Read below the full speech of Emele Duituturaga, Co-Chair of the Open Forum for CSO Development Effectiveness, given in the closing ceremony of the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness:
Heads of Government
Fellow Civil Society development actors
Ni sa Bula vinaka and warm Pacific Island greetings. On the behalf of the 300 Civil society representatives at this Forum, we thank the Government and the people of the Republic of Korea for your warm hospitality and standards of excellence in the arrangements for this meeting. Our participation as global citizens has often been marred by detentions of civil society leader at airports, not being allowed to board planes or get past immigration officials. But the smooth entry into Korea was the first good omen that our journey to Busan for a Better world was not in vain.
Our journey Busan in fact began soon after Accra. We took our recognition as independent actors in our own right and took up the challenge to address our own accountability for our development work. In the past 3 years, since Accra, more than 20,000 civil society organisations including trade unions, women’s groups, youth groups, faith-based organisations and other social movements in more than 90 countries, have been consulted on the process, agenda and expected outcomes of HLF4. Then 500 of us gathered at the pre-Forum Civil Society Forum and reaffirmed that we - 300 of us - coming to this Forum would come as one and speak with one voice. That is indeed remarkable, that we ourselves find hard to believe.
We have truly valued our inclusion as equals at the HLF4 negotiating table and expect this practice to be replicated at national levels. We reaffirm our role as development actors in our own right and not an adage to government services and conduits for donor foreign policies. CSOs are a vibrant and essential feature in the democratic life of countries across the globe playing a vital role in advancing development effectiveness in order to achieve human rights, gender equality, social justice, decent work, environmental sustainability, peace and an end to corruption and impunity within a solid framework of democratic governance, rights-based approaches, and inclusive policy engagement.
In preparing for HLF4 we noted the evidence that donors and governments have defaulted on delivering on the majority of your pledges made in the Paris Declaration and the Accra Agenda for Action, but that did not deter us and so we appeal for
Full and timely implementation of the Paris and Accra unfinished business
Advance on and boldly deepen commitments on untied Aid, transparency through IATI standard, accountability and conditionality
Utilise and strengthen the capacity of country systems, parliaments and local governments
Advance strong monitoring and evaluation mechanisms based on human rights norms and standards
We call upon our own governments and parliamentarians to
Ensure accountability to your people
Implement development cooperation in ways that are consistent with international agreements on human rights, norms and standards
Adopt rights based policies and approaches that are non-discriminatory, and which empower the poor, rural, indigenous, youth, people with disabilities to claim their rights
Promote democratic ownership, decent work, the centrality of gender equality and the advancement of women and girls
We welcome development actors from the private sector and while we acknowledge the contribution of economic growth to development, we underscore our conviction that growth is not the engine room of development. Development is about fulfilling the rights and needs of people. Growth is a means to that end but which needs to be monitored and held accountable for poverty, inequalities and environmental degradation. We have witnessed how greed and unrestrained capitalism for the profit of individuals in the name of growth has led to global financial crisis and drastically affecting access to opportunities for the future generation. We call for the recognition of social partners as development actors and adherence to international human rights, norms and standards.
We are pleased to have achieved global legitimacy through the recognition and the endorsement of the Istanbul Principles and the Siem Reap Consensus on the International Framework for CSO Development Effectiveness in the BOD. Through this framework, we commit to improve our own practices and will strengthen our transparency and accountability as well as our contribution to development effectiveness. However, we are confronted with the reality that civil society space has been shrinking despite Accra and thus we further call upon governments to ensure minimum standards that guarantee an enabling environment for civil society organisations to fulfil their development roles, at a minimum, in keeping with binding commitments, both in law and practice, outlined in international and regional instruments that guarantee fundamental rights.
It is only in the expressions of these freedoms that development is meaningful for any woman, man, boy or girl to reach their fullest potential. It is only in reaching our full potential that we are free to contribute and claim the opportunities provided.
As human right defenders we appeal for less repressive governments and regimes and we pray that Busan will be a beacon of hope and for us as civil society here present will take the our legacy of Busan to next generation civil society leaders and take with us the vivid reminder of Busan.