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On a recent trip to India, Renée Zandvliet, working with EuropeAid’s 'Civil Society and Local Authorities' unit, saw that civil society organisations (CSOs) often play a supportive role in improving the functioning and outreach of public health systems, as well as helping strengthen Human Resources for Health (HRH). As part of capacity4dev.eu's CSOs in India Week, she shares her views.
It has been a year since the European Commission adopted ‘The Roots of Democracy and Sustainable Development: Europe’s Engagement with Civil Society in External Relations‘ Communication, which promotes a more strategic engagement of the EU with civil society. EuropeAid’s Virginia Manzitti reviews the progress made in mapping civil society, and provides practical advice going forwards.
“Although development is a global [issue], the implementation is always local. Because it’s at this level that it is most effective,” said Mr Khalifa Sall, President of United Cities and Local Governments and Mayor of Dakar. He believes that including local authorities in sustainable development is only ‘natural’. So what does it take to unite the European Commission and Local Authorities?
When the children of Inyima in southeast Nigeria began to fall sick and die, villagers were horrified to learn that their own poor hygiene practices had contaminated the community’s drinking water, causing a deadly diarrhoea outbreak.
Over 3,000 development officials have gathered in Busan, South Korea, this week for an important forum on aid effectiveness. According to Vice President of the World Bank Institute Sanjay Pradhan, who is attending the event, capacity development has yet to attain its full potential for changing societies.
Capacity4dev Team created a new Article 22 July 2014
For European Union delegations and member states, working effectively with civil society organisations presents different challenges. In Chad it takes five days of desert travel to reach organisations in the north; in Azerbaijan there are about 3000 registered NGOs; in Trinidad & Tobago some CSOs find that their insights are not being recognised and validated sufficiently; and until recently in Bangladesh knowledge was mostly available only on groups involved in service-delivery.
The European Commission has opened a public consultation addressing civil society organisations to contribute to the future EU policy on "Civil Society Organisations in Development Cooperation".  Kristian Schmidt, Director of Human and Society Development at EuropeAid, comments on the need for improved dialogue at various levels to realise the new role foreseen for civil society organisations.
How can Sector Budget Support embrace Civil Society and what can be achieved? How can such support offer an effective way to strengthen sector capacity and governance? In this first of a two-part series on capacity4dev.eu, Jozet Muller from the EU Delegation to South Africa shares her experience of engaging with civil society in ways that are helping to promote transparency and accountability.
"Know where your dough is!" is the catchy refrain of this serious-minded jingle. Dominican Republic civil society groups, with support from the European Commission, have come together around a colourful campaign that urges citizens to press their local authorities to spend national cash on the things that matter to them.
Groups representing citizen interests around the world are under pressure. Funding cuts and restrictive laws are curtailing their freedom to operate, and many participants at the 2016 Policy Forum on Development (PFD) and Civil Society Organisations (CSO) Forum spoke of a ‘shrinking space’ in which they could work. They called for EU support to strengthen their position and help them achieve sustainable development on a local level.

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