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Enabling Environment. Vitalice Meja Reality of Aid Africa.

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Enabling Environment

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Enabling Environment

Vitalice Meja

Reality of Aid Africa

  • While the Paris Declaration (PD) hardly mentions civil society the AAA recognises it as a development actor “in its own right 2005 at the Paris Conference civil society witnessed but did not endorse the negotiations process that led to the formulation of the Paris Declaration.

  • The AAA was committed to multistakeholder development dialogues with civil society

  • Busan adopted a multistakeholder approach and CSOs are among the stakeholders of the Busan Global Partnership

CSO on Development Effectiveness

  • Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have a comprehensive and complex mandate

  • They are part of the service delivery system

  • Involved in lobby and advocacy, human rights based development, empowerment of the poor and marginalised, initiation of socio-political change

Enabling Environment for CSOs

  • CSOs as stakeholders must participate in the development of national development strategies, including a National Action Plan for implementation of Post Busan Agenda.

  • The government must include CSOs in different ways, both at sector level as well as in the national technical co-ordination commission.

  • At the political and policy level, deliberate attempts by the government to include CSOs in the policy making process must be made.

Trends Across Africa on Enabling Environment

  • Absence of an institutionalised framework of engagement

  • The executive chooses the stage he/she wants to engage CSOs in a given process

  • Late dissemination of meeting documents to CSOs to better enable them prepare for their representation and participation

  • CSO participation relies on the benevolence of the government and is dependent on the informal contacts of CSOs with the government officials

Trends Across Africa on Enabling Environment

  • In some countries CSOs involved in budget advocacy have no opportunity to present their views at appropriate times and levels to the government.

  • Budget planning is a government privilege until the plan is submitted to the parliament

  • The government s does not readily provide information to CSOs to facilitate their watchdog role. This is further compounded by the lack of an act guaranteeing access to information to the public enabling qualified participation on the basis of relevant data.

Trends In Africa - enabling environment

  • Still, the methodology of inviting the CSOs is not systematised and structured. There are those CSOs that have already been identified by the government therefore precluding a CSO based process of consultation and sector consensus building.

  • In some cases invitations seem to largely rely on the goodwill of the officers and informal contacts rather than a procedure.

  • The number of CSOs in a particular process is also not defined.

Trends In Africa - enabling environment

  • The political and policy space provided for CSOs in development planning and monitoring is not commensurate with the legal environment for CSOs operations in Burkina Faso.

  • There are various legislations governing CSOs. However these have not been harmonised to streamline CSO operations.

  • With regard to lobby and advocacy organisations, there is no legislation that guides advocacy based CSO involvement thereby, leaving it to the executives to interpret what would deem suitable in the public interest.

  • Government s across Africa have attempted to present various NGO bills to streamline advocacy and development program work, but their contents have been seen as authoritative, punitive and retrogressive thus in some countries the bills have been frozen while in others, they are used to threaten CSOs when there is disagreement with the Executive, while in others still, CSO voice and activities have been completely muzzled by such laws

Trends in Africa – Enabling Environment

  • Other problematic requirements include: 

    • The Act provides for mandatory registration of all NGOs within 30 days of their formation or adoption of their constitution but no time limit is prescribed for the processing of a registration application  

    • Denial of registration in the “public interest” which is not defined, is leaving scope for the exercise of executive discretion 

    • The Act ignores the principle of perpetual succession for legal entities by requiring NGOs to re-register every two - five years. 

    • The Act uses the law to force NGOs to submit to a code of conduct to be monitored by a government dominated member Council which has the overarching mandate on the autonomy and the independence of individual NGOs

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