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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?
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.
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.
"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.
In the second part of a series on how Sector Budget Support can extend to Civil Society and what can be achieved,  Dominique Wauters, Head of Cooperation in the regionalised EU Delegation of Quito, Ecuador, shares his experience of engaging with civil society to build partnerships for service delivery and encourage more inclusive policy dialogue.
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.
About 80 development practitioners, representatives of civil society organisations, local authorities and members of European institutions exchanged on the New Communication on Civil Society, and the post-2015 Development Agenda. They stressed the need to involve civil society and local authorities, particularly during their first discussion on the new Thematic Programme on Civil Society Organisations (CSO) and Local Authorities (LA).
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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