1 December, Busan, Republic of Korea: “By participating in high level negotiations on aid and development for the first time, people’s organizations can take credit for cementing democratic ownership and human rights in the Busan Outcome Document – but more works needs to be done on advancing favorable conditions for civil society,” said Open Forum co-chair Emele Duituturaga in response to the newly agreed Busan Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation.
Open Forum for CSO Development Effectiveness – a global civil society platform engaging thousands of organizations worldwide – is very pleased with the acknowledgement of its main outcomes as the guiding reference for civil society in their development work. Indeed, the Istanbul Principles and the International Framework for CSO Development Effectiveness are both quoted in the Busan Partnership document.
Civil society is however deeply disappointed that commitments from partner governments and donors on providing favorable conditions for people’s organizations to operate are not fully defined according to international rights standards on which they can be held accountable, particularly in light of the growing evidence of a crackdown on civil society in many parts of the world.
“Governments must recognize CSOs as not only social actors but also political actors in the democratization of our societies. For this purpose, we need an enabling environment that has been threatened by violence towards CSOs, shrinking political and legal spaces, and a huge lack of financing”, said Ruben Fernandez of the Latin America CSO network ALOP.
Although civil society representatives are proud to be part of the newly forged global partnership, they recognize that they had to compromise. CSOs will therefore continue to pursue a stronger commitment to an enabling environment for civil society to fulfill their role in development by taking the Istanbul Principles and the International Framework for CSO Development Effectiveness forward as the globally legitimate standards for the future of people participation in development.