengthen the internal governance and accountability of LAs, as public institutions, both towards their own citizens and towards other levels of government and to independent audit bodies. In particular, it will support actions promoting effective budget implementation, tracking of public revenues and expenditures and budget literacy, and accessibility of budgetary information to citizens (including via participatory budgeting).
    • In order to overcome purely top-down approaches, a better articulation between national and local policy-making processes will also be promoted, with LAs working as partners of the central governments in the design of national/sectoral policies and plans or in the negotiation of priorities for cooperation with Development Partners.
    • 1.2.2: To strengthen the capacity of LAs to effectively deliver public services, including social services, and to promote inclusive and sustainable growth.
    • The programme will aim at strengthening LA's capacity to effectively provide quality public services, including basic social services, and to promote inclusive and sustainable growth within their territory.
    • The programme will support actions to strengthen the capacity of LAs to effectively implement laws and policies under their competence in order to stimulate the local economy, reinforce its links to the national market, to promote entrepreneurship and to mobilise different actors for joint efforts for inclusive and sustainable growth.
  • The programme will promote capitalisation on expertise acquired during various decentralisation processes, notably with regard to service delivery, through a peer-to-peer approach and transfer of experiences with European LAs.

 1.3.1: To support pilot actions promoting a territorial approach to development

  • In line with the Agenda for Change's focus on inclusive and sustainable growth for human development, this specific objective will seek to support pilot actions promoting a territorial approach to development, including multi-actor local development processes with the participation of LAs, CSOs and other local actors.
  • The programme will support the development of local development plans with the participation of different actors, whilst respecting the legitimacy of the role of each category of actor.

[1] See COM(2012) 492 The Roots of Democracy and Sustainable Development: Europe's Engagement with Civil Society in External Relations, section 4.5.



En representación de Jorge Difonso, Intendente de San Carlos, les presento sus comentarios:

"Reitero mi agradecimiento a la Comisión por tan exhaustivo trabajo y adhiero a todas las consideraciones hechas en cada análisis.

Respecto de este punto específico, considero que podemos ser más precisos e integrar como “otros actores relevantes” al Sector Privado, que de alguna manera estará representado en el futuro en el FPD.

La interacción del Sector Privado y las AL y CSO debe ser fortalecida a través de la experiencia que brinda la ejecución de operaciones conjuntas. Son tres actores que constantemente se encuentran interactuando a nivel tanto regional como nacional. Por lo tanto, lograr que esa comunicación sea exitosa asegura mejores resultados al momento de concretar, a nivel país, el desarrollo de los distintos Programas Temáticos. Cada uno de estos sectores debe reconocer la legitimidad y el valor agregado que aportan para la concreción de los objetivos fijados."

CONCORD's comments on component 1:

1.1: To enhance CSOs contribution in development processes:

·1.1.1: Enhancing the space and capacity of CSOs to operate and engage in public policy processes and accountability systems

CSOs transparency and accountability: Language should be used that is not in the first place suggesting that (all) CSOs have challenges here, but rather "the thematic programme recognizes existing efforts and initiatives of CSOs with regard to strengthening transparency and accountability and will strive to support these".

The programme should support CSO capacity-building activities to broaden the knowledge of their constituencies and partners to secure CSO legitimacy and to build sustainable governance. The programme should also support building capacity of CSOs on procedures of EU development and external actions instruments in general and budget support in particular

Regarding development processes, the document should clearly state “local, national, regional and international development processes, notably the EU development processes”; acknowledging the commitments to involve local CSOs in the EU programming and the increasing decentralization in policy making. The role of CSOs in oversight, monitoring and evaluation in the implementation should also be recognized and supported.

On the empowering of CSOs, some indicators have been developed on the International Framework for CSO Development Effectiveness. Notably for consultation, this should not be only how many dialogues are organised and at which political level they are held, but also how many CSOs are invited and how many participate in each forum, while a mapping of CSOs will enable measuring how many organisations and members are represented in these meetings. The UN Development Cooperation Forum uses the following four criteria for measuring inclusion of CSOs at different levels of mutual accountability forums:

1)Whether stakeholders are included in lower level technical and sector working groups

2)Whether they are given speaking slots in top-level forum

3)Whether they provide technical analysis and reports to the forum

4)Whether they are on the steering group deciding work programme and agenda

·1.1.2: Strengthening CSOs’ role for improved pro-poor social service delivery:

This sub-component focuses on LDCs and fragile states. As mentioned above, this confirms our concern that future thematic instruments will not focus on MICs, whereas it has been stated by the EC at several occasions that MICs would remain eligible for thematic funding.

The current draft says that support to MICs may be mobilised within focal sectors of cooperation through geographical funds (bilateral cooperation). What about the potential 19 countries which will not benefit from bilateral aid anymore?

It is not correct to assume that economic growth automatically leads to more equal distribution of wealth and to the development of pro-poor services. For example, despite positive economic key indicators, Peru still does not have systematic agricultural extension services.

The provision of basic social service delivery is needed in MICs and CSOs often play a vital role in providing basic social services. In those states or regions where provision of social services is at risk, it is crucial that the EU maintains its engagement and support to local CSOs, even if it is a MIC.

·1.1.3: strengthening CSOs’ role for inclusive economic growth:

The promotion of economic growth should not be environmentally harmful.The EC should make sure that environment is mainstreamed across all external instruments and programmes including in its CSO programme. We therefore propose the following wording for component 1.1.3: “strengthening CSO’s role for inclusive and sustainable economic growth”.

To ensure that economic growth is inclusive, sustainable, and minimises inequality in partner countries, it must take social protection into account. In the Commission’s Communication on Social Protection and the Council Conclusions from 15 October 2012, it is outlined how EU aid should work to help implement social protection policies and systems, which includes healthcare, education, and employment opportunities in Middle and Low income countries.  We would like to ensure that Social Protection is included as a key concern under the component of inclusive economic growth. The approach to Social Protection should be holistic and sustainable, combining health protection schemes, income generating activities and training/education in communities.

In addition, the EU should refrain from citing specific actors in this section and use the term "CSOs", which includes a variety of organisations as per the CSO communication. Keeping the term “CSOs” leaves room for context-based choices.

1.3: To support pilot actions promoting a territorial approach to development:

·1.3.1: support pilot actions promoting a territorial approach to development

The thematic programmes should aim at promoting initiatives beyond the national and territorial borders in order to tackle global challenges. It should therefore promote regional and international approaches above territorial approaches. Territorial approaches should be promoted within the geographic programmes. In order to avoid confusion, the MIP should incorporate a comprehensive explanation of what is exactly meant by a territorial approach.

On behalf of the EU environmental platform (Green10 + IUCN)

On 1.1.3: Strengthening CSO's role for inclusive economic growth 

  • The promotion of economic growth should not be environmentally harmful.  the EC should make sure that environment is mainstreamed across all external instruments and programmes including in its CSO programme. We would therefore propose the following wording for the component 1.1.3 “strengthening CSO’s role for inclusive and sustainable economic growth”.
  • The objective 1.1.3 should also be open to NGOs and other civil society organisations, not only cooperatives and trade unions. There are plenty of good examples which demonstrate how a wide variety of NGOs can support sustainable and inclusive growth, such as through the Switch Asia programme.

On 1.3.1: To support pilot actions promoting a territorial appraoch to development

  • The thematic programmes should aim at promoting initiatives beyond the national and territorial borders in order to tackle global and regional challenges. They should therefore promote regional and international approaches beyond pure territorial approaches. Territorial approaches should be promoted within the geographic programmes.
  • A comprehensive explanation of what is meant by a territorial approach would be useful. A territory can be drawn according to different geographic limits depending on whether we define the territory according to environmental criteria or legal criteria. A territory at the scale of a water basin might not correspond to the geographic area belonging to a jurisdiction.


1.1   To enhance CSOs’ contribution in development processes

  • CSOs capacity in engaging in public policy processes: we suggest that the programme supports CSO contribution in policy making not only at the national and sector level, but also at the sub-national level.
  • Based on the Communication on Europe's engagement with Civil Society in external relations, we would like the EC to recall here that “ensuring effective provision of social services - including health,  education and social protection - is the responsibility of governments, whether on central or local level, depending on the institutional framework of the country”, as stated in point 4.3. Supporting CSOs’ role for improved social service delivery therefore needs clarifying. According to the note, the programme foresees supporting this role in least developed countries and in fragile States, with no mention of public authorities responsible for service delivery at all. Such a truncated vision would be a shortcoming in the programme’s design. CSOs may play a significant role in service delivery in particular contexts where public authorities, including local governments, are deficient or not able to operate efficiently. However, for the sake of good governance and sustainability, such experiences should remain exceptional and cannot be promoted as a guiding principle for this thematic programme.
  • There would be a risk of weakening already weak public institutions such as local governments responsible for basic service delivery in many countries. Rather than promoting CSOs’ role as service providers, we call on the EC to support LRAs in fulfilling their responsibility in a medium/long term perspective, including in partnership with CSOs. Only in these conditions can service delivery contribute to State building and improved local governance. In particular situations where CSOs are to contribute to service delivery, their action should aim to support/train public authorities and to hold them accountable in the end.
  • PLATFORMA reiterates that all CSO-LA calls for proposals should include a partnership and reciprocal approach between LRAs and CSOs. Too often, calls for proposals launched by EU delegations within the budget-line for Non State Actors, were closed to LRA as partners. We therefore call on the EC to make LAs eligible as partners in all calls for proposals.  

1.2   To enhance LRAs’ contribution in development processes

  • In terms of the enabling environment for LRAs, stronger emphasis should be made on decentralisation reforms and LRAs capacity for self-government. However, the focus on the enabling environment seems rather ambitious for the scope of this thematic programme. We believe such a global objective rather applies to geographic programmesIn the framework of this programme, an analytical work could be conducted with the LRAs associations to set priorities on countries where decentralisation processes are weak, blocked or even declining, or where the participation of LRAs to national budget is very low (below 10%, hence limiting their operational resources).
  • Rather than focusing on the support to LRAs for the development of an enabling environment, we would like to highlight LRAs’ role in service delivery (1.2.2).
  • Based on some of the axis of the 1.2.1 priority, we would also like to recall LRAs crucial role in operating democracy at the local level a crucial principle not explicitly included in the note.
  • We also would like to divide support to pro-poor service delivery and inclusive and sustainable growth into two different sub-priorities. There is indeed a risk that specific calls for proposals launched by the EC delegations will narrow the scope of the cooperation and focus only on one of these two issues. Both topics should be addressed separately for each call for proposals.
  • Furthermore, examining the roles and added values of both CSOs and LRAs are relevant in the case of fragile States and therefore this should be addressed in the section 1.2 as well.
  • In terms of the “how”, the note should explicitly make reference to “decentralised cooperation”, given that it is a key instrumental mechanism for LRAs to share expertise, transfer knowledge, build capacities etc (great experiences of North/South and South/South cooperations).
  • Therefore, the programme should focus on capacity building and transfer of expertise both through decentralised cooperation partnerships and support to national associations, which have a strong advocacy and oversight role to play and also offer an important multiplier effect for a modest programme like the CSO-LA programme.
  • We suggest that the programme recognizes and supports the role that European LRAs play in support of their counterparts in partner countries but also in support of CSO in partner and European countries, as well as in the advocacy and awareness raising area.
  • As mentioned earlier, country roadmaps should also be established by EU delegations for LRAs. A joint country roadmap for CSOs and LAs would provide an efficient reply to the results of the structured dialogue.
  • In terms of delivering public services and promoting inclusive and sustainable growth, we suggest that stronger reference is made to poverty reduction and fight against social exclusion.
  • In addition, it would be key that the programme strengthens the capacity of LRAs in implementing and monitoring the development effectiveness agenda

1.3   To support pilot actions promoting a territorial approach to development

  • A response to one of the structured dialogue’s recommendations, this innovation is a strength of the proposed programme.
  • In various sections of the note, stronger contribution to and articulation between national and local policy-making is pointed as a major challenge for the programme. We believe that this sub-component could provide great opportunities for CSOs and LRAs to join forces in this regard and reinforce their partnerships for the benefit of the local level (territory).
  • Existing successful experiences could be promoted to demonstrate the impact of such partnerships.
  • The role of each category of actors should be respected, including the leading and coordination role of LRAs as legitimate public institutions in multi-actor development plans, should be made clear in this sub-component. Pilot actions should contribute to reinforcing local public institutions, increasing local actors’ participation in local policies and improving LRAs’ accountability to citizens and CSOs.
  • The framework for pilot actions should be established carefully and put forward concrete expected results. Experience has proved that these types of “participatory development plans” supported by donors should be well-anchored in the territory and respond to clearly identified needs jointly put forward by the actors involved. Furthermore, when possible, the State should be supportive of this kind of initiatives so as to ensure good articulation between local and national policies. All development actors involved in the given territory, like European LRAs for instance, should also be involved in the initiative to avoid duplication.
  • In terms of budget allocations and scope of activities, what complementarity and distinction are foreseen with sub-components 1.1 and 1.2? As mentioned before we urge the EC to make both CSO and LRA to be eligible for all sub-priorities 1.1., 1.2 and 1.3.

Sorry to send this so late... I really hope you can take this into account anyway.

·Punto 1.  OSC y LA a  nivel nacional.

1.1.Contribución de las OSC al desarrollo.

Felicitar el compromiso expresado (1.1.1.) sobre que el programa debe contribuir efectivamente a permitir su labor a las Organizaciones de la Sociedad Civil de jure y de facto y también que quiere contribuir a aumentar la transparencia y rendición de cuentas de las OSC.

En contra de que el enfoque del trabajo de prestación de servicios sociales por parte de las OSC en países de renta media se focalice en ciertos sectores a través de fondos de cooperación bilateral. El apartado 1.1.2. desarrolla bien las posibilidades del programa en los PMA , no dice nada de los países de renta baja y media-baja, y restringe en exceso las posibilidades para países de renta media. La afirmación sobre que conviene reforzar las capacidades de las OSC en cuanto a la calidad y la complementariedad que aportan a servicios provistos por sistemas nacionales (públicos se sobre entiende) también es valida para países de renta baja, media-baja y media, en aspectos de una enorme transcendencia, por citar algunos, políticas de género en especial servicios sociales ligados a combatir la violencia de género, atención a migrantes en especial menores, personas en situación de discapacidad , etc, etc.

Respecto al punto 1.1.3. sobre el papel de las OSC en el crecimiento inclusivo, sorprende que sea el sector crecimiento económico el único que tenga un epígrafe específico en el gran apartado del Programa temático para con OSC , esto no ocurre con el subsector derechos humanos que quizá es más inherente a OSC. La afirmación de que el programa va a apoyar a las OSC en partenariados multi actor que permita a diversos actores desarrollar iniciativas emprendedoras que se refuercen mutuamente, es especialmente valioso , pero no solo para el crecimiento económico inclusivo, sino como leiv motif de todo el Programa y de todo la parte 1 (osc) también para la prestación de servicios.

Punto 1.2. Reforzar el papel de las LA al desarrollo.

Se pueden repetir ideas análogas a lo que se ha dicho para OSC, es muy positivo que el programa apoye iniciativas que refuercen la gobernabilidad interna y la rendición de cuentas de las autoridades locales (1.2.1) . Por otro lado habrá que explicar bien, porque a la hora de reforzar las capacidades de las autoridades locales hay una mención expresa a reforzar su capacidad de estimular la economía local (1.2.2) y  no a otras de sus competencias, como la de contribuir a un entorno que posibilite a las OSC su labor de veeduría de lo público en los entornos locales y regionales, lo cual liga las dos patas del programa.

Punto 1.3. Aproximación territorial del desarrollo

De un interés especial son las iniciativas previstas en apoyo a una aproximación territorial del desarrollo 1.3.1. en la que el objetivo específico es apoyar acciones piloto multi actor para el desarrollo territorial, en línea con lo que dice el Programa para el Cambio.  El potencial que tienen para el desarrollo estas iniciativas multi actor es muy importante, no solo en crecimiento inclusivo sostenible (entendiendo casi únicamente el desarrollo territorial como desarrollo económico), sino en casi todos los sectores, en especial cuando desde las OSC se completa la provisión de servicios públicos a la que no llegan las autoridades competentes.  Este tipo de iniciativas puede poner a cada actor en su sitio, y poner en valor cuando es legitimo e idóneo que una competencia pública se delegue en actores privados, OSC , aunque es un poco especial, aquí también cabe la participación de las ONGD del Norte, y quizá autoridades locales del norte pero el texto no menciona a estos actores centrándose en los que son más clave  “participación de autoridades locales, de OSC y de otros actores locales”

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